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Match Report

Rain ruins exciting finish

Rain ruins exciting finish

Different weather conditions are part of cricket's charm.

All the same, it was difficult for Lancashire and Somerset supporters not to feel thoroughly frustrated on Saturday afternoon after a lunchtime thunderstorm had brought a premature end to what had promised to be a fascinating final day at Aigburth.
Torrential rain not only saturated the Liverpool outfield, it even flooded the press tent. Despite waiting until 4.15pm to make a final inspection, umpires Neil Hartley and Nigel Llong had little option but to call off play with Somerset intriguingly placed on 93 for three. Both teams took six points from the game.
The fans' irritation will probably have been all the greater given that the previous three days had offered such high-quality entertainment. At its best, well-contested county cricket remains one of the precious jewels of English sport, a contention which both sides had done their best to justify, particularly on the middle two days of this game.
If the outstanding player was Ashwell Prince, who made the two highest individual scores of the game, it was also important to note the intensity of the duel between Glen Chapple and Marcus Trescothick this morning and the technical skill of Nick Compton's defensive play in keeping out some excellent Lancashire bowling.
In the morning session Somerset made reasonable progress towards their target of 279, adding 71 runs to their overnight score in 33 overs for the loss of Trescothick and James Hildreth's wickets.
Trescothick, who was dropped by Paul Horton off Chapple - a fingertip chance at first slip when he had made 12 - and also survived a huge appeal for a catch at the wicket off the same bowler shortly afterwards, was eventually trapped lbw by the Lancashire skipper on 27 when he was looking to play to leg.
Hildreth made nine off 21 balls before he edged Kyle Hogg to slip, where Andrea Agathangelou took a fine diving catch. Once again one felt that the South African-born cricketer was not out of place in this company. Agathangelou's batting in the first innings and his placement in the key position of second slip suggests an impressive pedigree.
"I thought we bowled well this morning and put them under real pressure," said Lancashire coach Peter Moores, "Credit to Compton, who played well and kept us out, but the fact that they were scoring at two runs an over showed that the pitch wasn't easy to score at a rate on.
"It would have been a very good finish, I think," continued Moores. "Had we not bowled them out, they would have had a chance themselves. It was set up for a really good game of cricket. Either side could have won but we were marginal favourites I think."
Glen Chapple was the most successful bowler, finishing the innings with two for 27 off 14 overs. However, Simon Kerrigan also nagged away on the final morning, his ten overs costing just 14 runs. Kyle Hogg finished with one for 21.
In the context of Lancashire's season Moores was also pleased that his team had shown the character he had callled upon them to display after the loss to Worcestershire in July.
"We were still a bit topsy turvy at times but I thought we played brilliantly in the last three sessions of the game," he said "To bowl them out for 149 was a good effort and then to have a freakish 15 overs and still get ourselves in a competitive position showed a lot of fight and character.       
"Ashwell's innings and his partnership with Hoggy when we were in a potentially very tough situation were brilliant, I think. They pulled us out of it and went on. Ash was very determined and showed great mental strength. Ashwell is a good player, he knows his own game and he was up for a challenge
"It's pretty clear what's ahead of us over the next six weeks. We've got some tough cricket to play in the championship and we've got the excitement of trying to get into the semi-finals of the CB40. There's still a lot to play for."         
The draw against Somerset leaves Lancashire nine points clear of the relegation zone but they have played two matches more than eighth-placed Worcestershire. Glen Chapple's team are currently joint sixth, level on points with Surrey, who have played one game more. 

Reports: Day 1     Day 2   I   Day 3

Paul Edwards
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd
Photo: Marcus Trescothick is lbw to Glen Chapple (c) Barry Mitchell



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