Six months on from the start of the season back in April, it all came down to the final afternoon of the very last match - at the Home of Cricket. The two sides, Middlesex and Yorkshire, went into the game first and second in the table. If neither managed to force a win, it would leave the County Championship title to third-placed Somerset. Late September was blessed with beautiful Indian-summer weather; the biggest crowd for a county match at Lord's for some 40 years turned up to watch, and four days of battling, attritional cricket, the balance swinging either way, culminated in an unbelievably tense run chase by Yorkshire. As the autumn shadows lengthened, an unforgettably gladiatorial contest was finished by the Middlesex fast bowler Toby Roland-Jones in the most memorable way of all: a hat-trick. Now, the award-winning sports writer Duncan Hamilton, who was at Lord's to watch every ball, re-lives this extraordinary, epic match, the finest advert for one of the most demanding competitions in any sport.
Duncan Hamilton is one of only two authors to have won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award twice, for Provided You Don't Kiss Me, about Brian Clough, and Harold Larwood. His other acclaimed books include Immortal, on George Best, The Man Who Could Fly and For the Glory, his biography of Eric Liddell. He lives in Leeds.