Derbyshire County Cricket Club have been crowned LV=County Championship Division Two Champions after beating Hampshire at the County Ground on the final day of an outstanding 2012 season.
The hosts achieved the feat with six wickets to spare as Ross Whiteley hit the winning runs to signal the greatest achievement in the club’s recent history.
With Yorkshire making short work of Essex at Chelmsford, it soon became apparent that Derbyshire were going to have to win to take the title.
However in the early stages of Day Four, Hampshire looked unlikely to gift such a prestigious prize.
The visitors frustrated the hosts’ attack, moving to 177-6 with former Nottinghamshire batsman Bilal Shafayat showing the stubborn resistance that had seen him acquire an unbeaten half-century the previous evening.
However that all changed when Chris Wood was caught by Paul Borrington at mid-off off Wes Durston for nine.
From that point, Derbyshire were ruthlessly efficient.
The danger man, Shafayat, fell for a well-constructed 81; run out by Whiteley attempting a single through the leg side.
David Balcombe followed suit shortly after, LBW David Wainwright to give the spinner his 50th first-class wicket of a terrific debut campaign.
Moments later, the Derbyshire target was set. David Griffiths caught at extra cover by Whiteley off Durston and Hampshire all out for 198; Derbyshire requiring 196 runs for the title.
With a tricky spell before lunch to negotiate, the hosts got off to a good start; reaching 45 before Paul Borrington fell for 21; caught at 1st slip off the bowling off David Griffiths.
Another blow came right on lunch; Wayne Madsen bowled Liam Dawson for 24 as Derbyshire went in for lunch at 45-2.
With obvious tension in the ground, Derbyshire resumed in the afternoon session positively with Usman Khawaja nad Wes Durston progressing the score to 112-2 before the latter was trapped LBW to Griffiths for 23.
By this stage, Yorkshire had beaten Essex. Whilst at the County Ground, the delight of watching Khawaja complete a masterful half-century was quickly replaced by the nerves as Dan Redfern fell; caught Adams at leg slip for three.
However Khawaja was then joined by Whiteley and the pair defied the tense situation with some fine lusty blows to swiftly bring the runs required down below 50.
Two straight sixes from Whiteley then transformed the ground into party mode, the ever-increasing crowd cheering every run as the reality dawned. Derbyshire were going to be LV=County Championship Division Two Champions.
It was Whiteley who hit the winning runs to cue mass celebrations at the County Ground. A day that all associated with Derbyshire will never forget.
© 2014 Derbyshire County Cricket Club
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