Adil Rashid took 5-117 as Yorkshire completed a vital innings and 18-run victory over Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford and took a massive step towards winning the LV= County Championship for the first time since 2001.
The win was Yorkshire's first in 16 Roses matches, a run stretching back to 2002, but even this triumphant assertion of local pride will matter little compared to the importance of helping Andrew Gale's team secure the title.
On the day when fellow title-challengers Nottinghamshire lost to Durham at Chester-le-Street, the win at Old Trafford leaves Yorkshire 26 points ahead of the Trent Bridge side going into next week's game between the top two in Nottingham.
For Lancashire, Durham's victory and the defeat to Yorkshire leaves Glen Chapple's team very deep in relegation trouble and the Old Trafford outfit probably need to win their last two matches to avoid the drop.
Usman Khawaja reached his first century for Lancashire when he pushed a single off Steve Patterson, the Australian batsman reaching the landmark off 178 balls. By the interval Khawaja had progressed to 111 not out, Alex Davies was unbeaten on seven and the deficit had been reduced to 91 runs.
The afternoon session, though, belonged entirely to Yorkshire. Jack Brooks dismissed both Davies and Tom Smith with the new ball and then Rashid claimed the vital wicket of Khawaja, who was well stumped by Bairstow for 117, compiled
over five hours of painstaking concentration.
Brooks then bowled Chapple before Simon Kerrigan was caught behind off Rashid for a single. A last-wicket stand of 44 between Stephen Parry and Tom Bailey merely delayed the inevitable and double centurion Adam Lyth sealed the win when he bowled Parry for 28.
Brooks finished with 3-61 and Rashid claimed match figures of 8-194 to add to his vital 159 not out. The only sour note for Yorkshire was supplied by the two-game ban for Gale following his altercation with Prince on the third evening.
Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie said: "It was a lovely win. We set our goal to play real positive, disciplined cricket. I don't think we were at our best with the ball in the first innings, but the batting was outstanding. I was especially pleased with how we attacked the spinners.
"We just needed to stay patient. I thought Adil Rashid was outstanding and Jack Brooks has a happy knack of finding a wicket out of nowhere. The way we went about it was absolutely fantastic.
"It's a great position to be in, no question. But we've got Nottinghamshire away and they're a very good team. We're under no illusions, it's going to be a tough challenge for us down at Trent Bridge. We've got a lot of work to do yet, there's still eight days cricket to play."
Durham found a new hero in 20-year-old Irish debutant Peter Chase as his five-wicket haul set up a 54-run win against Nottinghamshire.
The result seriously dented the visitors' title ambitions while greatly easing Durham's relegation worries.
In taking 5-64, Chase reduced Nottinghamshire to 285-9 and prompted lunch to be delayed. But in the extra half hour Durham missed two chances to catch last man Gary Keedy and Chris Read moved on to 47 before John
Hastings bowled him in the last over before the break.
After suffering this setback, Nottinghamshire coach Mick Newell admitted his side would need to beat Yorkshire at home to get back into the race.
"We just have to win that one," he said. "Yorkshire are a very strong side and I imagine they will have Joe Root and Gary Ballance back (from England). We will try to get Andre Adams fit for the game.
"In this match Chris Rushworth and John Hastings were better than anything we had and we were three down very quickly in both innings.
"We didn't look in any trouble in the first half hour today but a loose shot to a nothing ball started the rot.
"We can't blame Riki Wessels for that because he scored 90 and has been outstanding this season. I genuinely thought we had a serious chance as long as he was there."
Durham coach Jon Lewis: "It was a very good performance and a very important win, which we needed because the defeat at Old Trafford was a real kick in the guts.
"Winning in any form of the game brings momentum and our cup quarter-final win at Headingley was massive. It will also help going into Saturday's semi-final."
Middlesex took a small step towards safety while Warwickshire's title hopes took a big hit as their match fizzled out into the dreariest of draws at Lord's.
A draw had looked inevitable from the moment since rain permitted just seven overs play on the second day and certainly at the start of the final day with the match still to enter its third innings.
The spectators' hopes that a contest might be manufactured were squashed when Middlesex decided to bat on. The home side finally declared on 372-9, taking a first-innings lead of 10, after which Warwickshire batted out the day, finishing on 182-2.
It was a day's cricket which will be remembered by no-one - except for 19-year-old Warwickshire batsmen Sam Hain who scored a century (106 from 171 balls with 13 fours), albeit a pretty meaningless one, at the home of cricket.
But for the Bears as a team, there was bad news from the north where Yorkshire's victory means that Warwickshire trail them by 33 points in the First Division table with two games left.
Middlesex have some work still to do to ensure they stay up but reinforced their position with a solid points haul from a draw.
Despite the stalemate at Lord's, Warwickshire director of cricket Dougie Brown was content with the day's proceedings with his team's Royal London Cup semi-final against Kent in mind.
"Middlesex asked if we wanted to try to set something up," he said. "But with a big game tomorrow we didn't think spending 80 overs in the field was what we wanted.
"Also it would have been a very difficult equation to strike. It has been proven that teams can chase almost anything in the fourth innings at Lord's, even on fourth-day pitches - and this was a third-day pitch."
Johann Myburgh celebrated the signing of a two-year contract by guiding Somerset to a draw against Northamptonshire on the final day at Taunton.
The 33-year-old South African, whose new agreement was announced on Tuesday, made 87 as the hosts closed on 235-6 in their second innings, leading by 101 runs as David Willey took 3-47.
Marcus Trescothick (34) and Tom Abell (36) helped frustrate a Northants attack delayed from taking the second new ball by poor light in the final session.
By the time it was made available Somerset were 196-4, 62 runs ahead with only 23 more overs possible and about to condemn their opponents to the mathematical certainty of relegation.
Northants took 12 points from the game, while Somerset's 10 ended their mathematical chance of lifting the title.