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News - 11th September 2012

Davies set for debut

Davies set for debut

Play has been abandoned for the day at Liverpool, with wicketkeeper Alex Davies set to make his first-class debut against Surrey

Heavy rain at Aigburth gave the umpires little choice when they inspected at 12.30pm, so we will try and start the game tomorrow morning (Wednesday) at 10.30am.

18 year-old wicketkeeper/batsman Davies has already made a one-day debut for Lancashire, playing a Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay just over one year ago. He has just returned from Australia where he was a member of England's Under 19's World Cup team.

Squad: Glen Chapple (capt), Andrea Agathangelou, Karl Brown, Steven Croft, Alex Davies (wk), Kyle Hogg, Paul Horton, Gary Keedy, Simon Kerrigan, Oliver Newby, Luke Procter, Ajmal Shahzad, Tom Smith.

Lancashire are aiming to round off a disappointing season in the LV= County Championship with a consolation victory against Surrey at Aigburth.

The Red Rose county suffered relegation from Division One with a closely fought defeat against Middlesex at Lord’s last week, which left them unable to catch Surrey in this week’s last match of the campaign.

Coach Peter Moores has already set his players the goal of winning the Division Two title in 2013, and he is also extremely keen to see them win this week too.

“It's a game that has no impact on the Championship for both sides, but it's a first-class game. We want to try and win it,” said Moores, who won the Division Two title in the early stages of his tenure as coach of Sussex.

“To win that second division would be a great achievement. When I first started at Sussex we won the second division. Getting promoted, whether you finish first or second, is the most important. But winning anything is very important.

“Our goal will be to win that division next year and have a crack. There's no way that's going to be an easy task. It shouldn't be because there's some good teams in there. It's not an easy task because you've got to play winning cricket. But we've got lads who know how to win, I think they've proven that.

“They play well under pressure. You don't win a Championship without good players. They've got fight and spirit.

“We have to play this last game and go away and decide what areas we can move forward on to make sure we're more competitive.”

It would be easy for the Lancashire squad to use the weather as an excuse for this season’s disappointment, but that is not what will happen. Speaking immediately after the loss at Lord’s, both Glen Chapple and Moores were keen to stress relegation has been of their own doing.

“We lost three of our first four games, and those four games came in a three-week period. After that, we literally drew every game bar one until we went to Middlesex,” said Moores, who also stressed the importance not to overreact.

“If you didn't get some early wins, you got under pressure. We didn't play well early on. From then on, we were playing catch-up. Like most things, you get put under pressure. If you have some lads out of confidence, it becomes very difficult to play the sort of cricket you want.

“We should look pretty honestly at what we can do to get better. We do that every day anyway. We've got a winter to sort ourselves out and come back stronger next year to be competitive in all forms of the game.

“It's a tough division (Division One). It's always fine margins. If you think a player's not totally committed to what he's doing, if he's not giving you everything he's got, then be critical of him. If he's being inconsistent because he's learning his craft, have sympathy with him.

“We've got some players who are maybe in their second year of pro cricket playing at this level, and they've made some mistakes, That's going to happen. The commitment should be a consistent, and it has.
 
“Form varies a little bit. The more experienced the player, I think we saw with Glen Chapple at Lord’s, that tends to get a little bit less with senior players. We've got a mixture.

“The lads are committed. They'll be hugely disappointed. I think you feel for the fans as much as anything. But, like players, they've got to take it both ways as well as long as they see the players are committed and the club is moving forward.

“We've got to try and come back with something next year because we want to try and bounce back out of that second division.”

Lancashire and Surrey drew a rain-hit match at Guildford earlier this season when Kevin Pietersen scored a superb double century. Surrey have won two of their last three matches, including last week’s 195-run success over Nottinghamshire at the Oval.

Graham Hardcastle
Photo (c) Barry Mitchell


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