While helping to look after his new twin daughters, Richard Pyrah will have plenty of time to reflect on life’s highs and lows during the next few weeks.
The Yorkshire all-rounder missed the county’s pre-season trip to Barbados in order to be present at the twins’ birth, but just when he must have thought all was well with the world he suffered a badly-broken left hand in the opening match against Kent.
It was only last season that Pyrah shook off his tag as a one-day player, and with Tim Bresnan being awarded a central contract he could have expected to continue as a regular in the four-day side.
The next game, against Leeds/Bradford MCCU, will give Yorkshire the opportunity to examine their options, and while there is no obvious replacement as an all-rounder, bowling will be the priority. The next LV County Championship is also at Headingley, against Essex starting on April 19, and if a similar pitch is prepared Yorkshire will need more firepower.
After his side amassed 537 for nine, Kent skipper Rob Key said: “That was one of the best pitches I have played on in Championship cricket and the groundstaff deserve a medal for preparing one like that in April.”
Whether the Yorkshire bowlers would agree is another matter, and Pyrah went wicketless in 19 overs before suffering his injury in the field on the second morning.
Yorkshire resumed the final day on 326 for six needing 72 to avoid the follow-on and 13 overs later Pyrah walked out to bat sporting a plaster cast with nine wickets down and 32 required to make Kent bat again.
He watched from the non-striker’s end while Iain Wardlaw added eight runs and then lost his off-stump to Charlie Shreck attempting a one-handed shot to the first ball he faced.
New coach Jason Gillespie felt Pyrah’s bravery had inspired Yorkshire to go on and save the match, saying: “I’ve seen the X-ray and it’s pretty horrific, so for him to make that commitment just shows what sort of guy he is.
“Our guys were on a bit of a high seeing the crowd give Rich the applause he thoroughly deserved and it certainly didn’t hurt us going into that second innings. The guts he showed were phenomenal and it’s what we’re about. It’s about going out there and getting stuck in, even when it’s tough.”
The match was also a triumph for Mark Davies, making his Kent debut after seeing his career with Durham wrecked by injury. He shared a record ninth-wicket stand for Kent against the Tykes, contributing 58 to the partnership of 153 with Matt Coles.
Davies made only one half-century in 105 first-class innings for Durham, scoring 62 against Somerset at Stockton in 2005.
After taking only two wickets in the previous two seasons, he then opened up with a three-wicket haul in Yorkshire’s first innings and had century-maker Jonny Bairstow dropped at second slip by ex-Durham colleague Ben Harmison on 24.
Davies also had Joe Root dropped by Geraint Jones early in Yorkshire’s second innings so, like Pyrah, he had cause to reflect on life’s ups and downs.