Courageous Chapple sums up never-say-die Red Rose

Somerset 380 & 105-5 Lancashire 480

Taunton

For one happy hour yesterday, Lancashire and their fans could gaze upon a Championship table that fulfilled dreams. Then it was back to nerve-shredding reality and a fight to the finish in this twisting, turning title race.

When Glen Chapple scored the single that lifted his county's first-innings total to 400 – securing maximum batting points – the narrowest possible advantage rested with the Red Rose. All was even at the top but Lancashire held first place on the basis they had enjoyed the better of their matches with fellow contenders Warwickshire.

The Bears then returned to the top but, having come this far, Lancashire were not about to throw in the towel – not with a man like Chapple in charge. The 37-year-old captain defied what is believed to be a torn hamstring by not only batting purposefully but also sending down eight typically waspish overs with the new ball when Somerset started their second dig 100 runs in arrears.

Chapple gave them a terrific start by pinning Arul Suppiah lbw with his 19th delivery. Then Kyle Hogg found the edge twice in quick succession to remove Alex Barrow and Chris Jones before the hosts had reached 30.

It was spinners Gary Keedy and Simon Kerrigan, though, who claimed the big wickets of James Hildreth and Jos Buttler, and it will be a major surprise if an away win is not sealed sooner rather than later today.

Whatever the outcome, Lancashire deserve great credit for staying in the hunt all season with a team that is short of household names but laden with never-say-die spirit. Their performance with the bat in this match sums them up. No-one managed to score a century, nor go beyond 68 for that matter, but the first 10 reached 20 and all 11 made it into double figures to give the side a healthy total of 480.

Lancashire had not taken maximum batting points (posting 400 inside 110 overs) all season. Whether they can end a much longer wait for a far bigger prize remains to be seen.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect