Red Rose are kings again

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as if Yorkshire’s season couldn’t get any worse, they’ll have to endure a year of bitter rivals Lancashire being proclaimed as champions after a dramatic day yesterday in the LV= County Championship.

The Red Rose county ended a 77 year drought by pipping Warwickshire to the title with victory over Somerset at Taunton.

Openers Stephen Moore and Paul Horton made 71 and 55 respectively as Lancashire, needing 211 to win, reached 213 for two to triumph by eight wickets. Warwickshire started the day as favourites, needing just to match Lancashire’s result to take the crown, but were frustrated by Hampshire at the Rose Bowl as the match ended in a draw.

Steven Croft, who hit an unbeaten 40, and Karl Brown, who made 33 not out, guided Lancashire home.

The visitors had a minor wobble when they lost both openers, who had put on a stand of 131, in successive overs, but by then the hard work had been done.

Lancashire, who last won the County Championship outright in 1934, had earlier dismissed Somerset for 310, Simon Kerrigan finally removing Peter Trego for 120.

Warwickshire started the day needing seven wickets to finish off the Hampshire innings, but following on the hosts reached 327 for seven when the match was declared a draw.

Michael Carberry and Neil McKenzie were the Bears’ tormentors in chief as Carberry made 111 before falling lbw to Chris Woakes, while McKenzie hit a magnificent unbeaten 115.

Chris Metters removed Sean Ervine and Michael Bates in successive balls to reduce Hampshire from 316 for five to 316 for seven, but it was too little too late.

Elsewhere in the top flight, Sussex needed little more than an hour to wrap up victory over Nottinghamshire by an innings and five runs as the home side collapsed for the second time in the match.

Durham sealed a 151-run victory over Worcestershire after dismissing the visitors for 213 in their second innings as they chased an unlikely 365 for victory.

Relegated to Division Two with the Tykes was Hampshire while Middlesex and Surrey were promoted.