Gloucestershire 190 (Bracey 71, Fisher 4-45) and 233 (O Price 68, Taylor 67) beat Yorkshire 183 (Kohler-Cadmore 46, Lyth 44, Gohar 5-40) and 222 (Bess 79*, Payne 4-51, Gohar 4-69) by 18 runs
The majority of Yorkshire members who assembled in the Long Room before start of play at Headingley were of identical mind on the two great issues of the day: the Strauss Review should be consigned to the waste bin and Yorkshire had no chance of beating Gloucestershire to secure their place in Division One next season.
They would be less thrilled that their pessimism about Yorkshire also proved well founded. Beaten by Gloucestershire by 18 runs after being dismissed late on the third day for 222, they have finished the season with six defeats in eight and will be relegated if Warwickshire, currently second bottom, fashion an unlikely victory against Hampshire at Edgbaston on the final day, so finishing above Yorkshire by virtue of more games won.
Masood brings hope of success on the field and unity off it. It takes talent to heal breaches and the breaches could not be deeper.
Ottis Gibson, the coach who dared to accept a hospital pass as Yorkshire began to rebuild after Azeem Rafiq’s racism allegations, knows the truth. “With one day to go, we hope things go our way in Birmingham, but you ask yourself the question, ‘Do we deserve that bit of luck from Birmingham?’ If we end up in the second division, it’s our own fault. We can’t blame any other factors.
“The conversations we’ve had with Shan is that he is going to be club captain going forwards. The players know that. He will bring his own style of leadership.”
Gloucestershire will still finish bottom, but they will find consolation over the winter that they have finished the season with back-to-back wins against the two counties who still fear they might be relegated alongside them.
It was a difficult, but far from impossible Yorkshire chase, 241 on a sluggish surface allowing a degree of turn and seam, but Gloucestershire took a stranglehold from the moment Adam Lyth was sixth out at 119, deflecting to first slip off the shoulder of the bat after Pakistan left-arm spinner Gohar reared a delivery out of the rough. Gohar’s 4 for 69 gave him figures of 9 for 109 in the match.
Lyth’s 49 was his second responsible innings of the match, and he watched most of his batting partners depart with the removal of his helmet and a crestfallen sweep of his hand over the most recognisable shiny pate in the game.
Yorkshire would have been reasonably content at the way they polished off Gloucestershire’s last four wickets. They brought a further 29 runs, including Ollie Price, whose 68 ended when he chopped on against George Hill. Hill has been one of Yorkshire’s bright spots this season, arguably their Championship player of the year if you are minded to overlook Harry Brook’s excellent summer before England came a-calling. As for Patterson, an lbw decision against Gohar gave him his 489th and final first-class wicket.
Yorkshire lost James Wharton to the fourth ball of the innings to a square drive off one knee against Tom Price’s inswinger, which he deflected onto his stumps. Lyth kept his helmet on for that one, and just rescratched his crease mournfully. Further damage against the new ball was averted and Yorkshire looked well set at 69 for 1, at which point Ajeet Singh Dale’s inswinger beat Hill’s drive.
Lyth’s helmet removal was accompanied by a Paddington stare. The crowd’s stony silence was meaningful enough, but somebody offered an opinion and Kohler-Cadmore was provoked into a reaction. He was fortunate that he wasn’t booed off. Unlike Patterson, his Yorkshire career had ended badly and one day he might even understand why.
Payne added to Yorkshire’s plight, bowling both Jonny Tattersall and Harry Duke, the latter falling to an under-edge as he attempted a leave-alone. Jordan Thompson, who has allrounder status, made his first double-figure score in 12 innings, a run stretching back to mid-June before he turned Gohar to leg slip. The time had come for Bess to carry the fight and he did so in excellent fashion. But the Yorkshire dream never materialised and all eyes will be on Edgbaston on Thursday.