Tykes return to top flight with ambition

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IT’S not quite a Championship to Premier League leap in terms of revenue to the club, but a return to the County Championship Division One sees Yorkshire back where they belong.

Yesterday’s 239 win over Essex wasn’t enough to win the title with Derbyshire also claiming a six wicket victory over Hampshire, but it did justify the decision to appoint Jason Gillespie as first team coach after relegation the previous season.

Ever since the County game was split into two divisions in 2000 the Tykes have strived - not always successfully - to remain in the top flight.

Next year marks the club’s 150th anniversary and with executive chairman Colin Graves already on record to say that they won’t be just making up the numbers it seems that the team will be strengthened. It may need to be as Sheffield’s Joe Root is already attracting the attention of the England selectors.

And with Barnsley’s Azeem Rafiq growing in stature each match it could need some clever squad building from Gillespie and director of cricket Martyn Moxon to ensure they’re competing at the right end of the league table. It’s often difficult to predict how strong a team will be until the action begins.

A good quality pace bowler - maybe from overseas - in the mould of Australian Mitchell Starc, who was excellent during his time at the club will be the first priority

Lancashire won the title for the first time since 1934 last year but have been relegated this season. Indeed the same thing happened to the Tykes after David Byas had led the white rose to success in 2001.

On that occasion it took three more seasons to return to Division One, so a single year in the lower league this time around can be considered a minor blip.

There’s a positive mood around the club, which they hope will continue in their celebration year.