Classical Law leads Lancashire's fight for survival

Lancashire 350-8 v Worcestershire

Stuart Law, as elegant and fluent a batsman that has graced the English county game in recent seasons gave Lancashire's hopes of avoiding relegation a timely boost yesterday with a handsome century littered with classical drives, both to the off and on side and powerful cuts and pulls.

Stuart Law, as elegant and fluent a batsman that has graced the English county game in recent seasons gave Lancashire's hopes of avoiding relegation a timely boost yesterday with a handsome century littered with classical drives, both to the off and on side and powerful cuts and pulls.

His style certainly pleased the purists, as evidenced by the warm applause he received from the Worcestershire fans who had turned out for Steven Rhodes' final first-class performance, but the fact that Laws' hundred came with his side struggling at 128 for 4 will have delighted his team-mates.

It has not been an auspicious few months for the Red Rose and they desperately need one win from the next final two matches, if not two, to secure safety and in a wonderfully ironic quirk of the fixture schedule, these matches are against the two other relegation candidates, Worcestershire this week and Gloucestershire next.

"We can do it," said Lancashire's Mal Loye. "It helps if Gloucestershire lose now because then it is a straight 'us versus them' but we still believe that we can dictate our position next season."

Mathematically he is correct but to convince us, as well as themselves, they needed to maximise the advantage of winning the toss by amassing a big total, the kind that Warwickshire built so effectively to win a Championship that at the start of the season many believed was destined for Old Trafford.

With Law there is always that possibility. He is a "greedy" batsman, one who considers the first hundred as nothing more than a staging post and having reached the milestone he took guard once more and started again, helped by the impressive Glen Chapple. Their partnership of 108, unflustered yet vital, dragged Lancashire to respectability and hinted at dominance until Chapple was surprisingly caught at extra-cover off the left-arm spinner Ray Price.

Law, unbowed, continued to 150 with a beautiful lofted drive but soon after was lbw to Andy Bichel.

His efforts had provided Lancashire with a platform though. Their task, and one that the forecast inclement weather could yet affect, is not to abuse it.

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