County Cricket in England is deemed to be one of the highest quality cricket games across the globe, and this story is related to one of cricket’s greatest achievements, the Warwickshire Treble.
Back in 1994, Warwickshire put up one of the best performances in county cricket history. They won the County Championship, the Sunday League, and the Benson & Hedges Cup in the same season. They could have added another to the collection if they hadn’t lost to Worcestershire in the Natwest Cup final 1994. Nevertheless, winning a treble is not at all easy. Let us see how things panned out in that season.
There was plenty of talk going around the team after they lost their prodigal overseas player, Allan Donald.Embed from Getty Images
A replacement was desperately needed for the club, and they bought an all-rounder from India, Manoj Prabhakar. When he was lined up for them in the season, another disaster occurred. He had an Achilles injury and was ruled out of the season. Now, they had to find another replacement for Prabhakar. They ended up buying the Prince of Trinidad, Brian Lara, as their overseas player for that season. They lost a fast bowler, and they ended up buying a top-order batsman.
This move reaped great benefits for the side as Lara was in red hot form after beating Sir Gary Sobers’ 365, the highest individual score in Test cricket then.
The Warwickshire team was lined up for the match against a competitive Glamorgan side. Glamorgan posted a massive 365 on the board, and in reply, Roger Twose and Brian Lara stitched a huge partnership to pile on a huge amount of misery for Glamorgan. Both of them looked flawless and it looked almost as if they were never going to get out. However, after a massive partnership of 215, Brian Lara got out stumped for 147. But Roger Twose carried on with his innings, he went onto score a huge 277 to put Warwickshire on a score of 657.
The next day, Gladstone Small destroyed the batting order of Glamorgan. He picked up a fifer to see Glamorgan fold up for a mere 189. Warwickshire earned a massive bonus of 22 points which boosted its campaign.
The next three matches completely belonged to one man, Brian Lara. He went onto score at least one century in each of the matches with scores of 106 and 120* in the second match, 136 in the third match and 43 and 140 in the fourth match.Embed from Getty Images
Warwickshire’s points increased massively because of Brian Lara. He had scored 375 earlier against England before the county season to break Gary Sobers’ record. Another record approached sooner in the match against Durham.
After Durham declared for 556/8, the Warwickshire team was in deep trouble. Lara now was in top form. He was more aggressive now compared to the first few matches, he was placing the balls into the gaps between the fielders for boundaries. The Durham bowlers had no idea how to bowl to Lara that day.
Take a guess how much he scored? It isn’t a century or a double century or a triple century or even a quadruple century but an immaculate 501* to break Hanif Mohammed’s record of 499. It was the highest score in first-class cricket history.Embed from Getty Images
The Warwickshire won the County Championship in that season and Lara amassed a whopping 2066 runs at an average of 89.82.
Benson & Hedges Cup
Unlike the County Championship where Lara overshadowed all the performances, this league featured many unlikely stars. In the first match against Middlesex, a rather unknown Tim Murton picked up 3 wickets to seal the match for his side. In the quarter-final against Kent, the match was abandoned, Warwickshire had to win a bowl-out to advance through the next stage, and they did with 5-4 in that bowl out.
And Lara once again showed his class, once again in the semi-finals, during the run chase of 267 scoring 70 to seal the match. However it was the bowler, Dermot Reeve was the Man of the Match for picking 3 wickets.
Paul Smith and Ostler starred in the final as the Warwickshire side thrashed Worcestershire in the final to win the B&H Cup.Embed from Getty Images
The Sunday League too was won by Warwickshire. Once again like the B&H Cup, it featured a lot of unlikely heroes. Warwickshire proved that they could win without Lara this time. It was a historic moment for that side in that time winning this cup. The Warwickshire side added another trophy into their kitty that season and finished an incredible treble.
The Glorious Season
The team had piled up some incredible feats that season, but Lara’s 501* against Durham completely overshadowed its incredible season overall. Though they lost in final against their nemesis Worcestershire in the NatWest Cup, it was overall one of the finest performances in the county cricket history.
The credit not only goes to the players who won them matches but also their chairman Andy Lloyd and the chief executive, Dennis Amiss who brought the Prince of Trinidad, Brian Lara.Embed from Getty Images
Warwickshire captain Dermot Reeve (left) and Vice Captain Tim Munton holding the three glorious trophies
It also saw Lara himself announcing on the international stage as a phenomenal player. He also became a beloved player among all the English fans.
Presently, Warwickshire is not performing up to the standards of their glorious past. However, nothing can write off the glorious days they had in the 1993-1994 season.
Featured Image: Warwickshire County Cricket Club | Facebook
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