With red-ball cricket soon to resume, this week the Greatest Ever series turns back to the longer format as we consider what was Warwickshire's Greatest Championship Match.
Five classic encounters have made the short-list… which will get your vote?
v Yorkshire, Scarborough – July 18-20, 1934
- Yorkshire 101 (Turner 51, Paine 8 for 62)
- Warwickshire 45 (Buckingham 14no, Hargreaves 4 for 19)
- Yorkshire 159 (Paine 4 for 49, Mayer 3 for 37, Hollies 3 for 50)
- Warwickshire 216 for 9 (Parsons 94, Kilner 58, Macauley 4 for 67)
Warwickshire won by one wicket
Just before the start, Warwickshire captain Jack Parsons was approached by a Yorkshire fan who told him: “It’s a pity we can’t get a decent side up here instead of a poor crowd like you.”
Three days later, that fan was a bit embarrassed after the Bears recorded a famous win, thanks to the brilliance of Parsons.
On a damp wicket, the White Rose made only 101 but then rattled the Bears out for 45 – that caustic fan seemed spot on. Slow left-armer George Paine then completed match-figures of 12 for 111 as the home side was bowled out for 156 but a target of 216, on a crumbling pitch, looked impossible.
But Norman Kilner made a diligent 58 and then Parsons played magnificently, stroking his way elegantly to 94 to take his team to the brink of a sensational victory. Yorkshire resorted to much chuntering, at one stage Parsons walking away from the wicket and saying: “I wish you chaps would keep quiet.”
The captain fell with 12 still needed but, amid scenes of the highest tension, last pair Danny Mayer and Eric Hollies saw the Bears side over the line to silence the huge Scarborough crowd.
v Sussex, Hove – May 20-23, 1952
- Warwickshire 138 (Dollery 55, Oakman 3 for 37)
- Sussex 123 (Langridge 65, Grove 4 for 42)
- Warwickshire 116 (Townsend 41, Grove 38, Wood 4 for 40)
- Sussex 131 (Grove 37-15-49-6), Hollies (41.3-25-30-3)
Low-scoring affairs can make the most fascinating matches and so it proved when the Bears fought out their first ever County Championship tie.
After Tom Dollery’s skilful half-century lifted the Bears to 138 (future Warwickshire coaching legend Alan Oakman taking three wickets), Charlie Grove took four wickets to secure his side a first-innings lead of 15.
Sussex then hit back hard by reducing the Bears’ second innings to 13 for five. Seventh-wicket pair Alan Townsend and Grove added 60 but the home side was left a target of only 132.
At 90 for three, they looked to be coasting to victory, but Grove and Hollies initiated a collapse to 120 for nine. The spectators in the famous blue and white striped deckchairs at the Cromwell Road End were engrossed…could last pair Ted James and Rupert Webb find 12 runs?
They found 11, then Webb was bamboozled by Hollies and fell lbw…the last twist of a wonderful plot. Match tied.
v Surrey, The Oval – July 10-13 2002
- Surrey 475 (Ramprakash 210no, Clarke 79, Hollioake 56, Brown 7 for 110)
- Warwickshire 293 (Smith 74, Pollock 50, Ormond 5 for 116)
- Warwickshire 350 (Powell 95, Troughton 94, Ormond 5 for 62)
- Surrey 137 (Hollioake 52, Pollock 4 for 44, Brown 2 for 26, Carter 2 for 37, Smith 1 for 0)
Warwickshire won by 31 runs
When the Bears’ reply to Surrey’s 475 hit 119 for five, with Saqlain Mushtaq slicing through the middle order, a thumping defeat appeared to beckon. Even after half-centuries from Shaun Pollock and Neil Smith effected a partial recovery, the Bears had to follow on 182 behind. It didn’t look good.
But they dug in. Studious innings from Michael Powell and Jim Troughton took their team in front, and ate up loads of valuable time, before nifty smaller contributions from Dougie Brown and Keith Piper helped leave Surrey an awkward target of 169 in 34 overs.
Still the home side, with their powerful batting, were hot favourites. Not so much, though, after Pollock fired out Jon Batty and Mark Ramprakash for ducks. It was five for two…and the Bears never released the pressure. With skipper Powell skilfully rotating his bowlers, Pollock took four wickets and Brown and Neil Carter two apiece.
At 137 for nine, Powell brought on Neil Smith to try to winkle out the last wicket. The spinner’s first ball did the trick and, for the first time, the Bears had won a championship match after following on.
v Somerset, Edgbaston – April 12-15 2012
- Somerset 147 (Wright 4 for 47)
- Warwickshire 243 (Barker 46, Chopra 43, Maddy 43)
- Somerset 354 (Compton 133, Buttler 93)
- Warwickshire 262 for 8 (Porterfield 84, Patel 43no)
Warwickshire won by two wickets
The Bears’ 2012 season ended in championship glory – it began with a brilliant match at Edgbaston.
Somerset chose to bat, lurched to 14 for three as Chris Wright and Keith Barker started the campaign as they meant to go on, and the match fluctuated thrillingly from then onward.
After two first innings which included no half-centuries, the Bears lead of 96 looked decisive but Nick Compton and Jos Buttler, in their contrasting styles, built a difficult last-day victory target of 259.
Neil Carter, sent in first, gave the chase early impetus with 26 and Ian Westwood (32) and Will Porterfield took the score to a promising 145 for two. Porterfield batted superbly but fell during a collapse to 207 for eight.
With 52 needed and just two wickets left, skipper Jim Troughton dug in…and Jeetan Patel attacked. They advanced steadily before Patel laid into spinner George Dockrell, lashing 15 from four balls in a decisive assault.
The ninth-wicket pair added an unbeaten 55 to deliver a wonderful win and create a momentum that was to take the Bears all the way to the title.
v Nottinghamshire, Trent Bridge – September 16-19 2019
- Nottinghamshire 498 (Mullaney 179, Clarke 125)
- Warwickshire 488 (Sibley 215no, Hain 76)
- Nottinghamshire 260 (Clarke 112, Hannon-Dalby 4 for 54
- Warwickshire 271 for 2 (Sibley 109, Rhodes 65, Burgess 61no)
Warwickshire won by eight wickets
After Nottinghamshire closed the first day on 425 for six, a travelling Bears fan, nursing his pint in the Trent Bridge Inn, mused: “Good one to win.”
He was teased for his optimism… but Jeetan Patel’s side did win -and it was more than good, it was truly memorable in the late-summer sunshine.
First, important wickets from George Garrett meant that the home side didn’t add too many more. Then Dom Sibley batted magnificently for an unbeaten 215 in nearly nine hours. By lunch on the third day, the match was level again.
It was still a good batting track, but now the Bears’ bowlers showed their skills and heart. Olly Hannon-Dalby took four wickets and, supported by Garrett, Jeetan Patel and Henry Brookes, bowled the home side out for 260. The Bears needed 271 in the last two sessions for a remarkable win.
They did it perfectly. Sibley, adding a century to his first innings double, added 146 with Will Rhodes and 73 with Michael Burgess. Sibley finally fell, having batted just shy of 12 hours in the match, but had set up a strong candidate for Warwickshire’s greatest ever championship victory.
Cast your vote
To vote for Warwickshire’s Greatest Championship Match, simply complete the below form. Everyone who submits their vote will be entered into a prize draw to win a signed Warwickshire shirt.
Voting closes at 5pm on Tuesday 21 July and the winner will be announced on Wednesday.