County Championship September 24, 2005

Lancashire clinch division title

Cricinfo staff

Lancashire clinched the second division Championship title the day after losing to Leicestershire by four runs at Old Trafford. With Yorkshire losing against Northamptonshire, the Red Rose county maintain their position at the top of the table.

After a slow start to their campaign they built some impressive momentum during the middle of the season, at about the same time as Durham's flying start was tailing off. Mike Watkinson, the coach, was pleased to claim the title although wishes his team had clinched it against Leicestershire.

He told BBC Sport: "We're very pleased. Winning the division was a major goal for us . It's a long season. Durham got off to a good start and we got rained off a few times but we always knew it would be a long old haul and we were strong enough to come through at the end.

"We don't have one batsman with 1,500 runs or one bowler with 70-odd wickets. Everybody's chipped in. Mal Loye's probably top of the hit parade and on the bowling front everybody's contributed well.

"It's perhaps the first full season that James Anderson has had for us and he's led the attack pretty well.Yesterday was a bit of a disappointing end to the season - it would have been nice to celebrate in front of our own supporters."

All three northern clubs - Lancashire, Yorkshire and Durham - have won promotion to Division One for next season, when the Championship changes to a two-up, two-down system for the first time.