Yorkshire have been relegated to County Championship Division Two after Warwickshire secured survival thanks to a dramatic five-run win over Hampshire.
At Edgbaston, Liam Norwell was the hero as he shrugged off injury to claim 9-62, bowling almost unchanged for 18.5 overs as the Bears prolonged their top-division status.
Warwickshire, last season’s county champions, had to win the match to avoid the drop but were bowled out for 177, setting Hampshire a target of just 133 for victory.
The visitors, however, who saw the title slip away last week in a defeat to Surrey, fell just short meaning Warwickshire could celebrate a successful survival bid at Yorkshire’s expense – something which had earlier looked extremely unlikely.
Hampshire will finish the season in third – their drop down from runners-up spot costing them £145,000 in prize money.
The final day belonged to Norwell, who took the wickets of Hampshire top-scorer Nick Gubbins for 46, skipper James Vince for 15 and ex-Warwickshire man Keith Barker for four.
The ex-Gloucestershire quick then bowled James Fuller for 22 before Mohammad Abbas was trapped lbw for no score, clinching a last-gasp victory on the final day of a tense encounter.
Warwickshire’s only other wicket-taker of the second innings was, ironically, a Yorkshireman, Oliver Hannon-Dalby. The Halifax native left the south coast side 6-1 earlier following the exit of Felix Organ for five.
Norwell’s spree reduced Hampshire to 91-7 before Gubbins and Fuller put together an eighth-wicket stand of 33, but the former was pinned lbw with his team still 15 runs shy of the win. The six runs still required following Fuller’s dismissal were not forthcoming, meaning that Yorkshire will drop down a level alongside Gloucestershire, who beat them at Headingley on Wednesday.
With domestic red ball cricket reaching its conclusion, attention now turns to the T20 international scene, where England are currently touring Pakistan in preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia.
South Africa, who are 8/1 to win the tournament, are also touring India (10/3 – T20 World Cup outright) in preparation for the event, which begins with a preliminary group stage on October 16, before the big hitters weigh in for the Super 12 from October 22.