Resting Warwickshire win County Championship

Published: Tuesday, September 7, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Warwickshire won the English County championship without having to take the field on Monday after holders Sussex were beaten by Middlesex at Hove.

The result confirmed Edgbaston-based Warwickshire's first championship crown in nine years as Sussex, who lost by five wickets, were the only team left with a mathematical chance of catching the Bears.

But Monday's defeat extinguished the south coast club's fading hopes of back-to-back titles.

Warwickshire chief executive Dennis Amiss, the former England opening batsman, hailed the performance of the Midlands County's top order.

"It has really been down to the batters. They have given the bowlers the time. It has been terrific.

"We did not expect anything like this at the beginning of the season," added Amiss, a Warwickshire stalwart during his playing days.

"We did not really think we would be stronger in championship cricket. We thought we would probably do better in the One-day competitions.

"We thought we would be in the middle of the table," explained Amiss, a member of the Warwickshire team that won the County championship in 1972.

"Our strength has definitely been the batting in the first innings. We have scored more than 400 many times.

Ian Bell, who made his England Test debut in the final match of this season's series against the West Indies, has led the way with plenty of solid run-scoring coming from captain Nick Knight, Michael Powell, Jonathan Trott and Jim Troughton.

By contrast all-rounder Dougie Brown's modest haul of 33 wickets has made him Warwickshire's leading wicket-taker.

"What we have done is out-batted opponents and made it a lot easier for the bowlers than it could have been," Brown told Sky Sports News.

"When we have been under the cosh we have managed to dig deep and show spirit by not allowing teams to come here and beat us easily when we have looked like getting beaten," the Scot added.

"It would have been nice to win it on the field but I'm delighted to have won it for the first time in a long time."

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