Cricket: Shadford shows his pace

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The Independent Online
Worcestershire 100-7

v Lancashire

No matter whether it was the Stone Roses or red roses being thrown in the rain, Bruce Springsteen obviously had Lancashire members in mind when he wrote: "Waste your summer praying in vain for a saviour to rise from these streets." Their team is 17th in the County Championship, and have failed to make the Benson and Hedges Cup quarter finals for the first time since 1988. There'll be cordite in the Old Trafford air before the season is through.

A few will take consolation in Lancashire's present position at the top of the Sunday League. Among the county's 14,000 members, however, memories go back to 1950, when Lancashire last won the Championship, albeit sharing it with Surrey. The long memories go back to 1934.

It has been a tough baptism for the new coach, Dav Whatmore. He has not been helped by the weather - nine days lost in 31 so far - and injuries to senior players. But he cannot afford to play a waiting game. There are already murmurings about appointing a one-day specialist to win a four-day competition.

Even so, there has been something positive for Whatmore in the 46 overs they have had here in three days. With four Test players - Neil Fairbrother, Jason Gallian, Wasim Akram and the captain, Mike Watkinson - nursing injuries, Lancashire have fielded a less than star-studded side. Under Mike Atherton's captaincy, they have looked a more determined outfit than the team that was Waqared for 51 last weekend.

True, conditions suited their bowlers on Friday evening and in the 21 overs before the rain returned yesterday - time enough for young Darren Shadford to confirm the impression he made with seven wickets against Kent. Strongly built, with a good action, he bowled at a lively aggressive pace after having Tom Moody caught behind from his third ball of the morning.

Gavin Haynes and David Leatherdale negotiated the vagaries of the pitch for three quarters of an hour, but sharp catches by John Crawley at bat- pad, off Leatherdale's firm stroke, and by Graham Lloyd at second slip made it Lancashire's morning. The summer is another matter...