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Yorkshire retain U17 title

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Yorkshire’s seam attack proved too strong for Sussex to handle as the home side ran out convincing winners of the U17 County Championship final by 124 runs at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

The two teams reached the showdown on August 29/30 by virtue of winning their respective divisions in the Championship. The annual Final between the North and South Champions traditionally takes place on the Tuesday and Wednesday immediately after the August Bank Holiday Monday.

This year the ECB were unable to find a suitable venue in the Midlands due to the large number of fixtures in that part of the country but were very grateful that Yorkshire CCC had allowed use of Headingley Carnegie. As it transpired the Yorkshire team qualified for the Final and therefore had the opportunity to defend on their home patch the title that they had won last year at Grace Road when they beat Surrey.

The match started in bright sunshine with a forecast of possible showers later on in the day. Yorkshire won the toss and elected to bat first. Their progress on the first morning was exceptional and had people delving into the record books to find the highest total ever posted.

When Yorkshire reached lunch with the score on 153 for two this question was still unresolved and the crowd had witnessed an innings of the highest class from C Allinson who was 87 not out. C Marsden had opened the innings and scored an accomplished 51 as well before falling victim to Andrew Thornley.

At lunch the situation changed somewhat dramatically. Rather than the forecast showers there was some extremely heavy rain that left parts of the field in front of the football stand under water. That play was able to restart at 3:30 was a testament to the hard work of Andy Fogarty and his groundstaff.

When play resumed the Sussex spinners took control. Allinson departed without adding to his score as he advanced down the wicket to William Beer’s spin and was comprehensively stumped by Ben Brown, the third wicket falling at 161.

Three more quick wickets fell and Yorkshire were 197 for six and thoughts of posting a total in excess of 400 were long gone. C Fletcher (43) and Ben Sanderson (31 not out) then repaired some of the damage with a partnership of 54. Once Fletcher was out with the score on 251 the final three wickets fell reasonably quickly with Yorkshire finally being all out for 288 from 79 overs.

Beer, the Sussex captain, was the pick of the bowlers returning figures of 5-82 off 23 overs. He was ably supported by the other spinners with Luke Barnard taking 2-26 and Thornley 1-41.

This was in marked contrast to Yorkshire’s serene progress against the seamers in the Sussex attack. As the scheduled close was less than 30 minutes away Sussex took the option available to them of not batting until the following morning.

The second day of the match saw Sussex set off in their chase for 289 to win the title, in what would prove to be a complete contrast to the events of the first day. Sussex scored 30 for the first wicket but after that wickets fell at regular intervals.

Opener Matthew Machan’s 24 was in complete contrast to the problems that the upper order encountered with the Yorkshire seamers. The only batsman to succeed against the superb Yorkshire attack was Brown, who scored 72.

Only once Sussex had been reduced to 125 for nine was there any real support for Brown when he was joined by Barnard. He scored 11 as the pair added 39 for the last wicket with an ease that belied the problems encountered by the rest of the Sussex batting line-up.

Pick of the bowlers was J Lee who took 4-35. All the other seamers chipped in. The next best bowling figures were those of Ben Sanderson who took 2-19 from 10 overs.