County Championship round-up: Willoughby keeps pennant dream alive for Somerset

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The Independent Online

Lancashire have waited so long for a Championship it would be a music hall joke, if music halls still existed. Even so, they've got nothing on Somerset. While Lancastrians with long memories still have 1950 – when they shared the title – to keep them warm, the pennant has never flown above Taunton.

Events at Trent Bridge yesterday revived hopes of ending that drought and Somerset took full advantage. Lancashire were bowled out for 259 with Charl Willoughby, a 35-year-old South African, claiming 4 for 60, taking his tally this Championship season to 50, a landmark he has achieved in all of his five seasons with the club.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul provided the only resistance, hitting 56 before the last two Lancashire wickets added 90, Gary Keedy making 34 and Saj Mahmood 29. By the close, Somerset had replied with 54 for 1, Marcus Trescothick falling to Keedy for 33.

Elsewhere, the focus is on survival. Warwickshire's recent victory over Kent was crucial in that respect but they are not in action this week. The Hop County are, however, and they made a fine start to what is a crucial game with Hampshire, another side battling to stay up, at Canterbury.

It was Malinga Bandara, the leg-spinner who has been dropped of late, who provided the impetus as Hampshire were bowled out for 204, securing a single batting point. That they managed that owed much to Jimmy Adams, the opener who, already enjoying the season of his life, hit 84 before he was caught off his boot. Kent reached 15 for 1 in reply, Sam Northeast's difficult season continuing with a four-ball duck.

Essex's chances of staying up look slimmer than ever after the first day of their match with Durham. With one game left, they need maximum points but, overnight after the first day, were 248 for 9.

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