WHILE Yorkshire have spent long passages of time watching the rain come down at Taunton over the past three days, they have also seen themselves slip further down the Championship's Second Division table following emphatic wins by Essex and Leicestershire.

And unless they can today pull off an unlikely win against Somerset, who still have the faintest chance of promotion, they will be third from bottom of the pile when they begin their final match of the season with third-placed Glamorgan at Headingley on Thursday.

At least both sides are trying hard to salvage something from the rain-ravaged fixture, Somerset declaring at tea-time on 141 without loss which left Yorkshire with a first innings lead of 183.

They then hurried on to 125 for four off 16 overs before a further burst of rain ended play for the day with Yorkshire 308 runs in front.

Yorkshire's new opening batting combination of Phil Jaques and Joe Sayers, who piled up 162 together in the first innings in the biggest first wicket stand of the season, again made rapid progress second time around with 69 in only eight overs before Jaques spooned Simon Francis to Richard Johnson at mid-off and departed for 27.

Michael Lumb continued his wretched season by driving his second ball straight to Ian Blackwell in the covers and it became 93 for three as Sayers, trying to maintain the tempo, mistimed his pull at Aaron Laraman and was caught at mid-on by Francis for a brisk 46.

With light rain falling and a stiff wind blowing, Richard Pyrah turned Francis to backward square leg but was run out at the bowler's end by Laraman's direct hit on the stumps but soon after Matthew Wood had pulled Francis for a big six conditions became too grim to continue.

The autumnal weather made watching cricket an uncomfortable experience for the few hardy spectators but after Yorkshire's first innings in the morning had closed on 324, the home fans relished a fine knock from veteran, Peter Bowler, in probably his last match before retiring.

Bowler, at 41 the oldest player on the circuit, made an untroubled 75 in his unbroken opening stand with Somerset's own Matthew Wood who had reached 62 by the declaration.

During his innings, Bowler completed 1,000 runs for the fourth time as a Somerset batsman and for the tenth time in his career.

Bowler finished with nine fours and a six after facing 98 balls while Wood hit ten boundaries and received 102 deliveries.

There was little in the good batting pitch for the pacemen but Yorkshire's 19-year-old debutant, David Wainwright, bowled tidily and found a good line in his three overs which cost five runs.

* Alex Gidman and Tim Hancock made half-centuries for Gloucestershire as the Frizzell County Championship Division One match with Sussex ended in a predictable draw in Bristol.

Gidman (82) and Hancock (77 not out) guided Gloucestershire to 304 for five in their second innings - an overall lead of 283 - before heavy rain.