The tense Yorkshire run that may decide the title race

The tense Yorkshire run that may decide the title race

For a handful of minutes at around 1:50pm this afternoon, the whole country was gripped to a standstill.

Families huddled around a tiny television set, people pleaded on the street for the answer to one simple question: Had Yorkshire scored the run to keep them in the title race?

Perhaps that features some exaggeration. Twitter didn’t exactly come to a standstill but, for a few moments at least, four-day domestic, county, glorious cricket was the pinnacle of the sporting spectrum.

In a tournament where 200 points doesn’t get you into the top three, Yorkshire were begrudgingly battling it out for a mere morsel of one point, courtesy of one run, which could all be undone by one ball. You get laughed at if you write that script.

But that was the situation we found ourselves in at Lord’s. Oh, and did I mention we’d go off for bad light?

Tim Bresnan – perhaps the most ill-fitting No.5 county cricket has ever seen – was proving everybody wrong, as he has done all season and all of his career. England’s lucky token – winning 15 successive games he played for his country, a run only curtailed by rain, was doing his bit for Yorkshire.

And what a job he had done so far. Coming in at 53-4, still with another 300 needed to keep his county in with a chance of a third successive title, he guided Yorkshire to the cusp – 349-9 when the cloud came.

It had been slow progress, methodical some would say, but Bresnan now had the task of guiding Ryan Sidebottom for one more run.

But Sidebottom, 38 years young – with more years to come – was not keen to do it in singles. One flick off his pads to long leg later against the incessant Toby Roland-Jones and Yorkshire had reached 350.

They cheered, fist-bumped and hugged as if the boundary won them the title. It merely kept them in contention.

It’s an afternoon that, for anyone who doubts what the County Championship means to cricket, can become the perfect example.

Heading into Day Four, there is still the possibility of three teams taking the title – with some possibilities more likely than others – a pretty much unprecedented scene in modern cricket.

It’s a point well-heralded, but the coverage is thankfully on Sky television. While we won’t be expecting scenes of that Ashes series 2005, at least county cricket is getting its moment in the sun. At last.


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