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Lancashire 2021
Luke Wells’ first Red Rose century helped Lancashire in to a strong position after reaching 364-8 after being put in to bat on the opening day of this LV= Insurance County championship match against Somerset.

Half-centuries from Josh Bohannon, Steven Croft and Tom Bailey backed up Wells fine innings after Somerset fought back by taking five wickets during the afternoon.

Tom Abell’s decision to insert Lancashire a greenish-looking Taunton track looked to have received early vindication as veteran seamer Jack Brooks in particular found a lot of movement to trouble the batsmen.

George Balderson, having started promisingly with a run-a-ball 22, edged his 23rd delivery to Tom Lammonby at gully and hand Ned Leonard his maiden first-class wicket on debut.

He was followed by Alex Davies, who is donning the gloves in preference to George Lavelle in this match, after Davies nicked a moving Brookes delivery to wicketkeeper Steve Davies for 3 with Lancashire in early difficulties on 27-2.

Wells, in alliance with Bohannon, responded with some positive, attacking shots that quickly put the hosts on the back foot.

The pair reached their fifty partnership from 11 overs hitting a flurry of boundaries with Wells the chief aggressor in racing to his fifty from 48 balls when taking three fours off one Ben Green over just before noon.

The century partnership arrived on the stroke of lunch from 147 balls with Bohannon playing a great supporting role having contributed just 21 of those runs and they continued in similar fashion after the break.

Wells in particular impressed with his driving as the pitch started to lose its early life but he was equally severe on anything short, pulling consecutive deliveries from Marchant de Lange to the square leg boundary.

Consecutive fours off Tom Abell took Wells to his 19th first-class century off 112 balls in style but his defensive push at the following delivery found an edge that flew to James Hildreth at slip to end a fabulous innings of 103 that contained 20 well-timed fours and break a 155-run partnership with Bohannon.

That was the first of five wickets to fall in the afternoon session as Somerset hit back.

Bohannon reached his half-century from 117 balls with consecutive fours off Abell just as Wells had done to go to his hundred, but then carried the comparison on further than he would have liked by cutting the next delivery straight to Leonard at point.

Rob Jones edged to slip for 5 as Abell picked up a third wicket to leave Lancashire on 201-5 midway through the day.

Dane Vilas and Steven Croft fought back with a thrilling partnership of 65 from 65 balls as Somerset failed to constrain the fast-scoring pair.

Vilas looked to be in great touch before he was adjudged lbw to Brooks for a run-a-ball 36 and Lamb followed the same way for 0, also to Brooks, moments later.

But Croft and Tom Bailey produced a superb partnership of 95 runs either side of tea to press home Lancashire’s advantage.

Croft had an escape when he pulled Brooks to Marchant de Lange at fine leg but it was off a no ball and the Red Rose all-rounder went on to make an excellent 71 before falling in the penultimate over of the day after edging behind off de Lange.

When Bailey reached fifty off 111 balls it was the first time he had posted consecutive half-centuries, backing up his excellent innings at Trent Bridge last week, and he will be partnered tomorrow morning by Jack Blatherwick (1 not out) with Lancashire holding the advantage going into day two.

Ken Grime
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A career-best four-wicket haul by Jack Blatherwick in his maiden first-class bowling stint for Lancashire, and three late wickets by Luke Wells, have helped give the Red Rose a big advantage after two breathless and fast-moving days of LV= Insurance County Championship action at Taunton.

Lancashire produced an excellent bowling performance to stun Somerset this morning with the hosts all out for a paltry 90.

Made to follow-on Somerset launched a great comeback thanks to a rapid century from Tom Lammonby who found excellent support from Azhar Ali in a century second-wicket partnership.

But as the home side closed in on the 283-run first-innings deficit, Luke Wells made the breakthrough with three late evening wickets pegging Somerset back as they closed on 226-4 and behind by 57 runs.

Lancashire could only add nine runs to their first innings overnight score to be 373 all out with Bailey last out for an excellent 63, just five shy of his career-best score.

And Bailey was soon starring with the ball, producing a beautiful swinging, seaming delivery that bowled a helpless Ben Green second ball for 0 and then nipping one back to trap left-hander Lammonby lbw for 6 in a superb opening spell of 9-4-9-2.

George Balderson produced the perfect line and length to find an edge from Tom Abell, pushing forward defensively, to wicketkeeper Alex Davies for a five-ball duck to leave Somerset 32-3.

And Balderson then had James Hildreth well caught low down at first slip by Wells with Azhar Ali providing the only resistance to be 22 not out at lunch with the hosts in early trouble on 46-4.

It could easily have worse for Somerset if Lewis Goldsworthy had been run out on 0 just before the break but he was let off when the throw went to other end with the batsman way out of his ground.

Goldsworthy’s good fortune continued when he was twice dropped at slip straight after the afternoon resumption but Rob Jones made no mistake at third slip as the batsman edged once again to give Blatherwick his maiden Lancashire wicket.

That was the start of a golden spell by Blatherwick who took four wickets in 15 balls to return a career-best 4-28 and destroy the Somerset middle order in the process.

Steve Davies edged behind for 1, Roelof van der Merwe was beaten by movement and bowled for 4 second ball while Jack Brooks edged to Danny Lamb at slip for 0 as Blatherwick produced a superb spell, finding good pace and movement.

Danny Lamb knocked over Marchant de Lange’s stumps and Bailey (3-9) returned to trap Azhar Ali lbw for 39, the Pakistan Test veteran only one of two Somerset batsman to reach double figures as the home side were shot out for 90. If Lancashire hadn’t spilled four catches it could have been much less but that was the only blemish on a fine display with the ball by the visitors.

It was a stunning bowling performance and Vilas had little hesitation in enforcing the follow-on with a lead of 283 runs and Somerset’s innings only lasting for 38.2 overs.

Somerset, no doubt smarting from their first innings capitulation, responded in a much more positive fashion with Green and Lammonby going for their shots from the start of their second attempt, rattling up 69 inside 12 overs with Lammonby pulling Bailey for six over square leg.

That prompted Vilas to turn to Matt Parkinson for the first time in the match and the leg spinner struck with his fifth delivery when Green attempted to hit the ball into the River Tone but instead was easily stumped by Alex Davies for 31.

Azhar Ali and Lammonby continued in similar style to launch a great fightback with Lammonby hitting a second six off Parkinson with his twelfth boundary bringing up the century partnership off just 118 balls.

It was proving to be a tough afternoon for the Red Rose attack as the wicket eased and the runs flowed, but the nature of the session changed dramatically when Vilas turned to the off spin of Luke Wells in the final hour with Somerset going well on 194-1.

Lammonby had just reached a 99-ball century in style by hitting Parkinson for six but Wells trapped him lbw on that score and three balls later celebrated a double-wicket maiden when Abell chipped a full toss to Vilas at midwicket to bag a pair.

Wells then beat Azhar Ali with a lovely flighted delivery that gripped, drew the batsman forward and Alex Davies completed an excellent stumping with Ali gone for 50 and Somerset suddenly 199-4, with Wells having figures of 3-1.

The home side held out to reach the close on 226-4 with Lancashire still favourites but they will have to work hard tomorrow if they are to seal victory.

Ken Grime
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10 wicket win
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Lancashire raced to victory before lunch sealing a ten-wicket victory that takes them, for the moment, top of the Division One table with one game to play.

It was another brilliant effort from the Red Rose bowlers who took the six remaining Somerset wickets for the addition of 88 runs to leave a victory target of just 32, easily knocked off by George Balderson and Alex Davies.

With the other two Division One games delayed by rain it is likely the final permutations will not become clear until tomorrow but Lancashire appear likely to be one of three contenders for the title going into the last match against Hampshire at Liverpool, starting next Tuesday.

Lancashire have 54.5 points, Notts 52 points, Hampshire 42.5, Yorkshire 41.5, Warwicks 39, Somerset 26.5 (these include bonus points gained from current matches in progress).

Play today started in dull, cloudy conditions with the floodlights in operation and Somerset on 226-4 in their second innings trailing by 57 runs.

James Hildreth and Lewis Goldsworthy carefully played themselves in before both fell in quick succession to Tom Bailey.

Lancashire’s leading wicket-taker in the Championship took his tally to 41 wickets as Hildreth mistimed a pull and top edged a high catch to Jack Blatherwick at point for 26 and Goldsworthy was lbw for 21 after being beaten by a swinging delivery.

It was just the start Lancashire would have hoped for and despite a 24-ball 23 by Roelof van der Merwe the bowlers were not to be denied.

Van der Merwe edged Balderson to first slip where Luke Wells grabbed a sharp chance and Marchant de Lange edged Blatherwick to Rob Jones at second slip.

Balderson bowled Jack Brooks for 15 and Blatherwick took the final wicket as Ned Leonard edged down the leg side with Steve Davies left unbeaten on 22 and Somerset 314 all out.

It has been a great bowling performance throughout the match with the side missing injured bowling trio Saqib Mahmood, Luke Wood and Richard Gleeson.

Balderson and Davies then clinched victory at 12.40pm with 32 runs off six overs, Lancashire’s 999th in the County Championship and with more than a day to spare.

A buoyant Dane Vilas said afterwards: "This was a must-win game for both teams if either of us were to keep title hopes alive and I am delighted with the way we played and the result.

“To be put in and see the first innings score we got was incredible. The batters came out with some real intent and played beautifully, especially Wellsy getting that run-a-ball hundred.

“He’s been fantastic and to have guy with his quality coming through, averaging in the high thirties and with nearly twenty centuries, is great. He’s only 30 and still has a lot to give.

“He’s proved that in a big game for us. Hopefully he can kick on a get a few more hundreds for us.

“And we put in an equally good effort in with the ball.

“We’ve got good depth to our squad and it’s been proved in games like this when you need all your squad members coming through.”

“The way Jack (Blatherwick) came in for only his second game with his energy was amazing. We’ve got guys pushing and are desperately keen to be in the mix (for selection).

"It (the win) sets up an exciting final game against Hampshire next week and we can go into it with momentum from this performance.

"Other than losing the toss, everything went well for us, particularly after a difficult time against Notts last week. We needed to turn our form around after that and did just that, which is fantastic."

“We’ve now got a big game coming up next week.”

Luke Wells was equally thrilled to have clinched an important victory.

“Obviously I was really pleased,” said Lancashire’s first innings centurion, who was just as delighted with his contribution with the ball.

“To get those wickets last night when Somerset were flying was great,” he acknowledged.

“I didn’t really expect that to happen but sometimes a bowler like me can break partnerships and happily enough that happened.

“They had took to Parky who normally holds up an end and takes wickets and he’s bowled beautifully all year.

“I’ve got a few variations; leg-spinner, off-spinner and a low full toss,” he grinned.

“And thankfully it worked.”

“I think we’ve played unbelievable four-day cricket all year. We’ve taken a lot of them down to the last day, the last hour, playing on proper pitches and getting the ball to reverse, swing and spin.

“We’ve had a bit of squad rotation too, but all the guys who have come in have stepped up.

“So I think we deserve to be where we are. It’s going to be tight if results elsewhere go our way and we’ve given ourselves a good chance.”

Ken Grime
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LV= County Championship Division One, Aigburth, Liverpool (day one):
Hampshire 143: Crane 25; Parkinson 3-9, Balderson 3-21
Lancashire 25-3: Bohannon 11*; Abbas 2-15
Lancashire (3 pts) trail Hampshire (1 pt) by 118 runs

County Championship leaders Hampshire were bowled out for 143 but fought back with the ball against title rivals Lancashire on day one at Aigburth.

The hosts elected to bowl, with George Balderson ripping through Hampshire's top order during an excellent spell.

Hants were 71-6 shortly after lunch but Mason Crane (25) and Felix Organ (22) dug deep to get them to 143 all out.

Mohammad Abbas then removed both Lancashire openers as the Red Rose struggled to 25-3 at the close of play.

Hampshire started the final round of games three-and-a-half points clear of second-placed Warwickshire and a further half a point ahead of Lancashire, who have moved to within two points of the leaders - thanks to their three bowling points - as things stand.

When Tom Bailey struck in the third over for Lancashire, Ian Holland pushing one forward to short leg, the signs were ominous for the batsmen and so it proved, with all-rounder Balderson's spell of 3-8 putting Hampshire under the pump as they reached lunch on 64-4.

Luck was not on the visitors' side either, as Bailey then deflected a fine James Vince drive onto the stumps at the bowler's end where Liam Dawson was run out just short of his ground after backing up.

Vince himself edged behind four balls later and though the Hampshire tail offered resistance, England leg-spinner Matt Parkinson picked up three wickets to polish them off and ensure they picked up no batting points.

However, Hampshire got the start they needed with the ball, Abbas removing the off bail of Alex Davies before Keith Barker trapped Luke Wells lbw for a duck.

Abbas then had Balderson caught behind, leaving nightwatchman Jack Blatherwick and Josh Bohannon at the crease for Lancashire going into day two, trailing by 118 runs on a day where the ball was definitely the winner.

Lancashire's England one-day international spinner Matt Parkinson:

"We bowled very well. At one stage I didn't think I was going to get a bowl because the seamers were fantastic. I've probably not cleaned up the tail enough in my career.

"It was nice to contribute. I think the pitch will spin. We're backing Luke Wells to be our second spinner.

"To lose those three wickets wasn't ideal but it was still a decent day. The first hour will be massive. The main thing we can do is focus on here."

Hampshire and England spinner Mason Crane:

"A club ground in September is never going to be easy. We identified pretty early on that it wasn't going to be a massive score but we scrapped and fought to the end and the way we bowled at the end was brilliant.

"We're pretty confident that if we get a couple of wickets in the morning we could be looking at a lead and we're pretty happy with the position we're in.

"I think the wicket will spin and I'll have a role. We feel like we have all the options and come what may whatever conditions there are or what pitch this turns into we'll have all bases covered."
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Hampshire 143 and 158 for 7 (Vince 69, Bailey 5-19) lead Lancashire 141 (Abbas 5-48, Barker 4-48) by 160 runs

There was great joy at both Aigburths yesterday. At the cricket ground, the home of Liverpool CC, Hampshire's James Vince played a lovely innings and Lancashire's Tom Bailey took five wickets. Meanwhile at Aigburth CC, which is located more or less round the back of the nearby railway station, the club had had its lease extended by five years. This is wonderful news. The threat to the club's very existence had been grave and pressing. And no one should mistake the link between the latter tidings and the fine performances of Vince and Bailey. If club cricket in this country disappeared, the first-class variety would conk out within a decade.

Anyone doubting that fact should perhaps visit Erlestoke CC in Wiltshire, where Vince first played the game. His talent may be natural; indeed, that much was plain on this second afternoon when his innings of 69 and his 80-run partnership with Liam Dawson had given Hampshire a 160-run lead and the advantage in a match which may yet lead to their county winning the Championship. Or our pesky doubters could go to Goatacre CC, also in Wiltshire, where Dawson "got into the game" by watching his dad play. The truth, of course, is that every one of the players involved in this intriguing battle began their careers at a club. There was a time when very few people in cricket knew who Vince or Dawson or Bailey (Vernon Carus CC) were.

Everyone in the game knows them now, of course, and their skills enriched this day on which warm afternoon sunshine rapidly gave way to the sharp chill of autumn. Vince and Dawson came together when Hampshire were 78 for 5 and their lead was an insufficient 80 runs. By the time Vince was leg before to Matt Parkinson four overs before the close that advantage had been doubled and not even the loss of Dawson, who was bowled by Bailey for 41 in the next over, could extinguish the feeling that Hampshire had ground out a match-winning advantage. We shall see.

And not everything was a grind. Although three of Vince's fours were worked through backward point in the manner of a county opener there was also an easeful cover-drive and the smoothest of clips off his toes. Vince, of course, is so gifted a cricketer that one often feels he sees playing a difficult shot as a gauntlet to be picked up rather than a danger to be avoided. Anything else would be a betrayal of talent. Fortunately he had some dross to despatch this afternoon and he did so without fancy or flourish. So did Dawson but this day's cricket had already given us riches from both sides and even as the cold penetrates the press tent it is difficult to think we must soon bid these things farewell.

Lancashire had begun the morning on 25 for 3 and for the first hour of the day batting looked like an activity the human race had yet to master. Keith Barker caused most of the trouble, first when his extra bounce took the edge of Josh Bohannon's bat and Joe Weatherley dived from second slip to take a fine catch, but most notably when he cleaned up Dane Vilas and Danny Lamb in the same over. The ball Vilas drove to cover may have stopped on him a little but Lamb was beaten all ends up and his departure left Lancashire in ruins on 47 for 7. It suddenly seemed to matter very little to home supporters what was happening at either Trent Bridge or Edgbaston. Forty minutes into the morning's play Vilas had clipped Barker to the square-leg boundary and anyone passing Aigburth might have thought from the applause that a player had reached their fifty.

Story Image
Mohammad Abbas returned another five-wicket haul PA Images/Getty
Within an hour though, Luke Wood had brought this seemingly absurd prospect within reach. Wood's batting possesses thought without complication. It is a good mixture and it earned him 37 runs off 41 balls. At the other end Steven Croft watched in quiet satisfaction as his partner top-edged a hooked six, smacked five fours and took control of a 46-run stand that nearly doubled Lancashire's score. And even when Wood had edged a slash off Brad Wheal to Tom Alsop, Croft and Bailey batted with renewed vigour against a tiring attack and an ageing ball.

Indeed the shot of the morning was the six that Croft picked up off Barker and deposited into the crowd at midwicket. Lancashire came into lunch on 115 for 8 and as though reflecting the crowd's mood, the sun came out. It really wouldn't have been surprising to hear some of Gracie Fields' more cheerful ditties coming from the loudspeaker. Or George Formby, perhaps. Not The Smiths anyway. That really is 47 for 7 music.

By the time Mohammad Abbas had removed Croft and Bailey over half an hour into the afternoon session Lancashire's deficit was a mere two runs and Lancashire had offered batters on both sides something of an example of how to bat on a pitch that has not so much one wicket in it as a clump of the rascals.

Mind you, it helps if you have a new ball available and a bowler as skilful as Bailey to use it. In his first five overs in Hampshire's second innings the Lancashire seamer had returned Ian Holland, Mason Crane and Alsop to the pavilion and one imagines all three were grumbling about outgrounds in September. Three overs later Nick Gubbins was bowled by George Balderson with one that kept low and nearly an hour later Joe Weatherley played on to Bailey for 33.

Then Dawson joined Vince. We watched our cricket and noticed that while the eponymous trees have not yet turned on Beechwood Road the hazels were going over on Riversdale; thus were we reminded of the turning of the year and of this great city in a more leisured age, one in which the Liverpool club was dominated by cricketers who learned the game at their public schools.

And there are still many Liverpools just as there are many types of batters. Vince, for all that his seemingly cavalier approach to his craft is occasionally frustrating, is one of the few who can transcend the conditions in which he plays. We should be grateful we have the chance to see him do so and we should be thankful for Erlestoke, too.
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Win by 1 wicket all we need is Somerset to draw and we are Champions
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Lancashire 141 (Abbas 5-48, Barker 4-51) and 198 for 9 (Vilas 47*, Crane 5-41) beat Hampshire 143 and 193 (Vince 69, Bailey 7-37) by one wicket

Lancashire did all they could at Liverpool today. Tomorrow they will find out if it was enough.

The one-wicket victory of Dane Vilas' side over Hampshire diced, sliced and pureed the nerves of all who witnessed it yet none of them would have missed it for a moment. Seemingly strolling to the win that would have ended their opponents hopes of winning the title for the first time since 1973, Lancashire collapsed from 151 for 4 to 194 for 9 in 17 quite deranged overs.

That left them two runs short of their target while Hampshire required one more wicket for the title. Matt Parkinson defended two balls from Mason Crane, who bowled magnificently to take 5 for 41 on this final afternoon, and Vilas swept Liam Dawson to the square-leg boundary to end the game.

And yet, should Warwickshire defeat Somerset at Edgbaston on the final day of the County Championship season, Lancashire will have to settle for a runners-up spot and a place in next week's Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord's. It may be seen as a poor reward for a season's effort from a fine Emirates Old Trafford side but it will do nothing to dull the memories of this victory, one that had players, non-players and executives dancing such jigs of delight on the Aigburth balcony that one feared for its foundations.

The joy was the greater because the prize had so nearly been snatched from Vilas and his players. Nine overs after tea they needed 45 runs with six wickets in hand. Lancashire supporters are not given to complacency but they were risking a dash of optimism. Then Steven Croft was leg-before to Crane for 20. 151 for 5. Danny Lamb fell to the first of Joe Weatherley's three catches off Crane in the post-tea session. 177 for 6. Luke Wood succumbed to the same combination. 187 for 7.

Nine to win. The coffee truck and the burger bar were deserted. A leg-bye sparked a genial riot. "Come on Hampshire!" roared a lone voice, much as it had done at ten-minute intervals during the day.

Tom Bailey risked a single to backward point but was run out for nought by Crane's brilliant direct hit. 193 for 8. Jack Blatherwick made a single before edging Crane to second slip. 194 for 9. "What odds the tie?" somebody said. Parkinson defended two balls and may be nominated for an award at Old Trafford.

Then Vilas swept Dawson and connected. Young men roared and strong men wept. They remembered Lancashire's title victory at Taunton in 2011 but this was tenser, this was harder. The players came out onto the balcony and took the cheers of the crowd. Vilas spoke of his pride in his team and no-one doubted him. No-one who was at Aigburth today will forget it and yet it still may not be enough. Suddenly it seemed about three days since the morning session had got underway. How did this happen?

This day of days began with the possibility of Hampshire winning the title, the near-impossibility of Warwickshire being confirmed as champions by the evening but a fair chance that Lancashire's hopes would be extinguished. Someone even voiced the weird idea that the visitors would bat so long that nothing at all would be settled today. Uncertainty spread like a tummy-bug in a nursery and the news that it was raining in Birmingham didn't help. Nonetheless there were more photographers in the press tent than normally cover a royal wedding and at least the sun came out at more or less the same time as the players. But suddenly the chatter ceased there was a heavy silence as George Balderson ran in to bowl the first ball of the last day of these sides' County Championship season. Brad Wheal played it defensively and everyone settled again.

The ability of Hampshire's last three four batters to hang around was plainly significant. Lancashire's task was already tough enough and there was the psychological impact of adding another 40 or so runs to be considered. So there was applause from the away balcony at every scrawped single, every edged boundary. Felix Organ drove Bailey through the covers but was soon leg-before for 8 when looking to whip the same bowler through the on side. 176 for 8.

Hampshire's last two wickets added another 17 runs, which was an outcome for which both captains might have settled. Certainly Bailey would have accepted his career-best figures of 7 for 37 from 24 immaculate overs; that analysis also brought Bailey's 50th wicket of a season in which his value to Lancashire's attack has been immense. James Anderson has bowled spells from his personal stratosphere; Saqib Mahmood's five-for won the Roses match. But Bailey has been there, morning in, morning out. He has turned his particular skills into a form of devotion.

Alex Davies' services to the county he is about to leave are rather more violent, something he exemplified when smacking two successive balls from Keith Barker to the cover boundary to get his side's pursuit under way. Two overs later, though, the opener was badly dropped by Wheal at mid-on and Lancashire came in to lunch very-nicely-thank-you on 19 without loss Suddenly we heard that Somerset had lost another wicket at Edgbaston and the thought grew that neither of the teams at Liverpool could win the title today.

A quarter of an hour after lunch that possibility appeared to be extinguished as Jack Leach prevented Warwickshire taking the ninth wicket they needed. Now we knew that if Hampshire won this game, they would be champions; Lancashire still needed to win and hope that Warwickshire didn't contrive a victory over Somerset. As though publishing a defiant manifesto Davies speared Barker through backward point and the score moved on to 43 without loss. Every run was being cheered now.

Also every dropped catch, of course, and Hampshire put down two before they took their first wicket. Most bizarrely, the substitute wicketkeeper Lewis McManus and first slip James Vince allowed one to pass between them when Balderson was on 12. Next over Davies celebrated his partner's reprieve by whacking Dawson's first ball over long-on for six.

Four balls later any misplaced air of jubilee was removed when the left-handed Balderson was bowled round his legs by the spinner and next over, Davies' final innings for Lancashire ended when he drove Barker straight to Crane at backward point. He had made 44 and had batted with the pugnacity that has marked his decade in Lancashire's first team. Edgbaston awaits him.

Hampshire strove for further breakthroughs - the "bang, bang" beloved of their encouraging cries - but Luke Wells and Josh Bohannon added 55 in 19 overs. Wells was for ever looking to use his long levers to work the ball through the covers while Bohannon, having driven his first ball for four was becalmed until he took two boundaries off a Wheal over. The first of them, a straight-drive, was perhaps the shot of the day. The crowd eased themselves into gentle optimism - then suddenly both batters were caught at slip by Vince in the ten minutes before tea. Bohannon edged a forward defensive stroke and then Wells nicked off when trying to force on the off side. 118 for 4.

There were nervous walks around the boundary. People walked purposefully to catering outlets only to forget what they wanted to buy. Hampshire supporters were amongst them. Then the players came out for the final session: the one that even now men and women are telling their partners about, the one that may win a ninth outright title for Lancashire; the one that even now on this nearly black night in Liverpool may do no such thing….
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Close but no cigar
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