County champions Yorkshire rounded off their season with an emphatic, record-breaking victory by 100 runs over Sussex at Headingley today.
It was a record 11th win by any side since the establishment of two divisions but it was a day of sorrow for Sussex who were unable to savoid relegation.
Soon after the conclusion of the match and in bright sunshine, skipper Andrew Gale lifted the trophy for the third time - but the first in front of the ecstatic home fans. He received it officially at Lord’s, then at Southampton and, eventually, at their own headquarters, handed over by Tykes president Dickie Bird.
Yorkshire finished 68 points clear of second-placed Middlesex, the only team to beat them in four-day cricket all season, and coach Jason Gillespie said: “I would have been happy to finish one point ahead, but to be so far clear is testimony to everyone involved.
“I felt the way we played on the final day epitomised our season with the bowlers hunting in packs and not letting our opponents settle.”
Adam Lyth, meanwhile, ends the summer as both a County Championship and an Ashes winner, but his celebrations are tempered somewhat after he was left out of the England squad to face Pakistan this winter.
“I’m massively disappointed,” he said.
“I wanted to play for England as long as possible, and I still believe I am good enough to come back and do well in international cricket. Everyone here at Yorkshire has given me a lot of confidence going forward.
“Winning the Ashes is fantastic and winning the County Championship is great, but on a personal note my lack of runs has been disappointing and something I can learn from next season and beyond.
“The highs were getting my cap and getting a hundred, that will stay with me forever. The latter part of the season has been tough but that’s international cricket.
“Hopefully I’ll come back stronger.”