It’s a washout! Hail frustrates Harrogate in Yorkshire’s visit

Harrogate Cricket Club’s glamour friendly against county champions Yorkshire was washed out without a ball possible on Tuesday evening.

The initial start had been delayed until 6pm, but the heavy rail returned minutes before play was due to start. 

Following a 30-minute shower, the umpires agreed for play to begin at 7pm, but again, the dark clouds circled the ground minutes before the players entered the fray.

The Harrogate squad got as far as practicing their fielding before a heavy spell of hailstones ended any chance of play.

More than 300 spectators had turned out for the charity match, which was also set to form part of Richard Pyrah’s benefit year with Yorkshire.

Harrogate chairman Miles Rawlings said: “It’s a great shame.

Harrogate captain George Ross watches on as the rain falls (Caught Light Photography)

Harrogate captain George Ross watches on as the rain falls (Caught Light Photography)

“We tried to get the game started at six o’clock, and it started to rain at ten to six. We tried to get it started at seven o’clock, and it started to spit at quarter to before we had hailstones.

“The fates were against us. Yorkshire were really good.

“They really wanted to play and were quite happy to play a 10-over game if necessary, unfortunately, the weather has just beaten us.

“Had we had a really good night, I think we would have had over a thousand people here. As it is, I would guess we had 300 here.

The covers on at St George's Road

The covers on at St George's Road

“It’s just a shame for everyone really.”

Yorkshire toured local grounds this week as part of their Natwest T20 Blast preparation. On Monday night, England international Jonny Bairstow cracked a 56-ball 141 not out as Yorkshire saw of a stubborn side made up of players from the Bradford League.

Last night, Yorkshire were in action at Clifton Park in York, after the Advertiser Series went to press.

However, Harrogate’s chance to shine came to a devastating halt for captain George Ross, who has led his side to the top of the Yorkshire League in his first six games in charge.

He said: “It’s a massive frustration for the club, but hopefully we have raised the profile of the club somewhat.

“It’s been good to have some of the Yorkshire boys, signing some autographs to put a positive impression on Yorkshire cricket.

“For them to come to the local grounds and improve grassroots is massively important.

“If you come down on a Saturday morning there are hundreds of kids down. They have been looking forward to it for weeks.

“They come down and can see their heroes. They will see them when they go to Headingley, but there’s something different when you see them in this environment, with them approachable.

“It’s great and gives them something to aspire to which is vital.”

The clash was due to be the second time Yorkshire played at Harrogate since the county ground stopped holding fixtures in the 1980’s.

Rawlings confirmed the match would take place again next year, but a replacement fixture in 2015 would not be possible.

He said: “I’ve spoken to Martyn (Moxon) and they want to do it again next year and make it an annual event.

“They find it quite useful to play these games as practice for the T20 county tournament. They are fine to come back again next year.”

Yorkshire will hope for better weather today when their second XI - including Harrogate batsman Jonny Tattersall - plays Nottinghamshire Outlaws at St George’s Road.