Warwickshire have secured second place in Division One of the County Championship, but can go one better next year and lift the trophy.
Jonathan Trott and captain Varun Chopra both hit centuries to see Warwickshire to maximum batting points against Durham, who suffered a long day in the field. Sussex only managed three bonus points, leaving the Bears in an unassailable position.
Chopra, who top-scored with 160, admittedly has work to do, hitting only his second ton of the summer, but it was also his second in four matches. However, if he can improve on that next season, his side will have a formidable top order.
Once again, he will also be a key man in the Royal London One-Day Cup, as he was this time round with an average of over 67.
England’s loss is Warwickshire’s gain
Trott is back unequivocally. His off-field problems that forced him to take two breaks from the game in less than a year mean he is unlikely to make an England return any time soon, especially with Gary Ballance occupying his spot.
That could work to his county’s advantage, though, as now he is back to his best, but without a central contract, he will be plying his trade solely in domestic cricket.
The same cannot be said of Chris Woakes, who has been given his first central contract, and looks set to go to the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Warwickshire’s squad should be strong enough to cope with his absence, and if not, director of cricket Dougie Brown has the close season to strengthen.
Chopra and Trott have had a monumental impact since regaining their form, and had the latter been available, they could arguably have reached the summit of Division One.
Unfortunately, Warwickshire will go down as this season’s nearly men, finishing in the top two in every competition. It is an achievement they should not be disheartened by, having come so close in the One-Day Cup, missing out by just three wickets to Durham at Lord’s.
Their T20 side, the Birmingham Bears, beat Lancashire to win the inaugural Natwest T20 Blast in front of a home crowd at Edgbaston last month, and now they have displaced Nottinghamshire – who looked like title winners for much of the season – in second spot.
Champions Yorkshire, who won the title in resounding fashion at Notts, evidently had their eyes on the County Championship from the outset, and it paid off. Next year should be a case of deciding which competition to focus on, as they may well have been overstretched in going for glory on all three fronts.