Lancashire made sure that they got the best of both worlds in their three-day first-class fixture against Durham UCCE at the Racecourse after combining valuable match practice with a confidence boosting 286-run victory.
The Red Rose county, who set the students a mammoth 470 runs to win in the final two sessions of the match today, completed a thrilling success by bowling them out for 183 with only four balls of today’s final day left. [Scorecard]
The star performer of Lancashire’s day was all-rounder Tom Smith, who recorded his maiden first-class century in their second innings effort of 183-4 declared. The 23 year-old opened the batting last night with Ashwell Prince, and notched his century off 164 balls in the over before lunch today. He finished on 104 not out, while Steven Croft hit a heartening 42 before the declaration came.
Oliver Newby (4-21 from eleven overs) then looked to have set Lancashire up for a crushing victory in double quick time with all of his wickets helping to reduce the students to a worrying 88-7. But Paul Dixey and Robbie Williams (31) shared an impressive eighth wicket stand of 80 to frustrate Lancs.
Dixey, a wicketkeeper who has played first team cricket for Kent, went on to record a fine 103 to become the fifth Durham University player to record a century in first-class cricket - two of them against Lancashire.
It looked as if the hosts would hold on for a draw, but enter the medium pace of former Durham Uni student Mark Chilton. The recognised batsman, who had scored a first innings century, took two of the last three wickets to fall. He snapped up Williams with his first ball, caught at short fine-leg by Karl Brown, before having Dixey caught at bat-pad by Brown in the closing stages.
Gary Keedy, who finished with 2-60 from 30 overs, sandwiched his second wicket in-between, removing John Glover caught by Brown at bat-pad.
Lancashire are not in action again until next Sunday when they host Glamorgan Dragons at Old Trafford in the opening Friends Provident Trophy match (12 noon start).
[Day 1 Report I Day 2 Report]
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd