Yorkshire CC 'more determined than ever' to get through to final

YCC desperate to win the semi
YCC desperate to win the semi
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Yorkshire's defeat by Durham at the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston last week robbed them of the chance of a unique hat-trick of Trophy wins in county cricket's three major competitions.

But that setback, due largely to the searing pace of Mark Wood, has made the Vikings more determined than ever to beat Surrey in their Royal London 50-over Cup semi-final clash with Surrey at Headingley on Sunday.

That would significantly boost their hopes of going on to win the Lord's showpiece final on September 17 and at the same time lift the Specsavers County Championship title for a third consecutive year.

Should they achieve these two objectives it will be the first time in the club's history that they have won the Championship and a one-day title in the same season.

Yorkshire coach, Jason Gillespie, said that their T20 upset had now gone and they had to forget about it and move on.

"Obviously, that didn't go to plan but we're looking to move forward," he said.

"We need to play better. We have just got to focus on what we are good at and play to our strengths. If we do that we'll give ourselves the very best chance.

"We know we are a good side and this is a good opportunity to show what we can do. It would be nice to get to Lord's but we know it's a tough challenge against Surrey first.

"We know that they are a very good side, also, and they have all bases covered. They are an aggressive team so we know we will have to play very well to compete with them."

Gillespie was philosophical about the fact that Yorkshire would be without five of their top players who are on England duty - Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid and David Willey.

"We are going through a phase at Yorkshire where we have a lot of our players representing their country," he said.

"That's happened to many sides in the past and now it's Yorkshire's turn. We just have to adapt to that and we feel that we have the squad to compete and challenge for trophies. We're just delighted that the lads get to represent their country and this gives others a chance to do well for Yorkshire."

With the weather set fair for Sunday a bumper crowd is expected to watch this tussle against a side which Yorkshire fans want to see their team beat with an intensity second only to Lancashire.

But whatever the current strengths of the opposing teams, Yorkshire will have to be at their best because history is very much against them in semi-final knockout battles in List A cricket.

In all, they have appeared in 20 of the major tournaments' semi-finals and have only made it through to the final on six occasions but their record at Lord's is better with four wins and two defeats.

And the record books show that along the way to at least a couple of these triumphs they have swept aside Surrey.

The Gillette Cup, the first of the one-day competitions, was won in its first two seasons by the all-conquering Sussex side, but then Yorkshire made it to their first final in 1965 and beat Surrey by 175 runs, thanks in the main to a stunning 146 from Geoffrey Boycott which remains one of the best knocks ever seen in limited overs cricket.

Perhaps an even more amazing result, however, was when Yorkshire overpowered Surrey by ten wickets in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy semi-final at Headingley in 2002 on their way to beating Somerset in the final.

The semi-final had been scheduled for Wednesday, July 31, but a rain-soaked ground made play impossible either on that day or on the two which followed.

A bowl-out had been anticipated for the Friday evening but Lord's allowed the rules to be bent a little so that the match could take place on the Sunday, despite Surrey being in action at Whitgift School the previous day in the Norwich Union League.

The pitch originally chosen for the Headingley match had been used on the Saturday for Yorkshire's League game against Nottinghamshire and a new strip was prepared which Surrey felt was damp at the start when they were put in to bat and could only manage 173 for eight in 48-overs, the game suffering weather interruptions.

Craig White was the chief destroyer with four for 35 from his ten overs but he made an even bigger impact with the bat as he and Matthew Wood reached a revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 167 in a mere 24.1 overs. White was unbeaten on exactly 100 while Wood hit a less frenzied 57.

It is rare for Yorkshire v Surrey matches not to include high drama of some sort or other and Sunday's semi-final should be as ferociously fought as ever.