Yorkshire 327 (Fraine 106, Clark 5-77) and 303 for 9 (Lyth 68) lead Surrey 362 (Stoneman 100) by 268 runs
Surrey are back at Scarborough for the second successive season and those Yorkshire spectators who like their Championship cricket hard-bitten might be in the mood to book them in for the next decade. This was the antithesis of the Festival cricket that was once the soul of the town. It was Division One cricket, it mattered and everybody knew it. And a compelling finale could be in prospect as Yorkshire resume with a lead of 268 with the last pair at the crease.
This match has felt too close to call from the outset, but at no time was the contest keener than in a wary fifth-wicket stand of 57 in 26 overs between Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Johnny Tattersall on either side of tea. Yorkshire's lead when they came together was 133, Rikki Clarke having removed Adam Lyth, driving at one angled across him on 68, and Jack Leaning in successive overs.
Spectators dwelt upon Leaning's pair in the match - lbw this time to Clarke as he got too far across to one that swung back a shade - and wondered with good reason if his middle-order place might be vulnerable to Harry Brook. But while they chatted they watched intently, as they always watch. A Scarborough spectator on the popular banking can surreptitiously check their change at the bar and criticise a bowling change at the same moment.
It while attention was at its height that Gareth Batty added his own personal brand of spice; he should come in a little jar with refills available. Batty is Bradford born, educated at Bingley Grammar, but that is no protection from occasional barracking and every time the crowd did so they sharpened him. They would have been better yawning with a faked lack of interest.
Batty is so stingy at giving away the slightest advantage that if he managed one of the amusement arcades on North Bay you would be best advised to visit the one next door where you would lose your money more slowly. His return of 1 for 75 in 30 overs suggest that Yorkshire dealt with him competently enough, but it was a close-run thing.
He possessed two warm-up acts in medium-pacers Ryan Patel and Rikki Clarke. Patel appealed for a catch at the wicket when there was daylight between the ball and Tattersall's outside edge; the crowd's derision was sparked. Clarke followed up with a series of oohs and aahs against the same batsman as he defended determinedly, the slips taking their cue and hamming it up in turn; the derision level went up a further notch.
When the cricket is consequential, Batty comes alive. His face creases with exasperation, making use of every one of his 41 years, he puffs out his cheeks meaningfully in disbelief at a rejected appeal and he considers the minutiae of every delivery as if the world might suddenly end if he moved square leg in the wrong direction. The unsupportive umpire, Ian Blackwell, the same age as Batty, also a former spinner, but a considerably bigger figure than when he retired seven years ago, moved slowly to square leg at the end of the over as if in search of a bit of peace.
"Tek 'im off," came the cry as the new ball loomed. But Batty wasn't takken off. He negotiated two more overs and got his wicket, switching around the wicket to have Kohler-Cadmore stumped for 42 as his back foot strayed momentarily, a rapid reaction from Surrey's stand-in captain and keeper Ben Foakes.
The new ball came after 83 overs, at 242 for 5, and Tattersall fell three overs later, his 38 spanning 103 deliveries, as he fenced at Sam Curran and was caught at first slip. Yorkshire looked vulnerable, their lead 216, four wickets standing, but a foray from David Willey - 43 from 35 balls with eight fours against the new ball - swung the match again.
Throughout it all, a low murmur could be heard around North Marine Road. The cricket is never incidental at Scarborough, but it is an excuse for conversation, including for some who are not by nature conversational. That conversation would extend into the evening in a town that mixes natural grandeur with the downbeat consequences of human failure, and which often appears to survive hand to mouth, but which for all that with the simple addition of a dual carraigeway the length of the A64 and a faster train route remains a place of huge potential, the prince of England's seaside towns.