David Byas's side have ended their season with the comfortable feeling that tangible rewards are now well within reach. In the last few weeks they have played formidable cricket and it is frustrating for them to realise now that if they had made a better job of it in the first part of the season they would probably have had something more solid to celebrate.
Byas's captaincy and example has been a most important factor in their success. No captain in the country has his feet more firmly on the ground and the disciplined cricket of his side is a reflection of this. He is a captain in the best tradition of Yorkshire cricket.
His side is buzzing with keen, young and talented cricketers, particularly as far as the bowling is concerned. It says a lot for the way the side has developed that these last five matches have been won without the services of Darren Gough.
The business has been done consistently and well by Paul Hutchison, Chris Silverwood, Gavin Hamilton and Matthew Hoggard, the last two of whom polished off Sussex in their second innings. The England selectors will be calling upon one or two of them, but one has an inkling that the first of the present batch of young players to interest them will be a batsman, Matthew Wood.
At the age of 21, he has hit five centuries in his first full Championship season and his concentration, his vibrant determination, his range of strokes and a good technique are all excellent selling points. If he can build on this first season, his chance will soon come.
While the White Rose can face the future with confidence, Sussex also have every reason to feel pleased at the way this season has gone. They were bottom of the Championship last year and 12 months later are guaranteed a place in not only the top eight but also in next year's Super Cup.
Chris Adams's captaincy has won respect in the dressing room. He has scored runs and led the county to six Championship wins. Good young players in James Kirtley, Shaun Humphries and Robin Martin-Jenkins, who held up Yorkshire admirably on the third morning, are coming through.
The experience of Michael Bevan and Mark Robinson has been invaluable but they do badly need a pair of reliable opening batsmen. David Gilbert has, as always, shrewdly masterminded proceedings from behind the scenes and Sussex too can look happily upon the future.Reuse content