|LV= County Championship Division One, Trent Bridge (day four):|
|Nottinghamshire 272 & 339-8 dec: Moores 97, James 91; Bailey 3-84|
|Lancashire 168 & 341: Balderson 77, Lamb 68*, Wells 59; Paterson 4-78|
|Nottinghamshire (21 pts) beat Lancashire (3 pts) by 102 runs|
Nottinghamshire moved to the top of the Division One table with a 102-run win over Lancashire at Trent Bridge.
Steven Mullaney’s side are now only two games away from potentially winning the club’s first title since 2010.
Lancashire, who had been set a target of 444, slumped to 210-8 despite 77 by 20-year-old George Balderson.
Danny Lamb (68 not out) and Tom Bailey (52) added 106, a Lancashire ninth-wicket record against Notts, but the visitors were finally all out for 341.
Luke Fletcher, the Championship’s leading wicket-taker, claimed 3-103 to boost his total to 57, and Dane Peterson had figures of 4-78 as well as taking a superb catch at square leg when Balderson finally departed after five-and-a-quarter hours at the crease.
Notts have an 10.5-point lead over both Hampshire and Yorkshire, who they face in their final two games – away at the Ageas Bowl, starting on Sunday, and home to the Tykes from 21 September.
Early setbacks for Lancashire
The visitors lost three wickets during the morning session with Luke Wells caught behind, Josh Bohannon lbw to an in-swinging delivery by Paterson and Dane Vilas out in similar fashion in Brett Hutton’s first over of the day.
Balderson and Rob Jones stayed together into the afternoon session but the former then pulled a ball from spinner Liam Patterson-White and Paterson made a one-handed catch to end the 20-year-old’s career-best innings.
Jones was dropped on 24 by wicketkeeper Tom Moores, diving in front of first slip, only to play on with his score on 33 as he attempted to leave a ball from Fletcher.
The new ball worked again as Steven Croft and George Lavelle followed in successive overs as Lancashire slumped from 192-4 to 210-8.
Lamb and Bailey were in no mood to give up the fight, however, and defied the Notts attack for 30 overs.
A crisp boundary off Hutton took Lamb to 50 off 82 balls, and Bailey followed him from 98 balls before Paterson produced another beauty to flatten his middle stump.
Their partnership broke the county’s previous ninth-wicket record against Notts of 87 by Bill Huddleston and Harry Dean in 1909.
The game ended when Saqib Mahmood was caught at short leg off Hutton, with Lamb left unbeaten after hitting 12 fours in his 102-ball innings.
Lancashire are now fifth in the table, 17.5 points behind Notts, and will travel to Taunton for their next game against Somerset.
Nottinghamshire captain Steven Mullaney:
“Our three big seam bowlers, I don’t know what they had for tea but they just kept running in, with Fletch getting the crowd going, and got us over the line.
“Credit to the young kid George Balderson, with bat and ball, and to Tom Bailey and Danny Lamb in that last session. They were absolutely incredible.
“You don’t get given titles, you have to earn them. We’ve given ourselves a chance, that’s all. We’ll enjoy this win but not too much because we’ve got a massive game next against Hampshire.”
Lancashire captain Dane Vilas:
“Obviously it’s really disappointing to lose but the guys put in an unbelievable fight. We knew it was going to be tough against a good bowling line-up on a pitch that was still doing plenty.
“They probably outperformed us in all areas, so they were deserved winners. They showed us where to bowl on that wicket. They were unrelenting with their lengths and their areas.
“We will have to do things the hard way now if we are to have a chance but we’ll go down to Somerset next week with both teams in a position where they need to win, and with a better performance maybe we can come out on the right side.”
Remaining Division One fixtures
Sunday 12 to Wednesday 15 September:
Hampshire v Nottinghamshire (Southampton), Somerset v Lancashire (Taunton), Yorkshire v Warwickshire (Leeds).
Tuesday 21 to Friday 24 September:
Lancashire v Hampshire (Aigburth), Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire (Trent Bridge), Warwickshire v Somerset (Edgbaston).