County Championship: Barker wrecks Red Rose hopes

First published in Sport

KEITH Barker returned to the Red Rose county to haunt Lancashire as he sent the reigning county champions crashing to a second straight loss.

The former Enfield all-rounder, who also played football for Blackburn Rovers, ripped the heart out of Lancashire’s batting on his way to figures of 5-43 at Aigburth.

Resuming 35 runs behind with six wickets remaining Lancashire were relying on Ashwell Prince to steer them into a position of safety after they had been punished on Saturday by centurions Rikki Clarke and Darren Maddy.

Nightwatchman Gary Keedy soon went and Luke Procter was caught for a duck off Barker, who then removed Gareth Cross.

Prince passed his half century but was out for 51 and Lancashire, while ensuring Warwickshire had to bat again, had nowhere near enough.

All out for 148, they had just 70 runs to play with and while they got among the Warwickshire top order, it was always going to be mission improbable for the Red Rose.

Keedy spun his way to 2-23 and Simon Kerrigan claimed 3-34 as Warwickshire wobbled – but an unbeaten 22 from Will Porterfield took them to 71-5 and a win inside 21 overs to make it two defeats on the trot for Lancashire.

They must now gather themselves for Thursday’s Championship clash with Somerset at Taunton, the scene of last year’s title triumph.

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