IT WAS so quiet inside North Marine Road cricket ground on Thursday that one could almost hear the crash of waves against the distant seashore.
The silence reflected the state of the match; Yorkshire were losing regular wickets on their way to a 179-run defeat.
As the procession of batsmen came and went, Yorkshire sinking to 157 in pursuit of 337, practically the only sound was that of seagull cries as they circled the ground.
Vultures would have been more appropriate visitors, pecking at the carcass of the Yorkshire top-order, which shows no sign of springing into life.
One requires a strong bowling attack to win the County Championship, but one also requires a strong batting line-up.
Although individuals have prospered at various times, Yorkshire’s is a source of ongoing concern and negating the threat that they have with the ball.
Too many batsmen with big reputations; too many batsmen with not enough runs.
If defeat to a hitherto winless Somerset side does not serve as a wake-up call, nothing will.
Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire first-team coach, admitted that the batting was again deficient after a defeat that leaves his side’s title hopes hanging by a thread.
“We’ve spoken at length about our batting for a long time now, and I think it’s gone past the point of speaking about it,” said Gale.
“It’s about doing it now and backing it up on the field, it’s as simple as that.
“We’ve had a couple of bad weeks in the Championship, and we’ve got a break now for the T20, which has come at a good time for us, I think.
“T20 is all about enjoyment and having fun, and it can free the players up, so when we return to Championship action next month, I’m sure that we can turn things on their head.”
Gale offered no excuse for Yorkshire’s third defeat in nine Championship games, which leaves them 38 points behind leaders Essex having played a match more.
I don’t like to talk about luck, but I captained the club for seven years and didn’t lose two quick bowlers in one game,Yorkshire first-team coach, Andrew Gale
However, the county were without two pace bowlers for most of the game after Ryan Sidebottom suffered a side injury on day one and Liam Plunkett a groin injury on day three, with both players set for scans today.
“I don’t like to talk about luck, but I captained the club for seven years and didn’t lose two quick bowlers in one game,” said Gale.
“So it was tough for Bres (captain Tim Bresnan) to manoeuvre the bowlers.
“In addition, (batsman) Harry Brook got a knock in the nets before play (on Wednesday), and he has a suspected broken right hand. He is going to go for an X-ray.”
An intriguing day had looked in store when a crowd of 1,749 rolled up on a sultry fourth morning.
Somerset were 234-3 in their second innings, a lead of 289, and they were after quick runs to make a declaration.
Forty-seven runs had come in the first 4.3 overs when Somerset pulled out as soon as James Hildreth reached his hundred.
Eighty-five overnight, Hildreth finished on 101 from 120 balls with eight fours, Adam Hose the man out when he edged Bresnan to solitary slip Adam Lyth.
Left to make 337 from a minimum of 90 overs, which would have been the fifth-highest chase in their history, Yorkshire were immediately up against it.
Alex Lees was bowled for a duck off the fifth ball of the innings, driving loosely at Lewis Gregory, and the hosts fell to 12-3 when Craig Overton took two wickets with successive balls.
Brook was bounced out by a delivery that was superbly caught one-handed by leaping wicketkeeper Steven Davies, and Peter Handscomb was lbw, his contribution to the match being scores of two and nought.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore hooked Overton for six into the seating area in front of the pavilion, but he perished to the fast bowler’s next delivery, caught at third slip by Tim Rouse to leave Yorkshire 36-4.
The hosts slipped to 67-5 when Lyth departed just before lunch, bowled by Gregory off an inside-edge, and the afternoon session was in its infancy when Yorkshire collapsed from 91-5 to 96-8.
Bresnan was bowled by the perfect left-arm spinner’s delivery from Jack Leach, which pitched outside leg and hit the top of off.
Adil Rashid was caught at slip as he tried to launch Leach through mid-wicket, and Overton unleashed a throat ball that Andy Hodd could only fend to the man running in from mid-wicket.
Ben Coad sent a straight six off Leach against the press box window, as though anticipating the following day’s match reports, while Plunkett also provided some fireworks.
The pace bowler – batting with a runner in the form of Lyth – hit three sixes and four fours on his way to 39 from 34 balls, the highest score of the innings.
Overton finished with 4-47 and career-best match figures of 9-134, while Leach captured 4-51.
No Yorkshire batsman reached fifty in the match, a damning statistic.