Lancashire and Hampshire battle to high-scoring draw
Lancashire and Hampshire battled their way to a high-scoring draw in this Specsavers County Championship match at Emirates Old Trafford.
The visitors batted through the day to reach 237-5 in their second innings with opener Joe Weatherley anchoring their innings with a maiden century.
The result takes Lancashire, who gained 11 points, out of the bottom two in the table one point behind Hampshire who received 10 points and three points ahead of Yorkshire who have played one game less.
“I thought the lads fought really hard over the four days and we got ourselves back in a position to put them under pressure,” said Head Coach Glen Chapple. “We fought hard today, tried to make the breakthrough before lunch but unfortunately the chances didn’t quite come.
“It was a good wicket, and the one we had played the international on the day before,” he said. “So it was five days old and it held up a bit better than I expected and didn’t offer as much spin as I thought it would.
“We were without Joe Mennie too which was a loss. He’s been one of our best bowlers this season. He’s fit, he trained today and will be ready to take a full part in the T20 next week.
“Jordan Clark played the third seamers role very well in this game. He enjoyed the extra responsibility and played a really good all-rounder’s role for us.
Looking back over the game Chapple added:
“We’d have liked to have gone past their score yesterday. There was enough really solid batting to maybe do that. In their position, I think they would have felt a bit more pressure. We played some hard cricket and I thought Dane Vilas, Alex Davies and Clarky batted really well.
“And we weren’t at full strength with more youngsters coming in. It was Danny Lamb’s first full game and Rob Jones is also getting a go, and I thought we played really well.
And Chapple was full of praise of the overall effort during the last four days after just one day between the last two games.
“The energy levels on such a hot week were fantastic,” he said.
“Our two opening bowlers, Graham Onions and Tom Bailey, worked unbelievably hard and showed a lot of enthusiasm. This morning they were adamant we could achieve a result. They worked very hard for the team.
“As I said, I can’t fault how the team are operating.
And Chapple had some words of encouragement for Haseeb Hameed who has struggled with the bat this season.
“I really feel for Has at the moment,” he admitted.
“He’s working hard in the nets. He’s playing well and his game is in decent order.
“After the start he’s had to the season there are going to be mental challenges (ahead). There would be with any player.
“We are just encouraging him to keep working hard.”
The fourth day of this game saw Joe Weatherley and Sam Northeast produce a solid defensive display on the final morning as the visitors resumed on 66-2 with a lead of 102.
It took Lancashire fifty minutes to make the breakthrough when Jordan Clark bowled Sam Northeast to end a dogged 53-ball innings of 10.
Weatherley survived a number of alarms, including an edge off Tom Bailey just wide of the slips when on 30, in reaching a three-hour half century with Tom Alsop joining forces to keep the Red Rose attack at bay. The pair posted their fifty partnership from 119 balls just after lunch before Stephen Parry produced a sharply turning ball to bowl Alsop for 33.
Rilee Rossouw was then lbw to Clark (2-18 off 14 overs) for 1 to leave Hampshire on 164-5 with a lead of 204 runs halfway through the day.
But the obdurate Weatherley battled on to reach a maiden first-class century from 210 balls in 5 hours and 5 minutes, to steer the visitors into a position of safety with a lead of 248 runs at tea.
With a draw the inevitable outcome from that point the game meandered along after the break until Hampshire declared on 237-5 at 4.50pm with Weatherley unbeaten after a marathon 375 minutes at the crease on 126.
It was a day of hard work for the Red Rose bowlers on a pitch that provided little assistance although the spinners did extract some slow turn, particularly from the bowlers follow-through.
There is a break from four-day cricket now with the Vitality T20 Blast starting next week, and Lancashire’s next Championship game is the Roses clash at Emirates Old Trafford on 22-25 July.
Photo: Barry Mitchell