Yorkshire CC: Relentless Yorkshire strengthen title claims

BREAKTHROUGH: Yorkshire CC's Tim Bresnan.
BREAKTHROUGH: Yorkshire CC's Tim Bresnan.
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A FIGHTING century from Luke Wright was not enough to stop LV= County Championship leaders Yorkshire from gaining a nine wicket victory over Sussex at Scarborough.

Wright’s 113 guided the visitors to 230 which left Yorkshire to make 106 off 39 overs and they got there with 18.5 overs in hand.

The maximum 24 points that Yorkshire took out of the game gave them a six point lead over nearest rivals Nottinghamshire – one point more than before the match began.

The target was not large enough to pose any undue problems for Adam Lyth and Alex Lees as they set about their task and with Lees leading the way the openers had 50 up by the 12th over.

Lyth hoisted James Tredwell for a straight six, surprisingly only the second of the match, before both batsmen cleared the rope again against the off-spinner.

But in attempting one big hit too many, Lees smeared Matthew Hobden to Lewis Hatchett with the total on 88 and departed for 46 from 50 balls with four fours and a six.

Kane Williamson made sure the momentum was maintained with three consecutive boundaries off Hobden and at the close Lyth had made 39 and Williamson 15.

A wet ground from earlier showers caused a 20-minute delay to the start of the final day which saw Sussex resume on 98 for four and trailing by 25.

Wright was on 56 and Piolet 10 and Yorkshire’s hopes of wrapping things up early on were soon dealt a setback as Piolet was dropped by Adil Rashid at fourth slip off Jack Brooks.

There was nothing shaky about Wright, however, and he took two boundaries through the off-side in one over from Ryan Sidebottom although he would have been run out if Sidebottom, fielding at wide mid-on, had hit the stumps with a direct hit at the bowler’s end after Wright had been sent back.

Sussex soon moved out of the red and Tim Bresnan returned for a fresh spell to be cut and cover driven for boundaries in his first over by the unstoppable Wright.

A pulled four by Piolet at Brooks’ expense took the burgeoning stand into three figures in 28 overs while Wright worked his way steadily through the 90s and reached his century from 115 balls by driving Rashid for his 16th boundary.

Piolet moved beyond his previous best Championship score of 30 but five minutes before lunch, just when it appeared as if Yorkshire were going to have to endure a wicketless session, Steven Patterson had him caught low down at third slip by Williamson for 32, the stand being worth 127.

The score was still on 175 soon after the interval when Patterson struck again by pinning Ben Brown lbw with a full delivery but the most important wicket from Yorkshire’s perspective was claimed by Bresnan who dismissed Wright lbw for a sparkling 113 from 155 balls with 17 fours.

Yorkshire were able to breathe more easily at last and after Tredwell top-edged a pull at Bresnan to Sidebottom the end came quickly as Rashid got rid of Hatchett and Magoffin in consecutive overs. The leg-spinner emerged with the best figures of three for 32 but Patterson was the pick of the attack.

An unbeaten century from in-form Alex Hales enabled Nottinghamshire to maintain their challenge for the title with a five-wicket success over Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

A mighty six from Hales took him to 102 not out and lifted Notts to their victory target of 211 with more than a session to spare on the final day.

The 25-year-old Hales, who also struck 16 fours as well as that maximum off Andrew Hall, had shared in a stand of 122 with James Taylor (37) to take the match away from the home side. His only life came on 89, with the finishing line in sight, as Hall put him down at slip off Neil Wagner.

Hales said: “I’m absolutely delighted to get us over the line like that.

“That’s such an important victory in our season.”

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