Somerset 268 and 281 for 4 dec (Hildreth 101*, Rouse 69) beat Yorkshire 213 (C Overton 5-87, Groenewald 3-43) and 157 (C Overton 4-47, Leach 4-51) by 179 runs
The warnings were there for Somerset in their first match of the season, slightly less than three months ago, when they began their Division One campaign with an eight-wicket home defeat to Essex, new to the rigours of First Division life. Their situation became graver by the week as they remained stuck at the foot of Division One and their young captain, Tom Abell, stood down from the side because of a loss of form.
Finally, at Scarborough, at the eighth time of asking, and with a new captain at the helm, Somerset's cricketers ended their torment in 2017 with a 179-run victory over the once highly-fancied Yorkshire at Scarborough.
"It's been a tough year, and there's been some tough words," said Gregory as Somerset prepared for a long trek home in happy frame of mind. "It's brilliant to get that first win on the board, and to put in a performance like that is very special. I think I'll call it quits there and just go with the 100 per cent record as captain."
Somerset remained stoically winless until Liam Plunkett attempted to hit Jack Leach for a fourth six but only nicked the ball to Jim Allenby at slip. Cue delight in Stogumber. Cue street parties in Lydeard St. Lawrence.
In truth, though, the cricket had descended into late-innings carnival by the time that last wicket fell. Yorkshire's attempt to score 337 in 90 overs had long been a laughably optimistic enterprise and the chief giggler was a 6ft 5ins seamer from North Devon whose pace and hostility were appreciated by everyone at North Marine Road, not only the band of hardy supporters with wyverns on their chests.
This was Craig Overton's day and it was Craig Overton's match. The giant all-rounder took 4 for 47 on this final day at Scarborough and finished the match with career-best figures of 9 for 134. Making good use of a pitch which offered him bounce and carry, Overton discomfited all the batsmen in this game and dismissed every member of Yorkshire's top order at least once.
"Harry Brook, who now has three championship appearances on his CV, looked the most secure of the top order and his appearances may be restricted by the broken hand he sustained in the nets on the final morning"
On the day when Somerset at last took closer order on the counties above them, the all-rounder's cricket displayed the brio that may sustain his county in dark times. No doubt the absent captain, Abell, who has played a couple of second team T20 games this week, was quick to text the players with his congratulations. Abell is that sort of bloke.
As for Yorkshire, the bitter truth is that supporters at North Marine Road were more surprised by the rapidity of their side's collapse than the fact of it. A once formidable batting order which used to cope serenely with England calls now seems riven with an unlucky bag of fallibilities. These weaknesses have been largely responsible for their team losing two of their last three Division One games and trailing leaders Essex by 38 points having played a game more.
Harry Brook, who now has three championship appearances on his CV, looked the most secure of the top order and his appearances may be restricted by the broken hand he sustained in the nets on the final morning of this game. Seeking to explain this defeat by referring to the injuries which befell Plunkett and Ryan Sidebottom avoids the central problem which has suddenly befallen Yorkshire cricket. "It won't do" said someone at North Marine Road before explaining himself in some detail.
"We've spoken at length about our batting for a long time now but it's got past the point of talking about it," said the Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale. "It's about doing it now and we need to back things up on the field. We didn't work hard enough and we now want players to respond to what's happened. Whether that's by going into the second team and making big runs or by making runs in the T20, you just want to see a response. We've been here many a time before with Yorkshire cricket and we can turn this on its head."
Yorkshire's woes began with the fifth ball of their innings when Alex Lees drove carelessly outside a Lewis Gregory inswinger and heard the ash dancing behind him. But it was not until the fourth over that West Country hope trespassed into the land of belief and it was Overton who led that cautious advance.
The delivery which dismissed Brook would have moved the bowels of a Test cricketer, let alone a batsman whose memories of Peppa Pig are still fresh. Short, quick and deeply nasty, it reared up at the 18-year-old and brushed his glove. Steve Davies completed a difficult one-handed catch with deceptive aplomb. Rather less allowance can be made for Peter Handscomb, who pushed forward a trifle at his first ball but was hit on his front pad. Some thought the ball but might have been going over the top but Tim Robinson sent the batsman on his way. Yorkshire were 12 for 3 and the North Devonian did his best to disappear into the arms of his colleagues, a task that proved well beyond him.
Four overs later Tom Kohler-Cadmore hooked Overton into the pavilion, where a spectator received a glancing blow but proved himself the sort of chap with whom one would go flying by brushing away all solicitous enquiries. Next ball Kohler-Cadmore failed to cover Overton's steep bounce and edged the ball to slip where Tim Rouse held on. .
For ten overs Adam Lyth and Tim Bresnan scored freely against attacking fields before Lyth, having flattered his supporters briefly, deceived them grievously when he drove at Overton and inside-edged the ball into his wicket. That left Yorkshire on 67 for 5 and all but doomed. The folded arms and the grim expressions said as much.
An hour after lunch the players were shaking hands. Jack Leach, who had not been required to bowl in the first innings, took four of the wickets, bowling Tim Bresnan with a ball that pitched on leg but hit off and having Rashid caught at slip. Another tasty bouncer from Overton left Andy Hodd with little option but to scoop the ball to Eddie Byrom at square leg.
"I'd like to bowl on that sort of wicket every day," said Overton. "It was ideal for me and I don't think I've bowled better than I did at the start of the second innings. I'm not sure Harry could have done too much about the ball that got him this morning. It's one of those you just try and avoid and it can be a tough one to take."
As Overton spoke he was interrupted by Somerset supporters offering their congratulations. This victory is not enough to take their side out of the bottom two places in the table but it offers them hope, enough at any rate to speed them home in good heart this summer evening.