The end of play on day 3 and Yorkshire had kept hopes of winning their third consecutive county championship title alive. Having played only 4 specialist batsmen and collapsing to 4-53 with three ducks, the visitors still needed 297 runs to stay in the race.
Middlesex had set a target of 270 thanks to Nick Gubbins’ 125. However he had very little support as the next highest score of the innings was a 48 from captain James Franklin. They scored very slowly and on the second morning, Jack Brooks cleaned up to take six-for after Tim Bresnan broke Middlesex’s main partnership.
It was a hard-earned century from Bresnan and half-century contributions from Andy Hodd and Azeem Rafiq that got Yorkshire close to the line. Middlesex dropped too many chances and allowed the game to be taken away from them.
Rafiq fell when Yorkshire were on 318 (32 runs short of their bonus points). Steven Patterson made a handy 11 to bring them up to 333 but five balls later Yorkshire were 9 down.
Then came in 11th man Ryan Sidebottom in the 95th over to bat with Bresnan as they were 16 runs short of their batting bonus point. The man who had grittily batted out top stop Somerset winning the title once before and he was about to dampen their dreams once again.
Sidebottom got off the mark on his second ball only to find he would be facing Steven Finn at the other end. He blocked out ball after ball after ball to keep Yorkshire in the race. He kept out Yorkers from Tim Murtagh and survived LBW appeals from Roland-Jones. Single by single the final pair fought their way to 349 with Sidebottom 2 from 38.
It was then the umpires took out their light meter as Yorkshire were just one run short of their bonus point and took the players off the pitch. As if the last 10 overs had not been dramatic enough, the crowd were kept waiting for over an hour before play resumed.
As fate would have it, it was Sidebottom who clipped a 4 off his legs from Roland-Jones to get them over the line. His reaction as he ran between the wickets was that of a man who had just won his team the championship. As he punched the air a loud roar emanated from the crowd. He had given them a chance.