Lancashire secured an incredible, thrilling, stunning maiden LV= County Championship Division Two win of the season against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay today.
Simon Kerrigan and Glen Chapple shared nine wickets to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and the headlines to boot.
The hosts, in pursuit of only 154 after tea on day three, slipped to 139 all out by losing their last eight wickets for just 45 as left-arm spinner Kerrigan took 5-32 from 15.4 overs and Chapple added 4-46 from 13.
Glamorgan had got off to a flying start in their chase, taking 22 off Chapple’s first two overs as Will Bragg (61) and Ben Wright successfully chanced their arm.
But the 39-year-old captain’s return to the attack proved to be the key as he got Marcus North caught behind, Bragg bowled, Jim Allenby lbw and Mark Wallace bowled as the score slipped from 94-2 to 129-7.
Kerrigan then added the last three wickets to bring back memories of his 5-7 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 2011 and his nine-for against Hampshire at Liverpool in the same season. The Preston-born spinner wrapped things up with his fifth wicket, that of Michael Hogan stunningly caught by Ashwell Prince at long-off, in the penultimate over of day three.
Pre-season promotion favourites Lancashire claimed 19 points to spark jubilant celebrations on the visiting balcony in North Wales after back-to-back draws against Worcestershire and Kent at Emirates Old Trafford.
Chapple said: "It's a brilliant win. When you win games like that, it's a terrific feeling and a great boost for the lads who've worked so hard. It's been a difficult week in some ways because we haven't played our best cricket, but we hung on in all the way and kept believing. It's a victory we'll remember for a long time.
"We were on the brink of losing this one, and that would have been difficult to take. We hung in, and things finally turned for us. There's always a chance. The pitch was pretty decent. It was hard to score runs against certain types of bowling, and we didn't master it. We wanted to get as many in front as we could. The main thing was to keep a strong mindset.
"We had a terrible start with the ball. I bowled two of the worst overs I've bowled for a long time, and we were in trouble.
"I had some making up to do because I was embarrassed by my first two overs. You can either sulk, which I probably did for a couple of overs, or get stuck in. Thankfully I managed to do that. The whole team were always positive and believed we could get something.
"It was a brilliant game for Keggsy. There wasn't too much turn or help for him, but he bowled really well and got his rewards.
"Close victories are massive in seasons. This could have been two draws and a loss. We were 14 runs away from that. This now puts us in a decent position. It will help us kick on. In terms of exciting wins this is right up there.”
Lancashire were earlier thankful to Simon Katich, Kyle Hogg (47) and Gareth Cross for giving them something to bowl at.
Australian overseas left-hander Katich posted his third fifty in three matches having resumed on 28 yesterday morning before Hogg and Cross added a crucial 63 for the ninth wicket to help the Red Rose post 272.
The visitors lost three wickets in the morning, including Katich caught behind off Glover for 65 off 128 balls.
Chapple came out positively after lunch with a six over cover off Hogan, who finished with three wickets alongside Glover and Mike Reed, but fell caught at mid-on to Reed.
But Hogg and Cross, who has played club cricket for Colwyn Bay in the Liverpool Competition, united for 20 overs, with the former being the aggressor with boundaries on both sides of the wicket.
They took the lead beyond 150 before falling in successive overs to Glover, Cross brilliantly caught at mid-wicket by a diving Dean Cosker and Hogg caught behind.
James Anderson and Kerrigan struck either side of confirmation of Bragg’s 48-ball fifty to leave the hosts at 71-2. Wright was caught in the gully and Stewart Walters trapped lbw.
Added to Chapple’s strikes, Kerrigan also had Murray Goodwin caught at point, Glover lbw and Cosker caught at cover before getting Hogan brilliantly caught on the fence at the Penrhyn Avenue End of the ground.
Kerrigan was a worried man when Hogan advanced and made a decent connection: “The batter was shouting 'go, go, go' and Kat (Katich) at point was shouting 'sit, sit, sit'. I was just like 'please don't go for six'. It would have been nine or 10 needed. When he struck it, it was with the wind. Princey said he had a couple of yards (left on the boundary) in the end.”
Photo (c) Barry Mitchell