By London Leprecahaun
January 8 2017
Just in case that Championship win has begun to fade, London Leprechaun gives another perspective on that final day with some reminders of previous Championship wins many years ago, which show just how special it was to win at our own home. Read on and enjoy the memories again.
Cricket matches and seasons produce many “I was there moments.” They are the days, sessions, moments even that linger in the memory long after the details of the game itself have slid into dusty archives. In the build up to the Yorkshire match at Lord’s many of us delved deep into the ghosts of our own memory to remember where we were on those all too distant days when Championship wins were, if not routine, a little more frequent. We remembered a long ago time at Blackpool huddled round a radio waiting for news from Kent that would confirm whether we were joint or outright Champions. The drama made all the more intense without mobile phones or instant commentary. There was frustration at Hove when Kepler Wessels single handedly denied us the win and made us go to Glamorgan to clinch the title. There was Wayne Daniel taking a steepling catch under a bright Worcester sky, with Mike Brearley hitting the winning runs to sign off his career on a mist laden autumn morning. And there was the Oval with a winning bonus point, cake from a long-standing supporter, an extended tea break followed by frolicking batting from happy Middlesex batsmen.
But never had we been able to say: “I was at Lord’s.” To witness a match of unrelenting tension, drama; of moments within moments. To see a match so perfectly timed, on such, almost perfect, September days. A match going within four overs of the end of the season. We will remember the drama of having to be aware of what was going on in Taunton and the sudden importance of one bonus point for Yorkshire. And the tension of whether they would get there in time. A tension made greater by the arrival of rain; our faithful companion all season. A tension made greater because we could not make up our minds if it was good or bad for us for Yorkshire to get the point. We will remember the drama of the start to our second innings: 1/1; 2 /2 and the superstitious desire to get past three runs without losing more wickets.
And then there was that last day. Full of those "I was there moments." The solidity of the batting before lunch; disappointment for Nick Gubbins but the knowledge of seeing a star in the making. The waiting game for the hour after lunch, with the entertainment of seeing Andrew Gale toing and froing during negotiations with James Franklin worthy of post referendum talks. The rumours of the deals that were being negotiated; the half hour of nonsense bowling that polarised opinion; the declaration that many people felt over generous; the curious end to the innings with Franklin giving his wicket away because he would not feel comfortable being not out in the circumstances.
And then two hours of mesmerising drama – the kind where you can't move from where you are; where almost every over the match tipped to one team; the deep breaths with every steepling catch calmly caught by wakeful outfielders; the solidity and resilience of Tim Bresnan and the collective drawing of breath as the lbw appeal was upheld. The only lbw of the innings and possibly the turning point of the innings as the outstanding bowling of Steve Finn and Toby Roland Jones demolished any last hope Yorkshire had, and led to the final rush to the title. Four wickets in three overs and in the mayhem of the final wicket the realisation we had actually seen a hat trick. Memories made to last while watching the aftermath of all that drama; players rushing all over the place, interviews by the dozen, and the sight of a golden cup glistening in the autumn sun.
A few weeks earlier, as supporters began to feel that we could realistically talk about the possibility of winning the Championship, we discussed whether it would be best for the Championship to be won before the final game, whether it would be safer to just need a few points at Lords, or if we could stand the tension of needing the win. I had opted for the lets have a few points needed so we can finally win at home. But what could have been more perfect then to win the trophy in the dying moments of the season; and for that wondrous hat trick to trigger that joyous celebration. Memories made that will not end up in dusty archives of any kind and a challenge to 2017. Can it get any better cricket wise?
Remember that huddle?