Yorkshire232 and 177 for 2 (Lyth 81, Ballance 52*) lead Nottinghamshire 184 (Olivier 4 for 60) by 225 runs
The water is up to Nottinghamshire's neck and very soon it will be little use their cricketers opposing the knock of the tide. So much was clear at tea on the second day of this game after Yorkshire's openers had successfully extended their side's 48-run first innings lead to 109 with a partnership that scarcely raised a ripple on the surface of the game.
By close of play the advantage was 225 and Yorkshire should have wickets to spend in the search for quick runs sometime on the third afternoon. Having dismissed their hesitant visitors for 184 in the first half of the day, Steve Patterson's team have now done the groundwork for the victory that will sustain their hopes of the title.
And something like an hour after the cricketers had left the ground sleek, dark-suited figures were stalking across the outfield at North Marine Road as they made their way to the great marquee where a dinner celebrating this 133rd festival is being held. Scarborough has always been generous to Yorkshire cricket even in the relatively rare years when the White Rose did not prosper here. The talk this mellow evening will be of Fred and Brian, of Ray and Geoff, but perhaps there will also be a word for the current team who remain in the hunt for another pennant, even in a year when their performances have not forked lightning in the manner of their predecessors.
So perhaps the diners will recall this day's cricket, too. They might recall that while Duanne Olivier had bowled capably for his four wickets, Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance's 108-run partnership had given them even more satisfaction in the perfect evening sunlight. Lyth's cover-driving remains one of the joys of the English game and the only sorrow for neutrals was his dismissal for 81, caught at short fine leg off Liam Patterson-White, two overs before the close. Ballance, though, is unbeaten on 52 and one cannot be sanguine about the visitors' prospects tomorrow afternoon.
For already it seems clear that Nottinghamshire will have to score the biggest total of the match in order to win it. One's mind went back to this second morning when Chris Nash's batsmen had hopes of securing their own winning position. Those notions were all but destroyed in the first session when the visitors scored 90 runs but lost six wickets, some of them frittered on the sea air. It has been a theme of what is set to be a relegation season.
And thoughts even returned to Cambridge in late March when Ben Duckett and Ben Slater put on 325 for their team's first wicket. Yes, it was only the students, but the runs were far from given away. There was the heady scent of blossom in the city but hardly a tree was in the slightest leaf. Some folk were talking of Steven Mullaney's team as title contenders. When did it become clear that four-day honours were not to be theirs? "Who turned the page?" asked the poet, Ian Hamilton. Perhaps things are never that clear in an English summer.
Yet so much is right at Trent Bridge these days, apart from the cricket. The county boasts one of the finest yet most intimate grounds in the country and they are not short of money. Supporters pitch in, too. When officials decided not to continue with a yearbook the Nottingham Cricket Lovers' Society stepped in and published the 2019 annual. It is a fine and modestly priced piece of work and one hopes it is continued but God knows what it will say about this year. One thinks of the lines Roy Campbell addressed to "Some South African Novelists": "They use the snaffle and the curb all right, / But where's the bloody horse?"
There are Nottingham supporters at Scarborough, just as there were at Newclose and Tunbridge Wells this season. If they haven't greatly enjoyed the cricket, they have at least visited some wonderful grounds. But such excursions are all the more pleasurable when your team is playing well and supporters from Caythorpe or Cuckney were right to be disappointed by the dismissals which smirched the morning. Slater can be excused; he was caught behind off Ben Coad's first ball of the morning, a delivery which compelled the defensive push only to punish it with an edge to Jonny Tattersall.
Others were culpable. Jake Libby's ugly drive at a wideish ball from Olivier merely deflected the ball onto his off stump. Nash appeared in dominant form when hitting his seven fours but then played too soon at Olivier and was caught and bowled; he left after patting the pitch reproachfully. Joe Clarke prodded at a ball too far from his body and edged Coad to Tattersall; Duckett tried to cut a ball from Keshav Maharaj and was bowled off his pad. None of the errors glared at orthodoxy but they were enough. It is often the way when you are in the toils.
There was respite for visiting supporters, though. It arrived in the combative form of Tom Moores, who hit Maharaj for a straight six before lunch and then twice more to the Popular Bank early in the afternoon session. Moores also took three fours off one Maharaj over and while he was batting there seemed a possibility that Nottinghamshire might achieve parity. But after making 48 off 49 balls he pushed jerkily at a ball from Olivier and nicked a catch to Tattersall. It had been an enjoyable innings but not one to change the shape of the game.
For that we had to wait for Lyth and Ballance and their easeful strokes across a crystal evening.