Six-gun Leach leaves Yorkshire floored

Somerset 390 (Gregory 73*, Trescothick 73, Allenby 50, Sidebottom 5-51) and 44 for 0 beat Yorkshire 145 and 286 (Lehmann 116, Plunkett 73, Lyth 49, Leach 6-64) by ten wickets

There was to be no heroic resistance from Yorkshire to protect their claims to a third successive Championship title: Jack Leach saw to that. Instead, Somerset completed a victory by 10 wickets that left all eyes turned to events at Old Trafford. If Middlesex defeat Lancashire by Thursday evening, the title is as good as theirs. If Lancashire do not succumb, however, then Middlesex, Somerset and Yorkshire will contest what could still be a wonderful climax to the Championship season next week.

Somerset, by virtue of a win achieved with a day and 8.3 overs to spare, have cut the margin to second-placed Yorkshire to a single point. Middlesex could lead by 20 points if they beat Lancashire. The advantage, variously, would reduce to nine points if they drew, and four if they lost.

Somerset, still without a Championship title in their history, feared relegation in early season. Now Taunton's pubs and cafes, the streets and the shops are full of chatter about whether this can be their year. This is not an exaggeration: in no county - not even in Yorkshire - is cricket more widely discussed as part of the daily currency of life. And the man they will be chattering about more than anyone will be "Jack". Taunton-born, he is fast achieving first-name status in the West Country.

Leach led Somerset from the field at Headingley, slightly stiff-legged, with figures of 6 for 64 in a season that has been beyond his wildest dreams. He now has 58 Championship wickets at 22.60 and has harvested five wickets in an innings in four successive Championship matches.

He took six of the seven Yorkshire wickets to fall on the third day, including Jake Lehmann, whose 116 was chiefly responsible for making Somerset bat again, but even here there was disappointment as Lehmann confirmed he has been summoned back to South Australia and misses the final game.

Lehmann's first Yorkshire century came on the ground where his father, Darren, remains revered. He possesses a gun-toting drive through extra cover and a moustache that would make him a natural as Charles Bronson's sidekick in an old-time Western. Leach might have claimed Lehmann earlier, on 60, but he was merely winged as Tom Abell could not hold on at short leg.

Leach continues to dominate the season in a way not even he can have imagined in April. In civvies, walking through the gates of Taunton, he would not easily be spotted as a professional sportsman. People might wonder if he had come from the council to check on Health & Safety requirements, or had popped over the road from Coopers Associates to discuss the small print of the ground-naming rights with the chief executive.

There have been many times at Somerset when both the player himself and his county wondered if he would make the grade. In his schooldays, he was a contemporary of Jos Buttler who rather dominated attention and, on his first-class debut for Cardiff UCCE, Somerset hit him to all parts. He does not fit the mould of the physically-imposing modern cricketer and he is all the more watchable for that: Somerset have a talent for producing character cricketers.

Thin of hair, tidy of beard, with few claims to athleticism and one of the few professionals to play in spectacles, he runs in with a little hop of his left foot and a slightly apologetic air. But when a wicket comes - and he took the last six - he celebrates a wicket with the individuality of an offbeat comedian at the Edinburgh fringe.

He has found himself under serious discussion for a place on England's Test tours of Bangladesh and India - and England should certainly find room for one out-and-out specialist in the squad. The advent of turning pitches has shown that England can produce spinners as long as they are not subjugated by the wrong sort of surfaces.

At 57 for 3, still 188 behind, and with two days remaining, Yorkshire's chance of recovery was slim. A misty morning brought hope for Somerset's bowlers, but early swing or seam did not materialise and, after Adam Lyth left in exasperation to a leg-side strangle against Craig Overton, it was the spin of Leach that became more prominent as the day developed.

Leach had been allowed one exploratory over before Lyth's dismissal, turning one sharply enough down the leg-side for Ryan Davies to concede four byes, and although Somerset returned to an all-pace attack after Lyth's dismissal, it soon became evident that his self-deprecating spin was the way forward.

Leach's dismissal of Adil Rashid encapsulated his fine season, as he drew Rashid into a hunched advance, and found the turn to beat his outside edge for Davies to complete the stumping. Abell atoned for his earlier error by catching Andy Hodd off bat and pad and Tim Bresnan's strokeless resistance, which communicated Yorkshire's determination to put the batting excesses of the first day behind them, ended when he was bowled, playing back.

That was to be Somerset's last success for two hours as Liam Plunkett joined Lehmann in an eighth-wicket stand of 101. The second new ball brought no benefit and Plunkett's handsome straight drive against Overton put Yorkshire into the lead. Somerset's frailty chasing small targets gained a passing mention. But Leach responded once more, removing Lehmann lbw, snaffling a return catch from Jack Brooks and, finally, ending what with the last pair at the crease had become Plunkett's all-or-nothing hitting with the aid of Marcus Trescothick's slip catch.

Abell and Trescothick knocked off the 41 required and, as Yorkshire's fielders trooped vanquished from the field with disgruntled members rose from their seats, the scoreboard flashed up "Thank you Dizzy", complete with a smiling picture of their coach, Jason Gillespie. The office staff lay in wait for a few celebratory drinks. It had the makings of an awkward evening, but Gillespie will be forever remembered in Yorkshire, not just for his skills as a coach but for his basic human decency.

If Lancashire thwart Middlesex on the final day, the final week is full of delicious tension. Middlesex, afraid of a Somerset victory at home to relegated Nottinghamshire, would be ill-served by a draw pitch against Yorkshire at Lord's and both counties would have to risk defeat in order to obtain a victory. But Somerset, who have rushed towards the summit in the second half of the season on low-scoring pitches, would need something flatter than usual because they could not easily afford to concede maximum batting points. Much to enjoy. Unless Lancashire blow it.