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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Yorkshire miss opportunity to kick-start season as Gloucestershire encounter rained off

The metaphorical storm clouds over Yorkshire County Cricket Club are yet to shift, but several literal ones pre-empted some further bad news for the troubled outfit over the weekend, as their County Championship Division Two tie with Gloucestershire was abandoned before play commenced.

Umpires Billy Taylor and Paul Pollard swiftly deemed the pitch at Bristol’s Seat Unique Stadium to be unplayable on Saturday(15 April) morning, and predicted the surface would remain waterlogged into what would have been the fourth and final day of the contest. The decision came 24 hours after five other league fixtures had fallen casualty to the weather, with Leicestershire’s game against Derbyshire also cancelled on day three. Therefore, only one Division Two clash went ahead as scheduled, which saw Durham comfortably overcome a lacklustre Worcestershire at Chester-Le-Street.

In accordance with the new campaign’s points allocation structure, Yorkshire and Gloucestershire – the two sides who were incidentally relegated from County Championship Division One last term – were awarded five points each for the draw. Ottis Gibson’s side find themselves at the foot of the table after the season’s early exchanges, following their home defeat to Leicestershire over Easter weekend.

Yorkshire are still suffering the aftershocks of the protracted Azeem Rafiq racism scandal. Last month, it was revealed the club could soon be plunged into administration, as legal and administrative costs continue to mount. Indeed, since Rafiq first spoke publicly of his treatment in 2018, the Headingly-based outfit have already reportedly spent a staggering £3m in relation to the case, and still await a potentially ‘heavy fine’ from the ECB. Furthermore, the club are still acclimatising to a raft of senior leadership changes, with multiple high-profile representatives departing amidst the crises. Less than eighteen months ago, Chairman Roger Hutton, Director of Cricket Martyn Moxon, Chief Executive Mark Arthur, and Head Coach Andrew Gale all exited their posts, as Yorkshire attempted to re-calibrate its internal culture.

It was obvious the controversy off the field was impacting performances on it during 2022, as Yorkshire concluded the season in a lowly ninth, sealing their relegation to the second tier of county cricket. The 33-time champions could only must a single victory in the previous campaign, beating last weekend’s intended opponents Gloucestershire in their opening clash; Yorkshire would go on to lose six of their remaining thirteen matches, concluding the season three points from safety.

Gibson’s troops travel to the south coast this week to face a Sussex side who finished second-bottom in the league last year. Nevertheless, Yorkshire’s opponents will take confidence from their impressive display on match round one, beating Durham by two wickets in Hove.

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