‘There’s plenty of fight in the team,’ says Moxon as York­shire face rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS WA­TERS

MAR­TYN MOXON said that there were en­cour­ag­ing signs in de­feat as York­shire were beaten by ti­tlechas­ing Som­er­set.

The county’s di­rec­tor of cricket ad­mit­ted that Som­er­set fully de­served their 224-run win at Emer­ald Head­in­g­ley but he was pleased with the fight and char­ac­ter shown by the play­ers, with York­shire one of six clubs who could yet go down.

Af­ter York­shire slipped to sec­ond-bot­tom of the First Divi­sion ta­ble and into the fi­nal rel­e­ga­tion po­si­tion, one point be­hind third-bot­tom Hamp­shire and seven ahead of bot­tom club Worces­ter­shire, Moxon said: “We can’t fault the ef­fort.

“We fought re­ally hard again but, un­for­tu­nately, we let pe­ri­ods of po­ten­tial dom­i­nance slip and you can’t af­ford to do that.

“We know that to win four-day games we’ve got to play well for long pe­ri­ods, and we played well for pe­ri­ods but not long enough.

“We weren’t able to main­tain the pres­sure af­ter some good pe­ri­ods with bat and ball, and Som­er­set ul­ti­mately played bet­ter than us.

“But we can see that there’s plenty of fight in the team.

“We gave it ev­ery­thing we could to try and save the game on the last day and took it deep into the fi­nal ses­sion.

“The ef­fort, the spirit within the group, is fine. It’s just that we need to play bet­ter for longer, that’s the bot­tom line.”

Go­ing into the fi­nal four rounds of the sea­son, three­quar­ters of the eight clubs in the divi­sion are look­ing over their shoul­ders.

Apart from lead­ers Sur­rey and sec­ond-placed Som­er­set, the next six clubs – (in descend­ing or­der) Es­sex, Notts, Lan­cashire, Hamp­shire, York­shire and Worces­ter­shire – can­not rest easy.

“No­body’s safe from third­place down,” said Moxon.

“There’s four games left and still ev­ery­thing to play for.

“The good thing is that it’s in our hands and that there were some pos­i­tives (in this match).

“We’ve just got to keep plug­ging away.”

York­shire re­turn to ac­tion to­mor­row when they face Not­ting­hamshire at Trent Bridge, where New Zealand bats­man Jeet Raval will make his White Rose de­but and, po­ten­tially, so will South African pace bowler Mat Pil­lans.

Fel­low pace bowler Matt Fisher is side­lined af­ter bat­tling bravely with bat and ball against Som­er­set fol­low­ing the re­cur­rence of a toe in­jury, while Tim Bres­nan is due to re­turn to the squad.

Club cap­tain Steve Pat­ter­son will travel to Not­ting­ham to in­crease his work­load with a view to a po­ten­tial re­turn in the Roses match at Head­in­g­ley the fol­low­ing week.

Pat­ter­son suf­fered a bro­ken fin­ger in the Roses T20 en­counter at Head­in­g­ley early last month.

York­shire will as­sess wick­et­keeper Jonny Tat­ter­sall, who missed the Som­er­set game with a back spasm, while pace bowler Ben Coad (side strain) is due to play for the sec­onds.

FOR a long time at Head­in­g­ley on Satur­day it was a case of Kane de­fy­ing Abell as Kane Wil­liamson sought to steer York­shire to a draw against Tom Abell’s Som­er­set.

The New Zealand cap­tain bat­ted through the en­tire morn­ing ses­sion but, af­ter fall­ing to the fifth de­liv­ery af­ter lunch, the in­nings sub­sided, York­shire col­laps­ing to a 224-run de­feat that left them sec­ond-bot­tom of the First Divi­sion.

It was all go­ing so well for the hosts when Wil­liamson and Josh Shaw, the 23-year-old night­watch­man, were in the throes of a third-wicket part­ner­ship of 90.

They had come to­gether just be­fore stumps on the third evening with York­shire 4-2 in pur­suit of a no­tional 419, and they were not sep­a­rated un­til 10 min­utes be­fore lunch on day four, Shaw trapped lbw for a ca­reerbest 42 af­ter play­ing around a de­liv­ery from Lewis Gre­gory that York­shire felt was miss­ing leg stump.

For as long as Wil­liamson re­mained, York­shire had a chance – not of hunt­ing down what would have been the high­est chase in their his­tory, but of re­pelling a Som­er­set side who needed a win to keep the pres­sure on lead­ers Sur­rey, whom they now trail by 32 points and host at Taun­ton in their penul­ti­mate match.

But two balls af­ter reach­ing his half-cen­tury with a four through mid-wicket off Craig Over­ton, Wil­liamson tried to ride ex­tra bounce off the same bowler and was caught be­hind down the leg­side for 51, his last in­nings for the county this sea­son end­ing in dis­ap­point­ment.

In Over­ton’s next over, Tom Kohler-Cad­more was lbw as he tried to drive down the ground and, in the next over, Gary Bal­lance was bowled by Over­ton’s twin brother, Jamie.

Bal­lance lost his off bail as he pushed for­ward de­fen­sively, his dis­missal leav­ing York­shire 103-6 af­ter they had been 94-2 prior to Shaw’s de­par­ture.

From then on, it seemed only a mat­ter of time.

Jack Lean­ing was sev­enth out at 124 when Jamie Over­ton bowled him with one that kept low.

An­drew Hodd, dropped on 23 by Mar­cus Trescoth­ick at sec­ond slip as he dived to his left off Josh Davey, added one more run be­fore be­ing cleaned up by Gre­gory as he tried to hit a full-length ball through mid-wicket.

When Jamie Over­ton had Matt Fisher and Jack Brooks caught in the slips af­ter tea, Fisher and David Wil­ley (34 not out) hav­ing re­sisted in a ninth-wicket stand of 45 in­side 19 overs, all the morn­ing op­ti­mism that a res­cue act could yet take place had dis­ap­peared.

In warm con­di­tions for the first day of September, with the score­board stand­ing at 8-2, York­shire had al­ways faced an up­hill task.

But Wil­liamson and Shaw played with sangfroid in the first ses­sion, Shaw lead­ing the way with a flurry of hand­some early bound­aries, in­clud­ing a brace of leg-side shots off Davey and one through the cov­ers of Gre­gory.

To Som­er­set, Shaw must have seemed as ir­ri­tat­ing as a fly as they strug­gled to fin­ish him off, the pace bowler stub­bornly re­sist­ing all ef­forts at cap­ture.

In­deed, for a man with a high­est first-class score of 29 go­ing into the game, Shaw made it look as though that was some sort of mis­print, as if the “2” should have been a “3” or per­haps even a “4”.

So com­fort­ably and com­pe­tently did Shaw and Wil­liamson play, with Wil­liamson twice loft­ing Jack Leach for a straight six into the sightscreen at the rugby ground end, Som­er­set grew vis­i­bly and in­creas­ingly ex­as­per­ated.

Slowly but surely, their body lan­guage be­came that lit­tle bit more laboured, their cries of en­cour­age­ment to one an­other in­creas­ingly for­lorn and for­mu­laic.

Even­tu­ally, it sounded like en­cour­age­ment for the sake of it as op­posed to a vis­ceral re­sponse to a par­tic­u­larly good de­liv­ery or a close shave, and it was a pity for Shaw and his side that he could not quite get through to lunch and also claim the maiden half-cen­tury that he would have de­served.

Wil­liamson, who reached 10,000 first-class runs dur­ing the course of his in­nings, is an ideal man for a chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion and he bat­ted with what the coaches term “pos­i­tive in­tent”.

For the most part, he de­fended with soft hands from a com­pact base but all the while he had an eye on a pow­er­ful drive or a scam­pered sin­gle; in­deed, both Wil­liamson and Shaw seemed to make a con­scious ef­fort to knock Leach off his stride, forc­ing Abell to with­draw his left-arm spin­ner af­ter seven wick­et­less overs for 33 runs.

Ul­ti­mately, as the rest of the bat­ting was grad­u­ally swept up, it was a game in which Som­er­set’s su­pe­rior class told.

There was no lack of fight from the hosts, who re­sponded well in that re­spect to their in­nings de­feat against Worces­ter­shire at Scar­bor­ough, but there are no points awarded, sadly, for the min­i­mum pre­req­ui­sites of sweat and en­deav­our.

PIC­TURE:ADAM DAVY/PA.

Alas­tair Cook takes the catch at short leg to dis­miss In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli, the wicket Eng­land most cov­eted on day four at Southamp­ton as they clinched a 60-run win to lead the five-match se­ries 3-1

PIC­TURE: JOHN CLIFTON/SW­PIX

The New Zealan­der reached 10,000 first-class runs dur­ing his fi­nal in­nings of the sum­mer for York­shire, whose de­feat against ti­tle-chasers Som­er­set at Head­in­g­ley has left them fight­ing for sur­vival in Divi­sion One of the County Cham­pi­onship.

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