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Saturday, 17 September 2011






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Lancashire end 77-year wait for title

Lancashire won the English County Championship title on Thursday when they beat Somerset by eight wickets, their first outright triumph since 1934.

They chased down 211 during the last session at Taunton while closest rivals Warwickshire were held to a draw by Hampshire.

Openers Stephen Moore and Paul Horton were the heroes for Lancashire, combining for 131 in 17 overs before Horton was out for 55. Moore was next to go by 71 but by that stage the two batsmen had left the Red Rose county well ahead of the required run rate with 17 overs remaining on a batting friendly surface. Steven Croft scored an unbeaten 40 and Karl Brown finished on 33 not out as Lancashire surged home with more than four overs to spare.

Somerset had threatened to prolong Lancashire's decades-long wait for a title after Peter Trego scored 120 in a total of 310 all out with Murali Kartik making an unbeaten 65. However, Lancashire were not to be denied and when Croft finally hit the winning runs to clinch the championship by 11 points from Warwickshire he sparked scenes of jubilation.

"It's an amazing feeling," Lancashire skipper Glen Chapple told Sky Sports television.

"The boys have been amazing this year, it's been competitive to the end and we came out on top. We showed tremendous belief today and we can be really proud.

"Our team spirit's been amazing, we've played good cricket all the way through and won games many other teams wouldn't have won. "You don't win it without being good cricketers - whatever people say, this is a good team."

Lancashire director of cricket Mike Watkinson expressed relief that the county's title jinx had been lifted.

"I'm delighted for this group of people, it's been 77 years but we can't be held accountable for that history - these lads have been brilliant and have got their just rewards," Watkinson said.

"It's a relief to our supporters and we can see the joy on everybody's faces, it means so much to everyone," added Watkinson, who played for the county for 18 years of their 77-year barren streak.

"It's a new dawn for us, it's a young squad, and we can learn a lot from how we've won this. They're fit young men who never want to die wondering and have come of age." LONDON, Sept 15, 2011 (AFP)


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