A depleted Over 45 squad travelled to Leicester with faint hopes of bringing the trophy back to Yorkshire, for the first time in many years. Unfortunately 4 of the squad couldn’t make it, pulling out in the 2 weeks before the event.
However we were determined to show what we could do, even without some of our best players.
In the semi-final against current champions Surrey, Phil Davis at 5 and Stuart Hargreaves at number 3, went on first. Stuart played a beautifully controlled game against a very strong opponent, and won 3-0, showing what a fantastic new over 45 player he will become.
Phil played really well, but unfortunately pulled a muscle in the first game and never recovered. It would have been a very different outcome had this not happened, but went down to leave the match at 1-1.
Ray Burke played at 1 and was playing a lot younger opponent who showed his strength and accuracy to push Ray to every corner of the court. Ray tried his best as always, but it was not to be and he went down 3-0.
Meanwhile Jason Fearn at number 4, was on the other court, and although he played well, couldn’t handle the pace of his opponent and unfortunately went down 3-0. The match was over when the Captain went on, and he played out a lifeless dead rubber.
In the other semi-final Durham won, to set up a repeat of last year’s final.
So to Sunday, and 3rd and 4th playoff, against Gloucestershire, which is NOT what a county as good as Yorkshire should be playing in, but had to be done.
It was a 10am start, and Stuart went on again at 3, and played superbly to dispatch his opponent with consummate ease, to complete an unbeaten weekend for him, and prove that he will definitely be a stalwart for Yorkshire in years to come. Phil was recovered sufficiently from his muscle pain to beat their number 5, again 3-0 with ease.
Jason was playing better against their number 4, but couldn’t muster enough to win a game, and lost 3-0, against a tiring opponent – if only he had won a game, it could have been a different result. Ray was having a marathon with their number 1 and proved what a gutsy professional he is, by winning 14-12 in the fifth, giving Yorkshire the win needed to secure the tie. The captain again played out a lifeless dead rubber.
In the final Surrey retained their title against Durham, which proved how close we were to winning this event.
Good weekend was had by all, and although disappointing not to win, there were a lot of positives. If and when players of the quality of David Campion and current newly crowned British Champion Lee Scott become available, I believe we will achieve the win the county expects.