Yorkshire CCC draw on Headingley fighting spirit to secure dramatic one-run win over Northamptonshire

FIFTY MINUTES is a long time to stew over a scenario in which one side needs one wicket to win and the other 14 runs to prevail after four days of fluctuating drama.

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 6:35 am
Yorkshire's Steven Patterson celebrates victory by one run over Northamptonshire. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

But that was the situation at Headingley when rain descended at 2.40pm.

As interruptions go, it was the cricketing equivalent of the doorbell ringing during the closing stages of the act of coitus.

Lots of “oh, bloody hell” after an increasing build-up of oohs and aahs as the entertainment reached a crescendo.

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Yorkshire's Jonathan Tattersall, left, & Tom Kohler-Cadmore look on as Adam Lyth takes a catch to dismiss Northamptonshire's Saif Zaib. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

When the meteorological visitor had taken his leave, with the ground once more bathed in sunshine, the climax to this extraordinary fixture unfolded like this...

Ben Sanderson, the Northants No 11 and a former Yorkshire pace bowler, cover-drove the second ball after the restart to the cover boundary off Duanne Olivier as the South African pace man completed an over delayed immediately after he had dismissed the No 10 Simon Kerrigan with the aid of a slip catch by Adam Lyth.

Ten to win...

Wayne Parnell, the South African all-rounder who had 27 to his name, and on whose shoulders rested the visitors’ hopes, then clipped the Yorkshire captain Steve Patterson to long-leg for a single.

Yorkshire's Jonathan Tattersall takes a catch to dismiss Northamptonshire's Luke Proctor from the bowling of David Willey. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Nine wanted...

Parnell then slashed Oliver to the third-man boundary and followed up with a push out to point where a misfield by Dom Bess allowed a single.

Four required...

Parnell took a single to deep cover off Patterson, which was followed by a bye, which brought Parnell back on strike.

Yorkshire's Adam Lyth celebrates as Yorkshire claim a one-run victory over Northamptonshire. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Two needed...

From the next ball, Patterson, bowling from the Emerald Stand end, his 37-year-old bones giving it their all, found the outside edge and wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall did the rest, sparking jubilant scenes among the Yorkshire players.

Sanderson held his bat around his head at the non-striker’s end and then went down on his haunches before hands were shaken and the players trooped off.

In some ways, it was Headingley 2019 in reverse in that the left-handed all-rounder (Parnell) did not quite manage to mastermind a one-wicket win in front of stands that were not packed with ecstatic spectators but entirely deserted for reasons that do not require explanation.

And it was the team defending the target (Yorkshire) that came out on top as opposed to the Australian side beaten by Ben Stokes with just a little help from Jack Leach.

It was only the third time, in fact, that Yorkshire have won a first-class match by one run, the others coming against Middlesex at Bradford in 1976 and against Loughborough UCCE at Headingley in 2007.

Such days are not good for the heart, but they are good for the soul.

It was not, in truth, a classic game per se; there were too many errors by both sides for that.

Yorkshire batted poorly once again in their first innings of 206 – that is three times now in the opening four games – and Northants let them off the hook by batting poorly themselves to establish a lead of just 28.

In both cases, it was the middle/lower-orders that did the bulk of the scoring, a theme that continued in Yorkshire’s second innings.

At one point, the hosts were 86-6, just 58 ahead, before a rescue act took them to 247 and set a target of 220.

Northants were struggling at 146-7 but rallied themselves led by Parnell, who took 10 wickets in the match and did not deserve to finish on the losing side.

However, if the Championship title was awarded for powers of recovery, for character and determination and for fighting spirit, then there would seem little point in continuing with the season.

It should really be stopped now and Yorkshire crowned champions after just four games.

For they have shown such attributes in abundance en route to three wins already, despite having come nowhere near to reaching their best form, and this was simply the latest exhibit. Northants were 94-4, needing another 126, when play began on an overcast day four.

David Willey, who had a fine match against his former club, and has looked the part increasingly as a red-ball player, had Luke Procter caught behind with the score on 115, and he should have had Tom Taylor caught low down at first slip by Tom Kohler-Cadmore with the total on 131 only for the umpires to inexplicably fail to uphold a perfectly clean catch.

Feelings were running high in the Yorkshire camp, and Willey was not shy to have a word with Taylor when he was trapped lbw by Patterson in the next over without adding to his tally.

Olivier had Saif Zaib caught at first slip by Kohler-Cadmore, and although Yorkshire dropped a couple of catches, they were generally excellent in that department.

Willey had Gareth Berg caught behind off a loose drive as Northants fell to 178-8 before Kerrigan and Parnell perished at the last.

The Yorkshire celebrations were loud and long – once everybody had had a good lie down.

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