The fairytale farewell Jason Gillespie dreamt of may not have been fulfilled, as Middlesex clinched the County Championship title on a dramatic final day of the season at Lord’s, but the Yorkshire head coach is still looking back on his time at the county fondly.
Gillespie, who leaves his role at the White Rose club and returns to Australia this winter after five seasons away, watched on as his team missed out on their third successive number one spot, defeated in the final session by 61 runs.
It would’ve been the first time the feat of a hat-trick of titles were achieved since the 1960s, however, Gillespie has no disputes about the result on an enthralling finish to the 2016 domestic calendar.
“That match is a testament to county cricket, a great advert for the game. The last 25 minutes of the season there were still three sides that could lift the trophy. It’s been a great summer from that perspective,” he said.
“It’s obviously disappointing to lose a game of cricket and not have that opportunity to win the Championship. But, the only option was to chase a target.
“Seeing the lads achieve some success has been very satisfying. Us as a support staff, to see the lads enjoy those moments is pretty hard to top.
“You see them in the tough times, and the hard work they put in in the gym, the nets and on the track, and you see the rewards they get. From that, individuals performing well and the team as a whole, that’s very satisfying as a member of the support staff.”
The former Australia paceman reserved a special mention for all-rounder Tim Bresnan, who performed heroics in Yorkshire’s first innings to keep their title dreams alive.
The 31-year-old scored an unbeaten 142, to ensure they claimed the required batting bonus points, and struck another half-century on the final day as Yorkshire attempted to chase down 240 for victory.
“Bressy played a really good hand there, as he did in the first innings, but we just couldn’t get over the line.”
“We moved him up to number five and gave him that responsibility and he was absolutely fantastic – I thought he was excellent with the ball as well.”
“He bowled long penetrating spells and his batting in both innings was phenomenal. I can’t speak highly enough of Tim.”
Gillespie also revealed the thinking behind the declaration that saw Yorkshire need to score a run-a-ball to win the match at Lord’s.
“We bounced some ideas around, what’s a reasonable chase, [Andrew] Gale spoke to James [Franklin] on how much they felt they needed to bowl us out.
“How many runs per over did we think was realistic to have a dip at? There was a lot of tooing-and-froing and a lot of numbers being thrown around. But, what you saw was agreed and it showed – it was a fantastic afternoon of cricket.”
“Galey and James got together and set that up, and it was just a case of going out there and scoring the runs. We didn’t quite achieve that.”
“We needed someone to get a significant score, an 80+, and some other contributions if we were going to be anywhere near that.”