Derbyshire lost a couple of vital wickets in the last two overs of the day at Southport to leave Lancashire’s cricketers slight favourites to win the LV= Division Two County Championship match match at Trafalgar Road, Southport.
Having conceded a first-innings lead of 181, the visitors were 123 for three at the close, having lost both Ben Slater for 58 and Chesney Hughes for 41.
Both batsmen were caught by Lancashire skipper Steven Croft who was fielding close in on the leg side. Arron Lilley dismissed Slater, who had made his fifth half-century in his last eight innings, while Simon Kerrigan claimed Hughes’ scalp.
The second-wicket pair had added 98 runs in 39 overs and it looked as though Lancashire’s bowlers were to enjoy just one success as they pressed for victory on the third day of this game.
Replying to the home side’s mammoth 551, the highest score made in County Championship matches on the ground, Derbyshire were 28 for one at tea with Slater on 14 not out and Hughes unbeaten on one.
The man dismissed was Derbyshire skipper Billy Godleman, who was caught at slip by his opposite number Croft off the bowling of Tom Bailey when he had made seven.
In the first half of the day Lancashire had lost their last six first-innings wickets in scoring 203 runs and establishing that formidable first-innings lead.
The batsman who took most toll of the visitors’ attack was again Ashwell Prince, who had taken his overnight 156 not out to 230 before he pulled Matthew Critchley to Scott Elstone at straightish midwicket, thus giving the 18-year-old his maiden first-class wicket.
However, Prince was helped by both Alex Davies and Jordan Clark as the home side piled on the runs on the third morning and came into lunch 479 for six with Prince on 217 not out, having become only the fourth man to make a first-class double century at Trafalgar Road
Prince reached the landmark after 394 minutes’ batting off 291 balls when he drove David Wainwright through the covers. By that point he had hit 27 fours and one six but his appetite for runs remained unassuaged.
Derbyshire took two wickets during the morning. Davies was caught at second slip for 37 by Hughes off Tom Taylor when attempting a cut. Then Clark made a rapid 39 off 50 balls before being lbw when attempting to whack Wainwright across the line.
In the afternoon, Lancashire lost their last four wickets in six overs during the first hour of the session. After Prince had been dismissed, Critchley soon had the wickets of Bailey, bowled for nought, and Kerrigan, caught behind for one, to go with that of Prince and the leg spinner finished the innings with figures of three for 50 from 11.1 overs.
By the time those last two wickets had fallen, however, Elstone had taken his first wicket of the innings when he had Lilley caught by Hashim Amla at slip for a career-best 63. The best Derbyshire bowling figures, however, were returned by Taylor, who took four for 113 from 27 overs.