Plunkett gives Scarborough plenty to toast
Yorkshire 162 (Rushworth 4-37) and 440 (Maxwell 140, Rashid 127) beat Durham 156 (Sidebottom 4-44) and 263 (Burnham 50, Plunkett 4-61) by 183 runs
Scarborough is more than an outground. It is Yorkshire cricket's place on the coast, a holiday home, precious and integral to the game in this county where strangers are still likely to know the latest score. During the lunch and tea intervals at North Marine Road, spectators amble out to study the wicket while youngsters play on the outfield. They do these things with an almost proprietorial air, as if the ground is theirs when the players do not require it.
The game against Durham, which Yorkshire won by 183 runs short after tea on the third day, was well-attended, although that is to be expected at Scarborough. Matches here attract a large number of visiting supporters but this town welcomes Yorkshire members who have been coming here for decades. Such people are on first-name terms with the owners of their guest houses and hotels, These latter include the modest but proud establishments near to the ground - dogs accepted, free car park, games room - and the slightly grander numbers on the front with their clanking lifts and a popular local vocalist in the Belmont Lounge every Thursday.
Every evening you see the supporters on Queens Parade, wearing their Yorkshire tops and, likely as not, talking about cricket and whether that young Australian lad Maxwell was going to come off. Well, on Saturday afternoon Maxwell did come off, making one of the better hundreds even Scarborough has seen, and in the evening the home fans were still relishing its wonderful freedoms as they tucked into their fish and chips at Rennard's.
And on Sunday afternoon as Liam Plunkett's searing pace removed the heart of Durham's top order batting on one of the quickest pitches in the country, they had another moment to savour as Maxwell dived to his left at third slip and plucked the ball out of the North Yorkshire air with his left hand. Maxwell's catch got rid of Scott Borthwick for 31 and it had the locals standing and cheering in the North Stand. It left Durham on 108 for 3 and with their chances of making 447 to win reduced to the remote and fantastical. Which was rather where Yorkshire supporters wanted them to be.
In the morning session Durham lost Michael Stoneman to an astonishing reflex caught and bowled by Tim Bresnan and on the stroke of lunch Graham Clark fell leg before to Plunkett. Soon after Borthwick's dismissal, Gordon Muchall fended a lifter from Plunkett to Andrew Hodd. 143 for 4 and this was seriously quick bowling, The crowd, a few of whom remember watching Bradman's Australians in 1948, knew it as well. So did Jason Gillespie.
"I was shuddering myself when I was watching Liam Plunkett bowl out there," Gillespie said. It was fast, it was nasty at times and you're not going to see anything quicker in county cricket than that."
Rashid, bowling from the Pavilion End, offered a different challenge and it was also one which Durham's batsmen failed to meet. Only Jack Burnham, making his first-class debut, reached fifty and he showed bags of resolve especially after making nought in the first innings. The remainder were mopped up by Rashid who finished the innings with 3 for 66. Burnham, himself, became Plunkett's fourth victim when he skied the fast bowler to Andrew Gale at mid-on.
That dismissal completed Yorkshire's first ever double over Durham and it leaves Yorkshire 50 points clear at the top of Division One, although some games in the current round have yet to be completed. It was also Yorkshire's sixth successive win and it ended the 129th Scarborough Festival, one which had featured a match quite as memorable as most seen on this ground. It will give the locals plenty to talk about over their pints this Sunday evening.