Fight for survival: Lancashire start with all guns blazing in last chance saloon County Championship duel

Lancashire’s hopes of remaining in the LV County Championship Division One were boosted after restricting Middlesex to 214 on day one of their must win game. 

The Red Rose are in the relegation places going into the final round of fixtures and must beat Middlesex convincingly in order to escape the drop.

Vice-captain Paul Horton admitted Lancashire will now have to bat well to reach a score of 350 and maintain hope of survival.

“We have one last chance to do something incredible on our home patch and try and save our season in four-day cricket,” said the opening batsman.

“We have nothing to lose but everything to gain and we are just going to go out there and give it our best shot. 

“If we bat poorly we’ll be relegated tomorrow and that’s pretty obvious.”

Lancashire, who must win the game and gain at least three more bonus points than Middlesex, were led by captain Glen Chapple’s 4-55.

However Chapple’s side might rue a missed opportunity after reducing Middlesex to 134-7 and 180-9, when a 34-run last-wicket stand gave their opponents a potentially crucial bonus point.

Lancashire will now have to post a first innings score in excess of 350, for only the third time this season, in order to gain the four batting bonus points now required.

Despite this Horton has taken heart from the side’s strong bowling performance on a weather-affected first day.

“I think it was a very good day for us. To bowl a side out after you lose the toss is good,” he added.

“It was a little bit frustrating that they got beyond 200 because we need to take three more bonus points than Middlesex from this game as well as winning the match.”

Lancashire, who have lost former Australian test player Usman Khawaja from their batting line up after his return to Queensland, will now be looking to Horton for a good start.

Promisingly, the Red Rose have won both matches, against Northants and Durham, in which they have posted 350 in their first innings this year.

Chapple and his men will be hoping it is third time lucky this week.

Main image courtesy of BBC via YouTube, with thanks.

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