On an increasingly pleasant and sunny afternoon a good sized crowd assembled at Harrogate yesterday to see Yorkshire Women keep up their 100% record in this season's county championship. The cognoscenti felt that the Red Roses were likely to prove sterner opposition than had Middlesex and Berkshire two weeks ago and added spice was given to the fixture by the availability of the England players.
Yorkshire won the toss and chose to bat and within a short time found themselves two down. Skipper Jessica Watson was lbw in the first over, looking plumb to David Thorpe and me from a good vantage point and with the score on twelve, Rebecca Newark was victim of a bad call from Anna Nicholls and was run out. 'These things happen' was Rebecca's response showing the same phlegmatic attitude that underlies her batting. Nicholls redeemed herself by playing a long innings and by the time she too was run out for 50 the score had gone on to 127 for 5 with runs coming at the other end from Lauren Winfield and Katherine Brunt. Speculation at this point as to Yorkshire's likely final total erred on the side of caution and took insufficient account of the power of Brunt who went on to make 93, including seven fours and two sixes. She was well supported by Danni Hazell who had made an undefeated 50 when the innings closed at 250 for 6. The demeanour of the Lancashire team as they left the field suggested that they felt that this would be too much for them to chase.
Lancashire started as badly as Yorkshire as five for 1 became 9 for 2. Evelyn Jones, signed from Staffordshire for the 2017 campaign and part of the England Academy set up was run out and fellow opener Emma Lamb fell to Brunt whose seven overs went for only seven runs. A partial recovery was effected by New Zealander Amy Satterthwaite and Natalie Brown but the introduction of leg spinner Katie Lewick accounted for Brown, the first of six scalps for the 25 year old from Sheffield. Yorkshire's bowlers were supported by good fielding with four outfield catches held, probably the best of which was the one by Beth Langston in the deep to get rid of Satterthwaite for 55. This was certainly the end of the Lord Mayor's Show as Levick ran through the tail, 123 for 5 soon becoming 128 all out. Last to go was Shaci Pai, as plumb a lbw as one is likely to see and giving Hazell her only wicket.
This morning's table shows Yorkshire just one point behind leaders Warwickshire. Next up for the white rose county is a southern tour in two weeks time when on successive days they play Sussex at Eastbourne and Kent at Canterbury. For championship action they do not return to St George's Road until August 27th when Warwickshire will be the visitors for a match which may prove the title decider.
Victorious Yorkshire leave the field.
Throughout the afternoon smart phones kept us in touch with matches in the Royal London Cup at Edgabston, Warwickshire v Yorkshire and New Road, Worcestershire v Durham. Victory for the two home sides means Worcestershire go top of the Northern Group and with the incentive of a straight passage to the semi finals and a home tie therein means there is still life in the final round of matches tomorrow. Yorkshire are at home to Leicestershire, Worcestershire travel to Derby, Durham face Lancashire and Northants play Notts. In the south only Somerset, who lost to Essex yesterday can now deprive the Seaaxe bearers of top spot but Essex's run rate is superior. Surrey and Sussex still contest third spot. The team finishing third in each of the regional groups will travel to the second placed team in the opposite group in the playoffs. In other words as things stand Yorkshire would entertain Surrey and Notts visit Somerset but of course that could all be different by ten o'clock tomorrow night.