<
>

Yorkshire's Scarborough record makes grim reading

A view across North Marine Road PA Photos

Worcestershire 572 for 7 dec (Moeen 219, Mitchell 178; Poysden 3-128) beat Yorkshire 216 (Williamson 87; Pennington 4-53, Barnard 3-32) and 170 (Williamson 61; Moeen 6-49) by an innings and 186 runs

Before the start of the morning session on the final day of this game a father was walking round the boundary with his son. They were watching the Yorkshire squad warming up.

"Dad, why are they playing football?" asked the lad.

"Because they can't play cricket," came the reply.

Yes, they are stern critics in these parts and a defeat such as this does not warrant the taking of prisoners.

Worcestershire needed only 61 balls to become just the second side to beat Yorkshire by an innings at Scarborough. Moeen Ali continued to enjoy the turn offered by the North Marine Road pitch and removed David Willey and Matt Fisher with the 21st and 24th balls of the day. Dillon Pennington then trimmed Jack Brooks' off bail even before the batsman could dole out some of his famous humpty and the game ended when Daryl Mitchell snaffled Josh Poysden at second slip, also off Pennington.

The combination was apposite. Mitchell is a talismanic figure at New Road, revered by his team mates, when they are not ribbing him outrageously, and loved by the spectators. Pennington is a young cricketer of immense promise. His duel with Kane Williamson on the third evening is burned beautifully into the memory.

Before long other records were tumbling out like surprise Christmas presents from a sack. For example, Yorkshire have now lost five of their last six championship games at Scarborough. On a happier note, Moeen, who bestrode this game with courteous majesty, is only the second Worcestershire cricketer - after Ted Arnold in 1909 - to score a double hundred and take five wickets in an innings. He finished with match figures of 8 for 89 and, rather remarkably, 1312 spectators watched him bowling on this final morning.

But professionals are choosy about statistics. What matters to them is the standard of a performance and where it leaves them in a table. So let it be said clearly that Worcestershire's cricket in this match has been of a very high quality and their superiority cannot be explained by Yorkshire's inadequacies. Ed Barnard's bowling on the first day, Mitchell and Fell's batting later that evening and Josh Tongue's spell late on the third day all suggested that Ali's team are far from relegation favourites. This win takes leaves them five points behind Yorkshire and they play Lancashire at Southport next Wednesday. It is game on.

As for Yorkshire, they must take some lessons from their opponents. There were times in this game when Willey's side were abject and his players out of gas. That is to Worcestershire's credit, of course, but it also something which the coach, Andrew Gale, must address very quickly. It is no good mewling about injuries or absentees. The championship summers are already a distant memory. Division Two beckons if both the batsmen's techniques and the bowlers' lines are not tightened up. But in September it often comes down to how much a team wants it.

Worcestershire clearly wanted victory very much this week. Their head coach, Kevin Sharp was fairly bursting with pride as he spoke of his delight at returning to the county where he spent 25 years and showing the folk up here how four-day cricket should be played. "We came here to do a job and I'd say we've done it very well," he said. "We've looked a very high-class team over these four days."

So they did. The journey home before Saturday's T20 quarter-final should be a pleasant affair. And though one doubts they knew it, Worcestershire's cricketers and their supporters were only the latest group of travellers to arrive on this coast hoping to profit from their visit. In the middle-ages Scarborough hosted a 45-day fair at which luxuries such as spices or fur were sought. By the early 18th century the town's fame as a spa made it a resort of choice for fashionable Londoners and Sheridan set his play A Trip to Scarborough here.

But rather than follow the intrigues of Lord Foppington and Sir Tunbelly Clumsy, supporters from Bromsgrove or Evesham have been lauding the young buck, Pennington, or the faithful servant, Mitchell. They have watched in delight - maybe a little disbelief - over the last four days and when the game was done they listened to one of the country's best victory songs belting out from the away dressing room. Then they applauded the song and put the moment away until it is needed on drear January evenings.

County Championship Division One News

Yorkshire 3rd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st37A LythHC Brook
2nd3KS WilliamsonHC Brook
3rd52GS BallanceKS Williamson
4th24KS WilliamsonT Kohler-Cadmore
5th20KS WilliamsonJA Tattersall
6th2TT BresnanJA Tattersall
7th11DJ WilleyJA Tattersall
8th0JA TattersallMD Fisher
9th15JA BrooksJA Tattersall
10th6JE PoysdenJA Tattersall