Yorkshire 182 for 7 (Lyth 50, Parkinson 4-23) beat Lancashire 163 (Croft 62, Bresnan 6-19) by 19 runs
Winning always matters in a Roses match and this extraordinary contest in front of a sellout Headingley crowd mattered more than most. Qualification for the quarter-finals of the NatWest Blast felt at stake and it was Yorkshire who prospered in a remarkable climax played out in pouring rain which turned into one of the greatest nights in Tim Bresnan's life.
Four wickets in Bresnan's last over - three to the bowler - represented quite a finale to a match taken by Yorkshire by 19 runs. Two fine catches in the deep to dismiss Dane Vilas and Jordan Clark in conditions which have traditionally been termed impossible, a run out of Steven Parry courtesy of Bresnan's direct hit at the bowler's end and, finally, the wrecking of Junaid Khan's stumps left him beaming in disbelief.
It all added up to figures of 6 for 19 - his best return in 15 years of professional cricket. When he first began as an 18-year-old he would not have imagined it would take place on a night like this.
A wet outfield even tempted him into a football-style celebratory knee-slide across the turf. "Why am I knee sliding? I am 32 years old," he said afterwards. "On nights like this, it feels as good as an international. You need to test yourself when the pressure is on."
The weather has been abominable in this year's Blast and so it was that Bresnan stood at the end of his run, running the ball desperately with a cloth, with Lancashire needing 23 off the last over. Cricket has often termed such conditions unplayable, but positive attitudes from players, umpires and fans alike have kept the tournament's head above water.
When David Willey grimaced and limped off after taking a catch in the final over, it warned of the dangers, but replays suggested the condition of the outfield was immaterial as he landed heavily on his knee.
Yorkshire had other heroes in Adam Lyth and Tom Kohler-Cadmore, whose uninhibited opening stand of 95 in eight overs was an emphatic rejection of Yorkshire's recent poor form. But on another night, in another place, Matt Parkinson, Lancashire's 20-year-old legspinner, would have been hailed the matchwinner for his nerveless 4 for 23.
As it was, the 40th anniversary of one of Yorkshire's greatest outpourings of national pride - Geoffrey Boycott's 100th hundred, reached with perfect timing during a Test against Australia at Headingley - was marked by a presentation in mid-innings by the Yorkshire chairman Steve Denison.
Yorkshire and Lancashire began the night locked in equal fifth (Yorkshire will point out they were ahead on run rate) and with only three matches left it felt as if there would be no way back for the losers. For both Yorkshire, who had briefly led the table before losing their last three games, and Lancashire who had won only one of their last five, the decline in fortunes had been abrupt. Other results went Lancashire's way so they have not entirely lost hope.
Perhaps it was the sense of now-or-never that stung Yorkshires openers into action, or perhaps it was just the urging on of a raucous capacity crowd. Lyth and Kohler-Cadmore tore into the match with a vengeance. Their assault included seven sixes and only one of them, when Lyth struck Junaid Khan down the ground, needed a prayer to clear the field.
Yorkshire never remotely matched the same standards again as Lancashire, initially under the cosh, conceded only 87 from the next 12 overs and dragged themselves back into the match.
Lyth and Kohler-Cadmore offer a good blend. Lyth has the dash of D'Artagnan, hitting through the line, favouring flourishes square of the wicket and slog sweeps. Kohler-Cadmore, whose move from Worcestershire has not brought instant rewards, is an imposing figure who prefers to bully the bowlers; his 45 was his best return of the season.
By the time Parkinson took to the stage, Yorkshire were 85 off seven overs and the crowd were lapping it up. Parkinson's T20 experience amounted to only eight wickets in six games, and as rain began to fall steadily, he must have been struggling to grip the ball. But he flighted and landed it throughout and only with his last ball, an overpitched delivery that Shaun Marsh pummelled to the boundary, did his accuracy err.
Lyth fell for 50 from 29 balls at the end of Parkinson's first over, his slog-sweep falling short, the signal for a break for rain. When the match resumed, Parkinson was still on song: Kohler-Cadmore's straight hit at the end of his second over lacked the legs and was held by Steven Croft despite Arron Lilley being in disturbingly close proximity.
Willey briefly threatened havoc, but the first time he tried to go big against Parkinson, he was picked up at long-on. That left Sarfraz Ahmed, a short-term overseas replacement who, like many short-term overseas replacements, did not seem attuned to the task and soon mishit to long-on, a fine diving catch by Croft.
Yorkshire were never the same again. Parry added to the spinners' tally when Marsh toed one into the leg side, Junaid produced impressive sleight of hand at the death and apart from a burst of three boundaries in eight balls by Jack Leaning, Yorkshire managed only one in the last nine overs.
The lack of power hitting in the second half of the order remains a weaknesses that will cost them dear if a solution is not found.
Yorkshire's response in the field was a good one: openers Karl Brown and Liam Livingstone removed in the space of three balls in Bresnan's second over. He had 2 for 4 in two overs, including nine dot balls and a dropped catch, while Willey went for 27. Lilley followed courtesy of a wonderful catch by Leaning, who would have filled his father Andy, a former professional goalkeeper, with pride as he leapt and held on above his head on the cover boundary. On such a mucky night, the catching was exceptional, and this was one was about to go viral.
That brought in Jos Buttler, at 72 for 3 from nine overs, a street behind what Yorkshire were at the same stage, not that it mattered. Headingley felt his matchwinning 71 not out from 35 balls two years earlier and knew the danger he possessed. Steve Patterson prevented a repeat, holding a return catch as Buttler failed to work into the leg side.
Amid it all, Croft, built a half-century in 38 balls, slog-sweeps to the fore, but Yorkshire's spinners were also hard to counter. Adil Rashid's legspin accounted for Croft in his last over, thrown flat and wide for Sarfraz to complete the stumping to end his innings of 52 from 46 balls. Between them, Rafiq and Rashid bowled eight overs for 53.
Rain returned with three overs remaining. Wet ball in his hands, rain splattering his face, Bresnan yorked Ryan McLaren. That all but settled it, although even 53 from three overs seemed possible as the rain fell. Then came Bresnan's final flourish. Yorkshire are still alive. Lancashire will fear the worst.