Snow has the final say as Sussex game is drawn
A strong snow shower put paid to any Red Rose hopes of pushing home their first innings advantage against Sussex, with the opening match of this season’s LV= County Championship campaign abandoned as a draw at tea on the final day.
Aaron Thomason and Tom Haines were made to work hard for their runs by Danny Lamb and Tom Bailey when play resumed in sunny, but freezing cold, conditions at 11am. The opening pair added 12 runs from six overs to their overnight position to post a fifty partnership, and they had extended their alliance to 72 before Saqib Mahmood struck with two wickets in five balls.
First Haines, on 26, took on a short delivery but only succeeded in pulling it high to Tom Hartley who took a nicely judged catch at deep backward square.
And in Mahmood’s following over, a fast delivery that shaped in slightly beat Stiaan van Zyl’s forward push to trap the Sussex overseas player lbw for 4 with the visitors 80-2 and still 26 in arrears.
A hostile spell from Luke Wood and a tight, controlled spell from left-arm spinner Hartley kept the pressure on the visiting batsmen before lunch, which arrived with Sussex 93-2.
Ten runs had been added to that total before the arrival of sleet stopped play 15 minutes after the resumption and a heavier snow shower soon followed, turning the outfield completely white to bring about the early finish.
“I’m sure I’ve never seen snow stop play before,” admitted Assistant Head Coach Mark Chilton.
“It’s a first for me!
“We’ve played a lot of good cricket in this game,” was Chilton’s assessment.
“I think we can be very positive about the start we’ve made.
“We’ve got good bonus points out of it as well and given the situation we’ve done all we can.
“We’ve won on first innings, and looked like a really good bowling attack, so overall we are really pleased.
“The intensity with which we bowled this morning was spoken about by the players in our debrief just now,” he revealed.
“Even when you are not picking up wickets, you need to maintain that pressure and aggression on the opposition.
“That’s the sort of level they want to be working at and if they continue to play with that level of intensity and their skills levels remain high, then we should get results.
Chilton supports the move to increase the number of points on offer for a drawn game this season.
“I’m in favour of any kind of push to create better wickets that give opportunities both to spinners and to batsmen to get big scores.
“This wicket has felt like a really good cricket wicket. The seamers had to work really hard and you need all the time available to force a result. That’s what we want to encourage.
“It should be seen as a positive decision.”
Lancashire return to action on Thursday when Northants visit Emirates Old Trafford and Chilton expects more of the same while hoping for less of an impact by the weather.
“I think we will take a lot from this game into the Northants match as well as the work from the two weeks prior to that. There was a lot of good work from a lot of people and not just the eleven who have been on the park this week.
“We have to manage players through quite a busy period with five weeks on the trot, and you can see from the games we’ve played here already how hard you have to work to get results.
“So we will think carefully about the team going into the Northants game, assess the pitch, and look at what the weather is like over the next two or three days-because it’s been very unpredictable.
“We are confident it’s not just about the eleven in this game. There are at least sixteen players who are going to make contributions to this side in the next few weeks.”