We were always expecting a tough game against Yorkshire after the defeat they suffered at Middlesex, and we certainly weren’t disappointed.
Games against our neighbours are always big ones and to see the television crews setting up was just another reminder of that, but once the game got underway I didn’t think about it too much.
Michael Richardson admitted it played on his mind, but it made him even more determined to score the big runs we needed.
Personally, though, I tried to block it out – although sometimes that’s easier said than done when you walk out to bat with a cameraman in your face!
After making 589-8 declared in their first innings, a draw must have felt more like a loss for the Yorkie boys, but some great batting from Paul Collingwood and Keaton Jennings made sure we kept our unbeaten start to the season.
That’s a big positive – we haven’t lost despite not having yet played our best cricket. Another was to see Richo and Mark Stoneman make career-best scores. Colly said after the Somerset game he wanted us to get hundreds – and big hundreds. It was just a pity we bowlers were a bit off our game.
A draw was a good result for us. Yorkshire are a strong unit capable of scoring big runs, as they showed.
To bat first when he won the toss was a bit of a gamble by Andrew Gale but it paid off for him.
Maybe being asked to bowl caught us off guard a bit because everyone would admit we didn’t do as well as we have in the past in favourable conditions.
I think we fell into the trap a lot of opposition bowlers do when they come here. Chester-le-Street is renowned as a wicket-taking pitch and opposition sides sometimes fall into the trap of looking for magic balls more often than not. You could say we bowled a bit like the away team, and that gave them more opportunities to score.
Generally our pitches are tending to flatten out a lot on days three and four – that’s certainly what happened in the previous game against Somerset too – so it’s really important to make the most of bowling in the first innings, and keeping the opposition total down.
We won’t have to worry about bowling teams out at home for some time, though, because our next three County Championship matches are all on the road.
We’ve got back-to-back games in Hove and Taunton, and it’s a pity there’s a home Twenty20 game squeezed in between. It’s not the most sympathetic schedule!
As long as we can come out of those games still unbeaten I think we’ll be happy – Taunton is always a difficult pitch to get a result on and Sussex have got a strong side, particularly their bowling.
The Hove game will be the last for Kumar Sangakkara, which is a pity because he’s settled in extremely well. He’s a very nice guy.
He trains as hard as anyone I’ve seen and he’s got lots of stories to tell. I know Richo and “Rocky” Stoneman have been picking his brains and it obviously paid off for them if not him.
It’s a shame Kumar didn’t really fire on his debut, but I’m sure he will come back fighting strongly.