Warwickshire defeated Yorkshire by seven wickets
Neil Carter and Osama Bin Laden combined to inflict a thoroughly miserable day on Yorkshire.
It was a brilliant display of aggressive batting by Carter that took Warwickshire to their fourth victory out of five in the totesport League. But it was the tasteless entrance on to the pitch by 'Bin Laden' that tarnished the atmosphere at this attractive little ground.
Carter cracked six sixes and five fours in a 38-ball blitz that set Warwickshire well on course for a crushing victory. Feeding on some obligingly poor bowling by the hosts, Carter rushed to the third one-day half-century of his career - and his second of the season - to earn his side their fourth victory in five matches in the competition.
The win confirms Warwickshire's firm promotion challenge. This was, arguably, their most polished display of the season in one-day cricket and, coming so soon after the Championship debacle against Nottinghamshire, was an important demonstration of their abiding spirit and unity.
Warwickshire have suffered outright defeat only once in their last ten one-day matches. Whatever their Championship form they are a fast-improving unit in this format. After the nadir of the defeat to Scotland, when they slipped uncomfortably close to the bottom of the table, they are ensconced in the top three and within striking distance of the top of the table.
For Carter, meanwhile, the match marked just another chapter in an excellent season. He bowled well, too, taking the two key wickets. The sooner the club secure his signature on a two-year deal the better. He has no shortage of suitors and this match will only have increased their desire to tempt him away from Edgbaston.
Carter struck the ball delightfully cleanly, scoring most of his runs on the leg side with an array of flicks and pulls that sailed into the crowd. By the time he departed in the 13th over he had scored 65 out of 82 and had made his captain --perhaps the finest one-day player England has produced - look pedestrian.
A sensible stand of 98 in 21 overs between Jim Troughton (53 balls, four fours and a six) and Jonathan Trott sealed matters. Trott (84 balls, seven fours) belying his struggles in Championship cricket, looked in imperious form, pulling a boundary off his first delivery and using his feet to come down the pitch and drill the spinners for straight boundaries.
Troughton was just as impressive. He placed the ball into the gaps with precision and latched on to anything over-pitched with alacrity. He thoroughly deserved a third half-century in the competition this season before falling with the victory line in sight.
Warwickshire performed equally well in the field. After weathering an early storm at the hands of Ian Harvey (47 balls), they put a stranglehold on the Yorkshire batting, conceding only one boundary in 13 overs in mid-innings.
Although Harvey (nine fours) tucked into some overpitched bowling from Dewald Pretorius, taking four boundaries from five deliveries, Dougie Brown retained control. He bowled his full allocation with the new ball, proving wonderfully frugal, and was well-supported by Alex Loudon in particular.
Loudon produced perhaps his best spell of the summer, achieving that rare mix of variation and consistency while also finding some turn. Most importantly, he avoided the occasional poor ball that has undermined his bowling on other occasions and helped restrict Yorkshire to only 54 runs between the 20th over, when he came on, and the end of the 36th when he finished his spell.
Warwickshire's fielding was back to its best, too, with Trott taking a smart slip catch to end Phil Jaques' innings while Ian Westwood, with only one stump to aim at, threw brilliantly accurately to run out Tim Bresnan. Yorkshire's total was perhaps 30 runs short of par.
Although it was pleasing to see a large crowd packing this charming little ground, there were moments when events appeared to be on the turn. 'Osama' - one presumes it was a mask - caused particular offence when he ran on to the pitch wearing a rucksack; a clear reference to the suicide attacks of recent weeks.
The club's policy of not chasing pitch intruders looked questionable when the buffoon remained on the field of play for some time, halting play and irritating players and spectators alike. When he did leave the field he was not arrested but merely escorted from the ground; hardly the appropriate deterrent.
By the time a spectator took a short-cut to the bar straight across the square --stopping play in the process --the stewards had completely lost control and let him meander along in his own time. Besides, they were busy dealing with a sombrero-wearing mustachioed-type wielding two (presumably replica) handguns. Odd place, Scarborough.
Officials from Yorkshire CCC, the police and Scarborough CC will meet to discuss the repercussions of the incidents in the next few days. Suffice it to say that the stewarding was woefully inadequate.