Weather comes to Lancs relief

Giles - we got away with it
Giles - we got away with it
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Rain came to Lancashire’s rescue in the LV= County Cricket Championship match against Northamptonshire at Old Trafford, with the hosts facing almost certain defeat after losing seven wickets in a poor afternoon session.

At the start of play on the fourth day of this entertaining clash, the league leaders knew they needed to break a 105-year-old record if they were to snatch an unlikely victory over Northamptonshire - who were left frustrated by a result which hardly reflected their dominance.

The record books revealed that the highest successful fourth-innings run chase by a Lancashire side came in 1910 when they made 404 against Hampshire at Southampton - but Red Rose fans were left dreaming of something special over lunch.

By then, Paul Horton and Karl Brown had made half-centuries with relative ease on a cloudy but humid day in Manchester, which saw the players leave the field 20 minutes early following a shower.

Horton did receive a life when on 20 after he was put down by wicketkeeper Adam Rossington, diving to his right off the bowling off Steven Crook.

However, it was only when the weather intervened later that the significance of the incident was revealed.

With speculation growing that Lancashire could pull off an unlikely run chase and reach the target of 414, Olly Stone entered the fray.

He produced a brilliant spell of bowling to remove Horton, clean bowled for 65, and then Alex Davies, trapped lbw for one.

When Ashwell Prince became Stone’s third victim, after the South African edged behind for seven, thoughts quickly turned from a Lancashire victory to the prospects of a rare Northamptonshire win in Manchester.

Skipper Steven Croft was next to join the procession as he was given out lbw off Rob Keogh without scoring, before Brown’s long vigil ended when he was tied up down the leg side by Steven Crook for 81.

Further joy for the visitors saw James Faulkner (nine) and Aaron Lilley (13) both falling lbw to spin, leaving the Lancashire innings in tatters when the welcome Mancunian drizzle began falling around 20 minutes before tea with the score 206 for seven.

Play was eventually called off for the day with 43.5 overs to bowl, to Lancashire’s relief.

Lancashire head coach Ashley Giles admitted: “The rain came at a good time, we got away with that one.

“We can put it down as a blip, but we need to ensure that when we come back on Monday, we put that right.”