|LV = County Championship Division One, Edgbaston (day four)|
|Warwickshire Dec 272-4: 104 Yates & 177: Sibley 77; Fuller 4-34|
|Hampshire 311 and 133: Norwell 9-62|
|Warwickshire (21 points) beat Yorkshire (4 points) by five points|
Liam Norwell produced the performance of a lifetime with a stunning 9-62 as 2021 county champions Warwickshire held on for a miracle and relegated Yorkshire to a five-run win over Hampshire at Edgbaston.
The injury-hit paceman bowled almost unchanged in 18.5 overs to inspire an incredible victory and keep them in the First Division.
Set for just 139 to win after bowling out Warwickshire for 177, Hampshire faltered, being bowled out for 133.
After losing the title to Surrey last week, Hampshire’s second consecutive defeat cost them runners-up – and £145,000 in prize money – as they now only finish third.
There was a stunning bowling effort from Norwell – who took career-best figures – and the equally tireless but relatively unrewarded Oliver Hannon-Dalby. The pair dispatched 37 from 44 overs in Hampshire’s second innings.
While Yorkshire were cursed with their first relegation in 11 years, the Bears’ unlikely escape in Birmingham, where 18 wickets fell on the final day of the season, secured their eighth title a year ago.
Warwickshire finished three points above Yorkshire, who lost to already relegated Gloucestershire on Wednesday, which meant survival was out of reach.
The Bears got off cheaply
After closing out 62-2 on Wednesday by just 23, the main surprise on Birmingham’s rainy and overcast night was that they started on time thanks to the hard work of Gary Barwell and his Edgbaston ground staff.
That was the only thing that went right in the Bears’ morning session, despite Surrey’s Dom Sibley’s second half-century in his last appearance.
Brad Wheal hit back-to-back shots as skippers Alex Davies and Will Rhodes went for the shots.
James Fuller took over as the main wicket-taker, adding the scalps of Dan Mousley, Jacob Bethell, Danny Briggs and Norwell, with a mix-up in between.
Sam Hain, who was making an acrobatic stop on the boundary on Wednesday, entered the eighth after injuring his hamstring, while Davies was batting with a runner.
And, having already survived a runaway game, Davies was now stopped by a direct hit at short mid-wicket from Hampshire skipper James Vince, and had to make a slow march back to the dressing room for the second. time in an hour, this time accompanied by So lame.
When Fuller removed Briggs and Norwell in successive balls, Fuller had a chance to repeat the Bob Willis Trophy treble against Sussex at Arundel 2020.
But while Hannon-Dalby survived the hat-trick of balls, Sibley didn’t trust the survival skills of the Bears’ last man, despite several key innings this season. And, trying to increase the strike, he perished, missing the opportunity to carry the bat for the third time this season.
. . . but Hants got the ball even cheaper
That required just 139 in Hampshire to win, but chasing small targets can often be difficult. And this running chase certainly was.
Hannon-Dalby’s leading Bears receiver made his first breakthrough in the third when he caught Felix Organ behind, which opened the door for Norwell.
He quickly removed opener Ian Holland – and the wickets kept coming.
At 91-7, when former Bears all-rounder Keith Barker became his sixth victim, Nick Gubbins and James Fuller put on what looked like a decisive 33 for the eighth wicket.
But the ball change – the story of the summer of 2022 – was crucial.
Next ball, Norwell won a generous lbw decision against Gubbins for 46 and, although the visitors were within one run of victory, he struck twice in four balls.
He first bowled Fuller for 22 and then caught Mohammad Abbas leg-side to end the match with a career-best 13-100.