TO DESCRIBE this as a “massive” Roses match, or another word implying especial significance, feels like something of a needless distinction.
After all, every Roses match is “massive”, at least to the supporters of Yorkshire and Lancashire, while to paraphrase the old saying, it has got nowt to do with anyone else.
But a glance at the table reveals that the 261st County Championship meeting between these clubs is indeed more significant than normal, with any winner taking a giant step towards safety and any loser one nearer to relegation.
With under three weeks of the season left, a summer that has provided little comfort on either side of the Pennines saw Yorkshire go into the game second-bottom and in the final relegation place, one point and one position behind Lancashire with a match in hand.
Especial significance therefore established, the opening skirmishes were bossed by the red rose county.
After inserting Yorkshire in overcast conditions (it is surely an unfair advantage to the visiting side to have the option to bowl at this time of year), the red rose soon paraded its petals, reducing the hosts to 33-4 inside 17 overs, three of the wickets to pace man Tom Bailey.
But Tom Kohler-Cadmore followed his maiden Championship hundred for Yorkshire at Trent Bridge last Friday with another one on his Roses Championship debut, striking an unbeaten 105 from 189 balls with 16 fours and a six out of a score of 209.
Lancashire reasserted themselves to reach 105-0 at stumps, Alex Davies leading the way with 57.
On a morning dark enough for the floodlights to be on from the outset, Yorkshire showed two changes to the side that had drawn with Notts at Trent Bridge.
Steve Patterson, the captain, and fellow pace man Ben Coad returned after a broken finger and a side injury respectively, with fast bowler Mat Pillans and leg-spinner Josh Poysden making way.
Kohler-Cadmore proceeded untroubled, like a man casually perambulating across a burning deck, lofting left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj for six over mid-wicket and launching Onions for four over mid-off, his dominance of the innings Jonny Bairstow-esque.Chris Waters
Richard Gleeson debuted for the visitors after signing from Northants, the Blackpool-born quick becoming only the third Lancashire player to debut in a Roses Championship match at Headingley after wicketkeeper Mark Wallwork in 1982 and leg-spinner John Brocklebank in 1939.
Brocklebank - Sir John Montague Brocklebank, no less - was nephew of FS Jackson, the great Yorkshire and England all-rounder of the Golden Age.
After successfully negotiating the opening overs in challenging conditions, Yorkshire slipped from 20-0 to 23-2 as new-ball bowlers Bailey and Graham Onions each claimed a wicket.
Onions, the former Durham and England man, who celebrated his 36th birthday on Sunday and was capped by Lancashire before the start of play, got the ball rolling with the scalp of Jeet Raval, whom he bowled past the outside edge jabbing forward, before Harry Brook aimed an off-drive at Bailey and was caught behind.
Adam Lyth dealt only in boundaries before he was third out for 16, adjudged caught behind defending at Bailey, a decision with which he seemed less than delighted.
Yorkshire’s predicament worsened when Gary Ballance followed lbw to a full-length ball from Bailey, who produced a fine opening burst from the Rugby Stand end.
Kohler-Cadmore continued from where he left off in Nottingham, stamping his authority with three boundaries in an over off Gleeson, whom he cut towards the East Stand and twice whipped through mid-wicket with imperious disdain.
A trio of boundaries followed off Onions as Kohler-Cadmore contributed 43 to a fifty stand with Jonny Tattersall raised in 11 overs.
Lancashire missed a good chance to dismiss Kohler-Cadmore just before lunch, wicketkeeper Dane Vilas putting him down on 44 diving to his right one-handed off Onions.
It was not an easy opportunity, but it should have been taken, Kohler-Cadmore reaching his fifty from 60 balls shortly after the break and celebrating with a sparkling cover-driven boundary off Bailey.
The fourth-wicket partnership had realised 105 in 27 overs - 70 of them to Kohler-Cadmore - when Tattersall was lbw playing around a ball from Onions, who then had Tim Bresnan caught behind off the outside edge and Matthew Waite strangled behind for a golden duck as Yorkshire fell to 144-7.
But Kohler-Cadmore proceeded untroubled, like a man casually perambulating across a burning deck, lofting left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj for six over mid-wicket and launching Onions for four over mid-off, his dominance of the innings Jonny Bairstow-esque.
Patterson was yorked off stump driving at Gleeson, who then had Jack Brooks hooking to deep square-leg, leaving Yorkshire 187-9 with Kohler-Cadmore three short of his hundred.
A cover-driven four off Onions took him to the milestone, greeted by a standing ovation from the Yorkshire faithful, Coad last out when he played Gleeson to backward-point.
When Lancashire replied in easing conditions, Davies stroked successive balls from Brooks to the cover boundary and then straight drove Patterson to the rugby end rope.
On 36, he appeared to offer a sharp chance to Lyth as he dived to his left at second slip off Patterson, but the openers were, for the most part, solid.