Yorkshire hold uneasy advantage
Yorkshire 61 for 2 trail Gloucestershire 215 (Taylor 49, Patterson 3-35) by 154 runs
Yorkshire lived a little in Cardiff, qualifying for the Champions League in South Africa next month as losing finalists on Friends Life T20 finals day. But at Scarborough their attention turned to more serious matters - their desperation to secure a return to the First Division of the Championship that remains far from assured.
It is a result pitch - and with Gloucestershire 9 for 4 early on the first morning, Yorkshire seemed to have had a result. But by stumps on the first day, the position was not as clear as Yorkshire, in third place behind Derbyshire, their supposedly inferior neighbours, and Hampshire, their conquerors on t20 finals day, would have liked it to be.
On a day when no batsman could confidently tell himself he was in, with the ball swinging and seaming in the first and last hours when the balls were new, and Azeem Rafiq extracting some turn during a mammoth spell of off spin bowling, the rewards went to two Gloucestershire players who batted with enterprise and dash.
When Will Gidman joined Ian Cockbain, Yorkshire's fast bowlers were rampant. They set about restoring some order to the innings, and by the time Cockbain was dismissed for 30 in the third over after lunch they had added 65 runs and Gloucestershire, while by no means comfortable, had a platform on which to build. Gidman, playing with excellent timing on both sides of the wicket, went on to reach 47 before being excellently taken at second slip by Adam Lyth off Moin Ashraf, the obsessive yorker bowler of Cardiff.
The second batsman to take the initiative to Yorkshire was Jack Taylor, 20 years old and coming in at No 9. He attacked immediately, mixing the classically straight with the agriculturally robust, and fell one short of his second first-class 50 when Azeem Rafiq took a very sharp return catch. His partner Jon Batty had contributed two to a partnership of 56.
The day began with Steven Patterson charging in from the Trafalgar Square End and taking three wickets in his first five overs. Benny Howell was bowled playing no shot, Dan Housego edged to Adam Lyth at second slip, and Hamish Marshall was lbw. Moin Ashraf then chipped in with the wicket of Hamish Marshall, caught low to his right by Yorkshire's on-loan wicketkeeper from Sussex, Andy Hodd.
Half an hour before lunch, with the pitch calming and Cockbain and Gidman establishing themselves, Yorkshire turned to spin. Rafiq began an unbroken spell at the Pavilion End until the close of innings after tea. He bowled 28 overs of accurate off spin, finishing with 3 for 85. His figures would have been even more impressive had not Anthony Ireland taken Batty's dismissal as the cue to swing the bat. There were two fours and a six in his 25 not out, and together with Liam Norwell he put on 36 runs for the last wicket.
Yorkshire's innings began almost as disastrously as Gloucestershire's. Adam Lyth nicked the second ball of the innings from Gidman to wicketkeeper Batty, and off the next ball Phil Jaques was dropped by Jack Taylor at cover.
Joe Root, who along with Gary Ballance had been awarded his county cap before the start of play, was dropped twice within the space of a few balls. Batty spilled a straightforward chance off Liam Norwell, then Benny Howell a more difficult one at first slip off Gidman.
Gidman had some compensation when Jacques edged a seaming ball to Batty, but then Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale joined Root and they batted purposefully for the last nine overs of the day, adding 45 undefeated runs and leaving Yorkshire in a position, they hope, to build the sort of first-innings lead that will invigorate that promotion need.