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Match Report

Rain has final say

Rain has final say

"The rain it raineth every day," sings Feste in Twelfth Night, except that it doesn't, of course. It's just that sometimes at Old Trafford, it seems like it does, and Friday was one of those days.

It rained in the morning before play began; the showers then forced the players off the field and caused the abandonment of the game at 3.45; and finally, it rained after the game had been called off. The mocking evening sunlight didn't help either.

And so the LV= Division One match between Lancashire and Kent ended in a draw. Play was delayed for 90 minutes; Lancashire declared immediately on their overnight score of 177-3, and Kent, needing an improbable 285 to win, were 45-2 when the entertainment ended for the day. Lancashire took nine points from the draw, Kent, who bowled their overs too slowly, only six.

At least the few spectators at Old Trafford did see some cricket on Friday. More particularly, they saw Sajid Mahmood bowling with his tail up, and it was a splendid sight.

The 28-year-old fast bowler shattered Joe Denly's defence with his twelfth delivery of the innings and he had Geraint Jones neatly caught by Paul Horton off the first ball of his fourth over. In between those successes and after them, he disconcerted the Kent captain Rob Key and he skulled the 19-year-old Matt Coles who had been promoted to No4, so we were told, to help Kent's victory push. I should coco. Either way, welcome to Manchester.

Everybody in the press-box thought Mahmood bowled well. So did Glen Chapple, whose opinion matters rather more.

"It'll be a great boost for Saj that he played a massive role in bowling Kent out in the first innings," said Chapple. "He's bowled accurately and quick in this match. He had a big job to do here and he did it. He had a different job to do at Chelmsford in the previous game, when he came on after the opening bowlers, and he did that too."

So despite the rain, it was a fine day for Mahmood, who finished with figures of 7-76.

It was a decent week for Lancashire too. Chapple's team played most of the good cricket in the match against Kent, and Ashwell Prince played two of the better innings on a lively wicket that we are likely to see this summer.

And overall, it's been a decent 19 years for Glen Chapple. On Tuesday the entry c Sutton b Chapple marked the Lancashire skipper's 700th first-class wicket for Lancashire. On Friday he downplayed the achievement.

 "I suppose it's good to get there but hopefully there's a few more yet and it's not the last milestone," he said. "I was made aware that I was on 699 but I've taken a few other first-class wickets, and to be honest, it's not important.

"I'm really happy that I've got a couple more years left, and hopefully more than that. But it's crazy when you think I'm still 1,200 wickets behind Brian Statham."

However, the seamer's self-effacement does not extend to his friendly rivalry with the Lancashire Director of Cricket Mike Watkinson, whom he now trails by just 18 wickets in the county list.

"He's very close to getting a text message when I get past him!" Chapple laughed.

Reports: Day 1 I Day 2 I Day 3

Paul Edwards at Old Trafford
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd


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