Bob Willis Trophy
Tue 28 September, 10:30

Lord's, London

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Report: Warwickshire v Lancashire, Bob Willis Trophy

Day Four

Warwickshire took just 70 minutes to wrap up an innings and 199 run victory over Lancashire and lift the Bob Willis Trophy at Lord’s. 

After Lancashire resumed on the fourth morning in on 171 for six, still needing another 269 to avoid an innings defeat, they folded quickly to 241 all out. 

At 11.40am Tom Bailey skied a pull at Liam Norwell and Michael Burgess sprinted far to his right to complete a superb diving catch and clinch a dazzling double for the Bears as they added the Bob Willis Trophy to their LV=Insurance County Championship triumph.  

What a first season in charge it has been for coach Mark Robinson…and a similarly satisfying campaign for Will Rhodes in his first full season as captain, the previous one having been abbreviated by Covid.  

The Bears rounded off their red ball work for the year with a display of total dominance over the Red Rose. The scores – Lancashire 78 and 241, Warwickshire 518 – say it all. 

Lancashire began the fourth day at least hoping their lower order could summon enough resistance to avert the club’s heaviest ever first-class defeat to another county – an innings and 200 runs.  But the first breakthrough soon arrived as young seamer Manraj Johal continued his superb debut by bowling Luke Wood.  

Danny Briggs, obtaining plentiful turn, then added two wickets, trapping Rob Jones lbw and having Jack Blatherwick emphatically stumped by Burgess. 

Minutes later the wicketkeeper capped his superb season with an acrobatic catch to remove Bailey…and in the Lord’s sunshine the Bears’ brilliant red ball season had concluded in a historic double triumph. 

Day Three

Warwickshire are on the brink of completing a brilliant red ball double as they continue to totally dominate Lancashire in the Bob Willis Trophy at Lord’s. 

After the Bears were finally bowled out for 518 (Will Rhodes 156, 291 balls, 18 fours), seizing a mammoth first innings lead of 440, they had Lancashire struggling on 171 for six second time round when bad light ended play just after tea on the third day. 

With two days remaining, Will Rhodes’ side needs just four more wickets to add the Bob Willis Trophy to their LV=Insurance County Championship triumph. 

After being skittled for 78 in just 27.5 overs on the first day, the Red Rose batsmen showed a little more resolve second time round, but Rhodes’ bowlers, again backed up by razor sharp fielding, were not to be denied, Liam Norwell again leading the way with two wickets. 

After the Bears resumed this morning on 464 for seven, Rhodes advanced to an accomplished 156, his seventh first-class century,  before he was bowled by Jack Blatherwick. The same bowler soon also castled Norwell but last-wicket pair Craig Miles (30 not out, 55 balls) and Manraj Johal (19, 26 balls) added  31 in 39 balls. Johal followed his impressive bowing by hitting three fours in a comfortable knock which ended when he was bowled attempting to attack spinner Matt Parkinson. 

In 13 overs before lunch, Lancashire lost Alex Davies (in his last game for the Red Rose before joining the Bears) when he misjudged a single and was run out by Miles’ direct hit from cover.  

George Balderson and Luke Wells added 71 in 19 overs before the latter edged Tim Bresnan to Michael Burgess. On a relentlessly grey afternoon, with the floodlights flaring bright in the London gloom, Norwell then returned at the Pavilion End and struck with his first ball which Josh Bohannon edged to Sam Hain at second slip. 

Norwell unfurled a beauty to uproot Balderson (65, 131 balls) with one that hit the top of off stump to leave Lancashire 152 for four at tea. The Bears struck twice in the first 15 balls of the evening, thanks to the safe slip catching that has been a feature of their storming finish to the championship season. Danny Briggs and Miles induced edges from Steven Croft and Dane Vilas and Bresnan and Hain made no mistake.  

That was 158 for six and, with 37 overs left in the session, a three-day finish loomed into view, but only three more were bowled before that gloom thickened enough to persuade the umpires to take the players off. The double celebrations must wait… 

Day Two

Centuries from captain Will Rhodes and Rob Yates helped Warwickshire pile up the runs as they maintained total control of the Bob Willis Trophy against Lancashire at Lord’s.

Rhodes struck his first red-ball century of the summer, an unbeaten 151, while Yates added the fifth of his prolific season as the Bears finished the second day at 464 for seven.

That represented a substantial lead of 386 runs to leave Warwickshire firmly on track to claim a second trophy inside a week.

Dominic Sibley and Sam Hain added half-centuries while Lancashire leg-spinner Matt Parkinson was rewarded for his toil on a placid pitch with three wickets.

Rhodes lifted the LV= Insurance County Championship trophy on Friday with only a century missing from his honours list for the season.

The 26-year-old set about rectifying that in dominant style after he walked into bat alongside Yates in the morning session after Sibley was trapped lbw by Tom Bailey.

Lancashire had needed more early wickets to have any hope of recovering an already desperate situation after they were skittled for 78 yesterday, but Rhodes and Yates ensured such thoughts were quickly off the table.

The pair settled into a 110-run second-wicket stand that not only squeezed any life out of the Red Rose challenge but also underlined why Yates is being touted for higher honours.

The 22-year-old reached his century with the calm assurance that successful teams require at the top of the order.

When he finally departed, well caught by Luke Wells at slip off Parkinson, Rhodes simply kept gong to bat through the day and further reinforce his side’s position.

Rhodes struck 18 boundaries and shared a further 97-run stand with Hain, who was bowled Jack Blatherwick for 55.

Wells then bowled Matthew Lamb without scoring but Michael Burgess joined in the free scoring with 44 before Parkinson had him stumped.

Tim Bresnan and Danny Briggs both fell cheaply to the leg-spinners but Rhodes continued until the close to leave him and his side on the brink of a memorable week.

Day One

Warwickshire’s pursuit for a domestic double looks firmly on course after an imposing performance with bat and ball led to a 42-run lead at Lord’s on the opening day of the Bob Willis Trophy.

The Bears – crowned County Champions for an eighth time on Friday in front of their own Members and supporters – immediately thwarted any claims of a celebration hangover by knocking over Lancashire for just 78 – their third-lowest first-class total this century – in just 27.5 overs.

Led by Craig Miles’ five-fer (9.5-1-28-5) and supported by first-class debutant Manraj Johal (8-3-29-3) and Liam Norwell (6-2-9-2), Warwickshire took six wickets in 39 balls to back-up Captain Will Rhodes’ decision to bowl first.

In reply, the Bears reached 120 for 0 with Rob Yates (69*, 103 balls, 13 fours) and Dom Sibley (49*, 99 balls, six fours) anchoring a fine partnership despite being dogged by rain interruptions throughout the second and final session.

Looking to establish a quick start with the ball, Norwell struck first as George Balderson – looking to leave – flicked an outswinger to Tim Bresnan at first slip for one.

But Lancashire – who finished three-and-a-half points behind Warwickshire in the LV= Insurancr County Championship – found themselves collapsing from 8 for one to 12 for six, just 39 balls later.

The destructive Miles removed Alex Davies (8) with a fantastic caught and bowled, bowled Luke Wells for nought and trapped Dane Vilas and Steven Croft LBW without scoring. Opening partner Norwell added the sixth wicket by forcing Rob Jones to edge to wicket-keeper Michael Burgess for one.

A slight reprieve followed for the Red Rose with Josh Bohannon and Luke Wood putting on 35, before Johal removed the former for seventeen to earn his maiden first-class wicket.

The 19-year-old – who signed his first professional contract in October last year and becomes the 555th player to play first-class cricket for Warwickshire – looked elated as Dom Sibley got low to grab a miss-timed pull shot.

A quick shower halted the Bears ascendency at midday, but on their return, Johal struck again (Bailey LBW for 0) before lunch, with Miles adding his fifth after the interval through Matt Parkinson’s (4) edge to Burgess.

It was an excellent effort in the field by Warwickshire and they’ll be delighted to have seen it backed up by openers Sibley and Yates.

After racing to 21 without loss from three overs, the pair headed into tea on 49 for 0.

The duo’s defence was tested straight after the break however, with Yates (35*) and Sibley (29*) both dropped two balls apart by Jones at second slip and ‘keeper Davies.

Those mistakes confounded a frustrated Lancashire side who watched both batters surpass their first innings total intact.

That could be important should rain prevent a result, as Warwickshire would be crowned winners having led on the first innings, although the scheduled five-day match already appears well on course for a finish before the weather is forecast to close in later this week.

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Preview: Warwickshire v Lancashire, Bob Willis Trophy

Warwickshire will face Lancashire in the Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s eager to complete a double after their brilliant lifting of the LV= Insurance County Championship.

The stunning last-day denouement at Edgbaston last Friday triggered celebrations from Bears fans around the world. It was a truly memorable climax to a superb red-ball season which culminated in county cricket’s most prestigious prize coming to Edgbaston in Mark Robinson’s first year as first team coach.

Robinson has known plenty of success in his career but admits this triumph was unique for him – and is determined to make it just the start of the success for a Bears squad which can grow and build together.

“I’ve been in the game a long time and won the championship once as assistant coach and twice as head coach, but last Friday was a unique day for me,” he said. “To do it in that way, to have to judge the declaration and then take ten wickets quite quickly and to clinch it after tea on the last day, that was very special.

“It is a fantastic achievement by everybody. The players have responded to what I have asked them to do, we have got a great back-up staff and I am pleased for everybody connected with the  club.

“How great are the supporters! What a special atmosphere that was on Friday with everybody getting behind the bowlers. It was one of those days that players, coaches and supporters will talk about for a long time.

Mark Robinson

“Everybody has been outstanding. The players have shown a lot of character and resilience this year and there is more to come from his team.

“There is a more to come – and that’s what is really exciting.”

First up comes a five-dayer at Lord’s for the Bob Willis Trophy and Robinson, though no stranger to Lord’s or to success, will savour this week and the special feel of the historic venue as deeply as ever.

“I had a year out of county cricket which was good for me, but then Covid hits and you wonder, ‘crikey are you going to get back in?'” he said. “Then I got this wonderful opportunity at Warwickshire and now we have a showpiece match at Lord’s. You never take these special games for granted because you don’t know when the next one will be.

“Everybody has celebrated well and rightly so but now we will go to Lord’s for a showcase game at the home of cricket and try to play some cricket that will grace the occasion.”

The Bears’ celebrations were justifiably long and loud…just like those of Frank Foster’s team after they secured Warwickshire’s first title. Led by the ever-thirsty captain, the Bears players of 1911 larged it to a degree which impacted slightly on their performance in the post-season Champions v The Rest fixture at The Oval.

After powering past all-comers to win the championship, Foster’s weary troops were trounced by an innings and 365 runs (Warwickshire 129 and 137, The Rest 631 for five).

Reports from Arbroath suggest a similar implosion against the Red Rose at Lord’s this week is unlikely.


Rhodes (C), Benjamin, Bresnan, Briggs, Burgess (wk), Garrett, Hain, Johal, Lamb, Miles, Norwell, Sibley, Sidebottom, Yates.

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Briggs: "We will go down there on a high but still very focused on the game"

Danny Briggs insists that Warwickshire are on another silverware mission when they face Lancashire in the Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s tomorrow.

The Bears have been crowned county champions, a brilliant achievement, but there will be no resting on laurels in London over the next five days, said the spin-bowling all-rounder.

Around the Bears camp there is a real determination to make the 2021 championship triumph  just the start for this squad under Mark Robinson and Will Rhodes. And first up, the quest is to secure the trophy named after Bears and England legend ‘Big Bob.’

“It’s always nice to play at Lord’s and it’s great to be there this week playing for another trophy,” said Briggs.

“For us to travel down there as champions is an amazing feeling. We will go down there on a high but still very focused on the game in front of us and do our best to bring some more silverware back to Edgbaston.

Danny Briggs

“Lancashire are a strong side so we know it will be a very competitive game. Our game with them at Old Trafford turned into a bit of a stalemate because of the pitch but Lord’s tends to have result wickets so we are all looking forward to a good game and hopefully another Bears win.”

Briggs will be a key player as he has been throughout his first season with the Bears, averaging 27.40 with the bat and 22.13 with the ball and making key contribution to vital wins in both departments.

The 30-year-old could not have settled more quickly with the Bears following his move from Sussex, or be happier at the club.

“From the first moment at Warwickshire, I have felt backed and that is so important,” he said. “I have done okay, I think, and it’s been an amazing year from all the guys.

“Everyone has showed up all season, bowlers and batters, and different players contributed at different times. It is a hell of an effort from a fairly young group with just a few experienced players one of whom – myself – had not played much red ball cricket in the last couple of years.

“It feels a bit surreal to be county champions. We knew that, as a squad, we were still a little bit in transition and had to learn how to win games and play hard cricket and we have done that. The last day against Somerset last week was an example. To take 20 wickets on that pitch, and ten on the last day, was an incredible achievement.”

2024 Membership: Together, we are Bears

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