Lancashire win English County Championship

Lancashire took the title across the Pennines from holders and great rivals Yorkshire when they won the English County Championship

Lancashire (photo courtesy of Tom Ward)

Lancashire took the title across the Pennines from holders and great rivals Yorkshire when they won the English County Championship for the ninth time by beating Leicestershire & Rutland 6-3 on the final day at Hollinwell.

In the other match, Hampshire, IoW & CI drew with Wiltshire 4½-4½ to take second spot leaving Wiltshire with the wooden spoon for the second successive year.

This is fantastic, said Lancashire captain Bill Bromilow. I visualised at the start of the season that we d win everything this year and that s how it s turned out. We have a great young team who have bonded well and the spirit has been great, just like the US Ryder Cup team. I think that counts for a lot.

Bromilow is in his first year as captain but he was quick to pay tribute to his predessor Bob Bardsley and boys captain Terry Horrocks for their work over recent years.

A lot of hard work and training has been put in over the past five or six years by Bob with the first team and Terry with the boys and my contriubtion has been just lining them up and sending them out. Hopefully this is the start of a good run for Lancashire. I d like to think we can repeat this next year."

After edging the morning foursomes 2-1, Lancashire required only one win from the six singles and they flew out of the blocks in the afternoon.  They were clearly ahead in the top four matches and it was just a case of who would secure the first point to see Lancashire over the line.

That honour fell to Matthew Nixon when the former boy cap romped to a 5 and 3 win over full international Neil Chaudhuri. Nixon, 19, was in superb form, being an approximate four under par when the match finished on the 15th hole.

Lancashire added to their tally with victories for Mark Young, John Carroll and Jon Hurst to underline their supremacy but there was consolation for Leicestershire when Sam Mayfield beat Jack Senior 3 and 2 while Jason Palmer beat James Robinson on the 18th green.

Hampshire found themselves 2-1 behind after the foursomes, their point coming from two halved matches. And they fell further behind when Miles Mackman won the final hole for a narrow win over Jon Watt in the top single after being 2-down after three holes.

But Hampshire bounced back with some style with Martin Young gaining his first win of the week, over Ben Loughrey while Neil Raymond beat Jaz Tomlinson, both by 2 and 1.

Darren Wright then added to Hampshire s tally by overcoming Wiltshire skipper Ali James 3 and 2 which left the South East champions 4-3 ahead and needing just one more point for overall victory. It seemed a formality with Mark Thistleton 2-up with three to play against Matt Swales while Ryan Henley was dormie-two with Sam Matton.

But the Wiltshire tail began to wag. Swales birdied the 16th and 17th to go all square then he snatched an unlikely victory with a conceded birdie on the last after Thistleton took bogey having found the right rough and failing to get up-and-down.

That left the score 4-4 while Matton secured winning pars on 17 and 18 to snatch a half. A draw was no more than Wiltshire deserved after losing their two previous matches 5-4.

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