Lancashire v Middlesex: Red Rose county relegated from Division One
|LV= County Championship Division One, Emirates Old Trafford|
|Middlesex 214 & 341-8 drew with Lancashire 302-8 dec|
|Lancashire 11 pts, Middlesex 8 pts|
Lancashire have been relegated from Division One of the Championship after being held to a draw by Middlesex.
After gaining the required bonus points on Thursday, a Lancashire win would have kept them up and sent Middlesex, their closest rivals, down.
Middlesex were 202-4 overnight at Old Trafford and batted all day, reaching 341-8 at stumps to secure survival.
Lancashire, Division Two champions in 2013, drop back into the second tier after just one year in the top-flight.
|The rise and fall of Lancashire|
|2011: Division One - champions||2012: Division One - relegated|
|2013: Division Two - champions||2014: Division One - relegated|
Their season began with the departure of Peter Moores, who left his role of head coach to take charge of the England national team, and ended in frustration as Middlesex batted out the majority of the final day in Manchester to ensure they will spend a fourth successive year in Division One.
The visitors began 114 runs ahead with six second-innings wickets in hand and their cause was helped by early rain, which meant only 10.2 overs were possible in the morning session.
Eoin Morgan (45) was the only Middlesex batsman to fall in that period, trapped lbw by Junaid Khan with the new ball.
Pakistan paceman Junaid struck again shortly after the resumption, ending Neil Dexter's 105-ball innings by forcing the right-hander to play on to his own stumps for 17.
Lancashire wicketkeeper Jos Buttler dropped John Simpson after he edged behind off Glen Chapple, although Buttler's mistake did not prove too costly as, two balls later, Simpson lofted spinner Simon Kerrigan into the hands of Luke Procter at deep mid-wicket.
An attacking 34 from Toby Roland-Jones swung the initiative back to Middlesex, and when he was lbw to Chapple, Tim Murtagh and James Harris pushed their lead past 200 by tea.
On a batsman-friendly surface, Murtagh (29 not out) and Harris (41 not out) survived without alarm after tea to put the game out of Lancashire's reach and confirm that the home side would go down with Northants.
Lancashire bowler Glen Chapple:
"Whatever would have happened in this game we would have said we needed to improve. We have to be honest with ourselves.
"The lads have tried their best over the year - they've given everything - but there's areas we can improve, we know that.
"I still enjoy playing and feel pretty decent. I've not had as good a season as I'd have liked, but I don't think that's through age necessarily - and I felt good this game and really enjoyed it."
Middlesex director of cricket Angus Fraser:
"I think it's been the longest four days of my life. You wake up at three o'clock every morning with your head spinning and trying to get back to sleep and (wondering) the ramifications of 'what could happen today'.
"I'm obviously relieved, proud of the way they've responded and risen to the challenge.
"We've been put under the pump and shown a lot of character. That is maybe something that has been questioned in our side.
"It's a very talented side, with some really good cricketers in there, but we do play some soft cricket at times.
"So to respond as we did last week at Somerset and then again this week, they've shown real character."