Lancashire's feeble collapse revives all the old title anxieties
Worcestershire 237 & 5-0 Lancashire 161 & 80 (Worcestershire win by 10 wickets)
Friday 02 September 2011
At this stage, winning the Championship becomes a test of nerve as much as skill and perhaps the thought that they might at last stop people banging on about 1934 and 1950 every year is beginning to scare Lancashire.
In case you were not aware, the first of those dates is the last time Lancashire finished clear of the field, while the second is the last time they had one hand on the prize– they shared it with Surrey. A couple of weeks ago, it looked as if those numbers might finally lose their irritating significance for them.
Now it is rather less clear-cut after Worcestershire, whose double appearance in Lancashire's last four fixtures had only increased expectations, beat them by 10 wickets in a day and a half to give themselves every chance of staying up after a season that they began as strong favourites to be relegated.
Lancashire were dismissed for 80 in over 30 overs, the end coming just before three o'clock after Worcestershire's first innings ended around noon. Alan Richardson, 36, the seamer enjoying the most productive season of his career, finished with 6 for 22, five of them leg-before, and Kemar Roach, the West Indian fast bowler, 3 for 44.
Stephen Moore, the Lancashire opener, was absent, attending the birth of his first child just as his team-mates were labouring here. But even Peter Moores, the Lancashire coach, admitted it would have been unlikely he would have made much difference. "It is disappointing but we played poorly," he said. "We didn't score enough runs in either innings to create any kind of pressure and there can be no complaints.
"We have two matches left and if we win both I think we will win the title. Win one and we are in the frame. We will find out over the next two if we have the character to do it."
Lancashire's batting was collectively bad, and, while Moores tried not to castigate individuals for any lack of application, his assessment of Worcestershire's James Cameron, who missed out by two runs on a century but played the match-winning innings nonetheless, said enough. "It wasn't a blameless pitch but Cameron got himself in and he didn't play and miss an awful lot; he showed the right game for that pitch," he maintained.
Newcastle winger Jonas Gutierrez reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result
Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'
Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'
Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised
Manchester United official team photo: Antonio Valencia and Anderson pull the funniest faces
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt, including Danny Welbeck must be more clinical and Hector Bellerin debut
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Liverpool 2 Ludogorets 1 player ratings
Luis Suarez has given Liverpool's opponents more hope, says former striker Michael Owen
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Say yes to 'no-poo': It's been three years since I stopped washing my hair
- 4 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'