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Specsavers County Championship

First day honours about even in Roses clash

First day honours about even in Roses clash

REPORT: Lancashire CCC v Yorkshire CCC

One hundred and fifty years after the first ‘Roses’ match was played at Whalley, these two great rivals fought an absorbing battle for supremacy on the first day of this Specsavers County Championship encounter at Emirates Old Trafford with Yorkshire closing on 251-6 thanks to an unbroken seventh wicket partnership of 73 between Jack Leaning and Andy Hodd that rescued the visitors from a difficult position.

It was a disciplined performance with the ball by Lancashire after Yorkshire won the toss and elected to bat, one made all the harder by the loss of James Anderson to injury inside the first hour of the day and with fellow paceman Kyle Jarvis ruled out the previous day due to a broken thumb.

Head Coach Glen Chapple gave a brief update on Anderson’s injury at the close of play, saying: “He’s got a tight groin. He felt some pain, and came off with it immediately. He has had ice on it all afternoon and will be assessed in the morning.”

The match started in explosive fashion with two very early wickets; Tom Bailey found the edge of Adam Lyth’s bat before he had troubled the scorers-Anderson taking the resulting catch at third slip-and Anderson himself clipping Alex Lees’ off stump two deliveries later, the batsman playing no shot to a delivery that swung, having scored all nine runs at that point.

In fact the visitors’ top order enjoyed something of a charmed life during the first hour with six of the first eight boundaries edged over or past the slips to third man, although Gary Ballance also authentically cut Bailey twice to the cover boundary as the White Rose skipper battled to steady their innings.

Lancashire received a real blow half way through the morning when Anderson, who had bowled a great opening spell of 1-5, pulled up sharply in his delivery stride midway through his sixth over and, after receiving treatment, left the field.

Shorn of the England paceman’s contribution, the Lancashire attack bowled with great accuracy to restrict Yorkshire’s scoring to the fairly miserly rate of a little more than two runs per over during the first session in a manner which harked back to some of the attritional Roses matches of the past, with the visitors reaching lunch on 71-2 from 31 overs.

Ryan McLaren then trapped Peter Handscomb for 29 to end a partnership of 81 runs for the third wicket before Leaning helped Ballance add 48 more to the total across 19 overs.

Leaning hit the first six of the match off Simon Kerrigan but it was a shot out of context with the day thus far as the Red Rose bowlers stuck commendably to their task of giving nothing away.

Ballance, coming in to this game with 582 Championship runs at an average of 116, reached his half century from 107 balls and looked well-set to reach his second hundred of the four-day season. Somewhat surprisingly the Yorkshire skipper fell for 74 when he chipped an attempted cut off Bailey to Stephen Parry at mid-off.

Tim Bresnan was bowled playing back by McLaren for 13 to leave Yorkshire on 159-5 in the 67th over just after tea and the visitors' woes increased when Azeem Rafiq pulled Parry to Croft at mid-wicket for 16 to make the score 178-6 and just reward for Parry who eventually bowled 30 of the day’s 96 overs and finished with 1-56.

Yorkshire rallied well during the latter part of the evening as Leaning found good support from Hodd. The pair fought back well to add 73 from 22 overs and one ball, Leaning reaching his half century from 146 balls when hitting the second six of his innings and importantly he was still there at the end having made 54 not out, with Hodd’s contribution of 40 not out just as vital to the White Rose cause.

“I think it’s about even,” was Chapple’s overall assessment of the day.

“I thought we had a great start, took wickets, and made it difficult for Yorkshire to score.

“The pitch is fairly slow, but seemed to better and better to bat on. At 178 for 6 we would have liked a little bit more out of the day but I think we are about par.”

Chapple was full of praise for the efforts of the Red Rose bowling attack adding: “We expect the players to give everything they’ve got and they always do. Ryan’s had a long day bowling (2-37 from 21 overs) and Stephen Parry held Yorkshire up really well. He had to bowl at times when you would have had the seamers on in normal circumstances, but being a seamer light I think we’ve had a pretty good day.”

Ken Grime
Photo: Simon Pendrigh

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