County Championship: Dane Vilas & Josh Bohannon inspire Lancs to beat Pears

Lancs captain Dane Vilas reached three figures for the third time this season
Lancs captain Dane Vilas reached three figures for the third time this season
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Trafalgar Road, Southport (day three):
Worcestershire 222 & 252: Bailey 3-53, Maharaj 3-64, Onions 3-78
Lancashire 161: Tongue 5-63 & 317-6: Vilas 107*, Bohannon 78*
Lancashire (19 pts) beat Worcestershire (4 pts) by four wickets

Lancashire gave themselves a chance of avoiding relegation from Division One by battling back to win the bottom-of-the-table clash with Worcestershire.

Facing a testing target of 314, Lancs slumped to 63-4 before Vilas came in to share half-century stands with Steven Croft (36) and Jordan Clark (31).

Vilas then went on to finish unbeaten on 107 at Southport as Lancashire reached 317-6 to win by four wickets.

He shared an unbroken stand of 139 with Bohannon, who saw it through on 78.

Lancashire's biggest successful second-innings run chase since 2002, when they made 383-9 to beat Leicestershire at Old Trafford, lifted them off the bottom, nine points ahead of Worcestershire, who drop back to last place.

Glen Chapple's side now have a massive boost going into next week's trip to face second-placed Somerset at Taunton (4-7 September), while Worcestershire host another of the six relegation-threatened sides Hampshire at New Road.

After the early loss of nightwatchman Toby Lester to the fourth run-out of the match, discarded England opener Haseeb Hameed grafted hard, before becoming the first of two wickets in an over for Ed Barnard.

Rob Jones bagged a pair when he was caught behind two balls later and, when Alex Davies departed for 30, a third catch for keeper Ben Cox, the Pears looked overwhelming favourites to follow up last week's win against Yorkshire at Scarborough with another seaside success.

But, after Croft and Clark steadied the ship, it was left to Vilas and Bohannon. Both had been freakishly run out in the first innings, but this time there were no silly mistakes as they shared a wonderful matchwinning partnership.

Bohannon finally ended it with successive fours off Josh Tongue, who had earlier removed Croft with a beauty, before departing to a standing ovation from the packed crowd at the Southport & Birkdale Sports Club.

Lancs skipper Dane Vilas told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"It's incredible. We knew it was going to be tough chasing that on the last day. But it's really crucial at this stage to get over the line and that's a massive win for us.

"We knew, once you get in on the wicket you had to go big. Getting to 50 was a nice milestone and then thankfully it was my day. I knew that I had to kick on and see the boys home.

"This team has some great players, guys who have scored runs over countless seasons. We know we have let ourselves down at times. We can't hide from that. We know that we have underperformed.

"The bowlers have been incredible. We have let them down. But most important was the guys who came in to help me out. In only his second game, the maturity Josh Bohannon showed was incredible. "

Pears head coach Kevin Sharp told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"I don't think we've done much wrong, to be honest. The pitch has probably got a bit better to bat on. It's been more placid than it has been for the first two days.

"Yu could possibly argue that we didn't execute with the ball quite as well as we did last week at Scarborough but you won't always do it like that. But the efforts have been outstanding.

"I thought we might win this but I have to say, that innings from Vilas is a class innings, a match-winning innings. He was supported by two or three others and all credit to them. In the end, with partnerships like that you probably deserve to win.

"I don't really think you can fault our lads too much. There's lots to look forward to and important games to come against teams in the bottom half of the division. We will sulk for an hour, get on the bus and go home, get ready for Hampshire next week."

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