Lancashire 442 (Katich 200, Willey 5-108) and 110 for 2 (Agathangelou 57*) beat Northamptonshire 310 (White 90, Hogg 4-65) and 241 (Middlebrook 75, Kerrigan 7-63) by eight wickets
Simon Kerrigan took seven wickets as Lancashire claimed a big victory in the race for promotion with an eight-wicket victory over Northamptonshire at Wantage Road. Lancashire replace their hosts at the top of the table.
Kerrigan returned magnificent figures of 7 for 63 as Northants were bowled out for 241 with James Middlebrook top-scoring with 75 off 171 balls, giving Lancashire a target of 110. The visitors wrapped up the win thanks to Andrea Agathangelou's unbeaten 57 off 75 deliveries to move a point clear of their opponents with a game in hand.
Northants began the day on 123 for 4, requiring nine runs to make their opponents bat again, with Middlebrook resuming on 46 and Andrew Hall on 3. Middlebrook was to comfortably complete his second half-century of the match off 113 balls as the fifth-wicket pair survived the first hour of the day without any alarm.
Former South Africa allrounder Hall went through 10,000 first-class runs in the process but Middlebrook went cheaply by needlessly launching Kerrigan to Kyle Hogg at deep square leg.
Kerrigan completed his third five-wicket haul of the season and his ninth in first-class cricket when Agathangelou took a sharp one-handed catch at short leg to dismiss Matthew Spriegel. He then claimed his third wicket in four balls when David Willey was also taken by Agathangelou at short leg to depart for a golden duck.
Kerrigan took his tally up to seven by trapping Northants wicketkeeper David Murphy lbw, meaning four wickets had fallen for 12 runs. But Hall, who needed the aid of a runner after a muscle strain, reached 50 off 127 deliveries in the afternoon.
Lee Daggett plundered 11 before he was bowled by Lancashire captain Glen Chapple and Hall was the last to fall on 57 when he was superbly caught and bowled one-handed by the same man.
Chasing 110, Lancashire lost Karl Brown in the second over when he edged the first ball he faced to Middlebrook at first slip off Muhammad Azharullah. Middlebrook then pinned South Africa batsman Ashwell Prince lbw as Lancashire reached tea on 30 for 2 - still requiring another 80 runs.
But any doubts the visitors may have had were eased by Agathangelou racing past 50 off just 61 deliveries with opener Luis Reece contributing 40 not out. The winning run came through Agathangelou running a single off Daggett as Lancashire took a big step towards a return to Division One.