Round-Up: Chapple's five wickets put Lancashire in prime position for title

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The Independent Online

Lancashire remained on course to win the race for the County Championship Second Division title after dominating the opening day of their final match against Leicestershire at Old Trafford yesterday.

Needing 11 points at the start to ensure they fought off Yorkshire's challenge to finish top of the table, Lancashire finished the day in pole position after suffering vastly contrasting fortunes to their Roses rivals.

While Yorkshire failed to collect any batting points after being dismissed for a lowly 177 at Northampton, Lancashire dismissed Leicestershire for 165 to collect all three bowling points and edge them ever closer to the £30,000 title prize-money. It left Lancashire needing to reach 300 in their first innings to earn three batting points and remove Yorkshire from the title equation. By the close they had reached 61 for 2.

Glen Chapple produced a five-wicket display for 22 runs while while the Indian left-arm spinner Murali Kartik grabbed 4 for 43.

The only resistance shown to Lancashire's dominance was a determined 40 by the opener John Maunders while the South African middle-order batsman H D Ackerman hit eight boundaries in his 48.

Needing a solid reply to progress to the title, Lancashire lost the opener Iain Sutcliffe. Then the captain, Mark Chilton, forged an encouraging partnership with Paul Horton.

Concentration perhaps broken by a short hold-up in play caused by the sun reflecting off the media centre at the Stretford End of the ground, Chilton fell in the first over back when he also edged Stuart Broad behind off the back foot.

Will Jefferson's second century of the season underpinned Essex's total of 397 for 7 in a meeting of failed promotion contenders in the County Championship at New Road.

A much-weakened Worcestershire attack conceded four runs an over for most of the day but retrieved some ground with Stuart Wedge claiming 3 for 70 on his Championship debut.

The 19-year-old left-arm pace bowler, who has been playing for Himley in the Birmingham League, achieved his most notable success by dismissing Jefferson for 116 from 149 balls after a partnership of 113 with Ronnie Irani.

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