David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps
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Lancashire 213 for 5 (David 66) beat Yorkshire 209 for 8 (Kohler-Cadmore 77, Willey 52) by 4 runs
Two Roses ties in one season would have been the stuff of dreams. As it was, the dream failed to materialise by a couple of metres. Dominic Drakes sliced away the final ball of the match from Danny Lamb with six to win for Yorkshire, four to tie. A four surely, he thought as he made good contact; no, a six roared the Headingley crowd, hands brandished, as the ball flew skywards, only for Tom Hartley to intervene with a head-high catch on the boundary. A quick glance around at his size 12s, a gesture of triumph to the Western Stand and another Roses match had entered the annals.
And enter the annals it should because it is on T20 nights like these where in 2022, whether your preference is short form or long, that the true Roses match increasingly resides. Last month, the four-day version, the one steeped in history, pulled in 5,500 spectators over four days. There were 13,000 at Headingley this night and once again the contest was intense. Year after year, it does not disappoint, pulling in large crowds, creating stories, wallowing in an outpouring of happiness.
Lancashire remain top of North Group; Yorkshire are mid-table, underpowered in the middle order, and are about to be depleted further as England raid them for an ODI tour of the Netherlands; such are the privations of the Blast. But after a winter - a necessary, if mishandled, winter - when Yorkshire were forced to examine charges of institutional racism - the fallout of that was still rumbling on - cricket is at least taking centre stage again, and gloriously so
Yorkshire broke their record T20 score in making 210 for 4 to beat Durham on this ground six days ago. They needed to surpass that again when Lancashire returned 213 for 5 on an excellent hybrid pitch. But they were well positioned with 62 needed from 44 balls, and seven wickets intact. Then Tom Kohler-Cadmore fell a metre short at deep midwicket, hauling the left-arm spinner Tom Hartley, and despite David Willey's pugnacious 52 from 33 balls, ended when Richard Gleeson plunged forward in his followthrough to hold a gloved return catch, Yorkshire faltered.
Lancashire then granted two potentially costly let-offs: Luke Wood in too close at deep midwicket when Willey cleared him with a ball that bounced in front of the rope; Gleeson fumbling Jordan Thompson's dab as he dived forward at short third. But Gleeson and Wood bowled brilliant final overs, hitting the blockhole regularly. No better yorker will be bowled all season than the one delivered by Gleeson which plucked out Jordan Thompson's off stump. Danny Lamb was left to defend 17 from the last over and, although Matthew Revis picked Lamb's slower ball to reduce that to 7 from 3, Lancashire clung on. The 25 sixes were a Roses record.
A Yorkshire win would have made Kohler-Cadmore's innings one if the season's most heartwarming stories. His season has been disrupted by recurring concussion since he was struck on the head in the nets by his team-mate, Pat Brown, during the Pakistan Super League four months ago. Concern grew, perhaps belatedly, during Yorkshire's pre-season tour of Dubai. He missed the first phase of the Championship season, and worries resurfaced in the Blast when he was pulled out of the match against Nottinghamshire at Headingley on Monday with minimal explanation.
He was only drafted in at the last minute when Allen reported his positive Covid test. To play out a maiden against Gleeson's first over added to the tension, only for him to produce an ebullient 73 from 43 balls, supported by Adam Lyth who saw so little of the strike he might have absent-mindedly sunk a pint at the non-striker's end, but who made full use of what opportunities he had.
Instead, the matchwinner wore red, and came by the name of Tim David. No T20 batter looks more imposing from 22 yards away. David does not do funky, neither does he obsessively hunt out the leg-side. He just stands and delivers and powers the ball straight as effectively as any batter in the world. Mumbai Indians took a punt on him this season (186 runs at a staggering SR of 216) and there will be many more as his stature grows.
His strike rate of 165 is outdone only by Andre Russell and Finn Allen. Yorkshire have Allen on their books but Allen had fallen prey to Covid. This may be a shock in England, but he is from New Zealand where, unlike England, people still routinely test themselves.
David began relatively uncertainly, but he crammed six sixes into the back-end of his 66 from 32 balls and the Headingley crowd was dejected long before he holed out against Drakes, swinging one handed, seven balls from the end. Thompson had helped to pin down Lancashire in mid-innings, but his final over went for 24: 6-4-6-6 in successive balls. He missed his yorkers, he missed his change-ups and everything landed in the slot. There again, as far as David is concerned, it is a very big slot.
Lancashire's Powerplay return of 57 for 1 was sound enough, but it was a relief for Yorkshire as Drakes, in the second of his four-match contract, conceded only two runs from the sixth over. He is a lithe pace bowler, of warm-hearted disposition, too, judging by the way he responded to a collision with Steven Croft when Croft got into one of his occasional befuddled running moments: Drakes rightly chose not to attempt the run-out and offered warm handshakes all round.
Croft, leg-side dependent for his 41 from 24 balls, had cut Thompson's second ball, a slower one, to Drakes at gully. Liam Livingstone is Public Enemy No 1 at Headingley on Roses T20 nights. Hearts were in mouths as he slog-swept Adil Rashid high to midwicket as Willey stretched back for the catch. Willey, who is skippering the side, has arguably never looked as engaged with Yorkshire cricket as he has during this Blast season, testimony to the spirit built in adversity by the coaching team of Darren Gough and Ottis Gibson.
But, if Livingstone had gone, David was heading for the crease, Dane Vilas was also about to play a great supporting hand. With bat and ball, they had been under pressure for much of the innings only to close out the overs much the stronger. Ultimately that was to maintain Lancashire's unbeaten record and strengthen their hold at the top of the table.