Cricket: Lancashire cruise to victory

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The Independent Online
Nottinghamshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .242 and 177

Lancashire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .567

Lancashire win by an innings and 148 runs

THE outside chance that Nottinghamshire would deprive Warwickshire of the Championship officially expired at 2.04pm yesterday.

The combined effect of John Crawley's superb 250 and an awful second-innings collapse by the erstwhile contenders put Lancashire in total control at the start of the final day, 243 runs ahead with only four Nottinghamshire wickets standing. The only surprise was that it took them 144 minutes to complete the job.

Nottinghamshire's attack suffered from the absence of Chris Lewis, required by England, and the injured Andy Pick, but they did not at any stage play with the conviction one would expect from a team in the running for the title.

A little more of the application exhibited in Greg Mike's unbeaten 60 yesterday would not have gone amiss. With Alan Ormrod - the coach Lancashire sacked - about to sign a new contract, all the talk around Trent Bridge is of long- term plans. They should not neglect the present even with only place money at stake.

Crawley's concern, however, is with the immediate future. He will learn on Friday whether his failure to make an impression on South Africa's bowlers in his debut Test series will be the difference between a full England tour to Australia or another voyage with the A team.

'I have my fingers crossed for the main tour because you get more chances on a long tour, which Australia is,' he said yesterday. 'But if you miss out on the best you go for second best.

'My confidence has been affected a little bit, as it was bound to be. You cannot let such things get you down really badly, but it is hard to go out there when you are not in good form, when your feet are not moving well.

'There are some technical adjustments I have to make, but you always have to take something positive away if you can and, putting aside personal feelings, I was very happy to have been part of a winning team.'

He made further contributions to Lancashire's success here, their sixth win in nine Championship matches, holding two slip catches as Mike, one short of equalling his career best, slowly but surely ran out of partners.