Title eludes victorious Yorkshire
Yorkshire had to settle for second place in Division Two of the LV= County Championship despite easing to victory over Essex on the final day at Chelmsford.
Derbyshire’s six-wicket win against Hampshire ensured Wayne Madsen’s side claimed the title by virtue of collecting more victories than the White Rose, after both clubs had finished level on points.
Despite a fine innings of 71 not out from Owais Shah, Essex were beaten by 239 runs, having been bowled out for 148 on the final afternoon.
Azeem Rafiq was the star of Yorkshire’s triumph, scoring two half-centuries in the game, one unbeaten, and emerging with match figures of 8-115.
The off-spinner bagged 5-50 in Essex’s second innings, which represented a career-best performance. Phil Jaques also played a decisive part, pocketing four catches, three of them at short-leg.
After resuming on 28 for two, Essex quickly lost nightwatchman Tom Craddock as he prodded an easy catch to Jaques at point.
While Shah remained unruffled and in control, spending more than three hours and 10 minutes at the crease, the rest of his colleagues were never able to provide the prolonged support required to make it a real contest.
Rafiq extracted turn and occasional lift to prove troublesome, but he was helped by poor shot-selection that led to the demise of several batsmen.
Shah was the only man to pass 20, while the only partnership of note was one of 40 for the fourth wicket involving Mark Pettini.
He departed to a brilliant one-handed catch by Gary Ballance at leg slip after an hour at the crease and soon afterwards Ryan ten Doeschate put up a skier to Andrew Gale at midwicket from a mistimed pull.
A brief and breezy 19 from Adam Wheater brought some relief for Essex but not to a lady in the Tom Pearce Stand after a six deflected off her head and led to her needing medical attention.
Wheater’s departure, caught off a reverse sweep, pointed the way to the last four wickets going down in the space of 21 deliveries for 13 runs.
Steven Patterson removed Reece Topley and Tymal Mills with successive balls to bring the match to an end and complete figures of4-34 and leave Shah stranded after an effort spanning 138 balls and containing five fours and one six.