Lancs seal promotion with big win against Derbyshire
Lancashire clinched promotion to the Specsavers County Championship Division One after a dominating performance against Derbyshire at Emirates Old Trafford, winning in three days by an innings and 45 runs.
They were led from the front by Dane Vilas who scored a scintillating half century to set the tone. The Red Rose skipper passed 1,000 runs for the season during his innings, to helped Lancashire enjoy a first innings lead of 174.
Vilas then watched his bowlers shoot the visitors out for a paltry 129 to seal victory and spark great celebrations.
Lancashire resumed day three on 269-2 but Ravi Rampaul struck two early blows with the new ball, producing a sharply lifting delivery that a surprised Liam Livingstone nicked to wicketkeeper Harvey Hosein to end a 199-run partnership with Bohannon.
Glenn Maxwell inside edged the next delivery onto his stumps before century-maker Josh Bohannon edged a drive off Fynn Hudson-Prentice to first slip after taking his score onto 174 leaving Lancashire 298-5, ahead by 54 runs.
The loss of three early wickets forced Rob Jones onto the defensive, the batsman facing 18 balls before getting off the mark with a straight drive for four off Luis Reece.
While Jones played the anchor role, Vilas arrived to demonstrate why he is Lancashire’s leading run-scorer in the championship this season.
Vilas took 12 deliveries to assess the conditions before cracking the first of ten boundaries to race to his fifty in next to no time - or so it seemed; a check of the scorecard revealed it had taken 40 balls for the Lancashire captain to move from 0 to 50.
Regardless of the statistics it was the innings of a man at the top of his game as Vilas put the momentum back into the Lancashire innings in some style.
For good measure Vilas also reached 1,000 runs for the season when he got to 35 with an astonishing average of 111.11 and is the first batsman/wicketkeeper to achieve this feat since Johnny Bairstow in 2015.
The pair had added 67 runs in 15 overs by the time Vilas, attempting to steer Anuj Dal down to third man, instead got a faint edge through to wicketkeeper Hosein to depart for 51 in the last over before lunch with Lancashire 365-6.
Tom Bailey joined forces with Jones to add 36 in 9 overs before being run out for 26 attempting a quick single while Jones’ determined 104-ball knock ended at 37 when he played down the wrong line to be bowled by Dal.
Matt Critchley trapped Matt Parkinson lbw for 1 and Dal picked up his third wicket by having Saqib Mahmood lbw for 7 to end the Lancashire innings on 418 with a lead of 174.
And the Red Rose attack wasted no time in making serious inroads into the Derbyshire top order, Bailey bowling an inspired seven-over spell of 3-14 to remove Reece-enticed into a drive but inside edging onto his stumps for 6, first innings century-maker Billy Godleman lbw for 10, and Wayne Madsen caught by Livingstone at second slip for 28 to leave the visitors 53-3 shortly after tea.
With conditions getting gloomier, despite the floodlights having been used for most of the day, Vilas was forced to turn to spin with Maxwell and Parkinson operating in tandem for much of the evening.
And it was Maxwell who struck with three wickets; Leus du Plooy taken at slip for 15 by Livingstone, Hosein with a beautiful turning delivery that went between bat and pad to bowl the Derbyshire man for 12 and then ending some stubborn resistance from Alex Hughes for 33, brilliantly caught by Richard Gleeson at backward square leg to leave the visitors on 125-7.
The end came swiftly as the last three Derbyshire wickets fell in 11 balls with the score on 129. Fynn Hudson-Prentice was run out for 12 by a great throw from Alex Davies and Parkinson had Dal stumped for 1 and the injured Ravi Rampaul caught, having a slog, by Vilas to spark great scenes of celebration with promotion assured with two games to go.
Dane Vilas described himself as “so chuffed.”
“To achieve promotion with two games to go I couldn’t be more proud of the boys, “ he said.
“I thought it was fantastic effort. They way we’ve played the whole season has been superb.
“I think the last three games in the Championship have been fantastic for us, coming up against two really good sides in Sussex and Glamorgan who were close to us in the table, and coming out with three wins on the bounce has been really good.
“I know we’ve got two games left but it takes that stress out of it now. It means we can focus on going to win it. That’s going to be important.”
“We way we’ve played has been really good. It will be great to do it (win the title).
“Last year we had a few times where we played really well. (We would) bowl really well but couldn’t get it right with the bat and then had games where we batted well and couldn’t get it going with the ball. This season has been different. Somebody has stuck up their hand and contributed.
“The batters and bowlers have complemented each other and this week was a good example. All the bowlers bowled well, especially Glees getting that five-for. And then for a guy like Josh (Bohannon) to get his first hundred, and a big one as well, is fantastic.
“We knew that if we put a massive score on the board we could bowl them out. It was another good all round team performance and that’s what I’m most proud about with all the guys contributing and helping the team get over the line.”
Head Coach Glen Chapple hailed the achievement of his side today saying: “We have achieved our main aim but obviously we want to win the division and that remains the target.
"We spoke before this game about making sure we were fully committed and we didn't want to take our foot off the gas because we've played so well for so long despite suffering disappointments in the knock out competitions. It was important we reinforced how well the lads have played this year by finishing well.
"The cricket we've played in our opinion has been of a high standard and the commitment the lads have shown throughout the season has been great - it is something we are looking to build on season after season and this performance was full of character.
And Chapple was full of praise for the innings by Josh Bohannon that helped set up the win.
"Everyone likes a scrappy hundred,” he grinned. “But Josh’s wasn't one of those - it was brilliant. His timing, the way he went about scoring runs, his running between the wickets was aggressive and the way he put the pressure in the opposition - for a young lad to be challenged with batting at number three it has really paid off and everyone is delighted for him."
Lancashire will be looking to go for the Division two title starting next Monday when Middlesex travel to Emirates Old Trafford for the final home match of the season, 10.30am start.
Photos: Barry Mitchell
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