Yorkshire wins English county championship
NOTTINGHAM, England (AP) — Yorkshire completed its rise back to the top of English cricket under Australian coach Jason Gillespie by winning the county championship for the first time in 13 years on Friday.
Inspired by a brilliant spell of seam bowling by former England international Ryan Sidebottom (6-30), Yorkshire sealed victory over Nottinghamshire by an innings and 152 runs at a sparsely populated Trent Bridge to secure the title with a match to spare.
It is a record-extending 32nd English title — and first since 2001 — for a county that is the team of England players Joe Root, Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan and Jonny Bairstow.
Root, standing in as captain for the suspended Andrew Gale, lifted the trophy as teammates sprayed champagne around him.
“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in cricket,” said Bresnan, who has won the Ashes with England and is one of 10 players in the side playing against Nottinghamshire to have come through Yorkshire’s academy.
Gillespie, who played 71 tests for Australia from 1996-2006, was hired as coach in 2011 after the team was relegated to the second division.
He guided the county to promotion in his first season and a runner-up finish to Durham in 2013. This season, Yorkshire has won eight and lost only one of its 15 matches.
“I’m a big one for enjoying the game of cricket, that’s why we play the game ... and play a really positive brand of cricket,” Gillespie said. “Over the last few years, we’ve certainly done that, we are here to entertain people.”
Nottingham resumed on Friday on 149-5, 180 runs behind after following on, and its tail was tormented by Sidebottom. The long-haired left-armer took four of the remaining five wickets to finish with nine for the match, a fitting way to clinch the title for the sole survivor from the county’s last title-winning season. He also won the title twice with Nottinghamshire.
The county championship, which began in 1890 and changed from a three- to four-day format at the start of the 1990s, has long been the bedrock of the English domestic game and has helped provide the national team with test-quality players.
Crowds have dwindled in recent years, though, and figures from the 2013 campaign showed no county attracted more than 40,000 spectators in total across the whole season.
Contrast that with the popular Twenty20 format, with a record gate of 23,000 attending the T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston last month.