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Match Report STORY
Lancashire are County Champions
Lancashire are County Champions
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For the first time ever the Championship pennant will fly at Old Trafford.

It was first introduced in 1950, the year after Lancashire's last title success when they shared the title with Surrey.

The Red Rose county clinched the title by eleven points from second placed Warwickshire, who could only draw against bottom side Hampshire at the Rose Bowl today.

Lancashire completed their tenth win of the season against Somerset at Taunton, chasing down 211 inside 30 overs for the loss of just two wickets as openers Stephen Moore and Paul Horton both hit half centuries.

The pair shared an opening stand of 131 inside 17 overs, passing their 1,000 runs for the season in the process.

The match was far more tense than it had looked likely to be at the start of day four, but what else would you expect from this group of history makers?

Somerset posted a second innings total of 310 as they tried to spoil Lancashire’s party.

When Horton and Moore fell, the score was 135-2 in the 18th over of the chase, with the Red Rose needing 76 to win.

But Karl Brown (33 not out) and Steven Croft (40 not out) shared an unbroken 78 inside 12 overs for the third wicket. Croft hit the winning runs off Craig Meschede through point at 5.14pm.

Earlier, Trego, Kartik Murali and Alfonso Thomas combined to frustrate Lancashire.

Starting the day on 105-5, leading by just five in their second innings, Somerset fell to 130-7 in the 52nd over of the innings as Steve Kirby and Craig Meschede fell to heroic Glen Chapple, whose hamstring injury was seemingly getting worse by the ball.

Night-watchman Kirby was trapped lbw and Meschede was caught behind off a short ball following a couple of overs of looking uncomfortable at the crease.

Trego and Thomas then shared 75 inside 28 overs for the eighth wicket through the rest of the morning session until the latter was caught at short-leg by Tom Smith off Simon Kerrigan and then Trego and Kartik shared 95 inside 24 overs for the ninth.

Trego was uncharacteristically watchful during his second Championship century against Lancashire, while Kartik played a similar knock until he launched Kerrigan’s left-arm spin for two sixes in two balls to reach a frustrating half-century.

Trego had reached his 187-ball ton prior to Kartik’s milestone. But, having hit nine fours and a six, he was also caught at short-leg by Smith off Kerrigan. When he fell, the score was 300-9 in the 103rd over.

And, just ten runs and less than four overs later, the Somerset resistance was over when Keedy ran out Gemaal Hussain with a direct hit at the non striker’s end from point.

Horton and Moore started Lancashire’s reply well, running between the wickets superbly and picking off the boundaries.

Moore clipped and pulled two fours off a Steve Kirby, and Horton then cut Thomas for only his second six of the Championship campaign to bring up 55-0 in the eighth over and his 1,000 runs for the season.

The pair reached 66-0 after ten overs as Thomas and left-arm spinner Kartik expertly employed a whole host of delaying tactics from changing the field to re-adjusting strapping.

Moore lofted Thomas for a straight six shortly afterwards to bring up a 37-ball half-century to back up his first innings 68 and his 169 not out against Hampshire at Liverpool last week.

The milestones continued to come as Moore also reached 1,000 runs when he forced Kartik through the off-side for four in the 15th over, taking the score at 110-0.

Horton reached his fifty, also his second of the match, in the 17th over, but fell in the same over when he was trapped lbw by Craig Meschede for 55 off 49 balls.

Moore fell two balls later for 71 off 55 balls, caught by James Hildreth at long-leg as he tried to pull Trego’s medium pace, and the score was 135-2 in the 18th.

Brown then hit the ground running, taking two boundaries off Meschede’s next – wide of mid-on and through backward square-leg – before edging Trego to third man.

Croft then drove Thomas through the covers to take the target below 50, the shot greeted by loud shouts of ‘Oh Lanky, Lanky’ from the travelling contingent posted in the Scoreboard stand of this picturesque ground.

When news of Warwickshire’s draw at Hampshire was confirmed 5.02pm, the chants turned to ‘champions’ despite 23 runs still needed.

And Brown and Croft did not disappoint. Brown pulled Trego for four to take the target to just 17 needed off eight overs. When Croft hit Arul Suppiah’s left-arm spin over mid-on for four, that took the target to two.

History was made just seconds later.

Reports: Day 1  I  Day 2  I  Day 3
Graham Hardcastle
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh
Article (c) Lancashire CCC

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