Lancashire took another step towards LV= County Championship promotion by beating Leicestershire and the weather at Grace Road today.
Kyle Hogg was the star performer in the second innings with 5-77, including three of them today as an innings and 52-run win was confirmed.
Predictions about rain ruining the final day proved incorrect, and the Division Two leaders wrapped up a fourth win in their last five matches in 70 minutes of play. While winning the league would be the icing on the cake, the important thing is that they finish in the top two places. And that, according to Peter Moores’ calculations, is probably two wins away having won six already.
The Foxes, who resumed on 128-5 and still 98 runs adrift having been asked to follow-on during Sunday’s third day, subsided quickly.
They were bowled out for 174 as the Red Rose also prepared for Wednesday’s Friends Life t20 quarter-final against Hampshire at Southampton in the best way possible with the capture of 23 points.
“I think if I'm honest, we've now got six wins. At the start of the season we targeted eight wins if we could, half your games,” said Moores. “You never know what can happen because in England weather can always play a part. We were desperate to try and get wins last year, but we just kept coming across the weather and didn't get a chance.
"It's been lovely this season to play, and play good cricket. We've still got a record where we haven't been beaten yet. We're the only side in country to have that. There's an intensity to how we're playing at the moment.”
Leicestershire started the day in positive fashion by scoring 22 runs in the first three overs. But then they lost their next three wickets for just one run inside seven and a half overs to Tom Smith and Hogg, who struck twice to leave the score at 151-8.
Irish wicketkeeper batsman Niall O’Brien reached 50 before proving Andrea Agathangelou with his second catch in six balls at second slip. Leicester had lost three wickets for one run in seven and a half overs to slip from 150-5.
Matthew Hoggard played on to Hogg to leave his side at 161-9 in the 59th over of the innings and hand the bowler his second haul of five wickets or more in two years. The other came against Northamptonshire at Emirates Old Trafford in June.
Glen Chapple then wrapped up the win by getting James Sykes caught and bowled with his first ball of the morning.
Lancashire are not in four-day action again until August 22, by which time they will have also played three 40-over matches and potentially made an appearance at Twenty20 Finals Day.
They are travelling down to Hampshire from here, and Moores is confident of a win: "It's a really big game, and one we're looking forward to,” added Moores. “It's funny because I had a feeling we might get them, and I also had a feeling we were going to win. If that's right or not we'll see because it's a tough place to play and they're a good team. But we go there confident that if we execute our skills, it will be a very good contest."
Picture (c) Simon Pendrigh