Yorkshire259 and 178 for 7 lead Warwickshire 254 (Sibley 67, Patterson 3-33, Willey 3-71) by 183 runs
Even in our secular age of easy loyalties a professional cricketer who leaves Yorkshire is still looked upon within the Ridings as something of an apostate. However understandable his motives, the faith he subsequently follows can never be quite pure. And in time - think Illingworth, think Close - he will probably return to worship at the shrine of St Emmott of Keighley.
The problem is that this is no longer a universal truth. Halifax-born Oliver Hannon-Dalby, for example, is in his seventh season at Warwickshire and spends his days of obligation under the Rule of the Bear. In the first innings of this fine game he took 5 for 76 and marked nearly all his successes with a galumphing dance of delight. And on the third afternoon, when summer arrived to the surprised delight of all at Clifton Park, Hannon-Dalby removed both Will Fraine and Gary Ballance in a fine ten-over spell with the new ball.
Those wickets left Yorkshire with a lead of 36 and only eight wickets in hand. They rather took the shine off the achievement of Steve Patterson's team in bowling out Warwickshire for 254 earlier in the day. The dismissals of Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Adam Lyth to balls from Matt Lamb and Craig Miles deepened the home team's woe but by close of play Yorkshire's lead was a competitive 183 with three wickets in hand. Jack Leaning was unbeaten on 47 and the efforts of Patterson's batsmen had been helped by the absence of Liam Norwell, who was forced from the field with a hamstring injury. We have a fine last day before us and York deserves nothing less.
As for Hannon-Dalby, one of seven players in this team to have joined Warwickshire from other counties, he had made Jonny Tattersall his eighth victim of the match. This is already a career-best and a pleasant way to mark his 30th birthday on Thursday. The tall seamer is benefiting from the captaincy and example of Jeetan Patel at a time when Edgbaston is plainly in the throes of transition. But Hannon-Dalby is a leader, too, and he showed it with his removal of Fraine and Ballance.
The first success owed something to fortune; Fraine and others thought he had inside edged the ball onto his pad. The second was a down to skill, as it needs to be these days to remove Ballance. Last week that skill was shown by Morne Morkel who, on a sopping morning at Guildford steamed in like a battle-cruiser; on Monday it was Patel who beat Ballance in the flight and caught him between a waltz and a tango; this afternoon Hannon-Dalby pitched one on off stump and moved it sufficiently to take the edge and give Will Rhodes - another recreant, may God save his perfidious soul - a simple slip catch.
Lyth and Kohler-Cadmore attempted to recover from the departure of their side's best batsman for only 18 by employing finely judged aggression. Kohler-Cadmore got off the mark with a lovely straight drive off Miles and then belted the same bowler through the covers off the back foot. Lyth, having resisted the temptations of his lesser angels, waited 49 balls before leg glancing his first boundary and celebrated by hooking Hannon-Dalby for six over the high wall adjoining a huge garden. That brought a relaxing break in play as a ladder was hoisted to help someone locate the ball and a young spalpeen was dispatched through a gap in the fence to retrieve it. To fill the time one eristic argued loudly with another about the prorogation of parliament. Most spectators probably wished devoutly they would shove a very big sock in it.
Warwickshire's next successes were not long delayed. Patel has his team chasing down everything and all players appear aware of what they might contribute. That was clear when Lamb's first ball of the season induced an edge from a dithering Kohler-Cadmore and again when Lyth tried to pull the fifth ball after tea from Miles but only top edged a catch to Tim Ambrose.
The long post-tea session stretched deep into a glorious evening with no loss of tension or purpose. Tattersall became Hannon-Dalby's eighth wicket of the match when he nicked a catch to Ambrose and Patel bowled Jordan Thompson before having David Willey neatly stumped for a duck.
It became barely possible to think this might have been a rain-wrecked day and even the fall of Yorkshire's last five wickets seemed distant events. That was, in its way, a shame because the morning session had featured a rambunctious 27 by Miles and a comparatively surreptitious 37 by Ambrose. The best piece of cricket, though, was kept for the last delivery before tiffin when Patel inside edged the ball off Thompson, only to see Tattersall dive to his right to take a brilliant one-handed catch. The Yorkshire keeper is not finding cricket the easiest of games at the moment so it was good to see him embraced by Kohler-Cadmore and many other colleagues. Before long there were more hugs being exchanged than one might see on Ladies' Day at Aintree, which generally sets a fearsome yardstick for wanton emotional effusions.
We are buried deep in the evening at Clifton Park. Leaning's fine innings on his old club ground is edging Yorkshire into a lead that will test Warwickshire's batsmen. Instead of the expected grey, this became a day of dark blue, light blue and gold. The Yorkshire colours were worn proudly by the county's seven capped players and they were sported in an altogether gaudier fashion by the blazered members of the 1863 Club in the Clifton Park pavilion.
Our day's cricket has been made all the more precious for being unexpected. Instead of rain we have had Philip Larkin's "high-builded cloud moving at summer's pace". And above all, we have been reminded that what was true for Willie Quaife and David Denton holds good a century later for Sam Hain and Lyth.
Let cricketers feel the sun's warmth on their backs and the green fields of England become their playgrounds.
Paul Edwards is a freelance cricket writer. He has written for the Times, ESPNcricinfo, Wisden, Southport Visiter and other publications