Impatient Lancashire prolong wait for title

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The Independent Online

After polishing off the final three Leicestershire wickets in the opening stages of the final day, the hosts needed just 175 to complete the formalities - but their desire to finish things off quickly proved to be their downfall.

Early on it had looked like Lancashire could be frustrated only by bad weather and, bizarrely, an oil spillage on the square. When play finally started at 12.55pm, James Anderson strengthened his side's position with all three remaining Foxes second-innings wickets. Firstly he had Stuart Broad caught behind by Gareth Cross, before sending Charl Willoughby's off-stump spinning.

Then, after a determined partnership of 29 between Foxes captain H D Ackerman and David Masters, Anderson sent the South African's middle stump the same way as Willoughby's.

When Lancashire started their chase, Mark Chilton seemed to keep the game in Lancashire's hands by calming things early on. He helped advance the score into the 70s for the loss of Iain Sutcliffe.

But then Broad took three wickets for just five runs to signal the start of Lancashire's demise.

Glen Chapple, Andrew Symonds and Murali Kartik all followed as the healthy Old Trafford crowd missed out on the chance to witness the trophy presentation.

Lancashire will still almost certainly be awarded the title due to Yorkshire's poor performance at Northampton. If Yorkshire fail to win, Lancashire's title celebrations will start.

Sussex thrashed Kent by eight wickets to round off their Championship season with a fifth win in the last six games. The hosts just beat the rain at Hove after being set only 148 to win. Sussex's seventh win overall lifted them temporarily into second place behind champions Nottinghamshire, but Hampshire then claimed the runner-up spot when they beat Nottinghamshire at the Rose Bowl.

Kent were bowled out for 238, while Sussex lost Richard Montgomerie for 26 and Carl Hopkinson for 57, before easing home.

Warwickshire set Gloucestershire a target of 411 for victory after declaring on 320 for 9 in their second innings at Edgbaston. Malinga Bandara was the visitors' chief wicket-taker with 4 for 90. Gloucestershire were 97 for 2 at stumps.

Worcestershire were 424 for three in reply to Essex's first-innings 574 on a day of bad weather at New Road.

Bottom side Derbyshire racked up 707 for 7 declared against Somerset at Taunton. The hosts were 173 for 2 in reply with John Francis unbeaten on 107.

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