To start Tim Ambrose Week, where we say farewell to one of the greatest Bears in history, Brian Halford looks back at five of his greatest performances for the Club.
Members and supporters can pick their favourite Ambrose performance from the list below via the Edgbaston app, which is free to download on iOS and Android.
251 not out v Worcestershire at Worcester (County Championship), May 4, 2007
When Darren Maddy won the toss and chose to bat at New Road, at first things didn’t go well for the Bears. They were three for two, then recovered partially, but at 195 for four the innings was still in the balance. Then Tim Ambrose joined Jim Troughton at the crease.
The next two wickets added 380 as Amby put on 154 with Troughton and 226 with Heath Streak.
Amby batted like a dream. He reached 100 from 123 balls, advanced to a maiden double century from 259, and was still unbeaten on 251 when the declaration arrived at 610 for six. He faced 325 balls and hit 34 fours, mostly punched through the offside with trademark timing and power.
He then took three catches and conceded not a single bye as Worcestershire were bowled out cheaply twice, Dale Steyn taking eight wickets, as the Bears won by an innings and 113 runs.
135 v Durham at Edgbaston (Friends Provident Trophy), June 13, 2007
Much of Tim Ambrose’s best batting for Warwickshire arrived in red ball cricket, when he could really get his teeth into a challenge over a period of hours…but he was no one-dimensional cricketer.
Amby was a key figure in many a white ball contest for the Bears, not least because few players were ever a better judge of a pitch, what would be a good score and how to pace a chase. But he could also be a destructive force with the bat in the shorter formats, as Durham discovered in 2007.
Batting first, the Bears hit 49 for three when Kumar Sangakkara nicked Neil Killeen behind. In went Amby to join Jonathan Trott at the crease.
While Trott (107, 121 balls) played the anchor role, Amby went on the offensive in spectacular fashion. An attack led by Otis Gibson and Graham Onions was put well and truly to the sword as he thrashed 135 from just 82 balls with 14 fours and five sixes. It was one of the finest one-day innings for Warwickshire.
And, always most important of all for Amby, it set up a win for his beloved Bears, his catches to dismiss both Durham openers off Lee Daggett proving pivotal to a 39-run D/L victory.
113 v Yorkshire at Scarborough (County Championship), August 26, 2009
North Marine Road on a misty day against a strong Yorkshire attack with the belligerent home crowd in full cry is a testing venue for an opposing batsman. Late in August 2009, Amby rose to the test with possibly his best ever innings for the Bears.
Put in on a green pitch, the Bears declined to 53 for four when Amby went in to join Tony Frost. Against the movement of Matt Hoggard and the pace of Ajmal Shahzad, his technique and temperament was right up to the challenge.
Amby rebuilt the innings, first with Frost then with Rikki Clarke, with a superb 113 from 150 balls with 21 fours. By the time he was dismissed, the White Rose attack was softened up enough for Neil Carter to take advantage with a merry 59-ball 67.
The Bears were safe in the game. As so often during his terrific Bears career, Amby had delivered when the team needed it most.
4 dismissals v Durham at Chester-le-Street (County Championship), June 28, 2010
Top-drawer wicketkeeping performances often pass largely unrecorded in scorecards. Catches and stumpings are there in print, but often a keeper can perform to the highest level without any nicks coming his way.
So, in terms of what was his best keeping display…over to Amby…
“There was a game at Durham,” he recalls. “The wicket was fast with a bit of grass on it but the ball was gripping and the odd one was sliding. Quite a lot slid off the outside edge and a couple went through the gate, stumped, and I remember coming off and saying to Pop Welch and a few other people: ‘I really kept well there’ which is not something I’d usually say.
“I was really pleased with that and for some reason I wanted to make a point that I felt that way!”
151 not out v Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston (County Championship), August, 28, 29, 2012
Every Warwickshire fan recalls the magical day at New Road when the Bears clinched the championship in the Worcester sunshine… not so many recall that it was a superb innings from Tim Ambrose that took them to the title threshold.
Nottinghamshire arrived at Edgbaston as the Bears’ closest pursuers. Victory for the East Midlanders would open the title race up. When the Bears, having chosen to bat first, were 181 for four, the game, and the title race, was in the balance.
A good session for Notts and their strong seam attack led by Andre Adams, Luke Fletcher and Paul Franks and it was ‘game on.’
But that attack came up against Amby at his most defiant. More than anything he loved playing cricket that really mattered…and this session mattered. If the Bears did not lose this match, they had one hand on the title.
Almost five hours batting later, Ambrose was still unbeaten on 151 (223 balls, 22 fours, one six) when the declaration arrived at 504 for six. He added 102 with Rikki Clarke, 97 with Chris Wright and an unbroken 127 with Ian Blackwell to drain the life out of the Notts challenge. That wonderful day at Worcester was all set up. The architect of it – unsung, just the way he likes it – Timothy Raymond Ambrose.
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