Lancashire's Championship title bid was ignited by a fine bowling performance against an abject Warwickshire side here yesterday. Dreams of a first title since 1934 could turn into reality with victory – and similar could be said of the Bears' nightmares about relegation with defeat.
The game is Warwickshire's last of the season and with relegation rivals Kent going well against Hampshire they could be condemned to the Second Division by the end of the week. As for Lancashire, they will be taking an interest in events between Durham and Sussex at the Riverside and in Hampshire at the Rose Bowl.
Warwickshire capitulated to 106 all out after winning the toss and electing to bat. Lancashire reached 156 for 4 in reply thanks to a fine 71 from opener Paul Horton.
Sajid Mahmood (4 for 21) and Glen Chapple (4 for 42) both helped themselves to four wickets apiece while Dominic Cork also chipped in with 2 for 21.
Even though Lancashire bowled well on a batting track, Warwickshire were guilty of one poor shot after another. Michael Powell and Ant Botha top-scored with 27 apiece but it was nowhere near enough.
When Lancashire came to bat after bowling for just 45.2 overs they made it look like a completely different game. Although struggling captain Mark Chilton holed out hooking James Anyon to long leg and Steven Croft was caught behind off Neil Carter, confident opener Horton made batting look easy, recording his fourth half-century of the summer.
He reached it in 106 balls with 10 fours as Stuart Law (43) shared in a third-wicket partnership of 74.