Nottinghamshire 203 (Read 81*, Brooks 4-58) and 149 for 5 (Taylor 56*) trail Yorkshire 532 for 9 dec by 180 runs

It is probably fitting that Yorkshire should have been made to work for the win that will seal their 32nd Championship title.

This competition is a test of stamina, resilience and squad depth as much as it is skill and, on another painfully slow Trent Bridge surface, Yorkshire were obliged to display all those qualities against a Nottinghamshire side that has, belatedly, shown a bit of fight. They will go into the final day of this game requiring five more wickets to secure the trophy.

Few will begrudge Yorkshire this success. They are, without much doubt, the finest first-class side in the domestic game and they continue to play a significant role in the development of England players. Nine of the 11 representing them in this game developed through the club's system and the two who did not - Gary Ballance and Jack Brooks - have improved substantially since joining them.

It will be a victory for some of those behind the scenes as much as those on the pitch, though. Jason Gillespie, who arrived in 2011 and has seen his side lose only three Championship games in that period, is one notable contributor, while Martyn Moxon, the director of cricket who continues to coach the batsmen, is another and so to Andrew Gale, the club captain who is absent from this game through suspension.

But equally the likes of Colin Graves, the executive chairman who has kept the club afloat through bank rolling them to the tune of £10m, and Ian Dews, the academy coach who has worked with many of this team in their developmental years, should share in this triumph while Kevin Sharp, now with Worcestershire, and Paul Farbrace, now with England, deserve credit. It is a club that, in development terms at least, offers a template for others to follow.

For a while it seemed the title would be decided on the third day. By the time Nottinghamshire subsided to 140 for 9 in their first innings, it appeared they would offer no resistance at all. If Michael Lumb, adjudged leg before to one that looked high and wide, was unfortunate, the likes of Riki Wessels, prodding at one he could easily have left, were far more culpable. Luke Fletcher and Gary Keedy both fell to reckless slogs. It was soft cricket.

But Chris Read is made of sterner stuff. And, with the ball soft and the pitch slow, he helped add 63 for the 10th wicket with Harry Gurney, forcing Brooks back into the attack and showing that, had Nottinghamshire's top-order showed just a bit more fight, they might have been able to secure a draw. As we have seen rather often in recent months, even tailenders can be hard to dismiss at Trent Bridge once the pitch has lost all its life.

Still, Joe Root had no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on and, with his attack armed with a new ball, they soon made inroads into the Nottinghamshire second innings. Steven Mullaney was leg before first ball, playing for inswing that was not there, before Lumb prodded half-forward to one angled across him on off stump.

Had Adam Lyth and then Ballance held on to outside edges offered by Alex Hales (on four) and James Taylor (on one), both of whom were guilty of driving at balls they could, and should, have left well alone, the match could have finished in a rush.

Instead they engineered a recovery of sorts and, even though Hales fell to a sharp return catch, Wessels played all around a straight one and Samit Patel dozily lifted his back leg and allowed himself to be stumped, Taylor at least saw his side into the final day of the match. He will know though, that a terrific season is in danger of ending in disappointment, with Warwickshire all but certain to go into the final round of games above them in the race for second place.

The unfortunate bowler for both the drops was Ryan Sidebottom. While Brooks is the leading wicket-taker in the division and deserves great credit for his wonderfully accurate bowling, Sidebottom's contribution extends beyond his left-arm swing. In a dressing room full of young, talented players on the cusp of exciting careers, the 36-year-old's experience has proved an invaluable asset.

Enticed back to the club after what he calls "seven wonderful years" at Trent Bridge, Sidebottom now stands on the brink of his fourth Championship title. While the first came with Yorkshire in 2001, there were two with Nottinghamshire in 2005 and 2010.

"I've had a special career and achieved a lot more than I ever expected of myself," Sidebottom said. "To win three Championships is really special.

"This one maybe means more to me, because I suppose I'm coming to the twilight of my career. I'm coming to the end. Not just yet, I hope. I came back to the club not to ease up but to give it everything and try and win some more trophies for Yorkshire.

"Martyn Moxon sold me a dream when I came back to Yorkshire. He said we had some young, talented players at the club that are improving year by year and are going to go from strength to strength. They wanted me to pass on a bit of my knowledge and a little bit of experience to come into the team. There are a lot of young internationals at the club and they're doing really well. The club is going in the right direction.

"How long can I go on? I get looked after by the coaches. I do a lot of yoga, a lot of weights in the off season and since I've got past 30, I'm probably bowling as well as I ever have done. I'd like two or three more years if I can. If I'm bowling and contributing, I'll carry on."

If there was a shadow over the day, it was the news that Liam Plunkett had broken down while representing the second XI. Plunkett was coming back from an injury to his left ankle, but has sustained a new injury to his right Achilles. He will rest prior to a training trip to South Africa before Christmas with several other fast bowlers on the England radar.