Well, this has the potential to be rather awkward.
The day before Yorkshire face off against title hopefuls Somerset at Emerald Headingley, it was announced by both clubs simultaneously that seamer Jack Brooks would be joining the West Country club at the end of the season.
The transfer action is not all one-way traffic, however, with Matthew Pillans and Josh Poysden poised to make their debuts as full-time members of the Yorkshire team, having moved from Surrey and Warwickshire respectively.
For Somerset, the chance to secure their first-ever County Championship title is slim given the advantage that Surrey have, but they are in with a sniff and a win at Headingley could make Surrey’s trip to Taunton a crucial one.
For Yorkshire, the encounter is an opportunity to press their case to remain in the division: while their trans-Pennine rivals sit at the foot of the table, Worcestershire are resurgent following their comprehensive win at Scarborough and could well stage a remarkable heist to remain in the top flight at the expense of the 2014 and 2015 champions.
Head coach Andrew Gale would no doubt point out with some accuracy that Yorkshire are in a rebuilding phase following their back-to-back triumphs.
Ryan Sidebottom has retired, Alex Lees has moved on, Gale himself is retired, and there has not been the strong captain-coach partnership that worked so well with Gale and Jason Gillespie in those two seasons.
In the main, Yorkshire supporters have understood and accepted. However, there are many talented players at their disposal, and the ignominy of relegation would not be looked upon as an acceptable return for a side that boasts some of the best young players, and plenty of the finest experienced professionals, in the county game.
It will be fascinating to see how Jack Brooks plays, and if he plays. He is a model professional and would no doubt give 100% effort to the club he has represented with passionate fervour since 2013. It would be a little awkward, mind, if your first introduction to your new colleagues was a match-winning spell that denied them the chance to end more than a century of painful near misses in the county game’s highest prize (especially when you have two titles in your own trophy cabinet).
Jack Leach can count himself unlucky that Adil Rashid is training with the England team at the Ageas Bowl. Had it not been for an ill-timed injury and mediocre returns on unsupportive early-season pitches, Leach could well be plying his trade at the highest level now. As it is, he is taking wickets for Somerset with impressive levels of control and skill. He is one of the few spinners in England who can run through sides as pitches wear, and Yorkshire will need to play him well to get a result.
Yorkshire squad: David Willey (c), Gary Ballance, Harry Brook, Jack Brooks, Matthew Fisher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Jack Leaning, Adam Lyth, Mat Pillans, Josh Poysden, Josh Shaw, Jonny Tattersall (WK), James Wainman, Kane Williamson
Somerset Squad: Tom Abell (c), Azhar Ali, Dom Bess, Eddie Byrom, Josh Davey, Steve Davies (wk), Lewis Gregory, James Hildreth, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Peter Trego, Marcus Trescothick, Max Waller
Weather and Conditions
Dry and warm for all four days.
Date: 29th August – 1st September 2018
Ground: Emerald Headingley
Odds (SkyBet): Yorkshire 10/11, Somerset 10/11
Yorkshire don’t seem to be developing local talent as they should. They’ve long been a buying club and are now signing distinctly average players with no connection to the county whilst letting young Yorkshire bred players depart.