National League Round-up September 11, 2003

Gough's best efforts can't save Yorkshire

Wisden CricInfo staff

National League Division One

Essex 177 for 6 beat Yorkshire 174 by four wickets at Chelmsford
For Darren Gough this was a day he would rather forget. At lunchtime he found out that he had been left out of the England one-day squad for the first leg of this winter's travelling circus, and in the evening he was part of a Yorkshire side whose defeat under lights at Chelmsford rubber-stamped their relegation from the top flight.

Gough certainly did his bit to keep Yorkshire afloat. He top-scored with 33, dismissed the dangerous Andy Flower for 0, and took a tumbling catch in the deep. But on the day it wasn't enough as a sixth-wicket stand of 99 between Mark Pettini and James Middlebrook guided Essex to what was in the end a comfortable victory.

For a time it looked as if Yorkshire would get out of jail after mustering just 174 in their innings as their experienced seam attack of Gough, Ryan Sidebottom and Matthew Hoggard reduced Essex to 61 for 5. But in 18 overs Pettini (59) and Middlebrook (46*) blunted the attack and had moved Essex within sight of the win when Pettini holed out at deep midwicket. That left them needing 26 from five overs, a target they achieved with seven balls to spare.

Yorkshire only had themselves to blame in an innings in which several batsmen failed to build on a sound start. Six players got into double figures, but a career-best 4 for 28 from seamer Andy Clarke left them on 117 for 7 before Gough and Richard Blakey (30) restored some respectability by adding 47 for the eighth wicket.

The home crowd were unconcerned with Yorkshire's fate; the win secured Essex's place in the first division for another season.