The London side, who had remained unbeaten and at the top of the table for most of the summer, fended off a spirited late challenge from Somerset, who briefly for the final day of the season, led the table after beating relegated Nottinghamshire inside three days at Taunton.
A fine century from Middlesex opener Nick Gubbins, held the innings together, after the first two days to get Middlesex to 270. Yorkshire, knowing that they needed to get 350 runs in first were immediately in trouble to some fine bowling from England’s Steven Finn. But the innings turned around as former England all-rounder, Tim Bresnan, batting at five, completed a fine century with the help of fast bowler, Ryan Sidebottom, who stayed with him to get the bonus point and 350 runs, amidst high drama.
With Yorkshire all out for 390 and a good first innings lead of 120, the North London side were immediately on the back foot going into the evening of day three with a deficit and fire-up Yorkshire bowling attack looking for their third title in succession.
With Robson and Compton, two former England batsman, back in the dressing room, Yorkshire were sensing a change in fortunes.
As the final day came into play, so did the plans of both sides, who knew that at some point during the day, declarations would have to be made, otherwise a drawn match would see Somerset win their first ever championship title.
With no wickets lost during the morning session, the resumption after lunch, soon began to see part-time bowlers employed from Yorkshire so Middlesex could score quickly enough to ensure the declaration. 120 runs scored in just under nine overs, meant Yorkshire in glorious conditions, were set a target of 240 in 40 overs.
With Lyth and Lees departing, England one-day bowler, David Willey was pushed up the order to try to counter-attack the formidable Middlesex line-up, but he struggled and was out to Ireland’s Tim Murtagh to leave Yorkshire in trouble.
In came first innings hero, Tim Bresnan who immediately set a one-day tone to his innings, hitting a few sixes and getting the Yorkshire contingent applauding what seemed to be impossible at the start of day four.
With the sun setting and a record attendance of over 20,000 for the four-day game in the capital, Toby Roland-Jones came to be the hero. After taking four wickets in the first innings, he immediately got Bresnan for another superb half-century, and with old father time ticking away and four overs remaining, he got Rafiz, wicketkeeper – Hood and Sidebottom, bowled around his legs, to take ten wickets in the match, a hat-trick and the win Middlesex needed to win the title.
Middlesex skipper, James Franklin said afterwards “”I had a look at the cup after warm-ups and thought there was a slim chance but to be holding it is unbelievable. We’ve remained unbeaten and that was something we were very proud of going into this game. To finally get over the line is testament to our group of players, our coaching staff, the belief – we just grew from last year and here we are holding the cup.”
As for departing Yorkshire coach, Jason Gillespie, he was sad not to see the county win a third title on the trot and emulate the 1968/69 side. “We’re obviously disappointed to lose a game of cricket and not have that opportunity to win the Championship. We needed someone to get a significant score – probably an 80-plus and some other contributions if we were going to be anywhere near.”