Lancashire play it safe
Lancashire made no attempt to chase down 336 from 85 overs on the final day of their LV= County Championship Division One match against Essex, instead settling for a draw at Old Trafford.
The home side had been offered the target by Mark Pettini when he declared Essex’s second innings on 212 for five after Ryan ten Doeschate and Matthew Walker both completed half-centuries during the morning session.
It was soon obvious from the way opening batsman Luke Sutton set about his innings that Lancashire were happy with six points.
Sutton finished with a painstaking 26 off 155 balls, an innings which spanned more than three hours.
Despite opening bowlers David Masters and Maurice Chambers bowling tight spells, Essex struggled to take wickets as they searched for victory on a dead track.
Chris Wright had both Paul Horton and Steven Croft caught behind by James Foster within the space of three balls in the 66th over, but it was too little, too late.
Horton top-scored for Lancashire with 64 off 179 balls and his side had reached 177 for five from 83.4 overs when the players shook hands on the draw.
Essex, who travel to face Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on Saturday, took eight points from the fixture.
Masters gave the visitors an early glimmer when he had Stephen Moore caught behind by Foster for five in the ninth over of Lancashire’s second innings.
However, Sutton and Horton shared a second-wicket partnership of 93 in 40 overs which effectively killed the contest.
Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was expected to be a major threat with the ball but he took a solitary wicket from 33 overs costing 49 runs.
Ten Doeschate claimed Essex’s second wicket in the latter stages of the afternoon when Sutton edged behind.
Ashwell Prince hit three fours and a six in a brisk 29 before he was caught at short-leg by Billy Godleman off Kaneria and Wright’s double strike meant Essex had taken three wickets in 10 balls.
But Mark Chilton and Glen Chapple batted through to close for Lancashire, who face Yorkshire at Headingley on Saturday.
Simon Kerrigan had earlier claimed the only wicket to fall in Essex’s second innings when ten Doeschate holed out to Croft at long-off for 56 off 57 balls - his second half-century of the match.
Essex added 57 runs from 9.4 overs as Walker finished unbeaten on 53.