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Warwickshire clinch County Championship

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Warwickshire clinched the LV=Insurance County Championship for the eighth time in their history after defeating Somerset by 118 runs on a raucous ‘I was there’ afternoon for their fans at Edgbaston.

The Bears began the final day knowing that victory would secure their first title since 2012…and their plans came together perfectly.

First they added 115 runs in 62 minutes to race to 294 for three with Rob Yates  scoring a brilliant 132 not out (168 balls), with enterprising support from Will Rhodes (62, 44) and Matt Lamb (27 not out, 20).

That enabled a bold declaration from Rhodes who set Somerset 273 in 79 overs and then watched with delight as his team bowled and caught superbly to rattle Somerset out for 154 on a good batting pitch.

It was the third home game this season which Warwickshire had won after tea on the final day. That is testament to their fighting spirit as well as their skill, and those attributes were needed on the final afternoon when they had to prise ten wickets from a batter-friendly surface.

Spinner Danny Briggs struck an important blow just before lunch when Tom Lammonby edged to Tim Bresnan at slip. After the interval, the visitors moved to 35 for one then lost three wickets for four runs in 39 balls.

Ben Green tickled a leg-side catch to the keeper off Bresnan before Chris Woakes added the big wicket of Azhar Ali, caught by Sam Hain at second slip. With limited time at their disposal, the Bears needed to be flawless in the field and they were. Hain made no mistake and neither did Yates at third slip when Tom Abell (nought from 21 balls) and Lewis Goldsworthy (31, 44) edged Craig Miles.

Liam Norwell removed Steven Davies with a yorker that hit middle and off before Woakes took wickets either side of tea. An unplayable delivery sent Craig Overton’s off stump flying then the England star’s first ball of the final session rearranged the furniture of Jack Leach.

Lewis Gregory (31, 56 balls) nicked Miles to Michael Burgess to leave Warwickshire with 171 balls to take one wicket to seize the title. They needed just 15 before Brooks edged Norwell to Rhodes in the cordon and the catcher joined Frank Foster, Tom Dollery, Alan Smith, Dermot Reeve, Nick Knight and Jim Troughton on the list of captains to have brought county cricket’s most prestigious prize to Edgbaston. Josh Davey remained not out on 15.

Somerset head coach Jason Kerr said: “It was disappointing to lose it in that manner after competing hard in the game for three days. It was a fair declaration but we did not bat well enough. There were some magic balls bowled but some soft dismissals and that was incredibly frustrating.

“It was a disappointing day. It has been a poor month for us and people tend to remember the cricket you play in September most of all but I hope they will also remember the good cricket we played up to August.”

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