The 2023 County Championship was won in the way all great sporting competitions are won: by another team failing to secure quite enough bonus points halfway through a game taking place elsewhere. Surrey are champions again. Essex are not.
Essex had needed at least 400 in their first innings against Northamptonshire to keep the title race theoretically alive, but were bowled out for 211. They didn’t take this at all well and promptly got bowled out again in 27 overs to suffer an innings defeat.
An admirable display of sulking that we heartily endorse.
Surrey also failed to get any batting bonus points, but that was far less of an issue given they’d started their final match already 20 points ahead.
They did however find the time to throw yet another name at us during their first innings, as part of their ongoing campaign to have as many contributors each season as possible – Sai Sudharsan top-scored with 73.
“Sai has come highly recommended to me by people I hugely respect,” said Alec Stewart when the club signed the Indian middle-order batter for the last three games of the season.
This makes Sudharsan sound like some hidden gem unearthed through Stewie’s vast web of contacts, rather than the fella who top-scored in the IPL final. Presumably Kumar Sangakkara and Hashim Amla also came highly recommended by people he hugely respects.
This is Surrey’s third Championship title out of the last five and the first time since 2015 that the runners-up weren’t Lancashire or Somerset.
Over at Essex, Sir Alastair Cook may or may not have finished playing cricket – no-one seems to know yet.
P.S. What a great format where the top two teams only played each other once and almost everyone else twice.
It’s the World Cup next, we suppose. You may as well sign up for our email if you enjoy our particular brand of earnest reportage.