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News - 16th September 2013

LV County Championship Division 1

17/09/13 @ 10.30
4 Days

Gloucestershire V Lancashire

Lancs aiming to clinch title

Lancs aiming to clinch title

Lancashire can secure their return to Division One as champions this week when they travel to Bristol to face Gloucestershire.

And it will be no surprise to learn that champions is a word the Red Rose hierarchy hope will become a bit more common place at Emirates Old Trafford in the next couple of years.

Peter Moores and company head down the M5 for tomorrow’s penultimate clash of the season looking for the 12 points that will rubber stamp their place at the top of Division One.

Glen Chapple leads a 13-man squad, with Karl Brown returning to replace overseas player Simon Katich.

Squad: Glen Chapple (capt), Andrea Agathangelou, Karl Brown, Alex Davies (wkt), Kyle Hogg, Paul Horton, Kyle Jarvis, Simon Kerrigan, Oliver Newby, Ashwell Prince, Luke Procter, Luis Reece, Tom Smith.

Moores wants his players to go through the season, which concludes with a clash with Kent at Canterbury next week, unbeaten.

And then, he wants his players to start plotting their assault on claiming a second Championship title in four years in 2014, the club’s 150th anniversary year.

“If we had the side we've had this year, we would have fancied taking on anybody in the first division, and we would now,” said coach Moores.

“We'll go in confident, but we know there's no guarantees. Before winning it, we were a top four side for three years in a row. Then we won it and then got relegated. But generally the same group of players have been in the top four of the Championship, so that says they're a good team and good players.

“They know how to play together as a team and apply pressure on other sides. That's not gone away. But also, it would be wrong to think you're going to breeze in because you've won the second division because you're not. It's a fine line.

“We've seen with Durham, who were in the relegation zone with us last season - they look like they're going to win the title.

Asked what the difference was between Lancashire’s performances this year and last when they were relegated, Moores added:  "We've got back to what we do very well, which is work very hard and do things simply and play a brand of cricket that is fairly relentless.

“We keep working very hard to put people under pressure over a period of time. I think we're also realistic that we've had to do that, and we're going to have to play that standard of cricket in the first division because the standard I think gets better.

"We've got more consistent runs, especially in the back half of the season, which has been great. We've seen an injection of new players come in as well. It's been a good season all round, both from senior players and young players.”

Mathematically, Gloucestershire can still earn promotion to Division One alongside Lancashire. They lie in fourth place and 32 points behind second-placed Northamptonshire. Realistically, it is probably a step too far.

The 12 points Lancashire need to win Division Two is assuming Northants gain maximum points from their last two matches, starting with Kent at home this week.

Moores added: “We certainly want to win it. Winning is a habit. We want to win it as champions and stay undefeated. That would be a great achievement over the course of the summer. We're in a very strong position at the moment, and we've got to play good cricket in two more games.

“We'll take it as we have done all year, and I know it's a bit cliched, but it'll be game by game. We'll go to Bristol and try do the same sort of things. We'll try play our brand of cricket, get ourselves a win and then move onto Kent.”

Lancashire and Gloucestershire drew the reverse fixture at Liverpool at the end of May. Set 359 from a minimum of 87, the visitors finished on 173-9 from 99 overs. Andrea Agathangelou took the ninth wicket with the penultimate ball of an exhilarating final day, but Liam Norwell survived the last.

Graham Hardcastle
Picture (c) Simon Pendrigh


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