Glen Chapple admitted that Lancashire’s win over Worcestershire was improbable, but the Red Rose head coach was fully aware of how crucial it could be.
Right up until the middle of the third afternoon, Worcestershire looked the most likely to take the win, but a Dane Vilas century and a 139-run partnership between he and Josh Bohannon took Lancashire to the win.
It was only their second of the season, lifting them off the bottom and back into the mix for survival.
“We needed a win massively in the Championship,” Chapple said.
“It was a big chase today and always going to be a tough ask. I think in the last session the nerves started as you realise you’ve got a good chance of winning.
“I think at the start of today it was improbable. We needed someone to play exceptionally well, we had contributions from four or five players and two have played absolutely unbelievable knocks there.”
Lancashire’s season has been characterized by disappointing batting displays. They have the top two wicket-takers in the division in Tom Bailey and Graham Onions.
But Chapple was delighted with the efforts of his batsmen in stepping up to the plate, believing it gives them cause for optimism heading into their final three matches – with their T20 Blast Finals Day showpiece in the middle.
“It’s been a tough season for various reasons.
“We’ve had to look to ourselves and see what we can do better. And the lads have had a lot to contend with, injuries and England selections.
“The team’s been unsettled by that and it’s a tough division. So it’s not what we wanted but this is a fantastic win for us. It gives us a positive outlook on the last three games.
“Worcester are in the same part of the table as us, two of the games coming up are as well and they are vital games.
“But there are teams all around the country struggling. There’s only two teams who are flying and playing solid cricket so there will be a few teams in the shake up.
“We know that in every game we’ve competed. We’ve lost games through poor small sessions of play. We know we can go to these teams and match them. We just need to get over the line.”
Vilas’ unbeaten 107 along with Bohannon’s unbeaten 78 were the pivotal contributions in the match and ones which could prove to be survival-clinching knocks by the end of September.
“Dane’s a top pro,” Chapple said. “He drives the team well and I’m absolutely delighted for him.
“He’s got three hundreds for us this year, he’s had two double hundreds since he’s joined us and he’s a really good influence on the team. Today he’s been exceptional.
“Josh has had a great start, it was very impressive. He’s a very competitive player, he’s athletic, he’s fast in the field, quick between the wickets and his technique is good as well.
“He’s got plenty of shots as well. It’s exciting for him and I hope it continues for the rest of the season and he can look forward to a good career.”