The Holy Grail finally headed home in 2001. It had been a long time between drinks with Yorkshire picking up their first County Championship for 33 years.
Not since the glory years of the 1950s and 1960s, when Yorkshire won seven Championships in 10 seasons, had they secured English cricket’s greatest prize.
Under the leadership of David Byas Yorkshire were back amongst the elite at the turn of the millennium and the famous County Championship pennant would be flying high once more in the Broad Acres.
David Byas with the County Championship trophy in the Scarborough dressing room, 2001
“I take great pride in what we achieved that summer,” said Byas, whose team won nine of its 16 games to finish 16 points clear of second-placed Somerset.
“We had a great side and a lot of things seemed to come right that year. We’d been pushing hard for three or four years and the Championship was the culmination of that period. There was always a weight of expectancy on our shoulders playing for Yorkshire, always that pressure, so to win to the title was a very special feeling.”
A month after Yorkshire had won the title; Byas was gone and was on his way to our biggest rivals Lancashire.
C&G success at Lord’s
Disaster struck for Yorkshire the following year and after winning the Championship they were relegated. Even though Championship cricket hit low ebb, one-day cricket blossomed and the White Rose headed to Lord’s for the Cheltenham & Gloucester final against Somerset and victory was assured when Australian Matthew Elliott smashed an undefeated 128 from 125 deliveries with 16 fours.
Captain that day was Richard Blakey and the wicket-keeper believed the six-wicket victory over the West Country outfit was his biggest achievement in cricket.
“Of all my cricketing moments that was the most special,” he recalled.
“I would put it in front of playing for England. Don’t get me wrong playing for my country was a tremendous honour. But to lift a trophy for Yorkshire in front of a full house and partisan crowd at Lord’s – it doesn’t really get much better than that.
“The crowd that day seemed to be full of Yorkshiremen, and the lads celebrated long into the night.”
How the C&G Trophy was won…
- Yorkshire beat Devon, Northamptonshire, Essex and Surrey en route to the final
- It was the last time the club won a domestic trophy.
Somerset 256-8 (50 overs)
P Bowler 67
M Hoggard 10-0-65-5
R Sidebottom 9-0-49-2
Yorkshire 260-4 (48 overs)
M Elliott 128*
A McGrath 46*
RL Johnson 10-2-51-3