Having had their victory chase washed out by rain against Sussex at Hove on Saturday,which handed Durham a 27.5 points advantage in the title race, the weather once again intervened and restricted play to only 42.1 overs with Yorkshire reaching 109 for three.
Put into bat after losing the toss, Yorkshire quickly slipped into trouble with Adam Lyth falling lbw to Corey Collymore in the second over while Phil Jaques edged behind in the next over from Tim Murtagh to leave them struggling on one for two.
As news of Durham’s dominant position against Nottinghamshire filtered through from Chester-le-Street, Yorkshire began their recovery with captain Andrew Gale forging a 97-run third wicket stand with Kane Williamson, their New Zealand overseas batsman.
Both batsmen were forced to play on their wits during impressive new ball spells from Middlesex in ideal seamer-friendly conditions, but Gale gradually opened out and reached his half-century off 74 balls, including five fours and a six.
Williamson was the more cautious of the pair and progressed to 14 off 79 balls before Yorkshire, conscious they needed to be positive if they were to keep pace with Durham, began to accelerate and added 50 in 10 overs leading up to an early stoppage for rain in early afternoon.
Even Williamson began to show his range of shots and pulled Collymore, the former West Indies fast bowler, for successive fours but after a rain delay lasting nearly three hours, the partnership was broken.
Just four overs after returning from the rain delay, Gale chased a full length Collymore delivery that was angled across him and edged behind for 66, leaving him 15 runs short of 1,000 championship runs this summer. He was clearly furious with himself and punched the air with his bat in frustration at his dismissal.
Just six more overs were possible before umpires Mark Saggers and Nigel Llong took the players off the field for bad light and ended a highly frustrating day for Yorkshire’s hopes of taking the title race into the final round of matches.
“ We can’t do anything about the weather,” admitted Gale. “The weather is always going to play a major part at this time of year, but it looks like Durham are getting more play than us again.”
“It is difficult because the lads are looking at their phones and have one eye on what’s going on, particularly when Notts were bowled out for 78 by lunch, but we are trying in this game to get a result, but it’s just disappointing with the weather.”
Yorkshire were left frustrated by the weather for the second successive match after fighting back impressively during the opening day of their championship match against Middlesex.
After losing the toss and being put into bat in seamer-friendly conditions, Yorkshire slipped to one for two before captain Andrew Gale and Kane Williamson forged an unbroken 89-run stand, only for rain to halt their progress just as it did on Saturday to deny them a victory chase against Sussex at Hove.
Only 6.4 overs were possible during the afternoon session before steady rain forced the players off the field with Gale unbeaten on 62 while Williamson, Yorkshire’s New Zealand overseas batsman, had reached 23.
Yorkshire made a disappointing start with Adam Lyth falling lbw to Corey Collymore in the second over while Phil Jaques edged Tim Murtagh behind, bringing Gale and Williamson together at the crease.
Both batsmen had to live on their wits during excellent new ball spells but Gale opened out to reach his half-century off 74 balls, including five fours and a six, while Williamson played more defensively and reached 14 off 79 balls before hitting Collymore for successive fours in an over shortly before the rain interrupted.
Yorkshire fought back from a desperate start to their crunch match against Middlesex to reach 63 for two when rain halted play just before lunch.
Having lost the toss and been put into bat, Yorkshire lost openers Adam Lyth and Phil Jaques inside the first three overs in a match they needed to win to keep the pressure on Division One leaders Durham.
Lyth fell in the second over when he was trapped lbw by former West Indies fast bowler Corey Collymore and Jaques followed in the next over when he edged Tim Murtagh behind.
But captain Andrew Gale teamed up with Kane Williamson, Yorkshire’s overseas player, to forge a determined 62-run stand before rain halted play 15 minutes before lunch.