With Yorkshire hovering on the brink of relegation, Ryan Sidebottom remained determined that his side would go down fighting on the third day of their LV= County Championship clash with Somerset.
Firstly, the former England paceman played a major part in a ninth-wicket stand of 53 – the highest of the innings – which dragged Yorkshire to 195 all out and left them trailing their opponents by 70.
Then, in a furious spell of bowling either side of tea, he grabbed 4-34 in 12 overs as Somerset stumbled to 46-5. They closed the day on 124-6, with a lead of 194, to leave the game wide open and Yorkshire still in with a shout of recording their only win of the season at headquarters.
When stumps were drawn, however, the scoreboard showed that Yorkshire’s over rate stood at minus 2 and if it should remain in the red then they will be relegated, regardless of what may happen elsewhere next week. If they get back on an even keel, Worcestershire require only one more point to send Yorkshire down.
Until Sidebottom began his heroics, Yorkshire looked like ending a depressing campaign on another dismal note as wickets began to fall immediately they resumed their innings, at 20-0 from nine overs.
Joe Root was lbw to Alfonso Thomas’ fifth ball of the morning and captain Joe Sayers was similarly dismissed in the next over from Steve Kirby.
A beautiful delivery from Kirby nipped away from Anthony McGrath and found the edge for James Hildreth to take the catch at first slip and only Adam Lyth batted with any authority as both Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance got out to poor shots.
Lyth completed his half-century off 76 balls with eight boundaries but Yorkshire went in to lunch on 121-6 after Adil Rashid had been bowled by Kirby shouldering arms to the last delivery before the interval.
The slide continued early in the afternoon, with Thomas accounting for Lyth and Ajmal Shahzad in consecutive overs to bring in Sidebottom at 133-8. Both he and Rich Pyrah jogged along nicely until Sidebottom went for a big hit against Murali Kartik and he was caught by Hildreth.
Thomas had Moin Ashraf lbw without scoring to give him figures of 5-66 and Somerset’s first-innings lead was sufficient to keep alive their slim title hopes.
Alex Barrow and Arul Suppiah safely negotiated the first eight overs from Sidebottom and Shahzad before Sidebottom left them in disarray with three wickets for one run in 16 balls, Barrow being caught behind and Chris Jones and Hildreth falling lbw.
Somerset were 26-3 at tea and with the third ball after the break, Ashraf had Hildreth nudging a fast catch to McGrath at first slip, the fifth wicket then going down at 46 when Peter Trego slapped Sidebottom into the covers to be well caught by Ballance.
Jos Buttler threatened a recovery until McGrath pinned him lbw in his first over but Craig Meschede and Thomas rallied Somerset once Sidebottom was out of the attack, Meschede slamming Rashid over mid-wicket for six.
The seventh-wicket stand was worth 46 at the close, with Meschede on 30 and Thomas 25.