Yorkshire lost a thriller at Headingley as they fell narrowly short of chasing 241 against Gloucestershire on day three, leaving their hopes of avoiding relegation from the LV= Insurance County Championship’s Division One out of their hands.
Yorkshire fell from 69-1 during the afternoon to 191-9 after tea, 50 short of victory.
But Dom Bess, with help from outgoing legend Steve Patterson, raised Yorkshire’s hopes by adding 31 for the last wicket.
Bess was brilliant for an unbeaten 79 off 103 balls, while Patterson blocked at the other end for nought off 27 balls as his partner took on the aggressive role.
Unfortunately, he cut his 27th delivery, against four-wicket seamer David Payne, to backward point to leave Yorkshire 222 all out, losers by 18 runs in a to and fro game of cricket.
It means that if Warwickshire, 23 runs ahead with eight second-innings wickets in hand, beat Hampshire at Edgbaston tomorrow, Yorkshire will be relegated after losing six of their last eight games.
George Hill had an encouraging day with two wickets and 36, while Adam Lyth made 49. They ensured Yorkshire made a good start to the chase.
But Pakistan left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar also claimed four wickets, finishing with 9-109 in the match, to put the skids under the innings.
What proved to be the final day of the season started encouragingly for Yorkshire, who limited Gloucestershire’s second innings to 233 all out.
Hill struck twice in as many overs this morning, getting Gloucestershire’s Price brothers as the visitors fell from 204-6 overnight – Ollie was bowled with his second ball for a well made 68 before Tom was trapped lbw.
Patterson had made the initial breakthrough, trapping Gohar lbw, leaving the score at 217-7 with a Gloucester lead of 224.
Hill then claimed his two wickets before Ajeet Singh Dale was run out by a direct hit at the non-striker’s end by Matthew Fisher from mid-off, wrapping up the innings.
As he walked off, Patterson received a standing ovation from the crowd and team-mates alike as he prepares to farewell the club and the game this week after 489 first-class wickets and two Championship titles since debuting in 2005. A legend, indeed!
Unfortunately, Yorkshire’s chase was dented as early as the fourth ball when James Wharton, having pushed a boundary through the covers off the back foot, played on against the next ball from Tom Price.
That left the score at 5-1. But Lyth and Hill calmed nerves with a confident 64-run partnership.
Lyth and Hill seemed to find the ideal tempo either side of lunch. While shelving the almost kamikaze approach to yesterday’s first innings, they were not tied down either.
Opener Lyth, as is his trademark, drove Price for four through the covers early on, while Hill twice shimmied down the pitch and hit Gohar’s left-arm spin straight for four.
Yorkshire reached 50-1 in the early stages of the afternoon.
But, as has been the way of this match, there was another twist.
Yorkshire slipped from 69-1 in the 21st over to 119-6 in the 38th, losing Hill for his 36, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Jonny Tattersall for seven apiece, Harry Duke for one and Lyth one short of a half-century.
Hill was trapped lbw by Singh Dale before Kohler-Cadmore hoisted Gohar to long-on, leaving the ground for the final time as a Yorkshire player to silence from the Headingley crowd.
It was certainly not the way he would have wanted to end what has been a bright career with the club he joined from Worcestershire in 2017.
Tattersall and Duke were then bowled by England fringe ODI left-arm seamer Payne, the latter playing on to his middle stump as he tried to leave alone.
Lyth watched all this unfold from the non-striker’s end.
He played nicely for 49, but fell to Gohar as Yorkshire lost their sixth wicket 122 runs short of their target. In fairness to Lyth, there was little he could have done as he gloved a ball which turned sharply and bounced excessively out of the rough to slip.
Respite came through to tea, where Yorkshire reached at 151 for six, thanks to Bess and Jordan Thompson.
But Thompson, 11, fell early in the evening when he clipped Gohar to leg slip, with 86 still required.
At 172-8 with 69 needed, Bess opted to counter-attack.
He hoisted Gohar for six over long-on on the way to a 68-ball fifty. But Ben Coad was trapped lbw by Gohar, leaving him and last man Patterson needing 50.
Bess ramped, carved, cut, drove and turned down singles to maintain strike in a last-ditch bid for guaranteed survival. It almost worked. But now all eyes are on Edgbaston.