Craig Overton stands out on drear day

Yorkshire159 for 7 (C Overton 5-78) trail Somerset268 by 109 runs


The cricket on the truncated second day of this game was descript in every marvellous respect. There was a drear morning, a late start and a greenish pitch. Boundaries were rare as lottery wins and bowlers mean as winter sleet. Yet the most expensive member of Somerset's attack was also the most successful. Craig Overton picked up three more wickets and was the player most responsible for retaining his side's advantage in a game which could still go any of two dozen ways.

The holidaymakers will object loudly but this was also a day on which Scarborough was shown to fine advantage. The morning was grey and the cricket was all the more treasured for having temporarily confounded the forecasts.

Somerset bowled 32 overs in the first session but Yorkshire's batsmen scored only 68 runs off them for the loss of three wickets. Every run brought applause from spectators who know that this could still be the tightest of games. Harry Brook played most of his shots with time to spare, not least the on-driven two he took off Tim Groenewald's first ball of the day or the square-driven boundary off Lewis Gregory. Yet 40 minutes into the morning, he could do nothing with a spicy lifter from Overton but glove it to Marcus Trescothick at slip.

Brook sloped off with 31 runs to his name. The crowd settled again as Tim Bresnan joined Tom Kohler-Cadmore. Somerset's fielders threw themselves around the damp outfield as if they were reliving their three-run defeat at Taunton less than a month ago and were now adamant that every threat must be repulsed, every tiny defeat begrudged. Four runs were scored in six overs before Bresnan eased the tension with a square cut off Overton.

Lunch was delayed because light rain had prevented a prompt start. The Beacon Farm ice-cream van was as deserted as a vandalised phone-box but there were queues for fries and panini. Then Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who had ground out 31 runs in seven minutes less than two hours was grimily bowled by Groenewald, the ball taking the inside edge and batsman's thigh before brushing the base of leg stump.

Immediately Somerset's bowlers were thirsting for more success but their strident appeals were resisted. Most of the crowd were delighted by this. "It warrunt aht! Get on wi' t' gaame!" roared someone from in the North Stand, to the general approval of his fellow spectators. But Bresnan could do nothing with Overton's bounce and edged the seamer to Jim Allenby five minutes before lunch.

The afternoon session was a comparative fiesta. Andy Hodd took 10 runs off Gregory's first over, thus saving the follow on. He and Adil Rashid put on 48 for the seventh wicket in 12 overs before Hodd was nailed in front of his stumps by a delighted Overton, who greeted each of his wickets with a double clenching of fists. Overton and his twin were held partly responsible for the three-run defeat at Taunton less than a month ago. Jamie is not playing in this match but Craig has a score to settle.

Liam Plunkett had scarcely got his bearings before mizzle coalesced into serious rain. Already the Peasholm Park End had seen a hoisting of umbrellas sufficient to adorn a Busby Berkeley musical. At five to three Steve O'Shaughnessy and Tim Robinson had seen enough and we were off for the day.

This also had been summer and the points gained during these slate-skied overs may yet determine both counties' winter plans and their players' contracts. A stark thought, perhaps, but one strangely in tune with an evening in which the roofs of the Scarborough houses resemble fish skins and the brightest light is provided by the scoreboard illuminating the batsmen's fiercely-fought runs.