Yorkshire 232 (Tattersall 92, Wood 5-67) and 338 (Lyth 81, Fletcher 5-67) beat Yorkshire 184 (Olivier 4-60) and 243 (Duckett 75, Patterson-White 58*, Maharaj 6-95) by 143 runs
As though in riposte to the bizarre events at Canterbury on Tuesday, Yorkshire’s cricketers completed their fifth victory of the season in resolutely unflashy style on Wednesday afternoon. Steve Patterson and his bowlers patiently worked their way through Nottinghamshire’s lower order and collected 21 points for their efforts just after two o’clock when Jake Ball pushed forward to Keshav Maharaj and the ball looped almost apologetically into the hands of Adam Lyth at slip. The win leaves Yorkshire 37 points behind Essex with three games to play but they have done all they can this week and are still just about in touch.
What may be significant for Yorkshire’s hopes is that they will have Maharaj in their side for their next game at Taunton in September. The South African slow left-armer completed a return of 6 for 95 on this last day at Scarborough and collected 11 for 102 on his previous visit to Somerset last season when he was wearing Lancashire’s colours and the game was tied. If there is anything in the pitch at the County Ground, he will find it. Essex are not home yet.
Nottinghamshire, on the other hand, can probably ring the undertakers and choose their hymns. They almost certainly need to win their last three games of a season in which they have not yet won one. Ben Duckett’s 75 and Liam Patterson-White’s 58 not out did no more for the outcome of this game than lend it honour. However, Duckett’s innings may do something for his confidence and Patterson-White’s maiden first-class fifty was further confirmation that here is a proper all-rounder whose emergence has been one of the brightest features of dark times at Trent Bridge. One is not taken aback to hear rumours Samit Patel has been talking to other counties.
But so much for consequences and, as Book IV of the Aeneid reminds us, so much for rumour. Some of the thousand and more spectators who turned up at North Marine Road this lovely morning did so to follow their team; others were neutrals for whom the County Championship is part of their summer. All of them took their leave of a cherished festival.
And so there was a gentleness about the cricket, a fondness one often finds on the final day of outground games. There are still important matches to be played at Scarborough this summer but this was farewell to the cricket upon which the reputation of this famous field rests. The players strove as nobly as ever, Duckett flourishing his way past fifty for only the third time in the season. Then, after cutting and sweeping his way to 75, he pushed hesitantly forward to Duanne Olivier and the ball looped off the thickest of edges to Will Fraine at point. Four overs later Tom Moores was gone too, also caught by Fraine, although this time at short leg off Maharaj.
Paul Coughlin joined Patterson-White and the pair batted for half an hour in relative comfort. Not for the last time this season one thought how beautiful all this was, how intricate the patterns within which the game is played. Then a short ball from Olivier hit Coughlin on the helmet and one was reminded that blood and danger are also part of cricket’s rich mixture. A few overs later, Coughlin tried to take his bat away from one of Tim Bresnan’s deliveries but only edged a catch to Lyth at second slip. Luke Wood was immediately befuddled and bowled by a sharply turning delivery from Maharaj and we thought the sprinkler would be on the square by lunchtime.
Yet Luke Fletcher defended stoutly and the game lingered into the second over of the afternoon session. Then Nottinghamshire’s most favoured son was leg before and Ball’s innings could only have been shorter if he had been timed out. The players signed autographs and offered their views to the media. Within an hour North Marine Road was deserted, apart, that is, from the ubiquitous gulls and the shades of other glories.