Friday, 25 September 2015

Champions - again!

There was a time, back in the dim and distant days of yore, when it was almost considered an insult for Yorkshire not to be County Cricket champions (you may detect just a hint of bias in this post). Sadly, in my early youth, they were to enter a period almost unheard of in the broad acres of the Northern Shire when the championship fell from their grasp.

From 1968 a famine lasting 33 years ensued, until, to the plaintiff cries of the Scarborough gulls, the Tykes once again lifted the hallowed crown in 2001. Was this the longed-for Renaissance, we wondered. No, 'twas not to be, and the following season we found ourselves facing the ignominy of relegation to Division Two.

A period of regrouping followed, and our rightful place in the higher echelons of the English summer game was secured in a timely manner, ready for the club's 150th Anniversary in 2013. What better way to mark this auspicious occasion than to lift the cup? But again, the fates decided that that was not to be, and that we should only be runners-up that year.

Undeterred, the young warriors trod on with determined step, and at the close of the 2014 season we were back where we belonged. The only flies in the ointment of glory were a surprise defeat at the (other) home of cricket early on in the season, and the suspension of our brave captain, Andrew Gale, which prevented him being presented with the trophy, having led his troops with such determination.

So, the 2015 season came, and the young team, hampered by calls on the squad
from the England set-up, continued their impressive run of form, climbing inexorably to the top of the table yet again. With 3 games to go, and still at the time unbeaten, all opposition fell away, and the title was retained for the first time by them since 1968. A slight hiccough, as once again Lord's proved a stumbling block (despite us taking 3 wickets in the first over of the game), but the season ended in record-breaking fashion, with the highest points tally (286) and the greatest number of wins (11 out of 16 games).

The fact that this was achieved with so many of the first-choice players absent through international calls makes it all the more remarkable, and demonstrates the depth that Yorkshire have in their squad. It may be tempting fate, but maybe another golden age has begun...