Warwickshire close on victory despite Balderson's defiance
Warwickshire were on the verge of securing a second trophy inside a week before bad light halted their charge on the third day of the Bob Willis Trophy at Lord’s.
Lancashire were 171 for six in their second innings, still some 269 runs adrift of making Warwickshire bat again, with young opener George Balderson’s 65 offering a rare bright spot for the Red Rose.
Warwickshire were earlier eventually dismissed for 518 with captain Will Rhodes’ 156 the stand-out.
Rhodes lifted the LV= Insurance County Championship trophy just six days ago, when Warwickshire pipped Lancashire for the title, but the closeness of that battle has not been replicated in London this week.
Lancashire have been chasing the game from a long way behind since crashing to 12 for six on the opening morning before scrambling to 78 in their first innings.
Centuries from Rhodes and Rob Yates piled on the Red Rose misery, whose only motivation now appears to be to avoid the indignity of their largest-ever first-class defeat – by an innings and 220 runs against West Indies in 1950.
Rhodes added only five more to his overnight total when he was bowled by Jack Blatherwick before Matt Parkinson ended the innings, bowling debutant Manraj Johal, to finish with four for 78.
Lancashire started their second innings effectively with pride to play for, after conceding a 440-run first-innings lead, and lost Alex Davies when he called for a quick single.
Davies, who will join Warwickshire next summer, was run out by Craig Miles’ direct hit and the non-striker’s end despite a despairing dive.
Balderson and Luke Wells added 71 for the second wicket before former England seamer Tim Bresnan made the breakthrough, inducing an edge through to the keeper from Wells.
It preceded some rather loose dismissals as Josh Bohannon and Dane Vilas both guided the ball into the cordon. Balderson had reached his half-century from 111 balls, including eight fours, before he got a good ball from Liam Norwell that crashed into the stumps.
Steven Croft then made a curious exit when he appeared to miss a Danny Briggs delivery by some margin as it turned viciously from a length and into the hands of Bresnan at first slip. Croft nevertheless turned and made his way back to the pavilion as Warwickshire’s momentum towards victory gathered pace.
But with the light deteriorating the umpires stepped in at 4.15pm to take the players off the field and delay Warwickshire’s celebrations by at least another day.