Club cricket grounds can be idyllic, although it helps if the sun shines all day, the temperature sits nicely in the mid-20s and, if the marquees billow occasionally, it is the consequence only of a gently cooling breeze. The tents here did not so much billow as lurch yesterday as the wind whipped across the Liverpool Cricket Club ground. The rain that delayed the start by 45 minutes did not return but, even when the clouds parted in the afternoon, only a few spectators felt bold enough to remove their coats.
It is the first Roses match in 252 to be staged in Liverpool and it may not conceivably be the last as a chill wind of a different kind again blows through Lancashire's Tesco-subsidised £32m Old Trafford redevelopment plans. Aggrieved neighbour Albert Gubay, whose Derwent Holdings were refused permission to build a rival superstore nearby, has been given leave by the Court of Appeal to contest an earlier rejection by the High Court of his request for a judicial review into the plans.
Lancashire believe it will ultimately prove futile but the delay to work at OId Trafford may jeopardise a critical £5.2m grant and the county's hosting of an Ashes Test in 2013, without which their future may be as bleak as yesterday morning's weather.
In the circumstances, the team is doing well. Yesterday, with the aid of some helpful conditions, they shaped up to land their fourth win in five by bowling Yorkshire out for 141.
It was a pretty miserable effort from the visitors but given the absence of Anthony McGrath, Gerard Brophy, Richard Pyrah and Tim Bresnan, all injured, as well as Ajmal Shahzad and Jonny Bairstow, seconded to England Lions, there were mitigating circumstances. Wicketkeeper Simon Guy, who was released by Yorkshire in 2009, was summoned from league cricket to make his first appearance in a first-class match for four years.
Even so, 95 for 2 looked like a platform to build on. It was at that point that Joe Sayers was out to a brilliant diving catch by Steven Croft at point, rewarding Jimmy Anderson with his only wicket. Sayers is often criticised for the snail's pace of his scoring but his obduracy was perfect for yesterday's conditions. With the ball frequently beating the bat and at times keeping disconcertingly low, Sayers took more than three hours over his 53 but once he had gone Yorkshire's resolve seemed to go with him.
The last eight wickets fell for 46 runs as Yorkshire, who had been fortunate to lose only Adam Lyth and Joe Root before lunch as Anderson delivered an excellent spell of swing bowling, lost their backbone.
Andrew Gale, the captain, who should have been stumped on two, threatened to take advantage of his let-off but Gary Keedy, finding turn, bowled him round his legs. The left-arm spinner took four wickets, as did Farveez Maharoof, the Sri Lanka all-rounder, who was also impressive.