Life looks rosy as Lancashire edge out their arch rivals

A Roses match that was seldom less than compelling ended with a narrow victory for Lancashire that will infuse Glen Chapple's players with excitement as winning the Championship begins to look a possibility.

The title is discussed in that way most years at Old Trafford, but it is 77 years since a Red Rose team won it, apart from in 1950 when it was shared with Surrey.

Yet with seven wins from 10 matches, a record unmatched at the corresponding point in any season in the current Champion-ship format, there are reasons to argue that, with leaders Durham unlikely to do better than draw with Somerset at Taunton, Lancashire might be favourites.

They have played one fewer match and Durham's lead is down to five points. A victory over Nottinghamshire at Southport next week, in their match in hand, would give Lancashire the advantage, and should they follow it up with a win over Warwickshire, the other unexpected contender, at Liverpool the following week, the title might be seen as theirs to lose.

Yesterday's victory showed they can keep their nerve, which is another point in their favour. Yorkshire resumed on 136 for 6, still needing 148 to win, but if the last innings was to follow the pattern of the second and third, Lancashire's task would be less straightforward than it looked.

In the end Yorkshire went close enough to be disappointed not to have won after Adil Rashid and Ajmal Shahzad became the third ninth-wicket pair in the match to make their innings' biggest stand.

Yorkshire lost nightwatchman Ryan Sidebottom and captain Andrew Gale during a fine opening spell from Chapple with the target still more than 100 runs.

But then Rashid batted well, blocking decisively and playing wristy shots through the off-side, and with the support of Shahzad the ninth wicket added 53.

As the target came down, still in the morning session so that time was not a factor, the pressure built on Lancashire. Yet seamers Kyle Hogg and Saj Mahmood responded with discipline.

To the cheers of Yorkshire fans willing an improbable victory – their team had, after all, been 45 for 8 in the first innings before Sidebottom and Rich Pyrah compiled their record stand – Rashid steered Mahmood through gully for his sixth four. But the next 29 balls yielded only two singles and frustration.

Shahzad found relief when Hogg offered a widish ball he crashed for four but then, faced with a short delivery, he was lured into hooking and gloved a catch to wicketkeeper Gareth Cross.

But even with their opponents nine down, still 54 short, Lancashire could not consider themselves home, not with Pyrah in at No 11. The first-innings centurion helped Rashid reach lunch, the target now 40.

With the second new ball nine overs away, Yorkshire began the afternoon urgently and Chapple, less tidy, conceded six in an over twice. But it was the old ball, and the left-arm spinner Gary Keedy, that did the trick as Pyrah played back, missed and was lbw.

Captain Chapple believes his team have been underrated. "People made assumptions that we did not have quality, because we have no 35-year-old batsman with 20,000 runs at 50," he said.

"But we have good characters whose commitment in the last two seasons I have never once questioned, and they have simply developed over the last couple of years as quality cricketers."

Warwickshire finished off Sussex by an innings and 43 runs at Edgbaston to complete a fifth win in six matches, New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel taking 6 for 111 for his first 10-wicket haul.

Durham followed on 260 in arrears at Taunton but an opening partnership of 84 between Will Smith and Michael di Venuto raised their hopes of a draw today.

Bottom-placed Hampshire were deducted eight points for a pitch offering excessive turn at the Rose Bowl as Nottinghamshire were held to a nailbiting draw.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
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

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz