Andrew Gale: Lord’s showdown is looming and we’re really beginning to hit our straps

Yorkshire's Adam Lyth hits a boundary during his innings against Kent in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Yorkshire's Adam Lyth hits a boundary during his innings against Kent in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

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AT this moment in time, the County Championship title race looks like going right down to the wire.

From the outside, you cannot help but look at the last game of the season versus Middlesex at Lord’s, although there is still a lot of cricket to be played up until then and Middlesex got over the line in good fashion this week and are playing some good cricket.

When you get to this stage of the season, you talk about holding your nerve and we have been there before.

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For us, Leesy is coming into some form and Lythy is and me now as well and, hopefully, we can use that to really start hitting our straps.

I was happy to contribute with 83 in the Roses game at Old Trafford. I wanted three figures and was desperate to get there, but I did occupy the crease for a long period of time and in the context of the game, it was an important knock and I was pleased to get runs.

Coming to the business end of the season, I had said before that we can get our players in form, then it sets us up nicely.

I was pleased to contribute. In the context of the game, there was a lot of rubbish flying around on the field and it was nice to shut up a few of their lads.

We needed 219 from 30 overs at tea on the last day, but decided that the target was just too much and shook hands on the draw.

You have to trust the batsmen out there, I guess, and their decision and the pitch was deteriorating.

There was quite a lot of spin and with our left-handers in the top-order, it was probably a bridge too far. And I think that it was a good statement with us being none down as well.

The last thing we wanted to do was be holding out for a draw, seven or eight wickets down or something like that and it was a decent statement from us, even though we didn’t play our best cricket at times. We came out with our heads held high.

If we had been chasing 150 or 160 going into that last 18 to 20 overs, then it would have given us a good chance. We just felt it was too many to chase.

I don’t think that Lancashire would have gone for it either, to be honest.

Overall, it was a solid draw, although I was a bit disappointed with the way we bowled on the morning of day two as I thought we were exceptional on day one and held our lines and lengths and were patient.

All that hard work was undone by poor bowling on the second morning and it really put us behind the eight-ball.

But the encouraging thing is we got past the follow-on and got back into the game.

Azeem Rafiq, Jack Leaning and David Willey all got their Yorkshire caps before the game and it was a fantastic moment.

The best part of my job is to give caps out like that and see what it means to the lads.

In particular, you could see it for the two lads who have come right through the age groups. To eventually get a Yorkshire cap; you could see the emotion in their faces when they received them.

It was good for David, too. He is starting to win games for us now in the short-ball format, although he probably has not played as many red-ball games as he would have liked and has had a few injury niggles and going into that Old Trafford game, he had a hamstring injury.

But he is starting to win games of cricket and that is why we signed him; for us to be in the hunt – in the white-ball Twenty20 and 50-over competition.

It’s finals day today in the T20 and I am looking forward to it and am going down there and will be in and around the squad.

It is a big day for the club and we want to keep our name in the hat for all three formats and trophies.

Obviously, I would have been liked to have been a part of the white-ball stuff. But when you look down the team sheet when all the international players come back, it is a bloody tough side to get into!

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