There was a spell around tea-time yesterday when it seemed that the triumphal procession towards the Championship might suffer an awkward and embarrassing interruption. Glamorgan, batting again and 357 behind, favoured with fortune and without a care, had lost only three wickets in 44 overs. Although they had another day to survive and were still 254 behind, rain was expected.
Twice this summer the Yorkshire captain David Byas has postponed declarations, with rain forecast, and still managed to force a victory before the weather intervened. When his decisions were queried, and it was suggested he was lucky, the captain has smiled, shaken his head and said: "No, it's farmer's instinct".
He did it again yesterday. Yorkshire began with a lead of 210 and five wickets remaining, on a warm and hazy morning suited to swing. The captain was at the wicket and there he stayed until the first over after lunch, by which time he had completed his fourth century this summer. "It's thee own fault," shouted a grizzled member on his departure. "Tha' shoulda' declared." Byas waited until Richard Blakey had passed 50 and eventually shut down at 2.10pm with a lead of 357. Rain was reported in Taunton.
Steve Kirby, now with the shaven head that is seemingly obligatory for superstars, alienated even this crowd with his antic posturings and mouthings in his first spell but did bowl with great hostility and no luck whatsoever. He was also told to shut up by his captain.
Gavin Hamilton's swing eventually broke through, with Jimmy Maher looking furious, while Ian Thomas and Mike Powell fell to the predatory close field before Mike Newell's 40-over resistance was ended by Richard Dawson's return. Dawson remains the likely matchwinner this morning, finding more turn at the Trafalgar Square End – Mike Wallace was missed off his first ball – and we are still waiting to see how he reacts under sustained fire.
Wallace did not survive Kirby's return and briefly it seemed that Byas might rub it in to his critics by claiming the extra half-hour after Darren Thomas had also been ushered out. Fading light probably influenced Byas's decision to wait and Glamorgan, still 215 behind with only the captain and the tail remaining, can only hope for a monsoon. Admission today is free.
Off the field, it is as if an old and rusty gate, half-closed for more than 30 years, has suddenly swung open. Trains from Leeds and York are crowded, the club shop can't stop selling and there are more white rose badges on display than perhaps for at any time since Richard III last played host at the Castle.
More sunshine took the three-day attendance to more than 16,000 and even niggles from Lord's about the possibility of Yorkshire losing points for a slow over-rate (as if ) or failing to prepare a satisfactory pitch (as if) for the last match against Essex here starting on 12 September have failed to dampen the euphoria.
Last September's loss of eight points for a blameless pitch still rankles in these parts, so the presentation of the Lord's Taverners' Trophy and the Championship pennant during Essex's visit should ensure that any ECB officials present will at least escape with their lives.Reuse content