Warwickshire clinched the LV= Insurance County Championship after defeating Somerset by 118 runs on a raucous ‘I was there’ afternoon for their fans at Edgbaston.
The Bears began the final day knowing that victory would secure their first title since 2012 and the eighth in their history – and their plans came together perfectly.
First they added 115 runs in just over an hour to race to 294 for three as Rob Yates scored a brilliant 132 not out, with enterprising support from Will Rhodes (62 off 44 balls) and Matt Lamb (27 not out off 20).
That enabled a bold declaration from Rhodes, who set Somerset 273 in 79 overs and then watched with delight as his team bowled and caught superbly to rattle their opponents out for 154 on a good batting pitch.
It was the third home game this season which Warwickshire had won after tea on the final day. That is testament to their fighting spirit as well as their skill, and those attributes were needed on the final afternoon when they had to prise 10 wickets from a batter-friendly surface.
Spinner Danny Briggs struck an important blow just before lunch when Tom Lammonby edged to Tim Bresnan at slip and from 31 without loss, the visitors lost three wickets for four runs in 33 balls spanning the interval.
Ben Green tickled a leg-side catch to the keeper off Bresnan before Chris Woakes added the big wicket of Azhar Ali, caught by Sam Hain at second slip.
With limited time at their disposal, the Bears needed to be flawless in the field and they were. Hain made no mistake and neither did Yates at third slip when Tom Abell (nought from 21 balls) and Lewis Goldsworthy (31 off 44) both edged deliveries from Craig Miles.
Liam Norwell removed Steven Davies with a yorker that hit middle and off before Woakes took wickets either side of tea. An unplayable delivery sent Craig Overton’s off stump flying then the England star’s first ball of the final session rearranged the furniture of Jack Leach.
Luke Gregory (31) nicked Miles to Michael Burgess to leave Warwickshire with 171 balls to take one wicket to seize the title.
They needed just 15 before Brooks edged Norwell to Rhodes in the cordon and the catcher joined Frank Foster, Tom Dollery, Alan Smith, Dermot Reeve, Nick Knight and Jim Troughton on the esteemed list of captains to have brought county cricket’s most prestigious prize to Edgbaston.
Published: by Radio NewsHub