Recent Match Report – Yorkshire vs Northants Group 3 2021

Recent Match Report - Yorkshire vs Northants Group 3 2021

Northamptonshire 36 for 0 trail Yorkshire 206 (Bess 56, Parnell 5-64) by 170 runs

In the week that Citizen Kane was said to have been ousted by Paddington 2 as the best film of all time, it was fitting to reflect that some people think Headingley has gone the same way. Overbearing and malevolent for much of its history, it is now held to be sweet-natured and adorable, spreading joy and marmalade wherever it goes.

Well, just as reports that Paddington 2 was now Rotten Tomatoes’ No 1 film proved on further examination to be a little dubious, so the suggestion that Headingley is always awash with kindness was entirely lost on Yorkshire as they were brusquely turfed out for 206 by a Northamptonshire attack relishing their first Championship visit since 2014.

Not that conditions were all that challenging. Leaden skies, and a couple of rain stoppages encouraged the decision to insert Yorkshire, but there was a good balance between bat and ball, leaving Headingley nicely placed between egomaniac newspaper baron and tiresomely cute bear.

Yorkshire lie second to Lancashire in Group 3 and they are understandably regarded as one of the favourites for the Championship, but their top six remains flaky and they did not acquit themselves particularly well. Northants were then blessed by a sunnier evening as Ricardo Vasconcelos and Ben Curran scooted to 36 without loss in 11 overs to set up an enticing second day.

If the weather remains crabby, Yorkshire are probably not too far off the pace, but it is interesting to note that the batsman to make the most serious attempt to meet the challenge was Dom Bess, their newest acquisition, born in Exeter, schooled at Blundells, developed at Somerset. Yorkshire are having to import mental toughness these days – Dawid Malan, away at the IPL, being another example – and Bess’ 56 from 95 balls, compiled over more than two-and-a-half hours, was impressive in its responsibility.

This was Bess’ first half-century of the season – and only the seventh of his first-class career – but it was perhaps the strongest indication yet that Yorkshire’s commitment to batting him at No. 7 can bear fruit. The hope will be that he can balance up the side in the way that the departed Tim Bresnan did, restoring order and common sense.

Compact and judicious, he did just that. He was fortunate, on 29, that an edge against Tom Taylor reached the slips on the half-volley – had that been taken Yorkshire would have been even more in the mire at 80 for 6 – but he put away the bad ball, defended with soft hands, and his dismissal only came when he sensed he was running out of partners, as he pulled Gareth Berg to midwicket to become the ninth batsman to fall.

Berg, 40 now, is in danger of becoming an unsung version of Kent’s Darren Stevens, county cricket’s symbol of longevity. He also provides order – to Northants’ bowling – and he finished with commendable figures of 3 for 32 in 13 overs, also striking Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s off-stump and having Will Fraine lbw.

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