Glen Chapple paid tribute to county champions Nottinghamshire who clinched the pennant in thrilling circumstances at Old Trafford today.
The Red Rose skipper, who sat out the match due to a calf strain, watched on as the visitors claimed nine points to take them level on 214 points with Somerset, finishing top of the pile by the virtue of having more wins. Lancashire secured fourth place in the table on the back of a rain affected draw.
“Credit to Notts because they played terrifically well to clinch the Championship,” said Chapple, who saw the visitors advance from 89-2 at the start of the day to 400-9 declared before reducing Lancashire to 11-3 in their first innings reply.
The day began with 16 overs lost from the day’s allocation due to wet outfield after heavy early morning rain. Notts had to hope for Somerset and Yorkshire to fail in their pursuit of victories against Durham and Kent respectively.
And that was how it worked out for the men from Trent Bridge, with Somerset drawing at Durham, while Yorkshire were beaten by Kent.
That meant Notts were left having to accrue nine points - 6 batting bonus points plus three for the draw - and they got them in thrilling fashion.
Adam Voges hit a superb 126 off 183 balls, the Australian’s first century in 13 months, while Samit Patel notched a breathtaking 96 off 91 balls.
The pair shared 153 in 28 overs for the fifth wicket, giving them much needed impetus after Mark Wagh and Alistair Brown were both ousted in the early stages of the day’s play by Sajid Mahmood.
The pair hit 20 fours and a six between them, Patel hitting Gary Keedy for a whopping straight maximum.
Lancashire played hard ball cricket all day in the field, typified by Simon Kerrigan’s encouraging spell of 5-80 from 20 overs. He removed Patel, Chris Read, Steven Mullaney for a duck, Voges and Andre Adams either side of tea to help reduce the visitors to 390-9.
Ryan Sidebottom and Darren Pattinson then squeezed out the extra ten runs in nerve-wracking fashion to declare at 400-9 with five of six bonus points required.
It left Notts 18 overs with which to take three Red Rose wickets-and the vital remaining point-and they did so within the first five overs courtesy of Sidebottom and New Zealander Adams.
Sidebottom had Karl Brown caught at first slip by Alex Hales for four in the fourth over before Adams took two wickets in four balls in the next over to send the visitors into raptures.
Adams had the home side’s stand-in skipper Mark Chilton caught behind by Read for one and then West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul caught at second slip by Patel.
Chapple said: “As far as I’m concerned our lads played with tremendous professionalism today because they got stuck in.
“Notts had two options at the start of the day. It was either a run chase or fight like mad and get the maximum bonus points in the hope that Somerset wouldn’t win.
“We weren’t going to give them any easy run chase because we were only interested in winning the game. We realised we had to play as tough and as hard cricket as we could.
“It was credit to them because they took it on the chin and worked tremendously hard. They played good cricket today, they fully deserved it.”
Lancashire finished with a haul of 182 points from 16 games, having won five, drawn eight and lost three.
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd