We are proud of the present bunch

Yorkshire celebratesafter winning the Division One County Championship at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. Yorkshire won the county championship for the first time in 13 years.-AP

The Yorkshire side of 2014 was the strongest in the championship and won the title with a match to spare and might have won more convincingly if Middlesex, who struggled for the rest of the summer, had not hit nearly 500 in the fourth innings of the second match early in the summer. By Ted Corbett.

If you have been following my column for long you will not be surprised to know that I have been walking around wearing a smug expression in recent days.

It’s my private pleasure to be a Yorkshire fan even though my public face is that of an unprejudiced, long-sighted cricket writer.

My inner wish is for the county to win every match, shoot out every opponent for a score close to zero and take every championship.

Yorkshire is where, at the age of 12, I learnt to play the game, at 14 where, as a lad confined to bed with a variety of illnesses every summer, I learnt to write about the game and where eventually I became a player who could boast he was probably the worst performer in any team he played for.

(That is not quite true. I was playing in York Evening League when I received a message to say that because so many of my team mates were on holiday I would be captain against a side called Knavesmire on the racecourse. It is a vast area used, among other things, to execute villains including the notorious highwayman Dick Turpin 300 years ago.

As I rode my bike down what I thought was a path to the changing room I saw someone shouting at me. I was riding on the pitch! The Knaves put us in to bat and I top-scored at No.4. That is to say I made seven before being bowled by a shooter. It was the highest score off the bat in the whole match and we lost by eight wickets after being bowled out for 20.

“I see you made a few,” laughed the real captain later. “I hit the only four of the match,” I said. “They won with extras.” He grinned: “Hard luck, skipper.” All cricket talk in Yorkshire is sardonic but they never asked me to be captain again.)

The Yorkshire side of 2014 was the strongest in the championship and won the title with a match to spare and might have won more convincingly if Middlesex, who struggled for the rest of the summer, had not hit nearly 500 in the fourth innings of the second match early in the summer.

That innings was mainly responsible for Sam Robson getting a Test place and for Yorkshire lying second in the table for a while despite an attack consisting mostly of Test level bowlers — plus the all-rounder Adil Rashid who may yet be a Test star and Jack Brooks who was one of the nation’s highest wicket takers — while they used youngsters from their Academy to fill in for Joe Root and Gary Ballance who were batting No. 5 and No. 3 for England.

“They are the most aggressive side to play for Yorkshire since the 1960s when we used to win the championship for a pastime,” I heard one old county player say.

They had a captain who knew exactly what he was doing — but more of Andrew Gale later when his troubles with the England and Wales Cricket Board have been settled. He has been charged with racism and I don’t have time to wait for justice to be delivered.

Meanwhile the whole of English cricket waits for some of the young Yorkshire players to come into the England side. People have known Root would be one of the greats — but seemed to find it difficult to say so lest he become vain — from the moment he first picked up a bat.

He did not really need an advocate as strong as Michael Vaughan but it was Vaughan singing his praises that brought his England cap at 21 and when you hear Geoff Boycott gradually increasing his praise for the lad you realise what potential he has.

One of the problems faced by any Yorkshire player is that the rest of cricket is wary. Cricket is a by-product of public school morality and its administrators do not enjoy men who know their own worth and declare it. OK, often too loudly.

Men like Boycott, Vaughan, Ray Illingworth, Brian Close and a great many more have been distrusted outside Yorkshire because they say exactly what they think. You have to be tough to take part in a discussion with a Yorkshire cricketer; believe me, I know. I have had a few such debates and usually retired feeling as if I had been in talks with Mike Tyson or Godzilla.

It is why they are such great cricketers. Although the rules about only playing for the county if you were born there have been shelved, eight of the men who played in the match that settled the title against Nottinghamshire came through their academy. It gives them a unity absent from other county sides, especially in these days of foreign imports.

Jack Bannister, a quick bowler for Warwickshire, says he went out to bat at No.10 for the second time before lunch on the second day against Yorkshire who were winning comfortably and found the fielding side in fierce argument.

“What’s he doing bowling? Why’s there only two slips? Get a short leg in. This isn’t proper cricket. Let’s get a grip.” Yorkshire won in the next few minutes and the side went off still quarrelling, still sure they had let themselves down.

“Funny game? It’s not meant to be,” said Herbert Sufcliffe, one of their greatest batsmen, from the pre-war days. Still, like me, he’d have been proud of the present bunch and rightly so.