Finished the 2016 season, absolutely epic end to the season, couldn't have written it any better tbh.
I underestimated how much of an effect losing my reserve overseas player would have, as it meant I had to bring in Azeem Rafiq (Who averages 42 with the ball). I lost my dominant lead at the top of Division 2, Leicestershire ended up champions with 2 games to spare, and going in to the final day of the season, there were 6 teams fighting for second place:
Worcestershire - Played 16, 212 points, held 2nd place going in to the final round of games but were unlikely to stay there.
Glamorgan - Played 15, 208 points, were in the best position as a win would guarantee promotion, but were facing Leicestershire, who were already this season's Division 2 champions.
Derbyshire - Played 15, 200 points, were playing Somerset who were second from bottom.
Yorkshire (Me) - Played 15, 199 points
. I was playing Kent who had already secured the wooden spoon for the second season running.
Hampshire + Essex - Played 15, 188 points. Were playing each other, needed the maximum 24 points and other results to go their way, highly unlikely either of these teams would be promoted but still mathematically possible.
I was away, so I had no control over the conditions - I hoped that I wouldn't arrive to find the SSC waiting for me as even with maximum bonus points, a draw wouldn't be enough. There was cloud cover for the first two sessions of day 1, and I chose to bowl first as a result. I cleaned up the top 6 before lunch, and picked up the 7th wicket shortly after lunch, leaving Kent on 144/7, before the tail wagged, and I had to take the new ball before dismissing Kent for 280. I would've taken that at the start of play, but at 144/7, I was expecting to bowl them out for 100 runs less.
Kent 280, Perham [Regen] 82*, Adil Rashid 4/74, Moin Ashraf 3/60
My reply started off badly, losing Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance cheaply. However, partnerships between AB De Villiers and Andrew Gale, then a 129 run partnership for the 4th wicket between De Villiers and Adil Rashid put the innings back on track. At 305/4, I was looking to build a big first innings lead, look to bowl Kent out cheaply second time around and either win by an innings, or have a small 4th innings chase. Unfortunately, I collapsed to 362 all out, picking up 3 bonus points in the process.
Yorkshire 362, AB de Villiers 127, Adil Rashid 82, Andrew Gale 56
The second innings didn't quite go to plan. I struggled to bowl Kent out for 415, with a big century for Daniel Bell-Drummond, a half century for their overseas player, Fawad Alam, and contributions down the order.
Kent 415, Daniel Bell-Drummond 156, Fawad Alam 59, Ken Marshall [Regen] 3/82, Adil Rashid 3/89
Yorkshire required 334 runs to win
I needed 334 runs to win, with a tricky little session at the end of Day 3, and the whole of Day 4 to score the runs. I opened with Joe Sayers instead of Adam Lyth, the reason being that I would likely face a dozen overs of seam before the close, then even more seam at the start of Day 4. Adam Lyth is much better against spin in my game. I finished Day 3 on 49/0.
I would need a win, and hope that results went my way - I needed Glamorgan to not win, and Derbyshire to score less points than me. I had 6 bonus points secured already. Of course, nothing other than a win would do at this stage.
I navigated the first few overs successfully, but lost Gale. 80/1. No big deal, I've still got plenty of batsmen in the shed, who are more than capable of chasing down that target. Adam Lyth walks out to the crease, and puts on another 75 runs for the second wicket at a decent rate before handing a simple catch to the slip cordon. My number 4 batsman, Gary Ballance, averaging 60 in FC cricket, comes in and shares another big partnership with Joe Sayers.
At tea, I'm 227/2, I need another 107 runs to win, with Joe Sayers on 115* and Gary Ballance looking in good form. I couldn't possibly mess it up from here, could I?
Well, I could. First ball after tea, Sayers is castled. De Villiers and Rashid quickly come and go for single figure scores, leaving me on 248/5. I also have a batsman at 7 in only his second FC game. He got himself in, and just as I thought everything was back on track, Gary Ballance falls. 275/6, and I'm into my rather long tail. Thankfully, Azeem Rafiq can hold a bat, but the rest of the tail are Chris Martinesque. This was the match right here - I needed a partnership, and I got one. It wasn't long before I was in to single figures required. With just 9 runs needed though, Rafiq was bowled.
325/7, but I still have a batsman who is in. I couldn't mess it up from here, surely? Unfortunately, there was just three overs remaining in the day, and the #9 was on strike. He fell LBW for a golden duck, which was the last thing I needed.
325/8. I can't lose. I was 220/2 not long ago. My #10 survived the over, bringing my proper batsman back on strike. Two overs left. Three dots to begin the over. ****. The last thing I needed. Thankfully, a 4 and a 2 leave me with just 3 to get off the last over, and my proper batsman on strike.
331/8, last over of the game. Just 3 runs needed now. First ball is a dot. Five balls left. Second ball of the over crashes into the stumps, and all of a sudden, I still need 3 runs, but I have #10 [regen] and #11 [Moin Ashraf] at the crease. 331/9, and any result is possible.
Moin Ashraf gets off strike the next ball. 332/9, three deliveries remaining. The regen takes a single off the next ball. Two balls left to get a single and win the game. The keeper is back - Is the AI smart enough to run a bye to the keeper for the win if necessary?
The next ball is a dot. Last delivery of the season, and I need a single to have a chance of promotion. The bowler runs in. The ball smashes into Moin Ashraf's front pad, and the umpire gives him out LBW. My season is over. I've thrown it away.
Yorkshire 333, Joe Sayers 115, Andy Johnston [Regen] 6/99
But wait... You get 8 points for a tie, as opposed to the usual 3 points for a draw. I also have 6 bonus points from the first innings. Those 14 points put me ahead of Worcestershire by a single point, so there is a chance I can be promoted, but I need Derbyshire to not win against Somerset, and Glamorgan need 4 points or less against Lancashire. It's incredibly unlikely.
Glamorgan 142 & 306
Leicestershire 254 & 196/7
Leicestershire win by 3 wickets
Points: Glamorgan 3, Leicestershire 21
Derbyshire 223 & 312
Somerset 229 & 307/7
Somerset win by 3 wickets
Points: Derbyshire 4, Somerset 20
Having failed to win, I thought that I would be spending another season in Division 2. However, the tie, combined with these results, was enough for me to earn promotion by a single point