Lancashire secure top-flight return
Lancashire secured promotion to LV= County Championship Division One by drawing their last home match of the season against Leicestershire at Emirates Old Trafford.
The Red Rose claimed 11 points from the weather-affected fixture and, after honours ended even in the match between Kent and Essex at Canterbury, the celebrations could start in earnest.
The focus will now switch towards gaining the 12 further points Lancashire require from their remaining games at Gloucestershire and Kent to be crowned champions.
Winless Leicestershire battled hard on day four as they successfully avoided their eighth defeat of the season.
Resuming the final day on 60 for three in reply to Lancashire's first-innings 453 for seven declared, Ben Raine was instrumental in their close-of-play score of 329 all out with a career-best 72, including eight fours and a six.
The former Durham seamer has recently signed a one-year contract at Grace Road and the birthday boy, 22 today, beat his previous best score of 37 recorded on debut last month.
Raine took advantage of good conditions, even hitting Andrea Agathangelou's off-spin for six over midwicket after tea.
He shared partnerships of 61 and 69 for the sixth and seventh wickets with captain Matt Boyce, who battled through an ankle injury to make 38, and Tom Wells. Raine hit his six after bringing up a 127-ball fifty, including seven fours.
Raine and Wells played aggressively during their 16.3 over alliance, which was brought to an end when the latter edged Kyle Hogg to second slip for 43 off 45 balls to leave the score at 253 for seven.
Wells, who also posted a career best score with 43, hit England left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan for six over long-on.
Earlier, Hogg struck the first blow of the day when he had Michael Thornely caught at slip as he gloved an attempted pull.
Kerrigan then had Niall O'Brien caught at leg slip for 63 before Boyce needlessly swept the left-armer to deep square-leg after lunch.
With Leicester in sight of avoiding the follow-on at 285 for seven, Raine's excellent innings was brought to an end when he attempted to pull Kerrigan but only top-edged to deep midwicket.
Tom Smith reduced the visitors to 304 for nine when he trapped Ollie Freckingham lbw before James Sykes was brilliantly caught by a diving Ashwell Prince for 34 after running back from the slip cordon following a top-edge off Smith.
The players shook hands immediately. Leicester take eight points into their last match of the season against Hampshire at Grace Road next week.