Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Red Rose's Title Bid Is over as Essex Wait for Crown

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Red Rose's Title Bid Is over as Essex Wait for Crown

Article excerpt

ESSEX will today be crowned Specsavers County Championship winners, ending Lancashire's hopes of winning the title.

Having wrapped up a comprehensive innings defeat in three days over bottom-of-the-table Warwickshire, the Chelmsfordbased side know that defeat for the Red Rose at Somerset today will hand them the trophy.

And although no Lancashire player will say so, they are heading for defeat as they go into the final day at Taunton 247-8 in their second innings, a lead of only 45 runs. And even though the wicket is deteriorating, it would take a huge turnaround for the Red Rose to avoid defeat.

And even if they do manage to secure what would be a miracle victory, Essex are so far ahead they would claim the title next week with just bonus points.

But Lancashire have surprised many by just being in the hunt for the title, having had to fight off relegation on the final day of the season last year. Many had them as relegation favourites - despite the addition of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ryan McLaren and Dane Vilas - especially as two of the eight teams will go down from Division One.

And not many had Essex, who won promotion last season, as title contenders, but with eight wins from their 12 games so far they are worthy champions.

Lancashire are safe from relegation, but must look to finish the season strongly to ensure a second-placed finish which will go some way to dampening down the disappointments of their one-day campaigns which saw them crash out of both the Royal London Cup and NatWest T20 Blast at the group stage. …

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