Josh Baker ended the season with a trio of wickets for promoted Worcestershire but a century from Yorkshire captain Shan Masood was instrumental in his side registering a six wicket success on the final day of the 2023 LV=Insurance County Championship at Headingley.
Baker picked up the scalps of top five batters Adam Lyth, James Wharton and Masood and it was an encouraging conclusion to a challenging season in red ball cricket for the spinner after a lengthy injury lay-off.
The Tykes chased down a target of 360 in 70 overs after the two sides showed a positive attitude in attempting to make up for the loss of sizeable chunks of play to rain and bad light during the opening three days.
Jake Libby and Jack Haynes took advantage of the occasional bowling of Finlay Bean and Wharton to score unbeaten centuries.
But Worcestershire had achieved their prime objective on day two of the game when securing the two bonus points needed to secure a return to the top flight.
The five points they collected from this game – three for batting and two for bowling – enabled them to finish on 167 points, 17 ahead of third placed Sussex who leapfrogged Leicestershire during the final round of games.
The final day was set up after Yorkshire had declared 127 runs behind yesterday evening.
The third wicket pair of Libby and Haynes plundered 209 from 19.1 overs delivered by the duo after Matt Milnes and Ben Coad had bowled the opening four overs of the day.
Libby ended on 109 not out from 89 balls – his fourth century of the season – with 11 boundaries and he achieved a couple of milestones.
When he reached 32, the opener surpassed his previous best Championship run tally for a season of 1075 in 2021.
On 92, he also clocked up 6,000 first class runs in his career and ended with a season’s best of 1153 runs at an average of 57.65.
Haynes also took full toll of Bean and Wharton in what was his final innings for Worcestershire.
He finished unbeaten on 113 from 84 balls with one six and 13 fours before the declaration left Yorkshire with 11 overs to face before lunch.
They reached 26-1 with Dillon Pennington making the initial breakthrough with the new ball.
Bean (11) drove a delivery straight back down the pitch but Pennington reacted quickly to take an outstanding catch to his left.
Lyth completed a half century and passed 1,000 runs for the season but fell to a fine catch by Haynes at mid wicket after he came down the pitch to Baker.
Masood (123) and Wharton (89) then added 164 in 30 overs either side of tea.
Masood had a slice of good fortune when he inside edged Baker past his leg stump for four but the spinner struck in successive overs.
Wharton went to cut Baker and only succeeded in inside edging the ball onto his stumps and then Masood pulled a delivery into the hands of Ben Gibbon at deep mid wicket at 279-4.
But George Hill and Jonny Tattersall joined forces to see Yorkshire to victory without any further setbacks.
Photos by John Heald Photography