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Warwickshire crowned County Champions after victory over midlands rivals Worcestershire

Warwickshire crowned County Champions after victory over midlands rivals Worcestershire

Warwickshire (471-8 dec) beat Worcestershire (60 & 209) by an innings and 202 runs

Warwickshire director of cricket Ashley Giles paid an emotional debut to Warwickshire stalwart Neal Abberley by dedicating the county’s seventh County Championship title to his mentor who died last year.
Abberley served Warwickshire for 50 years as player, second team coach and batting coach but died in August 2011 after a long battle with a lung complaint.
Giles played under Abberley, an old school hard task master, when he first joined Warwickshire 20 years ago and employed him as a valued member of his coaching team when he took charge at Edgbaston in 2007.
Giles had hoped to be able to dedicate the title to Abberley last year but they came up short on the final day of the season when they were pipped by Lancashire. But Abberley’s wife Chris was the first person Giles phoned yesterday afternoon before Warwickshire began their champagne celebrations on the New Road outfield.
“As soon as we finished I called Chris but her phone wasn’t picking up but I sent her a text to tell her we had won it,” Giles said.
“That’s for Abbers and for my wife who has gone through a pretty torrid year with illness as well.
“I had always planned that if we won it last year I would pick up the phone and call Chris but we didn’t win it so this has been 13 months in the making.
“Most of these guys are fairly fresh to the club and they only knew Abbers at the end, they don’t really know what Abbers really did for Warwickshire cricket. He was the heart and soul of the club.Someone who gave his life to the club for 50 years who died while in service.
"I said last year that it was one of Abbers’ favourite phrases that we were not quite ready yet. I told the players today that we are certainly ready now.
“I think we’ve got the respect from a lot of the other counties, who believe we’re the best cricket side in the country and it’s the one competition that is probably the proof of the best cricket team in the country and they deserve it.
Giles enjoyed success as a player as part of the Warwickshire squad that won six domestic trophies between 1993 and 1995 and a walk-on part – just one appearance – when they last won the championship in 2004.
He was also a key part of England’s 2005 Ashes-winning squad but said that winning county cricket’s blue riband competition equalled that achievement.
“The Ashes was the ultimate but this a different thing altogether,” Giles said. “As a coach you are largely responsible, your head is on the block for the team’s performances and in many ways more stress goes with that.
“As a player you can eat off the other ten guys in the team. I probably didn’t have as many sleepless nights as a player. This is very special because it’s a different career and it ranks alongside lifting the Ashes.”
Warwickshire won the title despite losing Chris Woakes and Boyd Rankin, who took 111 wickets between them last season, to injury for the first half of the season.
But Keith Barker and Chris Wright filled the gap admirably by taking 112 between them including 17 in this match. Wright sealed victory 25 minutes after lunch by spread-eagling the stumps of Alan Richardson, who played in Warwickshire’s 2004 title-winning side.
England players Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, who also played in 2004, arrived at New Road to join in the celebrations which were led by captain Jim Troughton.
“With the Olympics being on at the moment you see a lot of people picking up a gold medal and they have those interviews. I would be lying if I didn’t think one day would that be me at the end of the season being able to say how proud I am of the hard work that everyone has put in, not just the guys in whites but the guys behind the scenes,” Troughton said.
Why Warwickshire won the title
Jim Troughton’s captaincy
The left-handed batsman from a famous family of actors is quiet and under-stated but has revealed a steely streak since he took over as captain last year.
Coaching team
Director of cricket Ashley Giles has a close working relationship with bowling coach Graeme Welch, who played in the county’s 1994 treble-winning side.
Wright’s wickets
Former Middlesex seamer Chris Wright was released by Essex last season and signed on an initial loan deal. Given added responsibility when Chris Woakes and Boyd Rankin were injured in March and responded with 58 championship wickets, including nine at Worcester.
Barker’s bowling
Former Blackburn Rovers academy and Rochdale footballer Ian Blackwell switched sports four years ago. Signed as a batsman but has developed into an effective left-arm swing bowler who took 54 championship wickets having remodelled his action with Welch.
Ian Blackwell
The former England left-arm spinner was signed on a short-term loan from Durham to cover while Jeetan Patel was on Test duty with New Zealand. Contributed important runs and wickets, collected a championship medal and is in line to play in the CB40 final. “If carlsberg did loan moves! #championship #lordsfinal” tweeted Somerset’s Jos Buttler to Blackwell this week.


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