by the Lancashire Chaplain, Rev. Malcolm Lorimer
The world was going to end at 6pm. Well at least if you went by the news on the internet and the beliefs of an American Fundamentalist Preacher. Lancashire seemed to take the message seriously though in their haste to win the match.
There was frustration from the Yorkshire openers with their last wicket stand which looked as if it would stretch out to eternity (It was 14. 2 overs). But Anderson bowling like an avenging prophet at last ended the Yorkshire innings.
15 overs and 121 to win and the end of the world ticking …….closer. It would take an effort of Dr. Who proportions to win the match and save mankind (at least the Red Rose disciples).
The Herculean task was there to see as Ryan Sidebottom set his field -7 men on the boundary and then hurtled in looking like a prophet of Bael who was going to destroy Elijah.
Moore and Horton were as defiant as Daniels taking the sword to the Yorkshire bowling and keeping up with the scoring rate. 40 runs were added then Rashid the Yorkshire spinner entered the attack bowling as deceptive as a Delilah he took both wickets.
Job’s comforters were all around the ground muttering that it couldn’t be done and Lancashire should have been quicker earlier on in the day. 8 an over was too much and it would all end in tears. But then the end of the world was coming and Lancashire were going to give it a go.
From the pavilion marched out Croft like a Joshua to defeat the Middianittes. Smiting sixes like a little David hurling stones at Goliath he hit the ball out of the ground. He perished though going for one to many and again the worried faces around the ground studied the scoreboard. Even those in the beer tent were heard to mutter a prayer into their pints.
They need not have worried. Lancashire’s own Goliath strode in, in the form of Maharoof who after a nervous start started taking the Yorkshire bowling apart as a hungry John the Baptist feasting on locusts and wild honey. . Along with fellow disciples Brown and Procter they edged Lancashire closer to the promised land. 36 from 4 overs. 24 from 3, 18 from 2, 8 from the last over. Marharoof looked down the wicket and hit the ball hard and mighty. It travelled over the bowlers head –six! The next ball was also despatched to the boundary and victory had been achieved. The Promised Land had been reached. The relief, the tears, the cheers, Lancashire celebrated like crowds entering Jerusalem.
It was past 6pm. though and the end of the world had not happened! Perhaps it had for the Yorkshire Team and supporters, but after a wait of 76 years (Like Jacob waiting for his Rachel) the County Championship needs to be won again by Lancashire. Only then, the end of the world can begin!
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh
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