|Scorecard:||Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire|
|Player:||RJ Sidebottom, A McGrath|
|Event:||LV County Championship 2010|
Nottinghamshire were denied a deserved victory at Headingley on the final day of the match by stubborn Yorkshire resistance and the rain which cut short the match at the tea interval when they were still in with a good chance of winning. They still did not show quite their superb form of the first two days, but with the final session to come they had eight Yorkshire wickets down and the opposition only 39 runs ahead. It was no foregone conclusion, as they still had Adil Rashid and David Wainwright to contend with, but the chance was gone.
Yorkshire resumed at their overnight score of 273 for two, with the night-watchman Steve Pattinson accompanying Anthony McGrath, who was on 79. It was immediately clear that occupation of the crease was the sole objective, with any runs scored almost incidental. But the old maxim says, 'Occupy the crease and the runs will come'; so they did, but slowly. Only three came in the first twenty minutes, and then McGrath, facing Patterson, tried too late to withdraw his bat from a delivery that moved in on him from outside the off stump and he nudged a catch to the keeper. His fighting innings of 80 lasted 263 balls and contained eight fours.
The captain, Andrew Gale, was next in, and he managed to look reasonably enterprising without scoring a great many runs. He made 14 off 73 balls and doing a sound job for his team when he got in a tangle playing a ball from Sidebottom and somehow managed to send a return catch; he left in pain, having hit his foot as well as the ball, which no doubt affect his fatal shot. Traditionally 'no fours before lunch' is the policy, according to Yorkshire humour', in Roses matches, but there was only one boundary off the bat before the interval in this instance. It came after 95 minutes when Patterson squirted a ball from Sidebottom past the slips.
The night-watchman was still there at lunch with 25 to his name, but he added only a single afterwards, before he was given out caught at bat and pad off the left-arm spin of Samit Patel. He faced 116 balls and lasted 146 minutes, an outstanding example of determination and application for one who is normally a tail-ender. Sir Geoffrey will be proud of him. Yorkshire were now 326 for five, still 41 runs behind and with rain often threatening but still dodging the ground.
Gerard Brophy got off the mark with the second boundary of the day, but Jonny Bairstow perhaps concentrated too much on defence for a batsman of his natural attacking inclinations. He scraped together 7 runs off 24 balls before he drove over a ball from Pattinson and was bowled. Defeat was looming for Yorkshire as Adil Rashid, a man for failing causes, came to the crease. Brophy added another boundary with the most perfect of Chinese cuts off Andre Adams, followed by a third through the covers, the most aggressive batting of the day. Rashid wisely played himself in before he too injected some aggression into the game, driving Adams through the covers for successive fours. Even so, it took the pair fifty minutes to rub off Yorkshire's deficit, which they did just before three o'clock.
Yorkshire were 31 ahead when the stand was finally broken, a good ball from Sidebottom having Brophy (37) indecisive outside off stump and caught by the keeper. The score passed 400, and on the stroke of tea Ajmal Shahzad (3) fell to the third brilliant catch of the innings by Adams, at third slip, off the bowling of Sidebottom. At 406 for eight, Yorkshire were only 39 runs ahead, still in serious danger of defeat, while Nottinghamshire also had to rely on the weather to hold for them. Rashid was unbeaten on 34; Sidebottom and Pattinson had taken three wickets each.
Unfortunately for them, the rain which had been threatening all day broke during the tea interval, and it was soon clear that the match was over. Nottinghamshire could well feel robbed of victory and yet they must be disturbed by the knowledge that, although they played like true champions on the first two days, they failed to display another trait of champions, that of maintaining their grip once they had the opposition by the throat and never letting up until the match was won. Yorkshire for their part could take pleasure in their superb uphill struggle, but this does not obviate their need to work out what went wrong on the first two days and to ensure it does not happen again.