Warwickshire win County Championship title with victory over Worcestershire

 

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Warwickshire captain Jim Troughton praised his team for executing their plans for the season to the letter as they wrapped up the LV= County Championship title with an emphatic win over Worcestershire this afternoon.

The Bears' victory by an innings and 202 runs at New Road completed an emotional 12-month journey for Troughton's men, who agonisingly lost out on the title to Lancashire on the final day of last season.

Troughton revealed the plan at the start of the season was to wrap up the title with a game to spare to avoid any repeat of last year's heartbreak, and today his team did just that to secure the championship for the fourth time in 18 years.

"It's fantastic. Last year, as much as that hurt, it's what pushed us this year," Troughton told Sky Sports News.

"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."

For director of cricket Ashley Giles, who admitted to a number of sleepless nights until the job was done, the victory put the seal on a second notable career double.

Giles has won the Ashes as a player and England selector; now he has won the county championship as a player and coach.

"It's amazing. It's difficult to know what to say or do now we've done it," Giles told Sky Sports News.

"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."

Worcestershire were in a near-hopeless position when play resumed this morning, trailing by 311 runs at 100 for two, and in just short of two and a half hours they were dismissed for 209 - and facing relegation for the fourth time in the 13 seasons of two divisions.

Moeen Ali provided some resistance with an unbeaten 72 against his former county but 25 minutes after lunch Alan Richardson was last man out - eight years after playing in Warwickshire's last championship-winning team.

The first hour went according to plan for the visitors, with three wickets for Chris Wright and Keith Barker.

The new-ball pair have taken 112 wickets between them and it was their ruthless exploitation of helpful conditions that routed Worcestershire for 60 in their first innings.

Barker was first to strike on the third morning when Daryl Mitchell, without adding to his overnight score of 42, jabbed the ball into his stumps.

It was Barker again when Alexei Kervezee was lbw for 19, aiming towards mid-wicket, and then it was Wright's turn as Joe Leach lost his middle stump, playing back to a full-length ball.

Boyd Rankin, who did not bowl because the Wright-Barker monopoly on the opening day, finally appeared in the attack for the 56th over and the Irishman delivered with two wickets in quick succession.

His pace and bounce unsettling lower-order batsmen, he removed Brett D'Oliveira for 13 and Ben Cox with slip catches by Varun Chopra and Rikki Clarke.

The three wickets standing at lunch fell in half a dozen overs and all bowled by the impressive Wright for a match return of nine for 89.

Chopra, whose 195 was the cornerstone of Warwickshire's declared first innings of 471 for eight, no doubt caught the eye of England selector Geoff Miller with his efforts yesterday, but today the opener was keen to praise the whole team for a job well done.

"I'm speechless," he said. "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."

PA

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