Paul Edwards reports on Lancashire Lightning's defeat to Yorkshire Carnegie in Friday evening's Friends Life t20 match at Headingley
Trans-Pennine loyalties still die very hard indeed. Presenting a Yorkshireman with a victory against Lancashire at pretty much anything - noughts-and-crosses, scissors-paper-stone - is sufficient to have him cartwheeling past the chip shop on his way home.
So the reaction of Headingley's Western Terrace to Yorkshire Carnegie's narrow, but deserved 19-run victory over Lancashire Lightning in Friday evening's Friends Life t20 Roses match at Old Trafford can easily be imagined.
Indeed, most of the 10,350 crowd were boisterously delighted that Glen Chapple's batsmen responded to Yorkshire's formidable 180 for six by making just 161 for five, as the demands of scoring 45 runs off the last three overs told on the Red Rose batsmen.
Bowlers like Mitchell Starc, who claimed two wickets in a four-over spell costing 21 runs, rarely leak boundaries at the rate Lancashire then needed, even against hitters of the power of Steven Croft. The Blackpool-born batsman topscored for Lancashire with 56 off 49 balls but was caught by mid-off Gary Ballance in the final over of the contest.
By then, all that was left for Lightning's players was the comfort that they had given the task of scoring at a smidgeon over nine-an-over a very gutsy shot. Quickly recovering from the loss of Stephen Moore, who was bowled by Starc for two in the second over, Tom Smith and Croft added 38 in four overs, the left-hander hitting three massive sixes in his 18-ball 33 prior to being brilliantly caught in the gully when Azeem Rafiq parried then pouched a powerful cut off Rich Pyrah.
Croft and Karl Brown took up where Smith had left off. The third-wicket pair put on 82 runs in 9.5 overs before Brown was caught on the deep square-leg boundary rope by Joe Root, who juggled the ball but made a fair catch to give the Azeem Rafiq a deserved wicket. The off-spinner finished with one for 22, and along with Starc, was the pick of the Carnegie attack.
In retrospect, Brown's dismissal marked the end of Lightning's courageous attempt to score what would have been their second-highest victory total in t20 cricket. Operating in murky light, Starc and Moin Ashraf restricted the visitors to 25 runs off the last three overs, although Croft was, perhaps, a mite cheered to reach his half-century off 42 balls, an effort which included four boundaries and a six.
Lancashire's running between the wickets remained excellent throughout their innings. Indeed, it was mildly fatiguing merely to watch some of it.
The Yorkshire innings divided into two unequal, untidy and - for visiting supporters - unsatisfying parts. In the first 13 overs of their allotment Carnegie progressed to 86 for four and seemed set for little more than a par total on a good wicket. In the last seven, though, Rafiq's batsmen rattled up a remarkable 94 with David Miller and Gary Ballance adding 91 in just 43 balls, a fifth-wicket record for their county in short-form cricket.
In the final over, bowled by Oliver Newby, Ballance was dismissed for a 23-ball 42 when midwicket Paul Horton judged a skier superbly, and Miller was run out for a thunderous 54 off 30 deliveries. By then, though, the damage to Lancastrian hopes had been done
Yasir Arafat and Gary Keedy were the chief sufferers. The seamer went for 55 in his four overs, the most expensive analysis by a Lancashire bowler in Twenty20 cricket. That made it a night of contrasts for Arafat, who had become the first bowler to take 100 wickets in domestic short-form cricket when he had opener Adam Lyth caught at mid-on by Tom Smith for 12.
Slow-left-armer Keedy conceded 28 in his final dozen balls, a far cry from the success he enjoyed in the tenth over when his first ball had Jonny Bairstow caught at long-off by Steven Croft. Glen Chapple was the most economical member of the Lancashire attack, yielding just 19 runs off his allotment and claiming the wicket of Joe Root, who was caught by Smith for 15 when he leathered a rare full toss straight to deep square leg.
The first half of the Yorkshire innings was dominated by Phil Jaques: the Australian made 40 off 28 deliveries and was gearing up to cause further mayhem when he was run out by a direct hit from Croft at long-off. At that stage, Yorkshire's ability to post a truly formidable target was, phonetically, one might say, in the balance. Twenty minutes later those doubts had been removed.