Lancashire's promotion celebrations could end up being delayed by the weather with only 40 overs possible during today's third day of their LV= County Championship clash with Leicestershire at Emirates Old Trafford.
In reply to the hosts’ 453-7 declared before lunch, the Foxes reached 60-3 from 22 overs having been 14-3. There was no play possible beyond 2pm, meaning 137 overs have been lost across the three days.
With Essex on course to win their match against Kent at Canterbury, the likelihood is that Lancashire will need to win this match to wrap up a return to the top-flight and the Division Two title in front of their home crowd.
They need another nine points from their last three matches to achieve the main goal of promotion.
Led by Luke Procter’s 44 off 53 balls and 30 not out off 31 for wicketkeeper Alex Davies, the Red Rose added 109 runs in 18 overs this morning before the declaration came.
Opener Paul Horton added six to his overnight 150 to bring up his highest score on this ground before being bowled by Nathan Buck as the first of three Lancashire wickets to fall.
Tom Smith hit four fours in a 17-ball 23 before he was caught at first slip trying to reverse sweep Ned Eckersley’s part-time off-spin. Eckersley also had Procter stumped before Davies, who also hit four fours, lofted the bowler back over his head for six.
Lancashire then made a flying start with the ball.
Oliver Newby, selected for his first Championship match of the season in place of Glen Chapple, forced Greg Smith to chop on to his stumps for a duck with his third ball before he had Angus Robson caught at second slip by Andrea Agathangelou, leaving the score at 10-2 in the fourth over. Newby finished the day with 2-27 from ten overs.
Kyle Hogg then had Eckersley caught behind by Davies for four when Leicester had only 14 on the board in the ninth over.
Michael Thornely and Irish wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien then steadied the ship with an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 47 with 23 apiece. There was no play beyond 2pm.
Given a full day’s play tomorrow, it would be no surprise to see them take the 17 wickets required to win the match. After all, they bowled Essex out for 20 and Northamptonshire for 62 earlier this season. The county’s next match is against Gloucestershire at Bristol on Tuesday.
Picture of Oliver Newby (c) Simon Pendrigh