Warwickshire won their seventh ever County Championship title by bowling Worcestershire out for 209 in their second innings midway through the third day at New Road, to complete victory by an innings and 202 runs. Alan Richardson was bowled by Chris Wright to wrap up the win that had looked inevitable ever since Worcestershire were bowled out for just 60 early on day one.
The home side had begun the day on 100 for two, trailing by 311 runs, and would have needed a monumental partnership from the two set batsman, Moeen Ali and Daryl Mitchell, were they going to mount anything resembling a fightback. Unfortunately for them, Mitchell fell to Keith Barker’ second over of the day and the rest, Ali apart, folded rather meekly.
The main reason behind Warwickshire’s success this season has been their strong bowling attack so perhaps it was only fitting that its two leading members, Keith Barker and Chris Wright, took 17 of the 20 wickets in the match that clinched the title. Barker followed up the wicket of Mitchell with that of Alexei Kervezee for 19 to end with match figures of eight for 75, while Wright clean bowled the last three Worcestershire batsmen to finish with match figures of nine for 89.
The win means that Warwickshire cannot now be caught at the top of the table even if Sussex win their ongoing match against Somerset at Hove and the one against Durham next week. Worcestershire, meanwhile, are definitely relegated as they cannot now overhaul both Surrey and Lancashire, who play each other next week.
Captain Jim Troughton spoke of the inspiration that last year's near miss against Hampshire had given Warwickshire. He told Sky Sports: "It's fantastic. Last year, as much as that hurt, it's what pushed us this year. From that moment down at the Rose Bowl, when we didn't get those wickets and we felt completely gutted, we made it our responsibility to push on in the winter and make sure we came back and win it with a game to spare.
"It's amazing how it's happened exactly like that - it couldn't have been written any better. I'm absolutely over the moon."
Director of cricket Ashley Giles said of his side's success, "It's amazing. It's difficult to know what to say or do now we've done it. I'm just chuffed for everyone, Jim and the team have been fantastic this year - done everything we've asked of them.
"They've worked very hard since November last year, when we were looking for the 1% that would just take us that one step further.
"It's probably been two years in the making. After the disappointment of finishing second last year, to win it this year is brilliant."
Varun Chopra, who smashed 195 to help the Bears pile on 471-8 declared against their Midlands rivals, added: "I'm speechless. It's been a great effort from the team all year. After what happened last year at the Rose Bowl, it means a lot to us. We're going to enjoy it. It's been a great effort from all the lads and everyone has chipped in - it's been a genuine team effort."
© Cricket World 2012
Open an account with bet365 today and qualify for up to £200 in free bets with our fantastic 100% Deposit Bonus.