Yorkshire CCC: Class of Harry Brook allows Yorkshire to establish control against Gloucestershire in Bristol

TUCKED away in the backstreets of Bristol, amid a maze of dense and eclectic housing, lies the home of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club.

By Chris Waters
Friday, 15th April 2022, 8:13 pm
Yorkshire's Harry Brook plays through the leg side on his way to a century against Gloucestershire at Bristol Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images
Yorkshire's Harry Brook plays through the leg side on his way to a century against Gloucestershire at Bristol Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images

It is the sort of place that you can only access via car along streets in which you often need to wait ages for vehicles coming in the opposite direction to pass you first, so nose-to-tail are residents’ cars and passing gaps infrequent.

If you walk to the ground instead, you constantly have to check for cars coming at you from all directions from side streets which are not only prevalent but which criss-cross at strange angles, throwing up a number of blind spots for pedestrians.

Look left, look right, look left, look right, and then take your chance – quick!

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Yorkshire's Harry Duke played a vital supporting role alongside centurion Harry Brook against Gloucestershire on day two in Bristol Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Small wonder that the football ground in the distance is called ‘Memorial’ Stadium, home of Bristol Rovers FC.

A fair few took their chance yesterday and were rewarded with some unseasonably fine weather and interesting cricket for their trouble.

Having started day two on 37-0 in reply to Gloucestershire’s first innings 227, Yorkshire advanced to 334-8 to take control of this opening game.

As the strains of Bristol Rovers versus Salford City drifted on the wind, a Good Friday League Two game of limited quality to judge by the intermittent noise levels, Yorkshire wore down workmanlike opponents with solid, sensible, four-day batting.

WATCHFUL EYE: Yorkshire Interim Managing Director of Cricket Darren Gough (r) and head coach Ottis Gibson (left) watch the players warm up ahead of day two against Gloucestershire in Bristol Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images

The two Harrys were the heroes, Messrs Brook and Duke, who shared a fifth-wicket stand of 91 in 29 overs from a position of 135-4 just after lunch when it was still anyone’s to gain a first innings lead, Brook top-scoring with 101 and Duke contributing 34.

Brook’s hundred, his fifth for Yorkshire in the County Championship, will inevitably lead to further talk of him as a Test candidate as that side embarks on a new era, but the man himself remains level-headed.

“I’m not trying to think about that at all,” he said. “I’m just trying to score as many runs as I can for Yorkshire and see how far I can get.

“It was really nice to get the ball rolling first game (on a personal level). I thought we bowled very well yesterday, and then to back it up with the bat was really good today. Dukey batted lovely. He always looks good. He played very well and he showed his intent. He’s very positive and did a good job.”

Yorkshire knew that a good day’s batting would leave them well positioned, but beneath sunny skies and as the temperature climbed towards the low 20s, they lost two wickets inside the first seven overs.

George Hill fenced at a rising ball outside the off stump from Ajeet Singh Dale and was caught behind, having failed to add to his overnight three.

James Wharton then left a good one from Ryan Higgins that nipped back just enough to bowl him, the death rattle ending the 21-year-old’s maiden first-class innings on four.

Dawid Malan injected punch and panache in the lead up to lunch, playing handsomely through the offside, as did Adam Lyth.

They added 67 in 18 overs then Lyth fell just before the break– and just after reaching a 125-ball half-century, caught by Miles Hammond, diving full-length to his left at slip, after Lyth tried to stroke Ben Charlesworth through the covers.

Brook had 10 at lunch and lost Malan in the second over after it, the left-hander chopping on as he tried to chop down defensively at Dale.

At this key stage, Brook and Duke stood firm, the former going to his half-century from 54 balls with seven fours, a typically classy, versatile effort. Yorkshire had moved to within one run of Gloucestershire’s score when Duke was fifth out, caught behind as he tried to force the left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar off the back foot. He faced 92 balls and hit five fours, resisting for almost two hours.

After tea, Dom Bess crept almost unnoticed to 36, so composed and unflustered was he in support of Brook, before a sudden rush of blood saw him edge behind a drive at a full-length ball from Josh Shaw.

It broke a stand of 71 in 23 overs with Brook, who should have fallen in the next over for 99 only for Tom Lace to drop the chance at second slip away to his left off Charlesworth.

It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t difficult either, Brook going to three figures later in the over when he cut his 161st-ball faced for his 12th boundary. The end, however, was not long coming. In Shaw’s next over, Brook chopped on, Matty Fisher following caught behind, with Jordan Thompson still there on 31.