Yorkshire and Derbyshire explore ways of avoiding clash with World Cup

Gary Ballance scored a T20 career-best 79 from 49 deliveries for Yorkshire Vikings on Saturday but it was not enough to deny Birmingham Bears who won by eight wickets at Edgbaston (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).
Gary Ballance scored a T20 career-best 79 from 49 deliveries for Yorkshire Vikings on Saturday but it was not enough to deny Birmingham Bears who won by eight wickets at Edgbaston (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).
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YORKSHIRE are considering rescheduling their Vitality Blast match against Derbyshire at Emerald Headingley on Wednesday night to avoid a clash with England’s World Cup football semi-final against Croatia.

The Yorkshire Post understands that the two counties are in discussions about changing the date – perhaps to next month – after England booked their place in the last four against Sweden on Saturday.

Last week Yorkshire said that it was not feasible to change the date or start-time due to the 1,200 tickets that have already been sold and potential inconvenience to spectators.

But the mood has changed after England reached the semi-finals for only the third time in their history, a mood summed up by Yorkshire pace bowler Jack Brooks, who tweeted a plea on behalf of players and spectators of both clubs along with the hashtag #itscominghome

Some of those with tickets for the cricket have already indicated on social media that they will not now be attending, while Yorkshire officials will doubtless be mindful of the fact that Headingley will be heaving on Wednesday as fans flock to pubs and clubs to watch the big game.

The area was teeming on Saturday, with Brooks also posting an Instagram picture of a jubilant England supporter hanging off the roof of a double decker bus outside The Box bar on Otley Road, close to the ground.

Yorkshire are the only county scheduled to play a T20 game on both Wednesday night and also next Sunday, the date of the World Cup final itself.

They are in action that day against Worcestershire at New Road, with the start-time having already moved forward from 2.30pm to 1.00pm to ensure that the contest finishes just before the 4pm kick-off in Moscow.

While this week’s logistics remain up in the air there was a post-World Cup quarter-final party atmosphere at Edgbaston yesterday, where 10,395 fans filled the stadium and sporadic chants of “it’s coming home” could be heard amid the usual cries of “come on you Bears”.

And on a day when spectators basked in glorious sunshine and 30-degree temperatures it was the Bears’ fans whose celebrations continued apace as the hosts won by eight wickets, stalling Yorkshire’s progress after they had won their opening T20 match against Durham at Headingley last Thursday.

After losing the toss Yorkshire scored 157-7 from their 20 overs, a curate’s egg of an innings held together by Gary Ballance’s T20 career-best 79.

The left-hander faced 49 balls and hit six fours and four sixes, falling to the final delivery of the innings when he threw the kitchen sink and was caught behind off former Yorkshire pace bowler Oliver Hannon-Dalby, who returned Birmingham’s best figures of 3-37.

Other than a jaunty 20 from Harry Brook and an unbeaten 17 from Matthew Fisher there was little else to write home about as Yorkshire’s innings struggled to get going.

The visitors were indebted to Ballance for getting up to any sort of score, with 60 arriving from the last five overs as the former England man registered his sixth half-century in the T20 format.

To say that Birmingham’s reply got off to a flying start would be an understatement comparable to suggesting that the country is presently gripped by football fever.

Poor old Fisher conceded 33 off the opening over of the innings from the City End, a tally which, in the absence of any available records on the subject, may well have been the second-most expensive in the club’s history after spinner Karl Carver conceded 37 in one over (six sixes and one wide) against Worcestershire’s Ross Whiteley at Headingley last year.

Fisher’s over began with five wides before Ed Pollock, the powerful left-hander, hit the next two balls for four and six. Fisher then bowled a dot ball before Pollock hit him for another six and four. Fisher followed up with two no-balls before Pollock hit the final delivery for a leg-side six.

Pollock had whacked 39 off 14 balls when Steve Patterson had him caught at mid-off by Jack Brooks, leaving Birmingham 55-1 at the end of the fourth over.

Fisher came back well in his second over, the seventh of the innings, when Sam Hain whipped him out to long-leg, where Tim Bresnan took a terrific tumbling catch and celebrated as though he had just scored for England in a penalty shoot-out.

At 75-2 in the seventh over, Birmingham were unlikely to fall behind the required rate, and an uphill task for Yorkshire rapidly became an impossible one as Ian Bell (50) and Adam Hose (51) played sensibly – and with the occasional spectacular flourish – to round off a match every bit as one-sided as England’s 2-0 triumph against the Swedes, sharing an unbroken 83 as the home side won with 25 balls to spare.