Pyrah the difference for Yorkshire
Richard Pyrah took 4-43 and contributed two run-outs to lead Yorkshire to a 23-run victory in their Clydesdale Bank 40 clash with nearest rivals Gloucestershire at Headingley Carnegie.
Yorkshire have now won eight of their nine matches to go four points clear of Gloucestershire, who have a game in hand.
Will Porterfield and captain Alex Gidman began Gloucestershire’s pursuit of 248 in determined fashion, with the latter Gidman punishing Ajmal Shahzad with a six over midwicket followed by two cuts for four.
Tim Bresnan also proved expensive as Porterfield glanced him to the boundary and hooked him for six.
Gidman survived a low caught-and-bowled chance to Steven Patterson on 35 but, having contributed 48 out of 76 by the 12th over, he drove Pyrah to Anthony McGrath at mid-on.
James Franklin was bowled in Pyrah’s next over to bring in Hamish Marshall, who added 50 in 10 overs with Porterfield, before the latter took a step down the track to Adil Rashid and was stumped by Gerard Brophy for 53 from 72 balls, which included five fours and a six.
It was Pyrah who swung the game decisively Yorkshire’s way, though, with two wickets in four balls.
First, Chris Taylor got a top edge for Brophy to pull off a well-judged catch before Stephen Snell had his leg stump ripped clean out of the ground.
Gloucestershire stayed in the hunt while Marshall was still there but, the ball after driving Bresnan to the extra cover boundary to reach 50 off 55 balls, he was bowled by an excellent yorker.
Ed Young could not beat Pyrah’s throw to the wicketkeeper and with wickets tumbling, the same fielder finished things off by running out last man Anthony Ireland.
After winning the toss, Yorkshire got off to a dashing start before being then pegged back for by two of their former players, off-spinner Richard Dawson and paceman Steve Kirby.
The former bowled Jacques Rudolph with the final delivery of his first over to end an opening stand of 71 in 12 overs with skipper Andrew Gale, who was then run out for a breezy 61 when Kirby scored a direct hit on the stumps from short third man.
Dawson also got rid of the potentially dangerous Adam Lyth for seven to leave Yorkshire on 119 for three.
However, they were able to recover their momentum through a chanceless 76 from McGrath.
The middle-order batsman moved cautiously towards his 50, which he reached with his third four, before he and Brophy boosted the scoring rate when the pacemen returned.
The fourth-wicket pair had added 75 when Brophy fell to Kirby for 33 and the bowler struck again by dismissing McGrath, ending an innings which spanned 80 balls and included seven boundaries.
Jonny Bairstow and Bresnan then ensured the innings ended with a flourish, 86 coming off the last seven overs.