LANCASHIRE qualified for their sixth English Finals in eight years after a dramatic day in the Northern Counties Championship at Isle of Man club Mount Murray.
The Red Rose men were six shots ahead of the hosts after the morning round but in deteriorating conditions as wind and rain swept across the hill-top course they did well to keep their composure.
Cheshire, who went into the second round 12 behind, found themselves two in front of their rivals in the closing stages. But after Jonathan Hurst, Lancashire’s last man, posted a three-over-par 74 his opposite number Sam Prince came in with a 78 as Cheshire’s hopes were dashed by two strokes.
It could have been a much different story after Hurst was accidentally struck on the head with a club by another player in the first round. The Pleasington stalwart was close to being knocked out for the count and consequently suffered from vertigo and blurred vision for the rest of the day.
“It was a remarkable performance by him,” said Lancashire skipper Paul Williams. He also praised county champion Ian Kenwright, from Haydock Park, who was five over for his first eight holes then five under for the remaining 28 as he closed with a best-of-the-afternoon 69.
Lancashire will represent the Northern Counties at the English Finals at Wychwood Park on September 25-27.
SCORES: Lancashire 876; Cheshire 878; Isle of Man 880; Northumberland 882; Yorkshire 889; Cumbria 892; Durham 920.
Pictured is captain Paul Williams, centre, with his players.