For Andrew Gale to be denied being involved in a moment of glory was gut-wrenching but the Yorkshire captain refused to let his ECB ban dampened any celebrations. Instead, he was looking at the squad at his disposal and already thinking ahead to more silverware.
Gale, who earlier in the season dropped himself to avoid splitting the evolving opening pairing of Adam Lyth and Alex Lees, was barred from playing any part in the official presentation of the Championship trophy after Yorkshire wrapped up the title with an innings victory against Nottinghamshire.
With a disciplinary process relating to his clash with Ashwell Prince still ongoing, the ECB felt “it was not appropriate” that he be allowed to join his team-mates. Eventually, however, he shunned any officialdom and grabbed the cup with a show of raw emotion as the celebrations got it full swing.
“Of course I’m gutted not to take part in the game and lift the trophy with the boys, but they lifted the trophy, and that’s the main thing,” Gale, who was also barred from any post-match media activity, said in his Yorkshire Evening Post column.
“It was mixed emotions for me at the end; I wanted to be the one lifting the trophy, but it’s happened, we can’t dwell on it, the main thing is we lifted the trophy. Hopefully I’m lifting it next year because this is the start for Yorkshire and this won’t be the only time I have an opportunity to lift the trophy.”
Having watched the handing over of the trophy to Joe Root from the dressing room, alongside the coaching and backroom staff, his team-mates were not going to allow him to miss the moment for any longer.
“It was a very emotional moment for me when the boys beckoned me on to the pitch and I lifted that trophy,” he said. “I’ve been playing for Yorkshire since I was 10 years old, I’ve gone right through the age groups with a lot of those lads and to then take over as captain five years ago, have two or three runners-up medals and play in the Champions League and then finally get my hands on that trophy, it feels like I’ve got the monkey off my back now.
“I’ll go down in Yorkshire’s history books as the captain who led Yorkshire to the title. That’s a very proud moment.”
“On a personal level, it’s been a tough week not to be on the field leading the lads out, especially having been captain for five years not being able to take the lads over the line, but I had every confidence in the boys getting the job done and I’m absolutely ecstatic for them.”
It was a Championship title built largely on homegrown talent, knitted together by the Australian attitude of Jason Gillespie who was brought on board after the club were relegated in 2011. As often happens in the sport, it was the lowest moment that provided the spur for Yorkshire’s revival.
“I think that relegation was maybe a watershed moment for us,” Gale said. “It was a horrible moment stood on the pitch that day but if there was any positive to take out of it, it was that we knew we had a group of players capable of competing in first-class cricket.
“To throw them all in together in the first division would have been tough, but we learnt our trade in those days in the second division and when we got back we were ready.
“It was certainly the dip on what has been a rollercoaster of a five years for me as captain. Four out of the five years we’ve had success and it’s been an incredible run.”
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