Toby Roland-Jones was unaware he had completed a fairytale hat-trick that sparked wild celebrations at Lord’s as Middlesex clinched their first County Championship title since 1993.
A 61-run victory over holders Yorkshire was enough to snatch the domestic game’s most valued prize from Headingley after four roller-coaster days that came down to the final session of the season.
Middlesex declared on 359-6 to set a run chase of 240 from 40 overs that was decided when Roland-Jones plundered 6-54, including the key wicket of Tim Bresnan, the ringmaster of Yorkshire’s defiance.
The last three were delivered in successive balls spanning two overs and when Ryan Sidebottom was bowled it was all over with Roland-Jones swamped by elated team-mates.
“To come out on the right side for the first time in 23 years in simply amazing,” said Roland-Jones.
“It’s still sinking in and I’m sure we’ll celebrate long into the night. It’s an unbelievable feeling
“I was hoping not to get changed for a while, but I’m absolutely drenched in champagne. We’ll enjoy it with the lads because we have a special group.
“I didn’t even know the hat-trick had even happened. It was one of those situations where they had to go for it, so I just bowled straight and that paid off.
“It was all bit of a blur at the end and then I ended at the bottom of a pile-up. I’m a bit beaten up from that!
“There has been a lot of hard work and we are unbeaten in 16 matches which means we have put in some special performances.”
Angus Fraser, Middlesex’s managing director of cricket, and a player for the county when they last won the title in 1993, added: “This group of players will be around for a long time, and we can get better still over the next three or four years.
“We have been building to this, and we play our cricket on good pitches. The players will get a lot of confidence from the way we have won.”