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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 September 2007, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Lancs bid falls agonisingly short
County Championship D1, The Brit Oval: Surrey 427-9d & 295-5d bt Lancashire 234 & 464 by 24 runs
Points: Surrey 22, Lancashire 4

Dominic Cork
Cork produced a brave innings but it was not enough for Lancs
Lancashire produced a valiant display on the final day against Surrey but fell agonisingly short to hand the County Championship title to Sussex.

Needing to chase 489 in the final innings to net the win that would earn them the title, VVS Laxman hit 100 and Stuart Law 79 to put them on course.

But Surrey stuck to their task, Jade Dernbach and Murtaza Hussain sharing six wickets to interrupt the scoring.

And when Dominic Cork fell for 47, Lancs were 464 all out, 25 runs short.

It meant the visitors had to settle for third in the Championship behind Durham, despite this being only their second defeat of the season.

It was desperately disappointing for Lancashire, who are still searching for their first outright Championship title since 1934, and skipper Mark Chilton was almost inconsolable at the end.

antoine-99 on 606

"I've never seen a changing room like it in my life," he said. "I've not got an awful lot to say, except that I'm extremely proud of my boys.

"I've been privileged to captain them and they've been fabulous from one to 11. To even get close was a phenomenal effort."

Choking back tears, the 30-year-old admitted the Lancashire team were "crushed" to have come so close.

"The lads are just broken, we can't believe it," he said.

"At the start of play we knew the pitch was good and we wanted to play with positive intent. We knew everyone had to play their part and they've all risen to an almighty challenge.

"To come so close and not do it is pretty desperate. It's not to be and we're all crushed. I'm hugely disappointed but incredibly proud as well."

To come so close and not do it is pretty desperate... it's not to be and we're all crushed

Lancashire skipper Mark Chilton

It had started well for the visitors, resuming on 27-0 and needing around 4.7 runs per over throughout the day, despite openers Paul Horton and Mark Chilton falling in the 30s in the morning session.

Laxman and Law came together to share a stand worth 115, the Indian maestro scoring his runs off exactly 100 balls, stroking 16 often majestic boundaries.

But Dernbach turned the game on its head in the penultimate over before tea as he accounted for both with leg-side catches pouched by Jon Batty.

Steve Croft, Luke Sutton, Glen Chapple and Saj Mahmood all made good contributions as Lancashire's required target eased down throughout the day, but Hussain took wickets at vital times to ensure the visitors never got away from Surrey.

And, with 25 needed off 4.1 overs, the spinner bowled Cork, attempting a big sweep shot, off an inside edge to prompt desolation from the visiting dressing-room.

Meanwhile, there were scenes of unadulterated joy down in Hove for Sussex.

It was no consolation for Lancashire that their 464 easily beat the 410-5 they made against Hampshire at Southampton in 1910, their previous best fourth innings score.

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