Champions beaten again as Bears climb to the top

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The Independent Online

Warwickshire, pipped to the title by Lancashire on the last day of a dramatic 2011 County Championship, enjoyed a measure of revenge by inflicting a five-wicket defeat on the champions at a damp Liverpool yesterday.

The result made it two wins from two matches for Warwickshire and two defeats in two for Lancashire, which must prompt some reassessment of both teams' prospects. The Bears have begun without both Chris Woakes and Boyd Rankin, who took 111 Division One wickets between them last season.

In their absence, seamer Keith Barker and off-spinner Jeetan Patel finished with five wickets each as Lancashire, who were 44 for four when play began at 12.20pm, were bowled out for 148 just before tea, Ashwell Prince making 51, to leave Warwickshire to chase 70 to win in the final session.

They made untidy work of that target. Lancashire gave Simon Kerrigan the new ball and, after trapping Varun Chopra leg before with his fourth delivery, the young left-arm spinner picked up a notable scalp when Ian Bell, who had just hit him for a straight six, drove to Prince at short extra cover.

Neil Carter then chopped on to veteran twirler Gary Keedy, who also had Jim Troughton caught at short leg, but with Will Porterfield holding them together there was never any real danger of fluffing their lines, even though Darren Maddy became a third victim for Kerrigan when he edged to second slip.

Lancashire, beaten only four times last season, lost this one despite having Warwickshire 81 for seven in their first innings, before match-winners Maddy and Rikki Clarke joined in a partnership of 224 that changed the course of the match.

Somerset's three centuries at Trent Bridge were in vain as bad weather precluded a result with Nottinghamshire, who have been overtaken by Warwickshire at the top of the First Division after failing to pick up any bonus points. In three matches, their batsmen have none and their bowlers only six.

At The Oval, veteran seamer Alan Richardson finished with 10 wickets in a match for only the second time in his career but although a pitch that saw 19 wickets fall on Saturday calmed down enough for Michael Klinger to make an attractive unbeaten 69, time would have been against Worcestershire scoring 246 to beat Surrey even without rain.

In Division Two, Hampshire had to wait until 4.15 to resume in Cardiff but will not complain as Jimmy Adams' team beat Glamorgan by two wickets with a ball to go after Sean Ervine's 75.