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Yorkshire secure promotion in LV=County Championship
“WE are back where we belong.”
Those were the proud words of Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale last night after the county secured promotion from division Two of the LV=County Championship.
The Tykes success was sealed at 6.04pm yesterday after a bizarre end to Kent’s game at Glamorgan.
The visitors needed to win to deny Yorkshire a place in the first division, but were beaten by seven wickets after two late delays for bad light had looked like postponing the Tykes’ promotion party by 24 hours.
“I am over the moon,” enthused Gale after day three of his team’s match with Essex at Chelmsford.
“We were watching our aps very closely to see what was going on in Cardiff and pressing the refresh button as many times as we could.
“We set out to get back into division one this year and we’ve done that at the first attempt.
“We had everything against us going into the last three games. We’ve won two out of three and we’re in a great position in this one.
“This is the first thing I’ve won as captain. After the heartbreak of finals day a few weeks ago, to go up in the Championship is what this year is all about.”
Kent’s defeat means Yorkshire are now guaranteed at least second spot in the table, but it could yet be a double celebration by the end of today.
The Tykes will win the title if they win and Derbyshire fail to match that feat.
Both of those results are still possible as well, with Hampshire on 142-6 in their second-innings at Derby which is a lead of 139 runs.
Yorkshire are in an even better position against Essex, with the home side on 28-2 in pursuit of a mammoth victory target of 388.
Gale continued: “Looking at the Derby game, it’s theirs to lose really, but we want to win here and finish on a high.
“We’ve done everything we can. If we win and don’t go up as champions then we couldn’t have done any more.”
The fact the Tykes are in such a good position in East Anglia is mostly down to an excellent display with the bat by Anthony McGrath and Azeem Rafiq.
With the county resuming on 44-3, they made 68 and 75 not out respectively to underpin Yorkshire’s total of 252-8 declared in their second-innings.
Adam Lyth also hit his second half-century of the match to set Essex 388 for victory before the county stumbled to 28-2 at the close.
Rafiq took one of the wickets to continue his excellent performance when he removed Jaik Mickleburgh for two, with Steven Patterson then ousting Tom Westley for 18 just three overs before the end of play.
As the players walked off the county’s promotion was yet to be secured, before the good news came through from Cardiff to kick-start the party.
Regardless of whether they end up as champions or not, this was a day to remember for Yorkshire.