ANDREW GALE last night spoke of his relief after Yorkshire confirmed their County Championship First Division survival.
The Yorkshire first-team coach saw his side collect the two points they needed to guarantee mathematically their top-flight status.
Yorkshire picked up two bowling points as already-relegated Worcestershire scored 319-8 on the opening day of the last match of the season at New Road.
It meant that Yorkshire could no longer be caught by second-bottom Lancashire, who could have risen above them with a maximum 24-point win away to Hampshire.
“We’re just glad to get over the line,” said Gale, whose side would guarantee finishing fourth if they could claim eight points more than Hampshire manage this week.
“We didn’t want it to be a nipper, so it’s nice to get those two points in the bag.
“Now we’ve got them we want to go on and finish the season strong.
“If we finish fourth then we’ll have had a really good end to the campaign.”
Yorkshire’s main man yesterday was Jack Brooks, who captured his third five-wicket haul in five matches since it was announced that he is leaving for Somerset at the end of the summer.
The 34-year-old pace bowler took 5-83 from 19 overs, following on from hauls of 5-116 against Somerset and 5-66 against Lancashire, both at Emerald Headingley.
Daryl Mitchell top-scored with 127 for Worcestershire, for whom captain Moeen Ali made 60.
Overall it was a good day for the hosts, whose relegation was confirmed last week with defeat at Essex.
“I thought our performance was quite patchy and there’s a few tired bodies out there, to be honest, with the lads having played under a lot of pressure and bowled a lot of overs lately,” said Gale. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to sustain pressure for long periods and missed a couple of key chances, but fair play to Worcester – they fought really hard.”
Commenting on Brooks’s display, Gale added: “He’s been outstanding, and it’s testament to the man.
“Obviously, he’s not going to be with us next year, and it would have been easy for him to just fade out to the end of the season.
“But he hasn’t done that and has instead put a real shift in.
“He is one of the key reasons why we’re still in Division One.”
Day one report: Page 19.