CAPTAIN Andrew Gale said Yorkshire’s drawn match against Durham at Headingley felt like a defeat after failing to go 16 points clear at the top of the LV= County Championship table yesterday.
A gripping final day saw Durham, who began it on 59-1 following on in their second innings still 136 runs behind, get out of jail thanks to scores of substance from Mark Stoneman, Michael Richardson and Phil Mustard.
Yorkshire’s bowlers, like the Durham batsmen, grafted hard for their wickets as the visitors reached 323-8 when the players shook hands with11 overs still to bowl - a lead of 128.
Richardson hit 95, Stoneman 86 and Mustard a particularly important 57 not out after the reigning champions had slipped to 290-8 after tea, which amounted to a lead of 95 with 24.1 overs still to bowl.
Mustard shared 33 unbroken in 15.1 overs for the ninth wicket with Mark Wood to limit Yorkshire’s lead at the top to five points after 11 matches from second-placed Nottinghamshire.
The only thing you could criticise Yorkshire for, and Gale accepted this, was their fielding display, which was lacklustre.
It was highlighted by two lives given to Richardson during the morning when on 27 and 36 by Tim Bresnan at short cover and York-based Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps off Steve Patterson’s bowling.
"It feels almost like a loss in the end after dominating the game for large periods," said Gale. "To not get over the line and get the win I thought we deserved, we are disappointed in the dressing room.
"Going forward, there's plenty of positives to take out of the game. We're still top of the league with five games left. I couldn't have asked for any more from the lads with the ball. I thought they put it in good areas consistently.
“The only thing you can criticise is the half-chances that went down. I thought we a little bit sloppy in the field in the afternoon, which was uncharacteristic. I guess that can happen after you've done 150 or 160 overs in the field.
“Fair play to Durham, I thought they battled hard.”
Yorkshire looked to be on course for win number five after tea thanks to three quick wickets for Jack Brooks, who reduced Durham from 250-5 on the way to figures of 4-66 from 23 overs.
Unfortunately, Mustard’s two-hour rearguard thwarted them on a pitch which had been criticised as sub-standard by Paul Collingwood after day three.
“Any wicket on which you can get a result going into the last day, and you've lost 50 overs, I thought it was a good pitch,” added Gale. “I don't see why he wouldn't be happy with that."
The two sides meet again in the NatWest T20 Blast competition tonight, this time at Emirates Durham. Yorkshire, fourth in the North Division need a win over the fifth-placed Jets to enhance their quarter-final bid. Kane Williamson returns from international duty.