Chilton gracious in defeat

Lv County Championship
Rose Bowl

Hardy spectators brave the elements at a sodden Rose Bowl © Getty Images

While Sussex champagne corks were popping at Trent Bridge, Lancashire were again frustrated by the rain as all but five overs of the third day’s play against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl were washed out at.

But Lancashire captain Mark Chilton refused to blame a summer of rain interruptions for his team’s failure to pip Sussex to what would have been their first County Championship since 1934.

Chilton said: “No excuses. Sussex have won more matches than us and are worthy champions so congratulations to them.

“There is no point in blaming the weather because we did all we could to win the championship.

“I am proud of the way we played throughout the summer and finishing runners-up is no meant feat.

“Sussex are a powerful side in all departments and, over the five months, they proved themselves to be the best team.

“There were one or two occasions when we might have won had it not been for the weather, notably at Blackpool when we were on top against Warwickshire, but I prefer to look for the positives.

“We picked up more batting bonus points than any other team and a lot of our younger players have developed outstandingly during the summer.

Mark Chilton

Mark Chilton admitted Sussex deserved their title triumph

“If we can keep them all together and they continue to improve, there is no reason why we cannot win titles in the future.”

Frustrated Lancashire were confined to their dressing room watching Sussex spinner Mushtaq Ahmed rip through the frail Nottinghamshire resistance at Trent Bridge.

Chilton added: “We could see it all slipping away on television but even before this match against Hampshire we knew that all we could do was win our game and hope Sussex slipped up.

“Mushtaq has been a revelation for Sussex and to get 100 wickets as he has done is a great achievement. If we had had someone like him, who knows what might have happened?”

The visitors were in the driving seat at the start of the third day, 231 ahead of third-placed Hampshire but there was little action for a small crowd - many of them from Lancashire - to enjoy.

Lancashire, eight for one in their second innings overnight, added a further five runs for the loss of Iain Sutcliffe, who was bowled for 12 by James Bruce.

When heavy rain came down again, Lancashire were 13 for two, a lead of 236 with one day now remaining.

Umpires Barry Dudlestone and Neil Mallender waited until 2.30pm before an inspection of the pools of water which had formed on the outfield gave them no alternative but to abandon play for the day.