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Gillespie full of praise for champions Durham
Jason Gillespie has heaped praise on LV= County Championship winners Durham after overhauling Yorkshire to win their third title in six years last week.
The White Rose county's coach was magnanimous in defeat, but the Australian is consoling himself with an impressive second-placed finish in their first season back in Division One after relegation in 2011, something which he describes as a "fantastic achievement".
Yorkshire round off their 2013 campaign with a trip to the Oval to face relegated Surrey today.
Durham have won ten out of their 15 matches this season, including the hammer blow of winning at Scarborough last month.
Heading into that match, which started on August 28, Yorkshire led the table by 25.5 points with four fixtures left. Durham, who had won their previous fixture, had five to play. In all, Durham have won their last five Championship matches.
"We'd love to be still challenging to win the County Championship," said Gillespie.
"But when you look at it, when it's all said and done, a team has been crowned champions who have won ten out of 15 Championship games this season. All you can do is take your hat off to them.
"It's an incredible effort, and they deserve all the plaudits and praise that comes their way.
"From our point of view, it's disappointing. But we had our opportunities this year as well to still be in the hunt.
"Durham completely outplayed us in that game at Scarborough, and they deserved to win that. If we'd managed to win that or at least save the game, we may have still found ourselves with an opportunity now. But that's not to be, and all we can do is congratulate Durham.
"It's hard to fault our lads' attitude or effort. As a support staff, we've managed our players as best we could, especially our fast bowling.
"Their output has been outstanding. To have our four fast bowlers and our spinner each of them taking over 25 wickets at this time of the season, I think is a fantastic effort. They've looked after themselves, and they've kept themselves fit and strong to stay on the park."
Yorkshire were installed as favourites for relegation at the start of the season by some bookmakers and pundits, but they have played impressively to gain a record of seven wins and six draws from 15 matches.
"It would have been fairytale had we got promoted and then gone on to win the title, but we always knew we were a strong team," added Gillespie.
Meanwhile, captain Andrew Gale has revealed his satisfaction at passing 1,000 Championship runs in a season.
"It's been a big turnaround," he said. "Five games in, I was really struggling, I was low in confidence and scratching around.
"I changed a few things in my game, and as soon as I got a decent score, I was up and running. I've been pretty consistent through the season. It's always nice as captain to lead from the front."
Yorkshire have also announced changes to their coaching set-up ahead of 2014. Former left-arm spinner Ian Fisher returns to the club as one of two strength and conditioning coaches alongside fellow new recruit Blaine Clancy.
Fisher has left his job at Essex to replace Tom Summers, who leaves Yorkshire after six years to move to Hong Kong. Irishman Clancy has been working with the club this summer, but has now been appointed on a permanent basis.
Fisher, aged 37, took 91 wickets in 68 matches in all cricket for Yorkshire between 1995 and 2001.