Vikings visit is a smash hit

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It was the first time a full-strength Yorkshire side had appeared in Sheffield for almost two decades - and boy, was it worth the wait.

Hundreds of cricket-mad spectators converged on Sheffield Collegiate’s Abbeydale headquarters on Monday, as a strong Yorkshire Vikings side - containing England internationals Gary Ballance and Ryan Sidebottom - faced a Yorkshire League Select XI.

Thanks to a sparkling innings from Adam Lyth, the Vikings eventually prevailed - but the amateur side, made up of players from Collegiate, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham Town and the Yorkshire Academy covered themselves in glory.

And, perhaps most importantly, a message was sent to the Yorkshire hierarchy that cricket is still as popular in the Steel City as it was back in 1996, when Abbeydale hosted the last of its 53 Yorkshire matches.

Perhaps surprisingly, Yorkshire reneged the decision for them to bat first and instead trusted their opposition to post a challenging total.

They certainly didn’t disappoint, and their 184-5 threatened to be enough until Lyth cracked a late 54, off just 25 deliveries.

“It’s been nearly two years since Yorkshire played here, but they returned in style,” an event spokesperson said.

“The ground was packed in the evening sun to see a great match, which was neck and neck towards the final overs.

“The Yorkshire League players did themselves and their clubs proud, and we also raised a fantastic amount of money for our nominated charity Fable.

“So a huge thank you to everyone who came out and supported the event.”

n Full report and more cricket: See page 59