Warwickshire fast bowler Liam Norwell has been named alongside Northern Diamonds Linsey Smith as being voted September PCA Players of the Month.

Norwell was the outstanding bowler for Warwickshire during an historic month for the Bears which saw them claim a first LV= Insurance County Championship title since 2012, before following it up with victory in the Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s just a week later.

The seam bowler’s wickets have won him the award and Norwell joins Matt Critchley (April), Simon Harmer (May, August), Harry Brook (June) and Tom Hartley (July) in having picked up a men’s PCA Player of the Month award this season.

It is a perfect end to a near-perfect season for Norwell, who spoke to the PCA about his whirlwind September: “It hasn’t sunk in yet. To win the County Championship and then go on to claim the Bob Willis Trophy is more than we ever could have hoped for at the start of the year. We’re confident in our ability but to actually go out and win it hasn’t sunk in, and I think that’s going to be the case for most of the lads.

“The win at Edgbaston was the absolute highlight. We won it late on the last day, our home support was absolutely outstanding, and there were mass celebrations. That day will live in my memory forever.

“It was incredibly special for everyone. Will Rhodes is a young captain, it was Mark Robinson’s first year at the club, and it’s basically the same team that struggled in red-ball cricket last year. We’re lucky that Dom Sibley and Chris Woakes came in to boost us at the end of the season, but it was just a great team effort. Everyone played a role throughout the season.”

Liam Norwell

Norwell’s individual highlights from September included match figures of 7-65 in a low-scoring victory over Yorkshire, which set Warwickshire on the path towards Championship glory.

The 29-year-old also claimed miserly figures of 2-9 from six overs as his side removed Lancashire for just 78 on a stunning first morning of the Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s.

“There have been a lot of highlights, but the win at Yorkshire was right up there. Myself, Craig Miles and Woakesy took 19 of the 20 wickets to fall and bowled really well as a unit. It was enjoyable getting to play with someone like Chris who you can learn so much from, and we obviously also won the game which put us right in the frame to win the title.

“It was a mad morning at Lord’s. You don’t expect to bowl a team out for 78 when you win the toss and bowl, but Miles was superb, and it’s an honour to take the ball and open up at Lord’s. It’s something you really cherish and it’s not something you get to do very often. That will really stay with me.”

Warwickshire’s top Championship wicket-taker in an historic year for the club in red-ball cricket, Norwell has already set his sights on backing up a brilliant 2021 campaign.

“I’ve had some tough years with injuries, so it was just nice to be able to be fit for the entire season. To end up as the leading wicket-taker in a team that wins the Championship is obviously pretty special, and I was just glad to be a part of a team that did what we did.

“After a bit of time with the family, I’ll be working as hard as I can to keep my bowling at the same level as this year, and as a squad we’ll be making sure we’ll be doing everything we can to be right back in the title picture next year.”

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