Supporters of Durham and Lancashire can breathe easily – for now, at least.
The championship prize paraded in front of appreciative Warwickshire supporters here was for the second XI competition. But, after another terrific, 15-wicket day at the First Division office, the Bears may soon have a double to celebrate.
Nottinghamshire, top of the pile last year, have made life as difficult as possible in recent weeks for all those counties who would like to follow them onto the roll of honour. But a combination of pace, accuracy and swing did for them yesterday.
After two decidedly chilly days, conditions were suddenly warmer and Warwickshire had just the men to take advantage either side of lunch in Chris Woakes, Chris Wright and Rikki Clarke.
Faced with a mountainous score of 574 for 7 declared, Notts reached 133 for the loss of Karl Turner. But whereas their progress on Thursday had been largely smooth, it was a different ball game now.
Alex Hales snicked a testing delivery, just outside off stump, from Woakes to give the hosts the encouragement they needed. It was Clarke's entry to the attack that posed problems galore, though. Swinging the ball late at a good pace, he soon found the edge of Riki Wessels' bat.
Boyd Rankin's hostility forced Steven Mullaney so deep into his crease that he dislodged a bail with his back foot when setting off for a single. Chris Read could then only a feather a Woakes ball pitched right up.
The Read dismissal came straight after lunch and, 17 overs later, Notts were all out for 238 – having lost their last six wickets for 54 runs when they need to reach 425 to avoid the follow-on, Woakes falling just short of a 13th five-for in only his 61st first-class match.
When the visitors were asked to bat again, Turner was dismayed to be given out, caught behind, off Rankin's snorting bouncer. Then five rat-a-tat-tat strikes in the last nine overs of the day – three by Wright and two more from the fired up Rankin – left Warwickshire within touching distance of a victory that would see them installed as title favourites tonight.Reuse content