Kerrigan keeps Lancs in title hunt
Spinner runs through Hampshire with nine wickets on final day
Last Updated: 13/09/11 2:25pm
Kerrigan: nine wickets on the final day at Aigburth
Simon Kerrigan took a career best 9-51 as Lancashire remained in the County Championship title race with a 222-run victory over bottom-of-the-table Hampshire.
The left-arm spinner ended the match with a 12-wicket haul as Lancashire secured their ninth win of the season during the final half-an-hour at Aigburth.
Needing a victory to keep the pressure on leaders Warwickshire, Lancashire quickly piled on the runs during the morning session as they took their overnight second-innings score from 195-2 to 353-3 declared - 158 runs in 27 overs.
Opening batsman Stephen Moore led the way with an unbeaten 169 to leave the visitors chasing a target of 361.
However, Hampshire were never in the hunt as they slumped to 119-9.
Yet it took Lancashire another 126 deliveries to take the final wicket, with top-scorer Neil McKenzie (38) finally going to Kerrigan after 168 minutes at the crease.
With one game left, Lancashire are three points behind the Bears, while Hampshire head into the final round needing to make up a 17-point deficit on Worcestershire to stay up.
Title-chasing Lancashire are on top at Liverpool thanks to some aggressive batting from openers Paul Horton, who scored a superb 96 off 137 balls, and Stephen Moore either side of tea.
They will head into the fourth day on 195-2, leading by 202 runs and looking to force a vital win in their championship bid.
But relegation-threatened Hampshire are likely to chase whatever total they are set, as they look to win their fourth match in five and keep up their defiant battle against the drop.
Horton and Moore shared their highest opening partnership of the summer, 168 inside 45 overs, although there was frustration for Horton when he fell for the fourth time in the nineties in the current campaign.
Moore finished the day unbeaten on 77 off 151 balls, with Karl Brown yet to get off the mark.
Sean Ervine's first Championship century of the season had frustrated the hosts as Hampshire fought with the bat during the first session and a half.
Spin duo Gary Keedy and Simon Kerrigan struck back for Lancashire after Division One strugglers Hampshire threatened to thwart their title hopes on day two at Liverpool.
Keedy finished with 3-58 from 24 unbroken overs and Kerrigan chipped in with 2-85 from 31 as Hampshire reached 229-5 in their first innings by the close of play.
The visitors, who are bottom of the table and desperately need a win to keep their hopes of survival alive, made an excellent start, reaching 103 without loss in replay to 388.
Openers Jimmy Adams and Liam Dawson both made 54 in a frustrating stand for Lancashire before captain Glen Chapple and coach Peter Moores' decision to play two spinners started to pay off.
Sean Ervine (52 not out) hit back at the end of the day and will be back at the start of day three with wicket-keeper Michael Bates (20 no).
Earlier, Chapple had fallen three runs short of a century as he was snared by Dmitri Mascarenhas for 97 as Lancashire could not make their last three wickets last long enough to claim the maximum of five batting points.
Lancashire's title hopes are still very much alive thanks to battling half-centuries from Glen Chapple and Tom Smith against Hampshire at Liverpool.
The hosts reached the close at 337-7, a total built around four half-century stands after captain Chapple had lost his eighth home toss of the campaign.
Sean Ervine, the pick of the Hampshire attack with 3-66 from 14 overs, bowled with hostility after lunch to help reduce the hosts from 98-2 to 125-5.
But Smith and Chapple, who put on 55 inside 11 overs for the seventh wicket, were key players in an impressive recovery as Lancs claimed three batting bonus points in their bid to close the gap on leading pair Durham and Warwickshire.
Smith hit 63 off 98 balls, including 12 fours, and Chapple a season-high 76 not out off 84.
The skipper later shared an unbroken 99 inside 19 overs for the eighth wicket with Kyle Hogg, who will resume on day two on 47 not out.