Lancashire 105 for 0 (Davies 57*) trail Yorkshire 209 (Kohler-Cadmore 105*, Onions 4-76) by 104 runs
About half an hour before the start of this Roses match between relegation candidates, Graham Onions was capped by Lancashire. Two years ago it must have seemed inconceivable to this most skilful of fast-medium bowlers that he would ever wear any county badge on the field but Durham's.
Then came the ECB's great "saving" of that county, an exercise so benevolent and far-sighted that it resulted in many players leaving the Riverside. When offered a one-year deal by Durham last September, Onions opted for the longer contract offered by Lancashire and he marked his fresh honour by taking 4 for 76 as Yorkshire were dismissed for 209 on an afternoon when anxieties at the Kirkstall Lane End deepened like a coastal shelf.
But Onions did not have things all his own way on the opening day of this game. He was denied for long periods and was hit for several fine boundaries by Tom Kohler-Cadmore, another cricketer who is walking the road less travelled. A couple of summers ago Kohler-Cadmore seemed a fixture at Worcestershire, a county which prizes the loyalty of its Academy graduates. However, he had played his junior cricket in Yorkshire and moved back to Headingley midway through last season, a decision for which home supporters had every reason to be grateful when Kohler-Cadmore's cover-drive off Onions took him to his second century in successive innings.
But Yorkshire's recovery was a qualified affair and the next couple of days may establish its inadequacy. The home side's modest total was put into perspective during a 35-over evening session when Alex Davies and Karl Brown put on an unbroken 105 for Lancashire's first wicket. Davies gave a chance to Adam Lyth at second slip when he had made 36 but otherwise he and his partner enjoyed calm seas and gentle, following breezes.
Such conditions were probably particularly welcome to Brown whose batting often reminds one of the style of football played by West Ham United in the mid-1970s; it is attractive but ineffectual. Indeed, a month ago Brown can hardly have envisaged he would be getting this opportunity but faced by a Yorkshire attack which lacked incision he got his head down and was undefeated on 43. Davies was 57 not out and it had been Lancashire's day to a degree which even David from Blackpool, their most optimistic fan, can scarcely have imagined.
But Lancashire's prosperity in a game they surely need to win was built on the excellence of their three seamers. After Onions had plucked out Jeet Raval's off stump in the tenth over of the day Tom Bailey took three wickets with the new ball when the floodlights were on and this Headingley pitch was at its liveliest.
During that first hour or so Yorkshire's batting was marked by vulnerability and doubt. Harry Brook gave up without a fight; his waft outside the off stump was not consonant with the demands of the game. Lyth battled away for an hour but eventually edged a catch to Dane Vilas and departed shaking his head in disappointment at Rob Bailey's decision. Finally, Gary Ballance was leg before to a full length ball he was trying to work on the on side.
Kohler-Cadmore was joined by Jonny Tattersall and the pair repaired the innings with a 105-run stand for the fifth wicket, Tattersall contributing an admirably resolute 33. But the loss of those four early wickets for 33 runs in 16.5 overs was a grievous blow and Yorkshire could not full recover from it. Onions saw to that in the afternoon session by taking three wickets in 13 balls, the most significant of them that of Tattersall, who was leg before wicket when looking to play to leg.
Tim Bresnan and Matthew Waite followed for ducks in scarcely the time a man takes between sips of a pint of Timothy Taylor's Landlord and Yorkshire were 144 for 7. Steve Patterson and Ben Coad then played useful short innings and Kohler-Cadmore reached his fine century off 121 balls during a last wicket stand of 22 with Coad. But Richard Gleeson marked a fine debut after his move from Northamptonshire by bowling his outswingers at an attacking length and if that brought him some punishment it also brought him the last three wickets.
As for Onions, he walked off the Headingley outfield after taking his total of Championship wickets this summer to 55. It has been yet another fine season for him. All the same, he may on just the odd occasion, have looked around him and wondered why he was not bowling at the Finchale End and where Rushy and Colly had disappeared to all of a sudden.