Keedy shines as clouds finally clear for Lancashire

Lancashire 347 & 334 Kent 267 & 339 Lancashire win by 75 runs
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The Independent Online

There was something of a double celebration for Lancashire yesterday - not only did they beat Kent to move into second place 28 points behind Surrey in the First Division, but, and more importantly, they also beat the weather.

All four of Lancashire's previous Championship matches have failed to reach a climax thanks to the vagaries of the climate and in at least three of them Lancashire were in a good position to wrest victory out of them. This was a landmark victory for Lancashire as well, since the last time they won at the St Lawrence Ground was in 1936, with a side that included the likes of George Duckworth, Cyril Washbrook and Eddie Paynter.

Historic feats must have looked out of the questionto the squad yesterday, though, when they woke up to the continued rumblings of the overnight thunderstorms and rain which had left puddles on the outfield.

But the gods relented and only 20 overs were lost, time enough for Gary Keedy and Glenn Chapple to help themselves to four wickets apiece, and by early evening the sun was shining on a long overdue Lancashire win.

Keedy, a slow left-armer, brought his match total to nine for 178, mind you his performance was not quite flawless. If he had reacted a little earlier to a looping catch off a leading edge when Mark Ealham was seven, the game might well have been over a lot earlier.

As it was, Keedy and his colleagues had to endure a long afternoon while Ealham and Geraint Jones kept Kent hopes alive with a stand of 79 for the seventh wicket. Jones, the wicketkeeper, caught the eye of the Lancashire manager, Mike Watkinson, who said: "He is going to hurt a few teams if carries on like this."

Ealham battled on, but there was just too much to do to save the game and eventually he was well taken at second slip by Carl Hooper.

Earlier, Matthew Walker had made his way to a sensible half-century to keep home hopes alive, but unfortunately shortly after reaching that mark he was bowled around his legs attempting to sweep Keedy.

And the bad news for winless Kent did not stop at the defeat. The opening bowler, Martin Saggers, had a scan on a troublesome knee yesterday and is doubtful for the match against Sussex which begins at Tunbridge Wells tomorrow, while the captain, David Fulton, who has just recovered from an horrific eye injury, is out for two weeks after breaking his right thumb. It never rains...