The battle for Division 1 in county cricket took a potentially decisive turn on Wednesday as leaders Yorkshire beat Lancashire, whilst second placed Notts lost to Durham. Whilst Notts took only 3 bonus points from their match, Yorks gained 23 from their win.
Both of the pace setters were playing away from home ahead of what now seems a crucial match for Notts, the four dayer at Nottingham between themselves and Yorks beginning on the 9th of September. Notts will go into that one a full 26 points behind in the title race and even with a maximum of 24 points from that (16 for the win plus all 8 bonus bowling and batting points) it may not be enough to halt Yorks’ march. After their head to head, both teams will still have one match left, but a win for Yorks at Notts would secure them the title a game early.
Yorks win at Old Trafford against their Red Rose rivals by an innings and 18 runs on Wednesday owed much to Adam Lyth's magnificent innings of 251 ably backed up by all rounder Adil Rashid's 159 not out, in a mammoth first innings of 610 for 6. Rashid crucially also took five Lancs’ wickets in their second innings as Lancs were bowled out for 314 to swing the tie Yorks way, after their hosts had seemed to be digging in as Usman Khawaja scored a much needed century for them. Rashid was backed up by quick bowler Jack Brooks’ 3 for 61 spell, moving him on to 58 wickets this summer. The call for Rashid's re-introduction into the England fold may gain momentum after this, given their lack of spin alternatives at present. Lyth's promotion to the test team looks to only be a matter of time, as he seeks to join existing Tykes Gary Ballance and Joe Root in the present side.

Notts lost to a Durham side keen to battle their way away from Lancs at the bottom of the league table. They also had former England man Paul Collingwood to thank for a timely second innings century and a memorable debut for 20 year old Peter Chase who took 5 Notts’ second innings wickets as Durham won by 54 runs at Chester –le- Street. Riki Wessels 90 for Notts was the highlight in what proved a forlorn run chase for them and a massive setback for their title aspirations.
Yorks have been dealt a blow though with the news that captain Andrew Gale has been hit with a two match suspension following an incident involving Ashwell Prince on day three during the Lancs match. Gale was punished for showing dissent against the same opponents in May. He will be a nervous onlooker to the end of the season to see if his side can get over the winning line without his presence out in the middle.