Notts held up by rain as Patterson digs in

Yorkshire 178 & 406-8 Nottinghamshire 545-7dec (Match drawn)
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Nottinghamshire regained top place in the First Division but it was only modest compensation for their frustration after wet weather robbed them of the chance to put clear space between themselves and Yorkshire as the race for the County Championship enters its final phase.

With a game in hand, the Trent Bridge side are still favourites, even with Somerset only eight points behind Yorkshire, but would have preferred the comfort of a bigger cushion as they sit out the next round, although their next game is at home to bottom of the table Warwickshire.

By then, they will hope to have reached an agreement for Ryan Sidebottom to remain at Trent Bridge, with the England fast bowler yet to sign a new contract offer.

The 32-year-old left-armer's current deal expires at the end of this season and, although he indicated this week that he would like "to see out my career with Nottinghamshire", there has been interest from Sussex.

Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire's director of cricket, said last night that the parties hoped to reach an agreement but admitted there was "a sticking point over the length of the deal".

On the field, Yorkshire, who had set out to bat through the final day and avoid defeat, found their plans unravelling steadily as the Nottinghamshire bowlers plugged away manfully on an unresponsive pitch.

Two down and 95 behind overnight in their second innings, Yorkshire blocked their way to lunch at four down but had the worst of things in the afternoon and were only 39 in front when they lost their eighth wicket on the stroke of tea, with a minimum of 34 overs still to play. But it was then that the rain that had been forecast finally swept in, leaving no time to mop up and restart within the scheduled hours.

"It's frustrating but every team has at least one game a season in which they feel they were robbed," Newell said. "With Somerset not winning, we had the chance to open up a 20-point lead over Yorkshire, while a lead of five points is neither here nor there, even with a game in hand."

Yorkshire showed no inclination to hurry at any stage. Steve Patterson, the nightwatchman, had a job to do and applied himself diligently, surviving until 10 minutes after lunch.

But Anthony McGrath lasted only five overs, edging a catch to Chris Read from Darren Pattinson's bowling. It left McGrath still 20 short of joining Adam Lyth and Jacques Rudolph in completing 1,000 first-class runs for the season. The possibility of Yorkshire's plan backfiring began to gather strength just before lunch as Andrew Gale popped a return catch to Sidebottom.

After Patterson's departure, Jonathan Bairstow drove down the wrong line to Sidebottom, who had Gerard Brophy caught behind and Ajmal Shahzad caught by Andre Adams at gully before the weather came to Yorkshire's aid.