A thankful calm settled on Lancashire and Yorkshire cricket yesterday. There will be Roses matches in the Championship next year. Last Wednesday morning this seemed most unlikely, with the odds heavily on one of these legendary teams in English cricket disappearing into Division Two
Both are free at last. Yorkshire had the best of the game against Sussex, buoyed by memorable performances with bat and ball by Adil Rashid, 20, from Bradford and David Wainwright, 23, from Pontefract. Sussex did what they have learned to do at Hove since the loss of Mushtaq Ahmed and ground out a draw. Both secured their place in Division One, above Kent and Surrey. In the home counties, the mood is tragic.
Historians looking at the table for 2008 will be unaware of the drama that enveloped Yorkshire and Lancashire in the final fortnight. Lancashire finished fifth, two places ahead of Yorkshire. Having started late at Taunton yesterday because of fog, they soon scored the 60 they required, for the loss of two wickets, to complete an unexpectedly easy win over Somerset, who began the last round with an outside chance of winning the title and ended it only one place above Lancashire.
Sussex finished one place above Yorkshire because they lost fewer games, but Yorkshire were the superior team here, despite the absence of Darren Gough and Michael Vaughan. At lunch, when Sussex were 248 for 6, with a lead of only 55, it looked as if they might win but when time was called at the earliest possible moment, at 4.20pm, Sussex had added 149 more.
Murray Goodwin, looking completely assured, scored his sixth Championship hundred of the summer, but the fireworks came from Chris Adams in what will probably be his last innings for Sussex. He was applauded all the way to the wicket, hit three sixes and three fours, scoring 35 at a run a ball before holing out at long-on.
The crowd rose to its feet; Adams raised his bat to the four corners, perhaps noticing the Championship pennant flying above the scoreboard – one of three since 2003, his brilliant legacy to his adopted county. Speaking to a core of loyal fans after the game, Adams said: "I would love to remain at this club in some capacity." But what capacity? That is the question.
But the players who will remember this game best and will be best remembered for it were Rashid and Wainwright. Batting at Nos 9 and 11, both scored hundreds, lifting Yorkshire from 178 for 8 to 400 for 9. Wainwright, a left-arm spinner, then picked up three wickets cheaply, Rashid a couple.
This Hove wicket is prepared for spin and Rashid took advantage yesterday. He is still a slip of a lad but he already exhibits remarkable stamina. On Friday evening he bowled 13 overs; yesterday he was on for 32 and dismissed seven Sussex batsmen for 136 runs. True, he was expensive, but which young leg-break bowler isn't?