Kerrigan spins in for career-best


Simon Kerrigan spun Lancashire to a thrilling 222-run Division One win over Hampshire at Liverpool, leaving them three points behind leaders Warwickshire heading into the season’s final week.

The 22-year-old England Lions left-armer stunned Division One’s bottom side with career-best innings figures of 9-51 from 37.2 overs as victory was secured with just four minutes of the contest remaining. It also gave him his first 10-wicket match haul.

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After Lancashire declared on 353-3, Stephen Moore unbeaten on 169, Hampshire were set 361 to win from a minimum of 67 overs, but that proved irrelevant as Lancashire bowled 84.2 in ripping the visitors out for 138.

Despite some top-order resistance, the visitors crumbled in a remarkable session after tea, slumping from 77-3 to 199-9 as Kerrigan took all six.

But last-wicket pair Neil McKenzie and James Tomlinson batted for 21.2 overs, almost preventing Hampshire’s defeat.

Liam Dawson was first to go when he missed a heave over mid-wicket to Kerrigan and was stumped by Gareth Cross, leaving the score at 26-1 in the 12th over. Kerrigan struck again in the 22nd, trapping Jimmy Adams lbw.

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Gary Keedy then had Michael Carberry caught nine overs later and when Kerrigan struck for a third time, trapping James Vince lbw with his first ball from the River End, Hampshire were 77-4.

Sean Ervine and McKenzie added 30 before Kerrigan had Ervine caught and he then bowled Michael Bates for a second-ball duck. Dimitri Mascarenhas went in Kerrigan’s next over with the score still on 107. Kerrigan’s stunning day continued when Chris Wood edged behind in the 59th over and when he had Danny Briggs caught at silly point in the 62nd, Hampshire were on the brink at 119-9.

Finally, McKenzie nudged Kerrigan to Tom Smith at silly point to spark wild scenes on and off the field.

Midlanders face anxious finale

Sussex virtually rubber-stamped their Division One status for next season but their 251-run victory at New Road has left Worcestershire facing an uncomfortable final week.

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Going into their last match against title hopefuls Durham in the North-East today, the Midlanders will have to be ready to cover any late move by Hampshire in their closing fixture against Warwickshire at the Rose Bowl.

Defeat by Sussex represented a complete turnaround since last September when the two teams were promoted and Worcestershire took second place by chasing 301 on the last day in their meeting at New Road.

This time there was never any danger they would be let into a contest that Sussex dominated from start to finish.

Michael Yardy made sure that the home side were batted out of contention before his overnight declaration at 267-4 – leaving Joe Gatting unbeaten on 116 – set a mountainous target of 421.

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Worcestershire were unable to launch any kind of challenge and their dismissal for 169, a quarter of an hour before after tea, put the seal on a highly-efficient performance by Yardy’s team.

Wright puts prize in sight for Bears

Warwickshire moved to the top of Division One and into pole position to win the competition for the first time since 2004 with a crushing innings and 114-run win over Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston.

Warwickshire needed only 80 minutes to take Nottinghamshire’s last four wickets and romp to their ninth win of the season this morning, with seamer Chris Wright taking his second five-wicket haul in three matches since he joined on loan from rivals Essex.

Wright, who is in negotiations with Warwickshire about a contract for next season, has now taken 19 wickets since he arrived at Edgbaston.

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Only Alex Hales, who carried his bat for 106 out of Nottinghamshire’s 222, offered prolonged resistance but Warwickshire still climbed above previous leaders Durham, who sat out the penultimate round of matches.

It represents a remarkable turnaround for Warwickshire who were battling relegation 12 months ago while Nottinghamshire were on their way to the title.

But the roles were reversed here with Warwickshire completing only the fifth double over Nottinghamshire in their history following a comfortable nine-wicket success at Trent Bridge in May.

The biggest threat to Warwickshire’s victory hopes was posed by the weather.

There was light rain around when the players arrived at the ground and further showers were forcecast for midday.

But the rain cleared in time to allow play to start on time.