County round-up: Bold Smith leads Lancashire fightback
Given their team's feeble surrender to Worcestershire last week, Lancashire supporters must have feared the worst again yesterday when the title challengers crumpled to 125 for 5 against Hampshire at Aigburth. Cometh the hour, though, cometh a potentially crucial middle-order revival.
Tom Smith, the Liverpool-born all-rounder, had reached 20 just once in his previous nine championship innings but it was he who prompted a fightback that hurt Hampshire's chances of avoiding relegation while keeping Lancashire in the thick of a championship battle with Durham and Warwickshire.
Smith's 98-ball knock of 63 nourished the Red Rose to such an extent that Glen Chapple and Kyle Hogg were later able to blossom to spectacular effect with an eighth-wicket stand which was worth 99 (in 18 overs) when bad light halted play. By then, Lancashire had recovered to 337 for 7 – on course for a full hand of five batting points – with captain Chapple 24 runs short of a century.
Come close of business last night, Lancashire were a point behind second-placed Warwickshire and seven short of leaders Durham, who are unemployed in this round of matches.
Further down the table, Worcestershire and Sussex – fighting to keep clear of the trap door into the Second Division – just about shared honours at New Road, with Ben Brown's half-century guiding the visitors to 289 for 8 As for who is coming up, Surrey's blind- side charge looked to be stalling when they slipped to 94 for 5 at Chelmsford against Essex, but Chris Jordan's 71 saw them to an apparently healthy 315 all out.
Brendan Rodgers says Manchester City's slip is timely warning for Liverpool title hopes
30 players who could be set for a big-money transfer this summer
Manchester United transfer news: David Moyes watches Porto stars Eliaquim Mangala and Jackson Martinez as recruitment drive steps up a gear
Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2 match report: Gareth Bale scores wonder goal to claim Copa del Rey for Real
Luis Suarez: Could Liverpool cash in on their star striker if they won the Premier League this season?
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 The Hobbit: There and Back Again set for possible title change
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back