Sidebottom's best delays the inevitable
Yorkshire 195 and 205 for 4 beat Somerset 265 and 132 by six wickets
Yorkshire's final day of the season was also their most successful as a glittering career-best performance from Ryan Sidebottom paved the way for an emphatic six-wicket victory over Somerset at Headingley. But the home celebrations were somewhat muted because Worcestershire, despite their defeat at the hands of Sussex, need to pick up only one point against Durham next week to send Yorkshire tumbling into the Second Division.
Even so, Yorkshire could not have wished for a better end to their campaign. They polished off the last four Somerset wickets for the addition of only eight runs in the morning and then cantered to their 203 target with 22 overs to spare.
Three of the wickets were claimed by the unstoppable Sidebottom who finished with figures of 7 for 37 to give him a match return of 11 for 98. It was the third time that he has enjoyed a match haul of 10 wickets or more and his 63 wickets in the season was easily a personal best. Furthermore, Sidebottom's match analysis was the best by a Yorkshire bowler at Headingley since he himself grabbed 11 for 43 against Kent in 2000.
The game was still evenly poised when Somerset resumed on 124 for 6 with an overall lead of 194, but it quickly went Yorkshire's way as Sidebottom struck by having Alfonso Thomas caught at slip by Adam Lyth before Craig Meschede's off-stump was flattened by Ajmal Shahzad, leaving the rampant Sidebottom to polish off Murali Kartik and Steve Kirby.
With plenty of time at their disposal, Yorkshire were able to make a careful start through Joe Root and captain Joe Sayers, the openers having put on 49 in 16 overs by lunch. Root continued to do the lion's share of the scoring and he had contributed 46 to the 85 partnership when he was lbw to one which nipped back from Thomas.
Further pressure was then applied by left-arm spinner Kartik who picked up two wickets as a result of excellent catches, Arul Suppiah tumbling over at mid-on to get rid of Adam Lyth and Peter Trego swooping to pluck up a left-handed catch at slip from the obdurate Sayers.
Yorkshire soon got back on top as Anthony McGrath and Jonny Bairstow took control and by tea they had moved the score on to 151 for 3, with McGrath on 19 and Bairstow 29. McGrath plundered three consecutive fours off Kirby, the second of them going through the outstretched hands of Alex Barrow at third slip, and when Bairstow reached 39 he became the only Yorkshire batsman to score 1,000 Championship runs in the season.
Bairstow celebrated with three consecutive fours off Thomas but McGrath was caught behind attempting to hit the winning runs with a six, leaving Gary Ballance to finish things off with a boundary.
During the lunch interval it was announced that Bairstow had won the club's player of the year award with Ballance taking the players' player of the year award. The fielding prize went to Lyth, the young player of the year was Bairstow, and the Academy player of the year award went to Alex Lees.