Yorkshire take the second of a hat-trick of County Championship titles

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It’s oddly reassuring that Yorkshire should win the title again. It provides the kind of clarity that is rarely seen in English domestic cricket. We can state with some conviction that they are the strongest county at the minute – stronger even than Herefordshire.

When a team does well one year before falling flat on its arse the following year, it makes you think the County Championship is more influenced by weather and blind luck than anything else. Back-to-back titles are therefore welcome. Being as no-one’s won three in a row since the Sixties, it probably even counts as an ‘era’.

Yorkshire have won in fine style as well. Unbeaten, they currently have nine wins and four draws to their name, which means they’ve beaten the climate as well as most teams. They’ve also achieved this with roughly half their team having been co-opted by England at any one team – the better half too.

The absentees

Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow constitute the bulk of Yorkshire’s first-choice batting line-up and they’ve also been without their leg-spinner (Adil Rashid) and fast bowler (Liam Plunkett) for quite a lot of the time. That should really be debilitating, but not a bit of it.

Is it admirable that they’ve coped with these losses or does it reflect badly on county cricket in general? If the Yorkshire second XI is the second best county side, who’s providing the competition? Who’s testing the players out?

Jonny Bairstow for one could do with playing some level of cricket better than the County Championship. He’s hit five centuries and averaged a hundred, but England still don’t seem convinced of his worth.

Other statistics also hint at an uncomfortable story. Tim Bresnan’s averaging 50 with the bat this year. James Middlebrook’s averaging less than 20 with the ball. Ryan Sidebottom, five years after he faded from Test cricket, is averaging even less – just 15 rus per wicket.

Sidebottom, Brooks and Patterson

Yorkshire’s pace attack is not just good, it’s almost a template for how to succeed in county cricket – three hard-working, reliable fast-medium bowlers who almost certainly won’t get called up for England. This is the gold standard. This is what teams are striving to put together.

Maybe we’re wrong about Brooks and Patterson. Maybe they will play for the national side, but it’s hard to avoid the feeling that they’re the kinds of players more likely to be on the cusp of doing so than actually taking that final step.

This has all descended into angst

Which wasn’t our intention. We really did intend on lauding Yorkshire. The county that’s given England Joe Root and Adil Rashid deserves its success and no-one can deny they’re the best. Then again, perhaps it’s only fitting that their success should be celebrated with a big old moan.

To Yorkshire! [Grumbles dismissively and wanders off to make a cup of tea.]


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    1. An ex-colleague once asked: “What’s that tea from Yorkshire?”

      We suggested Yorkshire Tea – repeatedly – but he said that wasn’t one he was thinking of. He started talking about who made it and its history and eventually resorted to looking it up online.

      “Oh wait, it is Yorkshire Tea.”

    2. If it’s a milky, caffeinated beverage I’m after, especially during a mid-afternoon interval in the cricket, it’s Yorkshire Tea for me all the way. At other times though, pure bottled hydration from a north-Yorkshire spa town will do.

    3. I’ve recently discovered this absolutely wonderful brand of water, that tastes exactly the same as all these posh Eviavitteharrospa waters but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It’s called “tap water”.

      Granted, it doesn’t have a story on its container (indeed it doesn’t have a visible container) that talks about how its water originates from volcanoes found only in the northwest of a tiny German spa town populated by three sheep farmers and a one-legged dog called Johann. This is, I concede, a major downside.

  1. It’s especially nice that this win happened due to bonus points in a match Yorkshire were involved in plus a lack of bonus points in a match they weren’t. Three o’clock, according to Cricinfo, when Graham Onions bowled first Jake Ball for fifteen and then, three balls later, Harry Gurney for nought. Neither match has finished, which adds to the specialness of cricket.

    The only way this could have been better is if the title had been won by a decision made somewhere else. Like if they had bonus points for field placings or something. Onions is coming round the wicket now, and that means Yorkshire are champions. Oh, hold on, I’m just hearing that Lancashire don’t have a third man, so we’ll have to wait a little bit for the final confirmation.

    1. Extremely well spotted, Bert, re the Championship being decided elsewhere.

      Charlie the Gent and I were at Lord’s yesterday. At the crucial moment, we were sitting in the Grandstand next to an avid Yorkshire supporter who seems to have spent most of his life living anywhere other than Yorkshire. A ripple of applause went around the crowd, mainly emanating from the Yorkies in the Upper Compo. No-one in the Grandstand, which was quite heavily populated by our friend the Yorkie and several others of that ilk, could work out what was going on, as Yorkshire were still some way off the fourth bonus point.

      Indeed, it took Charlie the Gent on his smart phone to work out what was happening.

      Then, about 50 minutes later, when the teams came off for tea, the announcer told us the “news” and a congratulations message went up on the screen.

      Only at Lord’s, I’d suggest, would there be some sort of “no extraneous announcements while play is in progress” edict to prevent the immediate announcement of such news – i.e. that one of the teams on the field of play in a county championship right now, has just won that very competition.

  2. Yeah, OK. Some thoughts:

    – If a team goes through the Championship season unbeaten, should we call them The Invincibles? Like the Arsenals in that footy football?

    – Does a team have to sacrifice its one-day hopes in order to be successful in the first class game? Yorkshire have lost their one-day captain this season, collapsed in the T20 Blastings and in the That Royal London Cup semi-final played a very strange team and got spannered.

    – Remember when Warwickshire won back-to-back titles in 1994-95?

    1. Yes. Yes. No. No.

      In theory, Yorkshire are still not certain of winning the title – they could have a large number of points deducted for some reason or other, so maybe the celebrations are a little premature?

  3. Sir Robert has scored a majestic 549 runs from his last 8 innings at an average of 78.42! get ‘im on that plane to UAE heheeh

    1. But Trescothick scored those runs against Hampshire, Mike. Second-Division-in-waiting. At least, they probably are now that Somerset have scored nearly a trillion runs against them in their relegation battle.

    2. He’s older than Chris ‘Buckfast’ Rogers, but younger than Shiv. No-one ever mocks Shiv for his advancing years, merely commends his longevity. Such inconsistency! Tres also has a good line in prescription sunglasses, good for spotting sausages from a mile off on those bright sunny days the Westcountry is famous for.

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