Warwickshire clinch the County Championship title with a decisive win over Somerset

Warwickshire clinch the County Championship title with a decisive win over Somerset

After a day when they played like champions from start to finish, Warwickshire claimed the 2021 County Championship by bowling Somerset out for 154 and winning the match by 118 runs.

Having piled up 115 runs in just 15 overs in the morning, Warwickshire set Somerset what looked to be a gettable 273 off a possible 79 overs. The combined efforts of the Warwickshire seam quartet of Chris Woakes, Liam Norwell, Craig Miles and Tim Bresnan, with an important contribution from Danny Briggs and an impeccable fielding display, carried Warwickshire home with 27 overs to spare.

Somerset had started their chase for 273 to win off 79 overs as if they were going for the target. But just before lunch, Danny Briggs induced an edge from Tom Lammonby. Tim Bresnan who has become an ace slip catcher in his cricketing middle age, snaffled up the chance.

In the afternoon, the Warwickshire seam bowlers somehow managed to extract life from a surface that looked yesterday to have died. They thoroughly deserved their success, the only stroke of luck being a strangle down the leg side that got rid of Ben Green. Sam Hain took one and Rob Yates two slip catches as the Somerset innings slowly subsided. Tom Abell endured a 21 ball duck before Craig Miles claimed him. Only the two Lewises, Goldsworthy and Gregory, offered much resistance, both reaching 31 before the much under-estimated Craig Miles claimed them both.

Liam Norwell, whose bowling has been a revelation this season, comprehensively yorked Steven Davies and, either side of tea, Chris Woakes bowled both Craig Overton and the often adhesive Jack Leach.

Appropriately, it was Will Rhodes who took the catch that clinched the match and the title, Jack Brooks edging a fine delivery from Norwell.

At the start of what proved to be their great day, Warwickshire had picked up where they left off the previous evening in their helter-skelter dash for runs. The Somerset response was to put nine men on the boundary in just the second over.

Will Rhodes reached his fifty and then had the unusual experience of being given lbw by Steve O’Shaughnessy, only for him to reverse his decision. When he was run out shortly afterwards, his 62 had come off just 44 balls and he had struck four fours and three sixes.

Although Sam Hain soon fell lbw to Brooks, Matt Lamb accompanied Rob Yates to a hundred of which any 22-year-old would be extremely proud. It was his fourth century of the season and confirms him as a likely future England player.

The declaration came at 294-3 from 51 overs. Yates was unbeaten on 132, which included 15 fours and a six. Somerset were left with that 273 target which, off 79 overs, looked to be a generous challenge. The reality is that it gave the Bears plenty of time to take the ten wickets they needed.

And so Warwickshire, unheralded for much of the season, have come through to win their eighth Championship title in all and their first since 2012. The chagrin of Lancashire players and supporters will only have been exacerbated by the contribution made to Warwickshire’s success by Yorkshiremen Tim Bresnan, Will Rhodes and coach Mark Robinson. They will at least have their chance for revenge when the two teams meet in the Bob Willis Trophy over five days at Lord’s next week.

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