White Rose engineer vital victory
Yorkshire moved into the Division Two promotion places with a dramatic two-wicket LV= County Championship win over Gloucestershire at Scarborough.
Anthony McGrath’s unbeaten 76 guided the White Rose to their engineered victory target of 314 with 16 balls to spare.
Phil Jaques had laid the platform for Yorkshire’s chase with 79 after some declaration bowling had set-up an entertaining afternoon following consecutive days of rain.
Yorkshire declared on their overnight 61 for two, which left them trailing by 154 on the first innings, before allowing Gloucestershire to set their marker.
The visitors cracked 159 without loss in just 10 overs with Benny Howell and Rob Nicol, who made 83 and 75 not out respectively, enjoying the generous bowling from Adam Lyth and Andrew Gale.
That set Yorkshire a target of 314 in 84 overs and after several scares along the way they eventually got there thanks to McGrath, who hit 11 boundaries in his 98-ball stay, and leapfrog Hampshire into second in the table.
Yorkshire needed a solid foundation when they set off on their chase and they were supplied it by an opening stand of 72 in 18 overs from Lyth and Joe Root.
Root was happy to let Lyth do much of the early scoring with some sparkling cover drives but when the left-hander had reached 40 he played loosely at Anthony Ireland and holed out to Liam Norwell at midwicket.
Jaques settled in after one or two loose drives and Yorkshire were quite content to go in to lunch on 82 for one after 20 overs.
Root began to blossom in the afternoon session, leaning into some splendid drives on either side of the wicket.
He played Norwell crisply to the midwicket boundary but the next ball was shorter and pulled straight into the hands of Dan Housego just inside the rope.
Jaques then took charge but at 159 Yorkshire lost captain Gale, who edged Jack Taylor's off-break to Hamish Marshall at slip.
The score then became 183 for four as Gary Ballance took a step down the track and drove the spinner to cover where Ian Cockbain held on.
McGrath brought all his experience to bear in helping Jaques take the score beyond 200 but Yorkshire suffered a serious blow with the dismissal of the Australian.
In mounting tension, Andrew Hodd joined McGrath and the weather also became a factor with clouds spreading over the previously sunlit North Marine Road ground.
The return of Will Gidman to the attack slowed the batsmen down and the final hour arrived at 237 for five with 77 wanted off a minimum of 16 overs.
A boundary to McGrath came at about the same time that light rain began to fall, followed by the dismissal of Hodd who was lbw back on his stumps to Gidman.
McGrath hit Ireland for consecutive boundaries and survived a return chance in the same over after completing his half-century, while Adil Rashid showed positive intent until Gidman struck again by having him caught behind.
With both McGrath and Azeem Rafiq going for glory, the score mounted steadily and, at 300 for seven, the new ball was taken with just 14 required off four overs.
Fuller was called up to bowl it and his first delivery was driven for four by McGrath, 12 coming off the over in all.
Rafiq was caught at point off the first ball of the next over from Norwell but the batsmen had crossed and McGrath scored the winning boundary off the next delivery.