Hampshire 218 and 9 for 0 (Holland 5*, Organ 4*) need 205 runs to beat Yorkshire 159 and 272 ((Tattersall 63, Lyth 59, Abbott 4-77, Abbas 3-37)
The One-Stop Shop on North Marine Road, Tuesday morning, around 7.20am: “Where’s The Yorkshire Post, please?”
“Sorry, the papers aren’t in yet.”
Two minutes later. Someone else: “A Yorkshire Post, please.”
“Sorry, but the papers haven’t arrived yet.
Such customers have White Roses on their sunhats or track-suit tops. They have long known where their loyalties are situated. And there are many more than two of them.
Things hadn’t always been so clear. Yorkshire had conceded a 59-run first-innings lead and for a gloomy hour or so on Tuesday evening and again early in the first session today spectators at Scarborough were seized with the dreadful thought that this game might end in three days. This has happened here before and it’s always left home supporters in something of a quandary. What could they do with their free day? The Clock Café and The Rose Garden? Possibly. The Heritage Railway? Maybe. Hairy Bob’s Skatepark? Surely not.
But almost regardless of the result tomorrow, home spectators will recall and cherish their memories of Lyth and Tattersall putting on 53 for the fourth wicket and then Matthew Waite helping Tattersall add another 78 for the fifth. That trio’s efforts and those of their colleagues were helped, though, by some uncharacteristically sloppy cricket by Hampshire, who put down six chances, five of them in the wicketkeeper and slip cordon. The first drop, and perhaps the most significant, occurred in the second over of the morning, when Joe Weatherley spilled a sharp catch off Abbott when Lyth was only 14.
Five overs later, some of Abbott’s anger was assuaged when he had Tom Kohler-Cadmore caught for 19 via the inside-edge by Ben Brown. And when Ian Holland nipped a ball away from Will Fraine’s bat and into the off stump, Yorkshire were three down and had a lead of just seven.
At which point Lyth and Tattersall got their nuts down and grafted like stink. And as so often at the great grounds, the cricket acquired an intensity that was reciprocal with the concentration of those watching. Two or three overs would pass with barely a murmur from the crowd – except some forthright mockery of Hampshire’s more hopeful leg before appeals. Then a boundary from Lyth would prompt some fond applause and the crowd would settle again, almost in concert with the cricketers. Shortly before lunch the opener reached his fifty off 138 balls; he had been batting for two minutes short of three hours. At lunch Yorkshire were 98 for 3; they had scored 75 runs in 33 overs against an all-seam attack. We wondered when Liam Dawson might be given a spell.
The afternoon session began with errors. In successive overs Tattersall was dropped on 24 by Brown when he edged the ball low to the keeper’s right and Lyth was dropped by James Vince at first slip off Abbott. The opener, who played his club cricket at Scarborough, eventually departed for 59 to a leg-side strangle off James Fuller, but Waite and Tattersall batted with a care the old sweats on the pavilion balcony could only admire. When the players came in for tea, Yorkshire’s lead was 126 and they still had six wickets in hand but the new ball was due on the resumption and that was to make all the difference.
Title-winning sides win cricket matches even when their own performances are unsatisfactory and perhaps it will be so with Hampshire this week. Undaunted by his fielders’ sudden vulnerabilities, Mohammad Abbas bowled Waite through the gate for 47 and then had Tattersall taken by Holland at fourth slip for an accomplished 63. Matthew Revis drove the ball pleasantly but he became one of Abbott’s three victims as the match changed again. The South African thus completed match figures of ten for 113 but may have been in the shower or ice-bath when Holland and Felix Organ dealt with the last three overs of a fine day’s cricket, its richness made all the greater by the promise it offered for the morrow.
Hairy Bob will have to wait.
Paul Edwards is a freelance cricket writer. He has written for the Times, ESPNcricinfo, Wisden, Southport Visiter and other publications