LV County Championship Final - Day 3: Warwickshire have win in their sights
Warwickshire were on the verge of securing a second trophy inside a week before bad light halted their charge on the third day of the Bob Willis Trophy at Lord’s.
Warwickshire vs Lancashire, Final, County Championship
Warwickshire 518/10 (147.3 ov)
Lancashire 78/10 (27.5 ov) & *171/6 (52.4 ov)
Close of Play - Day 3 Lancashire trail by 269 runs
Lancashire were 171 for six in their second innings, still some 269 runs adrift of making Warwickshire bat again, with young opener George Balderson’s 65 offering a rare bright spot for the Red Rose.
Warwickshire were earlier eventually dismissed for 518 with captain Will Rhodes’ 156 the stand-out.
Rhodes lifted the LV= Insurance County Championship trophy just six days ago, when Warwickshire pipped Lancashire for the title, but the closeness of that battle has not been replicated in London this week.
Lancashire have been chasing the game from a long way behind since crashing to 12 for six on the opening morning before scrambling to 78 in their first innings.
Centuries from Rhodes and Rob Yates piled on the Red Rose misery, whose only motivation now appears to be to avoid the indignity of their largest-ever first-class defeat – by an innings and 220 runs against West Indies in 1950.
Rhodes added only five more to his overnight total when he was bowled by Jack Blatherwick before Matt Parkinson ended the innings, bowling debutant Manraj Johal, to finish with four for 78.
Lancashire started their second innings effectively with pride to play for, after conceding a 440-run first-innings lead, and lost Alex Davies when he called for a quick single.
Davies, who will join Warwickshire next summer, was run out by Craig Miles’ direct hit and the non-striker’s end despite a despairing dive.
Balderson and Luke Wells added 71 for the second wicket before former England seamer Tim Bresnan made the breakthrough, inducing an edge through to the keeper from Wells.
It preceded some rather loose dismissals as Josh Bohannon and Dane Vilas both guided the ball into the cordon. Balderson had reached his half-century from 111 balls, including eight fours, before he got a good ball from Liam Norwell that crashed into the stumps.
Steven Croft then made a curious exit when he appeared to miss a Danny Briggs delivery by some margin as it turned viciously from a length and into the hands of Bresnan at first slip. Croft nevertheless turned and made his way back to the pavilion as Warwickshire’s momentum towards victory gathered pace.
But with the light deteriorating the umpires stepped in at 4.15pm to take the players off the field and delay Warwickshire’s celebrations by at least another day.
Warwickshire seamer Liam Norwell, who took two for 32, said:
“We’re pretty happy. If you had of told us that at the end of day three that we’d be four wickets away and still with a good lead we would have snapped your hand off. The game has gone as well as it could have for us so far.
“The weather came at the wrong time but you can’t control that. The big thing for us is that we were taking consistent wickets. Milo started us of with a brilliant run out and Bressy chipped in and I managed to get a couple. If we can take wickets consistently then we should have the trophy wrapped up tomorrow.
“It’s an opportunity to win a trophy at Lord's. No-one gave us a chance to be in this position at the start of the season.”
Lancashire opener George Balderson said:
“It’s been amazing to play here at Lord’s, I’ve never been here before so to spend a bit time out in the middle today was pleasing, even if the game situation hasn’t gone our way this week.
“It was nice to have a second opportunity after the first innings didn’t go to plan and to be able to walk out with Alex Davies on his last innings for the club was a special moment.
“I had to bide my time before getting an opportunity this season, obviously we were really strong through the initial group stage, but I sort of knew that my opportunities could come later in the year if injuries built up.
“I haven’t had that breakthrough game yet where I have felt really comfortable in the team, but the little contributions are making me believe that I am good enough for this level and I want to kick on next year and make myself part of this side permanently.”
Warwickshire - Dominic Sibley, Rob Yates, Will Rhodes(c), Sam Hain, Matthew Lamb, Michael Burgess(wk), Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Craig Miles, Liam Norwell, Manraj Johal
Lancashire - Alex Davies(wk), George Balderson, Luke Wells, Josh Bohannon, Dane Vilas(c), Steven Croft, Rob Jones, Luke Wood, Tom Bailey, Jack Blatherwick, Matthew Parkinson
Start Time: 10:30
Toss: Warwickshire won the toss and decided to field
Venue: Lord's, London
Officials: David Millns, Michael Burns, Alexander Wharf, Dean Cosker
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