Warwickshire have dedicated their success in winning the Second XI Championship for the first time in 15 years to the late Neal Abberley.
Abberley, who died last month from a lung condition aged 67, was in charge when Warwickshire last won the competition in 1996.
Abberley’s wife Chris and daughter Colette were among the first people that Warwickshire’s second team coach Dougie Brown texted to inform them of the six-wicket win over Glamorgan at Coventry on the last day of the four-day final.
“Neal’s wife and daughter were among the first people I contacted to tell them what we have achieved because I know that Neal would have appreciated what the lads have done,” Brown said.
“It is hard to overestimate the contribution he has made to this success. He has set the standards that the current players adhere to. He helped massively in the development of the current coaching team – Ashley Giles, Graeme Welch and myself. He set us high standards as young players and we are passing those same values on to the players today.
“Neal was working with the players until a couple of months ago so he would have been delighted to see that work come to fruition with a trophy.”
Warwickshire’s win makes up for the disappointment of losing to Surrey in last season’s Second XI Championship final and Brown hopes that it will begin a week of celebrations with the first team also in the hunt for the County Championship.
“I would swap winning the Second XI Championship for winning the County Championship but if we can go on and in the Championship it will be the icing on the cake,” said the former county all-rounder.
“Second team cricket is more about development than winning trophies, but it’s also about young players learning how to be competitive, how to win and how not to lose and preparing them for first team cricket.”
Warwickshire’s team for the final included two experienced players in Neil Carter and Darren Maddy but for most of the season they have relied on emerging youngsters.
“Ateeq Javid and Laurie Evans have both had fantastic seasons with more than 1,000 runs each and Ricardo Gordon has made his mark,” Brown said. “He’s as quick a bowler as we have seen on the second team circuit this season and he’s an exciting talent.”