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Match Report STORY
Rain and shine thwart players
Rain and shine thwart players
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Torrential rain and bright sunshine combined to undermine the players best efforts at Old Trafford on this second day of the LV= County Championship

What a surreal day!

First of all we prayed for the rain to disappear, then we prayed for the sun to exit stage left too.

The morning and afternoon sessions of the second day of four in this make or break LV= County Championship match between Lancashire and leaders Nottinghamshire at Old Trafford were wiped out due to torrential rain today.

And when we did get some play at 4pm after tea, the annual problem of the setting sun’s glare reared its head for 25 minutes. It wasn’t so much the sun’s glare that was the surreal thing. After all, we see it at the Stretford End at this time nearly every year. It was just the stark contrast in reasons for stopping play.

Although Lancashire are keen to secure fourth place in Division One with a sixth win of the campaign, the Notts camp would have been the ones tearing their hair out because it is looking increasingly likely that they need to win to take a title that has looked theirs for the majority of the summer.

The glare is one of the reasons why the square will be turned around by 90 degrees this winter as part of the ground’s multi-million pound redevelopment.

“To be fair it was hard to see,” said wicketkeeper Gareth Cross, who saw Notts advanced to 89-2. “When I was keeping, if I didn't have a cap on, it would have been hard to see. Keeds said he couldn't really see when he was bowling from the other end.”

In the end six overs were lost from the 33 overs possible before clouds returned to make playing conditions suitable and umpires Neil Bainton and Peter Hartley summoned the players back to the wicket. 

“They're desperate to get out there, and it was a little bit surprising when their batters wanted to come off tonight,” continued Cross. “But they didn't want to get out and be four down, so it's fair enough. If Voges - he's their overseas - gets out for the sake of ten runs, they're in more trouble.”

Alex Hales and Paul Franks had earlier got the visitors’ innings off to a racing start when play began at 4pm, reaching 50-0 in only the ninth over thanks to a series of boundaries off the bowling of Sajid Mahmood and Kyle Hogg.

In fact, they recorded their side’s highest opening partnership of the four-day season, broken by left-arm spinner Gary Keedy when he had Hales caught behind by Cross for 36 off 41 balls, leaving the score at 75-1 in the 16th.

Keedy and Tom Smith came on as first and second change bowlers respectively, uniting to emphatically put the brakes on the visitors through to close. Smith dismissed Franks in the 19th – also caught behind by Cross – for 40, and Notts were 79-2. The pair only conceded 31 runs between them in the 19 overs bowled.

Mention must also be made of the herculean efforts of Matt Merchant and his Lancashire groundstaff who have battled the elements for two days, to make what little play there was possible. But even they couldn't prevent the sun shining! 

Graham Hardcastle
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
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