All aboard the Fraine train as Yorkshire (briefly) thinks of England

Surrey 48 for 0 trail Yorkshire 327 (Fraine 106, Lyth 55, Clark 5-77) by 279 runs

There were two centuries to fire the pride of Yorkshire supporters as they clung to their sun hats in Scarborough’s invigorating breeze. The first came in a winning cause from Jonny B for England at Edgbaston and, as he approached it, there was much fraternal chuckling at the relentless sense of grievance that had preceded it.

“Just like Bluey,” they smiled, remembering his father a generation ago. Many of the most memorable David Bairstow moments occurred at Scarborough when he would march indignantly to the wicket because of some real or imaginary crisis and put the world to rights. He once lambasted a journalist all the way from the Royal Hotel to the ground, a brisk 10-minute walk, to clear his hangover, only breaking off from his diatribe to wish passing spectators a cheery good morning.

But the century that mattered a little more to most Yorkshire supporters was not Jonny B’s but the one before their eyes. They had assembled at the Pleasure Palace to see if Yorkshire could try to mount – against general expectations, it has to be said – a serious Championship challenge.

The correspondent of the Yorkshire Post announced that they could do just that in April but the cognoscenti are yet to be convinced. Will Fraine‘s maiden Championship hundred, if not filling them with optimism, at least brought a few hours of approval. There have been too many signings recently for some tastes, but at least Fraine was born in Huddersfield. Nottinghamshire, who let him go, signed three high-profile batsmen and can’t make a run.

Fraine is being preferred to Harry Brook, a former England U-19 captain, and the competition will do Brook no harm. He goes about things in an orthodox way, but has never played so expansively. His stand of 116 with Adam Lyth was the first time that Yorkshire’s openers had put on a century partnership since Shaun Marsh and Tom Kohler-Cadmore, also against Surrey, in late 2017.

Fraine’s hundred brought throaty cries of “Yorkshire” from the popular banking and generous applause for such a pivotal career moment from Surrey. It required a drop by Dean Elgar in the gully, off Jordan Clark, when he was 31 to achieve it.

He showed a penchant for the square drive and square cut, produced two sumptuous straight drives after lunch against Sam Curran and Clark – the second of them, virtually a yorker, dug out with exquisite timing – and then rocked back to pull Jordan for six up towards the Pie and Mushy Peas stall. Marketing types will be shocked to learn, by the way, that unlike the “Gourmet Beef Burgers” that appear to have gained a foothold in the nation, there is no sign of “Gourmet Pie and Pies” in Scarborough.

When Fraine was third out, a defensive edge to the wicketkeeper against Morne Morkel, a first day that had followed a predictable course fluctuated wildly. One minute the crowd were in boisterous mood, the next minute as lost in thought. As Surrey began to make the old ball swing in mid-afternoon, Yorkshire lost four wickets for 18 in eight overs. Clark, a quicker-than-he-looks seamer and the chief protagonist, finished with 5 for 77, only the second five-for of his career. His career-best 5 for 58 came in a Roses match last season when Jonny B was among his victims.

Clark had removed Lyth for 55 before lunch when he toe-ended a wide bouncy one to extra cover. After lunch three came in quick succession: Gary Ballance undone by reverse swing from around the wicket; Tom Kohler-Cadmore dragging on one that came back; and Jack Leaning who was gazing in the direction of Scalby Windmill when he edged to second slip in the direction of the Tea Room.

Curran then took two wickets in successive balls, including South Africa spinner Keshav Maharaj, a short-term signing with next week’s trip to Essex in mind, who was bowled first ball when he missed a shin-high full toss. Curran then abandoned an over midway through, concerned about the recurrence of a hamstring injury, but bowled later.

Thousands had made the journey to Yorkshire’s east coast in search of such Sunday entertainment. The journey is no imposition, unless you are foolish enough to trust the A64 at the wrong time on a sunny day, because cricket at Scarborough is a wonderful reminder of the grandeur of the Yorkshire landscape.

Approach on the coastal road from the north and the ruins of Whitby Abbey hove into view, and standing low before it banks of moorland heather which are already in flower. But the best way of all to reach Scarborough is to sneak in from the south, where the Wolds were just beginning to yellow, a month away yet from Hockney’s palette, although he never did paint the bikers as they assembled for their breakfast meet-up in a Fridaythorpe café.

The merriest part of the day was still to come. Yorkshire’s captain Steve Patterson had won a toss for the 10th successive time – a post-war record according to Paul Dyson, a Yorkshire statistician – and odds of 1024-1. The odds were lower on the last two wickets putting on 77, Patterson (respectable first-class average of 17) to the fore, but the crowd found it a hoot. A total of 327 still felt a bit short.

Surrey had 14 overs to bat, but the day was a long one and those spectators who did not depart earlier for their evening meal instead nipped across the road for the climax of the England-India match in the North Riding pub.

It was rammed to the rafters. When Hardik Pandya was out, a man in a yellow T20 Blast shirt punched the air in approval. The conversation switched from Fraine (“I’d never have thought it”) to England’s final match in Chester-le-Street and even to the mellifluous talent of Mahela Jayawardene. Knowledgeable cricket lovers, maintaining the connection between county and international cricket. That is the very stuff of English professional cricket and it always should be.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.