Bowlers keep Yorks title march on
Yorkshire 407 (Lyth 95, Rashid 78, Fletcher 5-93) and 12 for 0 beat Nottinghamshire 150 (Patterson 5-43) and 266 (Read 58, Rashid 3-22, 3-38) by ten wickets
This was as emphatic a win as Yorkshire could have imagined over a Nottinghamshire side that ought to be higher in the table but the notion that the race for the title is as good as over can be dismissed as premature.
Yorkshire have a 33-point lead as things stand, at least over Sussex and Middlesex, but the margin may well be cut by Durham before the weekend is complete, unless the weather has a major say at Chester-le-Street. Durham, with a match in hand, are next up for Yorkshire at Scarborough, followed by Sussex at Hove and Middlesex at Headingley. The title may be Yorkshire's to lose - but one sub-standard performance might give the table a different look quite quickly.
This is the thought in Martyn Moxon's mind at least. "I think we've shown we're capable of winning [the title]," Yorkshire's director of cricket said. "If you take the first game of the season against Sussex out of it, we've played some fantastic cricket for the last 11 games.
"But we have to close it out. We're trying not to get too far ahead of ourselves. We know we have some tough games and we have Durham, Sussex and Middlesex - the top teams - all to play yet, and Surrey in the last game are going to be scrapping as well.
"We've won nothing yet and over four games a lot can happen, with a lot of points available. We're enjoying the wins as everyone does but the first words the captain said in the dressing room after the game were 'let's just keep doing what we're doing and not get carried away'."
It might be an idea to summon Mick Newell to deliver a few words ahead of the Durham match if they want to give some context to this performance, impressive though it was at times, especially when Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Patterson were taking it in turns to make batsmen of international pedigree seem relatively ordinary.
The two seamers shared 12 wickets in the match, with Sidebottom's seven a painful reminder to the Notts director of cricket that his bowling resources need a fair amount of rebuilding yet to restore the standards that prevailed before Sidebottom left two years ago, in search of a longer contract than Notts were prepared to offer.
"Over the first two days we were really outplayed by Yorkshire but our bowling in the first innings allowed Yorkshire to dominate the match," he said. "We have not taken 20 wickets in a match since May and if you don't take 20 wickets you don't win. It is an area we need to strengthen.
"We have been criticised in the past for not having a strong enough spin-bowling attack but when our seam bowling has been as disappointing as it has been in this match we have an issue there too, certainly since this is a wicket we would have wanted to bowl on.
"Over the last few years we have lost Ryan, Darren Pattinson, Charlie Shreck and Mark Ealham and we have been trying to be competitive in Division One while having a big turnover, particularly of fast bowlers. In Luke Fletcher and Harry Gurney we have two lads who have potential but are inexperienced, while Andre Adams is not quite on his game. So we looked a bit lightweight there compared to an attack like Yorkshire's, full of experience, who have come down here and bowled very well."
There was never much doubt that Yorkshire would win from the moment Nottinghamshire slumped to 65 for 8 on day two, in reply to a Yorkshire total of 407 that can rarely have been bettered here by a side invited to bat first.
They followed on 257 behind and while there was some improvement on the third morning, when Nottinghamshire progressed from 118 for 4 overnight to 217 for 7 at lunch, it was merely delaying the inevitable. Chris Read, whose lack of form with the bat this year has been another factor in his side's modest season, completed his first half-century this year. Not since 2003 has the captain and wicketkeeper completed a first-class season without a century, or contributed between 700 and 1200 runs.
In the event, they obliged Yorkshire to bat again, thanks to Read and another lively thrash by Adams, his second in the match, but three boundaries in five deliveries by Adam Lyth, whose 95 was the highest score in the game, completed the job without fuss.
Sidebottom's seven wickets neatly took him to 597 in his first-class career, one more than his father, Arnie, achieved and from 43 fewer matches.
"I suppose it's an honour and a privilege really to go past dad," he said. "He had a fantastic career himself and to follow in his footsteps was something I've always wanted to do.
"I'll give him a buzz in a bit with a beer in my hand and I might buy him a bottle of whisky to say I've gone past him. But I've still got a few years left in me yet and I'd like to go way past him if I can. I think 700 would be nice before I finish. I don't know if that will be achievable, but it would be a nice little swansong."