Anyone who had watched the three previous days might have guessed that the weather, rather than Lancashire, would deny Yorkshire victory in the Roses match yesterday, and so it proved.
Play could not begin until 2.55pm, and although Darren Gough raised Yorkshire's expectations with two wickets with successive deliveries, a deluge after tea ended the proceedings when Lancashire were 25 ahead with three wickets left.
The lengthy delay might have persuaded any watching Lancastrians that their side, who had performed so indifferently for much of the match, might at last summon up enough fibre and resilience to get through the scheduled remaining 28 overs, plus the final hour.
Indeed, the overnight pair, Nick Speak and Warren Hegg, battered with much aplomb. There were no serious alarms until Gough, having not quite managed it on a couple of earlier occasions, eventually produced an inswinging yorker which hit the base of Speak's middle and leg stumps.
Speak, having battled it out for 250 minutes with a self-discipline not shown by too many of his colleagues, could take some consolation from the knowledge that it was the sort of ball that would probably have dismissed any batsman anywhere at any time.
Having duly noted that, the next man in, Glen Chapple, pushed only half forward to his first ball and was bowled via an inside edge. Richard Green, who was coming in on a hat-trick for the second time in the match, survived, but Gough later put him through the mill with an over during which he produced almost his entire repertoire, but the batsman somehow survived.
Gough emerged from the game with eight wickets for 101, the second-best match figures of his career. More importantly, perhaps, England will take some much-needed heart from the knowledge that he has got his swinging yorker working again. After Gough's flurry, Yorkshire walked out full of hope after tea, but soon afterwards the ground was under water, leaving their captain David Byas to reflect that his 33rd birthday might have been so different.Reuse content