By John Brown
Derbyshire v Yorkshire at Chesterfield on 18 to 21 July: LV=County Championship: Division 2
Derbyshire’s eagerly-awaited championship match with close promotion rivals, Yorkshire, seemed threatened by a poor weather forecast.
Most surprisingly there was virtually a full day’s play on the first day with only one over being lost to the weather. Yorkshire won the toss and chose to bat first on a pitch which proved to be slow with occasional variable bounce.
Tim Groenewald bowled a challenging opening spell during which he took the wickets of both openers. Before Jaques and Bairstow, the latter rested from the England Test team, started to build what seemed a comfortable position for the visitors, but Tony Palladino produced a beauty to bowl Bairstow after this pair had added 51 for the third wicket.
Now Ballance joined his captain, Jaques, and they added a further 81 for the fourth wicket. It was at this point, with Yorkshire on 175 for three, that Mark Turner had a golden spell during which he took three wickets in twelve balls.
Wes Durston had bowled a fine spell of controlled off-spin and he also took two wickets so Yorkshire had lost five wickets for only ten runs. The score now was 185 for eight and, if Patterson had been caught at slip before he had scored, and Steve Harmison, on loan from Durham, had not been dropped from a skyer to mid-wicket, Yorkshire would have been dismissed for less than 200.
As it was they were all out for 219, a much healthier position for Derbyshire than had once seemed likely. The wickets had been shared by three bowlers, Groenewald, Turner and Durston with three apiece.
Derbyshire started promisingly, with Matt Lineker, playing his first first-team game of the season, looking especially fluent through the covers. They were helped on their way by some wayward bowling from Harmison whose first three overs went for 27.
Derbyshire had reached 70 for the loss of only one wicket, but they spoilt a strong position with a series of ill-judged shots.
Quite quickly 70 for one became 105 for seven with three wickets being gifted to the still wayward Harmison in his second spell.
It was left to Richard Johnson, Derbyshire’s stand-in wicket-keeper, on loan from Warwickshire, and Palladino, who struck four fours in one Harmison over to bring Derbyshire a little nearer respectability before the close which came with the score on 135 for seven, still 84 adrift.
Rain fell overnight, making an already soft outfield too wet for any cricket on the second day, and the umpires made an early inspection on the third morning and soon decided that there could be no play on this day either.
After early mist on the fourth morning the sun shone warmly on the ground and the few hundred spectators who were hoping to see some cricket, but once again the umpires decided that there were too many unsafe areas in the outfield and called the game off without any play for three successive days.
So the match was abandoned with each county having gained six points, very frustrating since cricket was being played elsewhere around the country and potential rivals were taking the opportunity to earn more points than the two counties involved in this match.
Yorkshire 219 (56.1 overs) (PA Jaques 61, GS Balance 46, JM Bairstow 27; WJ Durston 3 for 23, TD Groenewald 3 for 38, ML Turner 3 for 53)
Derbyshire 135 for 7 (38 overs) (MS Lineker 33, AP Palladino 21*; SJ Harmison 3 for 49, MA Ashraf 2 for 13)
Match Abandoned as a Draw - Derbyshire (6 points) Yorkshire (6)
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