Yorkshire on the brink of retaining county crown

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Yorkshire needed only two hours at Headingley on yesterday morning to overwhelm Somerset by an innings and 126 and increase the chance they will retain their LV=County Championship title at Lord’s in their next match.

The visitors were still 237 runs in arrears when they resumed their second innings on 44-2, and Tom Cooper and James Hildreth opened up with a flurry of boundaries which helped to bring 22 runs from the first four overs.

Tim Bresnan and Ryan Sidebottom had shared the attack but it was when Steven Patterson came on at the football end that the spree was halted. In the same over that Hildreth cut him for the day’s eighth boundary he had Cooper edging an intended drive into the gloves of Jonny Bairstow and Somerset were 87-3.

Hildreth, the Division’s leading run-scorer, completed his 50 off 71 balls with nine fours before Patterson struck again, James Allenby slanting a catch to Aaron Finch at third slip.

Applause had greeted the appearance at the Kirkstall Lane end of Jack Brooks and he accounted for Hildreth for 57, caught at second slip by Adam Lyth.

Another wicket went down at 137 as Peter Trego wafted outside off-stump at Patterson and was caught behind but Luke Ronchi, partnered by Lewis Gregory, showed some resistance until he feathered another catch to Bairstow off Sidebottom, who had replaced Patterson.

The last ball of Sidebottom’s same over sent back Craig Overton in spectacular fashion as his middle stump was plucked out of the ground. Wickets were toppling like ninepins and next to go was Gregory, who edged Bresnan to Lyth at second slip.

Somerset were 154-9 and the match ended when Tim Groenewald sliced Bresnan into the hands of Gary Ballance at point.

Sidebottom and Patterson each took three wickets and there were two apiece for Brooks and Bresnan. At the moment of their victory, Yorkshire had a 52 points lead at the top of the table and if they avoid defeat at Lord’s against Middlesex next time out, the title will be staying in the White Rose county.

LV= County Championship Division One, Headingley: Somerset 110 & 155: Hildreth 57; Sidebottom 3-32, Patterson 3-43. Yorkshire 391: Ballance 91, Bairstow 91; C Overton 4-64. Yorkshire won by an innings and 126 runs. Yorkshire 22 pts, Somerset 2 pts.

Cricket commentator Henry Blofeld proudly holds his OBE back in 2003. Blofeld will retire from his role as commentator on the BBC Radio 4's Test Match Special programme in September.

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