County round-up: Champions try to keep star men out of Nottinghamshire clutches

 

The final business of the domestic season will be decided at Lord's today with both sides in the CB40 final seeking to complete a double.

Warwickshire, the First Division champions, take on Hampshire, the Twenty20 Cup winners, who were witnesses to the presentation of more silverware yesterday after losing to Derbyshire at the County Ground.

Derbyshire's six-wicket win clinched the Division Two title by virtue of having won six matches to unbeaten Yorkshire's five.

With a touch of irony, the England and Wales Cricket Board nominated Peter Wright, the chairman of Nottinghamshire, to hand the trophy to Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen after Ross Whiteley, one of the academy products central to Derbyshire's success, had hit the winning runs by dumping Liam Dawson over the square-leg boundary for his fifth six.

Off the field, Wright's Derbyshire counterpart, the multimillionaire former stockbroker Chris Grant, was plotting how to "fend off interest in our players by reducing the pay differential between ourselves and the county down the A52".

Grant, who grew up in Derbyshire and supported the county as a boy, took over as chairman in 2011 and is credited with transforming the club's image from an uncompetitive team dominated by imported players representing a county regularly scarred by internal rows.

"For me this is a money-can't-buy moment," he said. "I've been lucky enough to accumulate a bit of cash in my business career and to give something back to the county I grew up in and played my local village cricket in is absolutely brilliant."

Already assured of promotion after Kent's defeat at Cardiff on Thursday, Derbyshire took the last four Hampshire wickets in just over an hour yesterday morning, leaving themselves to chase 196 to win from a minimum 77 overs.

Had Yorkshire not managed to secure the eight wickets they needed to beat Essex at Chelmsford, a draw would have been enough for Derbyshire, although it seldom seemed likely they would not win after openers Madsen and Paul Borrington put on 45 for the first wicket.

There was a momentary scare when both fell in the space of six balls just before lunch but with Australian batsman Usman Khawaja making a chanceless 72 from 87 balls, the remaining 151 runs needed after lunch were scored in less than two hours before Whiteley finished the job on the stroke of 3pm after hitting 38 off only 30 balls.

They still needed 101 when news came through that Yorkshire had won but off-spinner Azeem Rafiq's career-best five for 50, which followed half-centuries in each innings, was an effort in vain even though Essex were dismissed for 148.

Leicestershire's win over Gloucestershire means the wooden spoon goes to the latter.

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