Saturday, 24 June 2017

Whatever happened to the spirit of cricket?

Posted by Tony Hutton

I know cricket is only a game but.......... Sadly there have been a lot of buts floating about the cricket world during the last week or so. The media and social media have been full of stories which in many cases defy the imagination. Somehow it has been that sort of a season with controversy always in the headlines, particularly for that intrepid band - the followers of Yorkshire cricket, not to mention those of Durham who have been so harshly treated. Cricket seems to be getting even worse than politics and I have felt a rant coming on for some time.

I suppose we might start with the ongoing saga of the City T20 proposals to start appropriately, some might say, in the year 2020. The eminent magazine The Cricketer and it's editor Simon Hughes (also known as the analyst) produced in it's June edition a so called Debate on this thorny question. It seemed to me to have been heavily loaded towards those who thought it was a good thing together with a handful who were sceptical and even less who thought it was a bad thing. A more even handed approach might have been more helpful.

What really got under the skin of many of my friends, including my fellow blogger John Winn, was the following extracts from Simon Hughes own views. First 'The BBC Sport bosses' eyes glaze over when you mention the word 'county'. I thought they glazed over at the mention of the word 'cricket'.
Then the worst of all 'Well marketed and staged T20 (minimising laddishness) in decent venues will attract women and families and rejuvenate the game. The gains will be much greater than the losses of a few thousand disgruntled county fans.'

First question how do you minimise laddishness? Don't ask the football authorities. What is a decent venue? There aren't many of those left. How do you attract women and families to come and sit in the cold after nine o'clock at night to watch a game they don't understand? Finally as one of the many thousand of disgruntled county fans (I suppose he means members) you have already lost me and I suspect far more than just a few thousand.

With all that off my chest perhaps we can turn to the antics of the ECB and presumably the England team management and selectors. Why are these people taking every action they can to devalue the county championship in everything they do? I will not dwell on the subject of Johnny Bairstow and the refusal to allow this splendid cricketer to actually play the game. The total absence of all the country's leading cricketers not only devalues the county championship but it shows a great disrespect of the traditions and history of this splendid competition. which has produced all the greatest cricketers in England's longstanding achievements in Test cricket.

The latest fiasco surrounds the selection of the England Lions team for meaningless fixtures against a very weak South Africa A side. It had been announced with great fanfares that next weeks round of championship matches would contain all the England players, to experience pink ball cricket and floodlights, even though they are unlikely to be required at this time of year, but for one game only.
They would not be seen again by their counties for proper cricket for the rest of the season. Now we have the totally insane statement that players such as Gary Ballance of Yorkshire and Keaton Jennings of Durham will be allowed to play for two days only and then will be whisked away to play for the Lions.

Who dreams up these ideas and how do the counties re-act to them? Unfortunately the hierarchy at Yorkshire CCC are in a quandary. How can they complain about the actions of the ECB when the top man, Mr Colin Graves, has bankrolled them and saved them from financial extinction and whose family trust could pull the plug on them at any time. I am assured that the county's feelings have been expressed to ECB on numerous occasions but all I can say is not forcibly enough. I have seen Bairstow, Root and Adil Rashid grow up through the Yorkshire Academy system and hoped to spend my retirement watching them perform regularly for the county side. This seems unlikely ever to happen again. What a travesty, which I am convinced is the feeling of many more followers of the county game.

None of this may seem to be anything to do with my headline question, but I think it has. The whole traditions and spirit of the game are being undermined by all these things. The ECB and their predecessors have failed to market the county championship. I have campaigned for years for a match of the day type highlights programme on television. Also nothing has been done by the powers that be to halt the demise of proper reporting of the game in the national press.

Finally on a subject which has hit the headlines on social media in Yorkshire this week has believe it or not concerned a second team cup competition in the Bradford cricket league - The Priestley Shield. Pudsey St Lawrence 2nd XI were playing Brighouse 2nd XI and racked up a record score of well
over 500 with two players making double centuries. Brighouse batted for one ball, scored one run and then declared to forfeit the game.

What did not appear in early reports was the fact that Brighouse had only nine men, all Muslims who were fasting during Ramadan on one of the hottest days of the year. Publicity has been given to a record team score and a record individual score in the league. Apparently efforts were made to ask the home side to declare to make a proper game of it but this was refused. The whole matter, together with some allegations of crowd mis-behaviour, has been referred to the league committee. We await their ruling, but to me this whole story is against the spirit of cricket completely and any so called 'records' should be deleted.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Easy pickings for The Cherrymen

posted by John Winn

I began my cricket watching last Saturday with a visit to Whixley CC, the nearest club to my house. A little over ten years ago the Score Ray Lane club lost their pavilion in an arson attack and for several seasons had to use temporary accommodation for changing and refreshments. A new pavilion was built in traditional style and opened by local MP Nigel Adams exactly three years ago today and the following year Whixley made the move from the Wetherby League to the Nidderdale.

Whoever was responsible for deciding that the first XI should be placed in Division 3 did a good job for they have bedded in nicely at that level. With the season approaching the halfway point the Cherrymen find themselves handily placed in fourth position. This Saturday they visit South Kilvington , currently second but only two points ahead of Whixley.

Last September Whixley took the bold decision to plough up and reseed their outfield and despite the arid spring and early summer conditions we have experienced in the Vale of York the field looks in fine fettle with these splendid nets the latest addition to the facilities.

Saturday's visitors were strugglers Thornton le Moor who batted first but could barely lay bat on ball against the opening attack of Dan Lever and James Smith. One or two eyebrows were raised when twenty year old Lever joined from neighbours Ouseburn this season but he has made the most of the opportunities the switch has offered. His eight overs yielded just nine runs and although he went wicket less he and Smith pegged the score to nine without loss before spin was introduced in the 12th over. When I moved on to Ouseburn after more than an hour Thornton had reached 31 for 2 but the combination of Pat Greenwood, six wickets, and Josh Forster, four wickets, saw them take tea at 54 all out off 31 overs.

Checking the website on Sunday morning I was staggered to find that Whixley had knocked the runs off in under six overs with that man Dan leading the way with 37 not out including seven fours. 15 extras helped things along to secure a nine wicket victory. Two miles away Ouseburn II were getting something of a shredding at the hands of an experienced  Hampsthwaite II team who stand second in Division Four after nine matches. Star man here was opener Bartlett who hit 160 not out and with the first wicket falling to a run out it was left to the younger of the Lever brothers, Jack, to take the only wicket to fall and as Ouseburn rather wilted in the sun Hampsthwaite finished on 280 for 2. Most of Ouseburn's batsmen got a start but they fell just a shade over 100 short to leave them in mid table.

Yesterday afternoon I popped into Clifton Park for a couple of hours and watched Derbyshire II making a good reply to Yorkshire's 302 in which Jack Leaning had top scored with 76. A very good crowd here enjoying the warm weather, although we did have a little shower just before lunch. Plenty of familiar faces some of whom will no doubt be at Headingley on Monday when Surrey provide Yorkshire with an opportunity to refloat their championship challenge. This of course is one of nine matches next week starting at two and with floodlights available for use. I know this had divided opinion and it is certainly not convenient for those who travel distances by public transport, but I am happy to support an initiative that seeks to get more people watching first class cricket and will be bringing a flask of cocoa for the supper interval. I note that Durham are offering admission for £5 after five o'clock, expect a bit of a queue at about 4:55.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A better day

posted by John Winn

This week Glamorgan are the visitors at The Riverside for championship action for the first time since 2004.  Familiar names from that occasion when they won by 201 runs include Croft, Maynard, Wharf and Cosker for Glamorgan and Killeen, Muchall and Breeze for Durham The two captains then, Robert Croft and Jon Lewis are now the head coaches for the two counties.The only player to survive the passage of thirteen years is current Durham skipper Paul Collingwood although his appearance in 2004 was delayed until the third morning for, having been released from England duties at Lord's, he was delayed on the M1 finally arriving in time to capture three wickets including that of Croft.

The introductory paragraph has delayed the need to describe Monday's play which made viewing that would probably make live transmission of the Brexit talks seem exciting. Glamorgan opted for the toss, won it, decided to bat and when stumps were drawn after 96 overs they had 'amassed' 221 for 7, five to the perspiring Rushworth on a day of temperatures rarely experienced at The Riverside, temperatures sufficient for us to forsake our usual vantage point for a more shady area. By tea when, with some relief I set off for home, Glamorgan were 147 for 2 with Australian Selman, already a centurion against Durham this season, holding things together with dogged support from Salter and Ingram. For the more loyal Durham supporters things perked up after tea with five wickets falling but no improvement in the scoring rate.

Back again yesterday and back to our usual seats on a cooler and altogether livelier day. Wagg and Marchant De Lange, oh my Emrys Davies of long ago, were at the crease and showed a much more positive attitude than anything seen on Monday taking their eighth wicket partnership to 66 before the South African was pouched at slip, the first of three wickets for McCarthy. Coughlin was the tastiest cheese on the Welsh Rarebit, going for almost four an over with the tail enjoying too much short stuff. Credit to Sunderland born Matthew Potts, playing just his second championship match who had 2 for 59 off his 23 overs. Collingwood made his Durham debut two years before the youngster was born.

Cook and Steel, the latter opening in place of Jennings who is on Lions duty, saw us through to lunch but Cook, for whom this is his last match in Durham's colours and who by his own admission has been disappointing, fell shortly after the interval for 14. Steel and Burnham back from injury both got starts but Steel fell for a sucker punch from De Lange and Burnham went to a slip catch that rebounded to Ingram. Enter Collingwood, not delayed on the M1 or anyway else and with Clarke added 185, a record for Durham's fourth wicket against Glamorgan. Clarke reached his maiden century but went to the Cullen De Lange combination for 109 just before the close leaving Pringle to see things out with his skipper.

The forecast for the north east today indicates some heavy showers with the added prospect of thunder and lightening which may spoil the promising position Durham find themselves in just 14 in arrears with six wickets in hand. Having considered a third day travelling up the A1 I have decided instead to tick off a few jobs and then slip over to York where Yorkshire II are taking on Derbyshire. Sunny intervals on the menu here.

Monday, 19 June 2017

A weekend with Sheriff Hutton Bridge CC

Posted by Tony Hutton

Saturday 17th June at Weetwood, Leeds proved to be one of the hottest days on record at this traditionally cold and windy ground. Today forced one or two hardened spectators to look for shade and there wasn't much of that about. There was some concern early on that Yorkshire Academy didn't have many specialist batsmen in their line up. One absentee was Harry Brook for the good reason that he has been selected to play for Yorkshire first team at Lord's on Monday. Having seen his three recent second eleven centuries at Kibworth, Headingley and Scarborough we can only wish him the very best of luck and are sure the centuries will come at the higher level with regularity in due course.

Another absentee was regular Academy opening batsman Ben Ainsley and although this has not been officially substantiated it is rumoured that this very promising player has decided to call it a day on his potential cricketing career with Yorkshire. One can perhaps understand his thinking with so many ahead of him in the pecking order such as Gibson, Rhodes and Brook but possibly the final straw may have been the recent signing of Tom Kohler-Cadmore from Worcestershire. All will no doubt be revealed soon. T.K-C himself announced his return to his home club, Driffield, with an innings of 191 not out obviously putting his duck for the county second eleven last week behind him.

Weetwood in the sunshine earlier in the season.

However back to the action at Weetwood where Sheriff Hutton Bridge were the visitors. They are a side which has done well on their promotion from the York Senior League having produced Matthew Fisher, the current Yorkshire player whose two brothers are currently in the side as well. Karl Carver one of the county's spin bowling prospects is also in their ranks and will no doubt be delighted to have been part of the winning team at Taunton last week. They batted first on a wicket which made run scoring look difficult all day and were struggling somewhat on 41-3 having lost both openers Mark Fisher and Louis Foxton for 14 each. Both were caught behind by Read off Matthew Taylor's opening spell.

When Pinder also went cheaply followed by Karl Carver, perhaps batting a bit high at number three, the Academy looked to be on top. Bridge captain Russell Robinson had other ideas and his 49 not out provided the backbone of the innings. Ed Barnes was unable to repeat his form of last week and Jack Shutt, the off spinner, put in the best bowling performance with 2-33 off thirteen overs. Sheriff Hutton Bridge were able to bat out their fifty overs with a rather modest final total of 163-8.

When the Academy batted with all rounder Matthew Fisher and second wicket keeper Ben Birkhead opening, the lack of specialist batsmen was very apparent. Matthew Fisher after a fast start was soon bowled by brother Mark and soon the Academy were 52-4 with not a lot to come. The one major hope was skipper Jordan Thompson, fresh from a century for the second eleven at Scarborough and with several good scores behind him recently. True to form his battling 33 brought the Academy back into the game although scoring continued to prove difficult against some accurate bowling and good fielding.

Read and Barnes both gave good support with 29 each but when Barnes went on 158-8 six runs were needed for victory. Only one more run was scored as Taylor was caught behind for twelve and then with only one further ball remaining  number eleven Jack Shutt was clean bowled by Collins for a duck and the visitors has won by just four runs. It was later revealed that this was the Academy's first home league defeat since August 2015 so a real feather in the cap for the Bridge.

The following day, Sunday 18th June, it was off to Clifton Park York on yet another hot sunny day with a cloudless sky where once again Sheriff Hutton Bridge were the visitors. This time a Rudgate Cup game played for by clubs in both Yorkshire premier leagues, North and South. The tie had been delayed due to York's commitments in the national knock out competition.

View of York CC pavilion across next door neighbour's ground at Clifton Alliance

Yet again the Bridge batted first and yet again it proved a difficult day for scoring runs. The early batsmen all got into the teens and then were out and the middle order of Robinson, Gill and Grose all got into the twenties and then no further. So in what was scheduled as a 45 over game, SHB were all out for 171 in 39.2 overs. Duncan Snell dismissed both openers with his medium pace perhaps to the surprise of some of his team mates and then the 'old firm' of spin twins Tom Pringle and Dan Woods got to work, Pringle taking 4-34 and Woods 2-48.

Yorkshire prospect Matthew Waite came in at number three after Snell's early dismissal and virtually won the match with a fine innings of 66, which included twelve fours and two sixes. He got good support from MacAuley and Booth who both scored 32. Despite a late clatter of wickets with Mark Fisher taking three and Karl Carver two, York were comfortable winners by four wickets with fifteen overs to spare. They will now face Stamford Bridge at home in the next round on Sunday 2nd July.
Before that they have a challenging National Club knock out tie away at South Northumberland next Sunday.

York current league leaders have lost several of their regular players this season, including both McKendry brothers, but seem to have been able to bounce back and are making progress on all fronts. A very busy second half of the season awaits. Sheriff Hutton Bridge will be disappointed to have lost to York yet again (they were beaten in the league's T20 competition last week) but they can take heart from yesterday's win against the Academy and try to improve their position in the top half of the league table.

York is not the most photogenic of grounds so during the interval I was tempted to visit the adjoining ground of Clifton Alliance where a York Vale League cup game between Alliance thirds and Ovington was going on. Here are a few views of this attractive ground

Tree inside the boundary at Clifton Alliance

The hanging baskets of Clifton Alliance.

Friday, 16 June 2017

The championship fights back

posted  by John Winn

In this month's edition of Cricketer magazine the editor Simon Hughes makes the case for the City T20 competition which it seems almost certainly will be part of the English domestic season from 2020. Hughes believes that it is imperative that cricket in this country attracts a new audience particularly drawn from young children and women. He argues that a city based competition with a generous sprinkling of overseas players but minus England's test players, 'well-marketed and staged....minimising laddishness in decent venues will attract women and families and rejuvenate the game. The gains will be much greater than the losses of a few thousand disgruntled county fans.'

It was this last sentence that caused me to take to twitter a couple of weeks ago in a state of dudgeon identifying myself as one of the few and from September when my subscription expires, a former reader of the magazine. With help from Tony and similarly disgruntled persons quite a storm was stirred up which even provoked a response from the editor and several from Huw Turbevill, one of the magazine's contributors. If by fans Simon Hughes means members then their numbers are difficult to calculate but between fifty and sixty thousand seems a reasonable estimate, a sizeable number to lose and a challenging number to replace with a new audience.

From 2020 we will have two T20 competitions and as I mentioned in a recent posting the skeleton structure for that season shows that there could be as long as three months without any championship cricket, in other words even more so than at the present the four day game will be confined to April, May and September with high summer and the school holidays set aside for white ball cricket. Can the county championship, the breeding ground for test cricketers, survive this treatment? Until this year we had a  nicely balanced competition with an even number of teams in each of the two divisions and everybody played everybody else home and away, but the number of matches has been reduced, eighteen teams have been divided into divisions of eight and ten and we see less and less of our best players.

In spite of these changes and what some see as a sentence of death for a competition dating back to the late nineteenth century the championship in 2017 seems reluctant to leave the stage and has taken on an cloak of unpredictability in both divisions which has produced an unfamiliar look to the tables and some exciting finishes. In Division 1 where promoted clubs have found it difficult to survive, undefeated Essex, last year's Division Two winners, head the pack with three wins under their belt including one earlier this week over Surrey. The struggling Bears go to Chelmsford on Monday and the following week Middlesex visit, two matches for which one assumes Alastair Cook will be available, but after which he is not likely to wear the Seaxes until September 19th. Just three points behind Essex are Yorkshire who on Monday squeezed home by Christmas Eve three runs at Taunton in a finish that I was privileged to hear broadcast on line. Yorkshire go to Lord's next week where the winless champions find themselves well off the pace, 44 points behind Essex and in sixth place. At Old Trafford, Lancashire, currently fourth, entertain Hampshire whose influx of South Africans has helped them mock their reprieved status and who are only 4 points behind Yorkshire.

In Division Two undefeated Notts are setting a cracking pace and will fancy their chances when Leicestershire, spared from bottom place only by Durham's points deduction, visit Trent Bridge. Second Kent meet third Worcestershire at New Road, each with a game in hand on Notts. And adding to the spice of unpredictability, Northants are fourth with four wins chalked up but without a game next week. Bottom of the heap and still in the negative zone are Durham but in each of their last three matches a first win has been possible at the start of the final over of the final day, two of these have gone against them, Northants winning with a ball to spare, Glamorgan with three, and the third drawn when the last Kent pair could not be separated. The return match with Glamorgan starts at The Riverside on Monday as do the other five matches and the following week the even numbers of teams in each division allows all eighteen to be in action and with test players available. Springtime in The Rockies! 

Finally I have touched briefly on the impact the loss of Alastair Cook on test duties might have on Essex's prospects of holding on to their lead and of course there are other England certainties like Broad and Anderson who will also be missing championship games from the beginning of July, but who will open with Cook? To find Hameed in the Division 1 batting averages you have to scroll to 75th for 174 runs at 19.33 and Jennings, who cashed in when Hameed was injured during the winter, lies 36th in Division Two averaging a whisker under 40. Skipper Root will I think be reluctant to step up. Names you might like to consider over your Friday evening sharpener include Stoneman, Robson and Westley and let's not forget Jason Roy for clearly leaving him out of a winning side on Wednesday was a mistake.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Yorkshire on top in Second XI Roses match

Posted by Tony Hutton

With fine weather forecast for the week ahead Tuesday 13th June was a good day to be in Scarborough where Yorkshire Second XI faced Lancashire in a three day championship game.
Despite a poor start with both openers Brown and Turner out to Wainman's bowling with the total on 14, the visitors batted steadily all day to post an all out total of 350 just before the close.

Sunny Scarborough

Play get's underway

Robert Jones, of whom Lancashire have high hopes, and veteran Procter certainly turned things round with a partnership of 128 against the five man seam attack of Yorkshire. Indeed there seemed to be very little variety in the bowling until the off spinner Jack Shutt was introduced somewhat late in the day. Procter batted sensibly for almost three hours before being caught behind by Read off Warner for 62.
Procter and Jones not out at lunch

Wainman, the left armer, stuck to his task well all day and he took his third wicket by clean bowling Jones, who had played the innings of the day making 93 including fourteen fours and one six. Obviously very disappointed by his dismissal so near to a century Jones, like so many young men these days, failed to raise his bat in acknowledgement of the crowd's applause as he returned to the pavilion.
Jones on his way out - sick as a parrot

Guest, the South African wicket keeper, also played a useful innings making 67 before becoming another Wainman victim. Lamb and Lilley, with a quickfire 36 also made handy contributions and Lancashire were no doubt happy with their total of 350 at the end of day one. Wainman was far and away the best bowler with 5-79.

Day two was even warmer and had quite a decent crowd compared to day one when the first team were in action against Surrey at Headingley in the fifty over competition. With some excellent batting by Yorkshire to entertain them, most of the spectators were equally impressed with Lancashire's over rate throughout the day. In the morning session of two and a quarter hours they managed to bowl 42 overs when most county first teams struggle to bowl 32 in that time.

42 overs before lunch - unheard of!

The loneliness of the long distance cricket watcher

During the morning session Yorkshire were well on their way with an opening partnership of 82 between Brook and Tattersall, who was again captaining the side. He had made a tidy 32 before he was caught behind by Guest off Lilley's off spin. Enter Yorkshire's controversial (in some quarters) signing from Worcester Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who had fielded at first slip all day yesterday and possibly only touched the ball once when he got his hands to a hard chance which went down.
Like many before him he marked his first appearance with a duck being caught behind this time off Procter. No doubt he will score runs a plenty before too long.

Kohler-Cadmore faces Lilley (but only briefly).

As so often this season Harry Brook was the hero of the day with his third second XI century in just over two weeks, to add to his three for the Academy and numerous others for Sedbergh School. He must surely have reached one thousand runs in all cricket already this season. Today he was rather more subdued, happy to take the singles as well as the usual number of boundaries and five huge sixes when the spinners Parkinson and Kerrigan were in action.

Brook goes to his century

In the last over before tea with the total on triple 'nelson', 333-4, he made his first slight mistake by just raising his heel as Lilley fired one down the leg side. George Lavelle, a highly thought of youngster who has done very well as batsman wicket keeper with Lancashire under 17s had taken over from Guest at lunchtime. He made a brilliant leg side stumping and Brook, on 161 and well within sight of a double century had to go. His disappointment was clear to see but at least he did
make a slight raising of the bat to acknowledge the standing ovation.

To be fair to Brook he did make a point of raising his bat to the spectators at both ends of the ground when celebrating his century. Before he was out he had been given good support by both Callis and Gibson who each made scores in the twenties. Gibson rather the quicker of the two as usual. When they were both out another man in form Jordan Thompson had joined Brook in a partnership of 128.
Thompson, who captains the Yorkshire Academy side, is a man who does not hit the headlines very often but his recent performances have been invaluable and today he really cashed in.

Thompson starts his innings

After Brook was out Thompson was joined by Josh Shaw, who is returning to Gloucestershire on loan for two months, following his successful spell there last season. The two of them put on another century partnership this time 116 and took the score to 449-6 by which time Thompson had scored 127 off 127 balls with eleven fours and two sixes. A magnificent innings.

On day three Yorkshire batted on and Josh Shaw, who had already scored a century at High Wycombe earlier this season, filled his boots again with 89 and Wainman showed he can bat too with 56 not out before the declaration eventually came on 585-8. Lancashire required 238 to avoid an innings defeat. Again two early wickets for Wainman and again Procter, together with Lamb this time, began to turn things around. Fifties for both of them before Thompson took two quick wickets and at 169-6 Yorkshire were within sight of a famous victory.

However it was not to be as Procter and Lilley batted Lancashire to safety and the match ended in a draw with a final score of 212-6. Procter who batted for over six and quarter hours in the whole match saved the day with 65 not and Lilley was 20 not out at close of play.

Yorkshire Academy go joint top of the league

Posted by Tony Hutton

Saturday 10th June saw yet another windy Weetwood day with a delayed start due to persistent rain for the Yorkshire Academy who were entertaining new visitors in Clifton Alliance promoted to the Yorkshire League North at the end of last season. Their attractive ground is next door, in fact just over the fence, from York cricket club's base at Clifton Park thus leading to one of the closest 'derby' games of all time.
Harry Brook, sporting squad number 88, joins Jared Warner in the ranks of the junior professionals.

The newcomers got off to the worst possible start by loosing four wickets with the total on 19. Aussie opener Jack Beath was the first to go, caught by Shutt off Taylor's bowling and then Ed Barnes came to the party in a big way taking three more wickets all at the same total. Skipper Scott Hopkinson tried to stop the rot and held things together with the top score of 45 and a partnership of sixty with Jamie Butt.

When Hopkinson was finally out, again to Barnes, the score was 100-6 and Clifton Alliance were eventually all out for 126 in the fortieth over when 14 year old number eleven Thomas Brown was unfortunately run out by his partner trying in vain to keep the strike. Ed Barnes who played for England under 19s last season ended with the splendid figures of 6-35 from nine overs.

Ed Barnes clutches the match ball as he leaves the field.

Last man out for Clifton Alliance, Thomas Brown (right) - note the three wise men in the background

With Harry Brook in such good form recently an early Academy victory was anticipated, but they did not have it all their own way. Brook who has been awarded a junior professional contract this week is now the proud possessor of a Yorkshire squad number but today he managed only 37 (a low score for him). Yorkshire were then 71-3 and soon 85-4 so Alliance were still in the game. However skipper Jordan Thompson has also been in splendid batting form of late and clinched the game with another valuable innings of 33 which included five fours. Young Thomas Brown did have an impact on the game dismissing Imtiaz and finishing with respectable figures of 5-0-25-1.

The Academy went joint top of the league with York as Harrogate's game with Hull controversially started late and then was abandoned due to further rain with Hull 83-6