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.

News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence