Lancashire 698 for 5 dec (Petersen 286, Prince 261, Croft 57*, Brown 54) beat Glamorgan 348 (Hogan 57, Chapple 4-62) and 193 (Cooke 56, Kerrigan 4-28) by an innings and 157 runs
Whatever riches this match possessed, it did not, until the final morning, contain much tension. Lancashire's batsmen had amassed runs like bibliomaniacs collect books and Glamorgan's had done their best to respond. Glen Chapple had produced the finest spell of seam bowling ever seen on an autobahn but it was Lancashire's spinners who seemed likely to seal the win that would take their side 68 points clear of third-placed Glamorgan having played one game more. There was lots of interest but little doubt.
Then on Wednesday morning the sky was as grey as a deacon's suit and the rain fell from the Book of Isaiah. Would Lancashire get any chance of press home their Kangchenjunga of an advantage? There was much mooching about and shaking of heads. Websites had predicted everything short of Armageddon, said the wiseacres and the oddballs.
Just before noon, the small crowd received deliverance from both the gloom and its mongers. The clouds broke and Lancashire coach Ashley Giles even came out to bowl to some patient young spectators on the outfield. Stewards fielded. It was one of the most heart-warming sights of a season which has been filled with such gentle stuff.
Giles's players had a match to win, though, and five wickets to take. As it turned out, their spinners managed this lickety-spit and a match which might have dragged protesting into its final hour was won before 2.30pm. Within 30 minutes or so the plastic chairs were stacked, the temporary sightscreen was being towed away and the ground was undergoing its curious metamorphosis back into the home of Colwyn Bay CC.
By the time all this shifting was under way, Simon Kerrigan and Arron Lilley were on the road home, having helped take their side to their seventh four-day win of the season. They had done so under the interested gaze of Peter Such, the ECB's lead spin bowling coach, who already knows plenty about Kerrigan but was keen to see a little more of Lilley.
Neither bowler will have disappointed Such but both were made to wait on this final day as Glamorgan's batsmen threatened to reproduce the truculent defiance they had offered in the first innings. Chris Cooke and Andrew Salter dealt very capably with the 11 overs bowled by Chapple and Kyle Jarvis and it was not until James Faukner was given the ball that Glamorgan resistance cracked and crumbled away.
First Cooke, who had reached his fifty off 139 balls by driving Chapple easefully through midwicket, shaped to cut the Australia seamer but only edged a catch to slip which Paul Horton held at the second attempt. But now Lancastrian joy was tempered by the sight of the dark clouds rolling in from the mountains. They looked as if they would dump more rain upon Penrhyn Avenue but did not do so. The poor light, however, prompted the umpires to give Croft the hint that the spinners would need to be operating if the game was to continue.
Lilley was brought on from the Embankment End and a remarkable match scampered to its conclusion. In Lilley's first over Craig Meschede was leg before on the back foot and Graham Wagg was bowled by what seemed an arm ball that the Glamorgan man was attempting to cut. In three balls Lancashire had disposed of much of their opponents' heavy artillery and they could almost taste the post-match lager.
Three overs later Kerrigan had Salter lbw for 34 when playing no shot and in his next over he finished the match by accounting for Michael Hogan, who had already deposited Lilley into the tea hut. The Australian skied Kerrigan to Jarvis at cover and Lancashire's players strolled happily from the field, secure in the knowledge that they now led second-placed Surrey by 32 points. In all, five Glamorgan wickets had fallen for 12 runs in 53 balls.
Kerrigan performed well on this final afternoon and looked to have the rhythm and balance which are integral to good spin bowling. But Lilley's 3 for 38 had given him match figures of 6 for 151 and he now has 23 wickets in five County Championship games. He was selected ahead of Kerrigan in Lancashire's last game against Essex and it is no wonder that Such is taking an interest. A place on a Lions tour seems a possibility.
Not that this will have troubled Lilley too much as he joined in Lancashire's raucous victory song, although chant might be a more appropriate word for the thing, since it consists of the one word, "Lancashire", which is yelled at drum-splitting volume. At Colwyn Bay this was done directly above the gentleman's washroom, turning it into a thunderbox, indeed.
Within an hour, though, almost everyone connected with professional cricket had gone their many ways. The ground which had witnessed that Petersen-Prince stand was left to the afternoon sunlight and to the monstrous gulls. The huge birds were stalking on the outfield as if it were they, and not two South African batsmen, who really owned the place.