Good morning from Scarborough ahead of the fourth and final day of this latest round of Championship fixtures. Of the nine games we started the week with across the two divisions, we only have five left in play, including this one between Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.
There is every chance that the top three sides in Division One will win. After leaders Essex completed their come-from-behind success over Kent at Canterbury yesterday, it is down to Yorkshire and Somerset, who are chasing 258 to beat Warwickshire at Edgbaston, to follow suit. Somerset’s win is the one which is most in the balance. They will begin day four on 8-0.
Third-placed Yorkshire need six wickets with Notts, chasing 387, on 135-4. Ben Duckett is unbeaten on 47. The Yorkshire hierarchy have always played down their title chances, right from the end of last season in fact.
I remember chatting to Andrew Gale in the first week of October when they played in a T20 competition in Abu Dhabi and he said then, “We’re a young, developing side, consolidation is key”. I’m paraphrasing a touch, but you get the picture.
Only last week, Gale said the title would be a big bonus. If we assume Yorkshire win, they will go into the final three rounds 37 points adrift of Essex with Somerset, their next opponents at Taunton next month, sandwiched in between.
I was very impressed with Notts yesterday. Yorkshire started the day leading by 225 with eight wickets in hand in their second innings, so it would have been easy for Notts to crumble. But they didn’t. They bowled well, lead by five wickets for Luke Fletcher in the afternoon.
Champions Surrey, out of the title race, have an outside chance of victory against Hampshire at the Oval. At 490-5 in reply to 367, they lead by 123 at the start of the day. How great is it to see Ollie Pope back in the swing of things after his early season shoulder injury? He is 176 not out and could easily take James Vince and co to task this morning.
The key fixture in Division Two today sees Durham try to complete a victory over Leicestershire at the Riverside which would throw them right into the thick of the promotion race. Leicestershire will resume their second innings on 153-3 and still trail their hosts by 155.
Gloucestershire are also in the hunt for a top-three finish, but their clash at Derbyshire is likely to finish in a draw. Derbyshire, 305-3 in their second innings overnight, lead by 86. Every time I seem to see Derbyshire or look at a scorecard, Billy Godleman has got runs. He notched 86 yesterday. How many runs has he got this season across all formats? There won’t be many batsmen with more, I would suspect.