Harrogate captain George Ross urged his table topping squad to use Saturday’s horror collapse against Yorkshire Academy as a “kick up the backside” for the final three matches of their title bid.;
Harrogate surrendered a clear winning position at the interval as the pace of Yorkshire youngster Matthew Fisher ripped through the usually reliable top order.
Having bowled Yorkshire’s top prospects out for a meager 85, Ross’ men crashed to 7/3 before losing their last seven wickets for just 23 runs.
Harrogate were all out for just 73 in reply, leaving the Yorkshire League North title race in the balance.
“It was a surreal day, really strange,” said Ross.
“Hopefully it will be the kick up the back side that we will be after and show the lads that you can’t take anything for granted.”
The Academy had elected to bat on their home pitch at Leeds University but they were soon cursing the decision as Tom Geeson-Brown removed top order batsmen Harry Brook, Richard Brown and Mosun Hussain.
Geeson-Brown’s control and pace continued to cause problems alongside Nick Taylor (2/17) and the quick finished with figures of 4/33 in 12 overs.
The Academy battled their way up from 49/8 to 85 all out courtesy of a stoic performance from last pair Jack Shutt (16no) and James Logan (15) – two innings which proved decisive
In Gate’ reply, Fisher bowled Dion Sanson and Jonny Tattersall for ducks before Matt Taylor poleaxed Matthew Good at the other end.
Ross stabilised the innings with 31 – the game’s highest score – alongside David Foster (17) but both received controversial umpiring decisions off Jack Shutt’s bowling to leave ‘Gate 57-6.
At that point, Harrogate were still favourites to wrap up a win that would have put them 17 points clear of York in the table.
But the lower order collapsed and Harrogate came up 13 runs short of victory.
“It wasn’t acceptable from our batsman, we just collapsed,” Ross added.
“For 70 per cent of the game we played some really good cricket. We bowled and fielded brilliantly to keep them to just 85.
“It wasn’t that we thought the job was done because we knew it was going to be thought with the bat. But Matt Fisher came on for his opening spell and before no time at all we were 5/2 and then 7/3.
“Me and Dave gritted in and got us to 50-5 and we thought the job was near enough done but then we collapsed again.
“It’s happened before this season when we have chased things down by the skin of our teeth.
“Perhaps we were due that one where it didn’t go our way.”
Harrogate remain in pole position to reach the end of season Yorkshire League play-offs and can guarantee the title with three wins in their final three matches.
The dangerous Sheriff Hutton Bridge visit St George’s Road on Saturday, but Harrogate are at full-strength including the return of Yorkshire seam bowler Ben Coad.