A last-wicket partnership of 67 between two teenaged Yorkshire tailenders was not enough to help Yorkshire to victory after a calamitous start which saw them plummet to 22-4 and 108-9 against Somerset at Scarborough. A maiden one-day half-century from Somerset’s own youngster Tom Abell secured the 176 runs needed for victory.
After newly-appointed Yorkshire one-day captain Alex Lees won the toss and batted, Andrew Hodd was trapped lbw by Josh Davey’s fourth ball, and after a relatively orthodox straight drive for four, Glenn Maxwell flicked Craig Overton tamely to Jack Leach. Gary Ballance survived an early and confident shout for caught behind.
Lees must have been starting to feel uncertain about his decision to bat first. His morning got worse, however, when he was caught behind off Josh Davey’s second over for one. Gary Ballance got off the mark with his 14th delivery, clipping a single off his legs. Craig Overton beat his edge twice in the next over and had an lbw shout turned down.
Ballance’s stay at the crease was the longest and most productive of the top four, but it was far from a happy holiday for the ditched England batsman. Craig Overton’s bowling was hostile, accurate and he was extracting more than a little movement through the air. He finally claimed Ballance’s wicket when the left-hander chopped a ball that stayed low back onto his stumps. Ballance took a frustrated swipe at his stumps before trudging disconsolately off the pitch.
Leaning and Will Rhodes had seen the procession of purple shirts back to the picturesque Scarborough pavilion, and judged correctly that the pitch wasn’t a par 300. They saw off Overton’s spell without further damage but with no progress on the scoreboard either.
They accelerated with a couple of big strikes when spin was brought on, but Leach stuck to his task well and Scarborough has a reputation for being friendlier to spinners than most grounds in the country. He bowled Will Rhodes one that turned a fraction and took a deflection off his pad for 42.
Tim Bresnan came in with his side in dire need of another rescue operation, but he presented an easy slip catch to Jim Allenby off Peter Trego without scoring. Trego was celebrating again in his next over when Leaning slapped a short ball to Tom Abell at backward point.
When Jack Brooks holed out to deep midwicket, Somerset searched for the final wicket, their lines strayed somewhat, especially to Matthew Fisher, who picked off leg-stump half-volleys with ease and farmed the strike. He passed his career-best score in any format, and scored 11 of the 18 runs that came from Craig Overton’s entire spell.
The highlight of the innings undoubtedly came in the 48th over, when a frustrated Tim Groenewald tried to bounce Matthew Fisher, only to see the young seamer scoop him for an audacious six. Karl Carver contributed a welcome 35 to the partnership, which ended in the last over when Fisher was bowled going for a slog.
Relieved of the need to score runs at more than a leisurely pace, Abell and Hose could well afford to wait for the poor ball. Bresnan and Brooks offered enough of them in the opening overs to keep Somerset ahead of the run rate, but Bresnan recovered well to have Hose caught behind for 19.
Peter Trego decided to take revenge on Matthew Fisher for the last-wicket partnership, thumping a majestic six over the sightscreen behind his head and pulling a four. He self-destructed trying to continue the assault, and could only edge to Hodd behind the stumps.
Tom Cooper has specialised in single-figure scores this season, and seemed determined to maintain his record by presenting two chances early on in his innings. On one, he edged Matthew Fisher to Alex Lees at shoulder height, but the Yorkshire skipper couldn’t hold on. On two, he dinked a full ball from Pyrah straight back at him, but Pyrah couldn’t cling on to a difficult chance.
As the fielders seemed reluctant to take his wicket, Cooper had little option but to time a sweet drive off Pyrah for six. His run of rash shots came to a swift end shortly after when he was caught by Gary Ballance at short midwicket off Fisher.
Tom Abell’s contribution to Somerset’s win might not have been as eye-catching as Craig Overton’s, but it was vital nonetheless. He batted with care and precision, anchoring the innings with the maturity and discipline of a man well beyond his 21 years. He brought up his maiden one-day 50 off his 84th ball, but was caught down the leg side for a match-winning 80 before Jim Allenby sealed the win with a drive for four off Rhodes.
Somerset’s slim hopes of qualification remain just about alive, but Yorkshire’s strong expectation to qualify remains unconfirmed.