Moores offers no easy route for Notts
Lancashire coach Peter Moores insists he is open to the prospect of a final-day run-chase against title-chasing Nottinghamshire - but warned them his side will “not give anybody anything”.
For Notts to have any chance of being crowned champions, they must hope Somerset and Yorkshire fail to beat Durham and Kent respectively.
If results elsewhere favour them, Notts’ prospects of lifting the trophy this evening rest on their collecting at least nine points from a rain-ravaged game at Old Trafford in which they currently have none.
Unable to resume on 89 for two today after rain washed out the third day’s play, Notts can earn five batting bonus points by making 400 and one bowling point for taking three Lancashire wickets, while the inevitable draw would yield a further three points.
However, the simplest equation leaves Notts needing to win, which can be achieved only by both sides forfeiting innings, agreeing to a fourth-innings target and, crucially, Notts then bowling Lancashire out.
Although Lancashire have little incentive to manufacture a positive result – they are assured of fourth place in Division One and £30,000 in prize money unless Durham pull off an unlikely victory over Somerset – Moores admits his players are keen to get some meaningful action in a game which has seen 260 overs lost in the first three days.
He was quick to point out, though, that he and captain Mark Chilton will not compromise the spirit of the game and Lancashire’s reputation simply to further Notts’ cause.
“If you can play a game of cricket it’s nice to play,” said Moores. “All the lads want to play and it would be nice to get some cricket on and for us to finish the season with a bang.
“Everybody knows the situation of the championship and in many ways you feel for the three sides that are in because they all want to play so the best side wins.
“But (a run-chase) has got to be seen to be right. There’s a responsibility to make the sure the integrity of the game and competition is kept, which is important.
“We don’t give anybody anything. We’ve not played all season to give somebody anything. We want to play hard cricket and we want to win if we can.
“People at the club, and certainly I do, understand that it has been a long season and everything should always be done within the rules - how would you do it if it wasn’t the last game?”
Notts went into the final round of matches atop the table, only to see their two-point lead become a six-point deficit thanks to Somerset’s maximum bonus-point haul at the Emirates Durham ICG.
Notts director of cricket Mick Newell suggested that they would be willing to offer Lancashire a similar target to that which Notts chased down at Trent Bridge last month: 260 in 64 overs.
Moores, while insisting there has been no discussion between Chilton and opposite number Chris Read thus far, stressed that Lancashire will reveal their hand only when they have assessed conditions this morning.
“We’ll see if the weather’s set fair and if we’re going to get a day’s cricket,” said Moores.
“We’ll cross all those bridges then. You sit down with the captain, look at conditions, the pitch and then take it from and make your call.
“We’d love to win the game but with the weather we’ve had it’s wrong to look too far ahead. What will happen, I don’t know.”