Gale looks on as Tykes celebrate

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Published: Saturday 13th September 2014 by The News Editor

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Yorkshire cheers at their 32nd County Championship rang round Trent Bridge – but one man was missing from their celebrations, at the orders of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Club captain Andrew Gale has known for almost two weeks he would be banned for this last lap to the 2014 title, after his spat with Ashwell Prince at Old Trafford.

But he discovered on Thursday night that his punishment would extend not just to suspension from Yorkshire’s final two matches of the season but would prevent him too from receiving the LV= Division One trophy and joining his team-mates as they did.

The ECB later explained in a statement that, because of the ongoing inquiry announced on September 3 and being conducted by its discipline commission into whether Gale should face any further action, it was not deemed “appropriate” for him to be involved in the presentation.

So it was that, after Yorkshire’s innings-and-152-run victory on the back of Ryan Sidebottom’s six for 30, a succession of Yorkshire’s great and good – in attendance and otherwise – had to reconcile Gale’s disappointment with delight at their overdue and hard-earned success.

Former Yorkshire and England opener Michael Vaughan was not present but made his opinion known on Twitter, describing any ECB ruling to curtail Gale’s celebrations as “nothing short of disgraceful”.

At the moment Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves presented the silverware instead to stand-in captain Joe Root, Gale was watching from the players’ balcony.

He was also made unavailable for interview, but did manage to get his hands on the trophy in time to reignite the roars of approval from a 1,000-strong Yorkshire supporters’ contingent who had made the trip down the M1 to pack out the New Stand, adjacent to the Trent Bridge pavilion.

As the noise began to abate, it fell to Yorkshire’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon to confirm the circumstances of Gale’s ban and describe his reaction.

Moxon, like Vaughan a former Yorkshire and England batsman and to whom this triumph means much after an association with professional cricket which had previously brought him no trophies, naturally empathised with the man who led the White Rose to the verge of history yet could then only partially share the glory.

“It’s been hard for him, obviously,” Moxon said. “It’s the moment he’s cherished so for him not to be able to be out there to collect the trophy is very hard for him to take.

“But the bottom line is everybody knows that Andrew Gale is captain of Yorkshire 2014, when we won the county championship. Ultimately, that’s all that matters.”

There was further reassurance for Moxon that the crowd reserved one of their biggest cheers for Gale.

“That’s good for him. It’ll make it a little bit easier,” he said.

“But the important thing is he’s captain of our team, and in history it will go down with him as captain when we won the championship.”

Moxon did not feel at liberty to say more on the subject, other than: “At the end of the day, we’re bound by the rules and regulations of the ECB – and that’s what we have to do.

“It’s tough for him today.”

Yorkshire completed their surge to a first championship in 13 years as Sidebottom – a sole survivor from the 2001 team – led the way against his old club, with whom he also won two more titles.

The veteran seamer finished with nine wickets in the match, including four on the final morning, as Yorkshire bowled their hosts out for 177 an hour before lunch.

James Taylor (75) stood firm until he was last out, Sidebottom appropriately clinching the deal thanks to a safe catch by substitute fielder Rich Pyrah at point.

Ten minutes later, Root received the prize from Graves – who soon afterwards spelled out Yorkshire’s development from a club on the brink of bankruptcy when he first began investing 12 years ago.

Root, 23, has had many highlights for England already – including an Ashes win last year – but this achievement is still one he will never forget.

“This is obviously very special … to get this opportunity is very memorable,” Root said.

“I didn’t expect to captain the side b ut unfortunately it came about, in bad circumstances, and it’s credit to Galey that the way he has captained the side made it very easy for me this week.

“For a big club like us not to have won anything for such a long period of time is obviously very frustrating.”

Gale’s team, he insists, made it easy for him.

“We had a chat this week, and he was very good in the way he didn’t try to captain from the boundary,” Root added.

“But he’s been very good at offering advice … he’s a great club captain.

“I think the lads deserved it – they have played exceptionally well all year in all departments.

“The guys put in some great performances with bat and ball which meant they captained themselves – I only had to do tinkerings here and there.”

Root’s previous captaincy experience for Yorkshire was in a chastening defeat, their only one of the summer in the championship, against Middlesex at Lord’s in April.

He made the most of his second chance.

“Obviously the position we were in, I was desperate to play,” Root said.

“It was a great way to finish the international summer with England – and now this is very special to finish it like this as well.”

Published: Saturday 13th September 2014 by The News Editor

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