Parry's five wicket haul helps Lancashire clinch victory against Middlesex
Day Four Report
A first Specsavers County Championship five-wicket haul by Stephen Parry led Lancashire to an eight wicket victory over defending Champions Middlesex at Southport & Birkdale Sports Club today.
Lancashire take 22 points from the victory and Middlesex 3 points.
Stephen Parry was thrilled by a tremendous few days for the Red Rose.
“Especially after losing a day to the weather,” he pointed out. “It’s been an excellent performance.”
Lancashire have responded well after losing their last match against Yorkshire and Parry said: “We were obviously disappointed with the Yorkshire defeat. We didn’t bowl as well as we wanted.
“The way we’ve bounced back here, it shows what sort of a group of players we have here. They are resilient and we can now start looking at the top of the table, rather than the bottom.
“We want to try and force our way up that table.”
Parry was naturally delighted with a ‘five-for’ saying: “It’s nice to contribute.”
“I’m really enjoying the four day cricket and the challenges, and being around the first team all the time. I feel lucky to be doing it, so I’m trying to make the most of it.
“I’m doing what I’ve done for years (in terms of his bowling style), trust my own method and it’s worked.
“I always believed I could do it, I just needed the opportunity. I could have gone elsewhere (in the past) but I’ve stuck by it, and getting rewarded now.
“I was happier with my wickets yesterday because it was a really tough spell and I did a job for the team.
“If we all have that mentality we will be a hard team to beat.”
Ryan McLaren and Tom Bailey bowled searching spells when Middlesex resumed their second innings on 156-3 this morning and it was McLaren who made the breakthrough by finding the edge of James Harris’ bat, the batsman having contributed 19 to a seventh wicket partnership of 59.
McLaren then took the key wicket of Dawid Malan for 52 with a delivery that followed the batsman-who could only nick it behind to give Davies a ninth catch in the match-and leave Middlesex 180-8.
Toby Roland-Jones and Tim Murtagh combined to frustrate Lancashire with a ninth wicket partnership 49 in 8.2 overs, the pair combining some good hitting with some good shot selection as they pushed the visitors’ lead up to 100.
Parry halted their charge with two quick wickets to end the innings on 236, the left arm spinner finishing with figures of 5-45.
First Murtagh was stumped for 27 by Davies, a career-best 10th victim in the match for the wicketkeeper and the second highest for Lancashire in first-class cricket behind Warren Hegg’s record of 11.
Parry then trapped Roland-Jones lbw for 31 to leave Lancashire facing a victory target of 107.
The Red Rose eased to that target without too many problems, although Davies departed for 13 just before lunch caught behind by Simpson to give Roland-Jones a first wicket in the match.
Liam Livingstone, celebrating his call-up to the England T20 squad, thumped the first ball of the afternoon over cover for four and added three further boundaries before edging Roland-Jones behind to Simpson for 22 with the score 49-2.
Haseeb Hameed with 38 not out and Steven Croft (34 not out) ensured victory with a patient partnership of 62 inside 19 overs that saw Lancashire ease to their target in mid-afternoon, Croft finishing proceedings in style with a straight six off Ravi Patel.
“It’s a massive game next against Hampshire”, said Parry. “We’ve got a few days now to get ready for that, and it’s an exciting prospect.
“It’s always hard to get a win (in this league), but they’ve got a few people missing as well.
“You’ve always got an eye on the bottom end of the table if you’re honest, because 25 per cent of the teams in this league are getting relegated.
“We’ve got more freedom to start thinking about the top of the table. We play Warwickshire under lights after the Hampshire game and you don’t know what might happen there. We might have Jimmy (Anderson) and Jarv (Kyle Jarvis) back soon. If we do our bowling attack will be stronger and can help us force a win there.”
Lancashire head coach Glen Chapple was also pleased with the response of his side.
"We faced a challenge after Yorkshire and I think we've come through that brilliantly," he said.
"The lads have put out a great team performance and defeated a team that haven't been beaten since 2015 so we're delighted with that.
"When you face your first loss of the season it's always a mental challenge and we're fairly confident that we've been playing good cricket this season so it's always nice to comeback from a loss with a performance like that.
"Ryan McLaren is looking really solid with the bat and hits great lengths with the ball so both his areas are in good nick and he's starting to really fire for us.
"We've got a good lower order so we can always extend the innings and we got a good lead on a pitch here that had a bit of life in it.
"I felt the lead was potentially match winning but it's never done until it's done and today we knew it required a lot of effort because we didn't want to chase much more than 100.
Chapple was quick to point out how quickly things can change in the first division, adding: "there's eight good teams in this division. One week you can beat last year's champions, so you can't make any predictions. You've just got to work hard.
"After a win you take a lot of confidence and we'll take a lot of belief from this. You have result pitches at out grounds but to beat a good team like Middlesex still requires a lot of work."
Photo: Simon Pendrigh