WRITING on Twitter, Steve Denison, the Yorkshire chairman, said that this “feels like a must-win game” in the title race.
It certainly feels like a game that Yorkshire can ill-afford to lose, having gone into it 25 points off the top, albeit with a match in hand on most sides above them.
One of those sides is Warwickshire, who were 14 points ahead of them in third.
“Very tough opposition,” opined Denison, with Warwickshire fancied by many this season.
On an intriguing first day, Yorkshire made 252-9 after winning the toss, and Warwickshire bowled well on a competitive pitch.
At first glance, Yorkshire’s score was the sort that looks vulnerable, but it could yet prove more valuable once both sides have batted.
Travis Head, the Australian making his Championship debut, top-scored with 54 and Jack Leaning hit 42, while Steve Patterson contributed an unbeaten 35, sharing in an unbroken 10th-wicket stand of 48 with fellow pace bowler Ryan Sidebottom that changed the complexion.
For first-team coach Jason Gillespie, Yorkshire are well in a match that has the makings of a good one.
“Warwickshire, potentially, are a little bit happier getting nine wickets, but we can take a lot from that last partnership between Patto and Sid,” said Gillespie.
“It was interesting that Warwickshire took the new ball against them and still had five on the fence, which probably allowed us to score some runs and took a bit of pressure off Patto and Sid.
“Anything over 250 at Headingley, you’re in the game, and if we can impact early with the ball and stay patient, I think we’ll be in the mix. There is a bit in the wicket and we know that they’ve got a good batting line-up, but, equally, we know that we’ve got a good bowling line-up.”
On a breezy morning, there was time for only 20 deliveries before a shower drove the players from the field.
They had not long returned after a 25-minute delay when Alex Lees was first out with the score on 18, lbw to Rikki Clarke.
Adam Lyth, who made a double hundred on his last Championship outing, against Surrey at The Oval, looked in prime form as he unveiled some trademark offside boundaries.
But a promising innings was ended 10 minutes before lunch when he was caught behind off Oliver Hannon-Dalby, his former Yorkshire team-mate.
At lunch, Yorkshire were 62-2 and Head had 25 of them, showing plenty of power and a keen eye for placement.
He started the afternoon session positively too, pulling Hannon-Dalby firmly to the North-East Stand as a crowd of 1,859 applauded warmly.
Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire captain, had not played a first-team match for over three weeks after being surplus to requirements in the one-day games.
He drove Keith Barker to the cover boundary in classy fashion before edging him behind after scoring 14.
Head went to his half-century with a sumptuous cover-drive on the up off Barker, who had his revenge three balls later when the overseas man cut firmly to point.
It was a disappointing way to go, and Head did not seek to hide his frustration.
When Jeetan Patel had fellow spinner Adil Rashid caught at slip, Yorkshire were 130-5 and Warwickshire, seemingly, held the advantage.
Yorkshire’s lower-order batting is not quite as strong in this match, with Liam Plunkett and David Willey rested to accommodate the returning Sidebottom and Jack Brooks from injury, putting plenty of onus on the sixth-wicket pair of Jack Leaning and Tim Bresnan.
They battled hard in testing circumstances to take Yorkshire to 172-5 at tea, which became 190-6 when Leaning gave a regulation chance to second slip off Barker.
It was another disappointing way to go, Leaning having played well for 42 from 90 balls, adding 60 with Bresnan in 27 overs.
Bresnan, fresh from a brace of 90s in the Royal London Cup, might have departed without scoring when he edged a ball from Chris Wright through the slips that seemed to explode off the surface. But he got into his stride with a whipped four off Clarke and then cut the same bowler hard to the boundary.
So impressive has been Bresnan’s batting lately, it comes as something of a surprise when he gets out, and so it proved when he was one of two wickets to fall in five balls as Yorkshire slipped to 199-8.
Having battled to 28 in six minutes less than two hours, Bresnan clipped Hannon-Dalby straight down the throat of deep mid-wicket, the Yorkshireman standing motionless at the crease for several moments.
Patel, who took the catch, trapped Andy Hodd playing back and Yorkshire slipped to 204-9 when Brooks played on an attempted cut off Barker.
Patterson and Sidebottom survived the last 17.5 overs, in the process earning their side a second batting point.
DISPLAY OF THE DAY
STEVE PATTERSON played a vital innings at the end, scoring 35 not out from 78 balls with five fours to help Yorkshire towards a competitive total.