YORKSHIRE are poised to clinch their promotion back into the top flight of the County Championship after a good second day against Essex at Chelmsford.
They bowled themselves into a strong position but also know that if third-placed Kent, struggling against Glamorgan, don’t win, then Yorkshire will be promoted anyway.
In fact, through the six bonus points accrued, Yorkshire ended the day having actually gone to the top of the table - the first time they have occupied that position all summer.
However, they lost vital wickets late in the day to let Essex back in the game.
Yorkshire resumed on 284-8 seeking to get to 300 for a third bonus point and the ninth wicket went down on 299. Azeem Rafiq went for 53 to end a knock which had lasted just short of three hours and bolstered the innings after it had been wobbling at 166-6.
Last pair Steve Patterson and Moin Ashraf secured the extra batting point before the innings closed on 312.
After Patterson removed Tim Mickleburgh, Rafiq stepped in to pick up a couple of wickets including Owais Shah for six.
Only Ryan ten Doeschate, with 62, offered much resistance and Essex were all out for 177. Ashraf finished with 4-36 and Rafiq with 3-65.
With a lead of 145, Yorkshire lost early wickets with Joe Root going for only two meaning that in his ten innings since the 222, in the first innings. not out against Hampshire he has not managed to reach 50.
Phil Jaques,6, and Andrew Gale,5, followed and all three wickets had gone to Graham Napier who had taken 5-65 in the first innings. Yorkshire closed on 44-3 a lead of 179.
At Derby, rain meant play was only possible up to lunch. Derbyshire moved on to 167-5, Usman Khawaja, 71no and Tony Palladino, 58 adding 88 for the fourth wicket and they trail Hampshire by 105. At Cardiff, Glamorgan made 390 and Kent are in trouble 170 all out and 33-2 following on at the close.