County Championship: Weather saves Lancashire from defeat
|LV= County Championship Division Two, Emirates Old Trafford|
|Northants 438 & 283-9 dec: Duckett 88, Cobb 52 not out; Kerrigan 3-94|
|Lancashire 308 & 206-7: Brown 82, Horton 65; Stone 3-26|
|Northants 13 pts, Lancashire 11 pts|
Northants had to settle for a draw with Division Two leaders Lancashire as bad light and rain ended their hopes of victory at Old Trafford.
The hosts were 206-7, chasing 414 to win, when play was interrupted by the inclement weather at 15:30 BST.
Lancashire collapsed from 130-0 to 147-4 after lunch, having batted through the morning session without loss.
Olly Stone's 3-26 put Northants in control before the rain intervened and play was abandoned at 17:35 BST.
Lancashire are 17 points ahead of second-placed Surrey and 50 clear of third-placed Glamorgan, who have two Championship games in hand.
Northants lie fourth, a further 16 points behind, having been on course to take maximum points from their game in Manchester.
Openers Karl Brown (82) and Paul Horton (65) raised hopes of an unlikely home win, scoring exactly 100 runs in the morning session as they chased what would have been a record victory target for Lancashire.
But Stone's burst of three quick wickets sparked a collapse of four wickets for just 17 runs that turned the match in Northants' favour.
The paceman bowled Horton, then trapped Alex Davies lbw in his next over, before Stone forced Ashwell Prince - who had passed 1,000 first-class runs for 2015 in the first innings - to edge behind.
Wicketkeeper Adam Rossington's excellent catch down the leg side off ex-Lancashire man Steven Crook accounted for Brown, whose 168-ball innings included 11 boundaries.
But, just as spinners Rob Keogh and Graeme White were looking as if they would bowl Northants to victory, the rain came to save the hosts.
Lancashire head coach Ashley Giles:
"The rain came at a good time. We got away with that one. I don't think we played very well. It was one of our poorer performances, but it doesn't make us a bad side. We've played some really good cricket and are top of the league.
"From the start of the game with ball and with bat and in the field, it was just a bit lacklustre. We can put it down as a blip, but we need to ensure that when we come back on Monday, we put that right.
"We haven't taken our foot off the gas, I can't accuse the players of being complacent. There might be a bit of tiredness creeping in. Northants were desperate to come up here and beat us. And, by rights. they will be walking away feeling pretty hard done by."
Northants captain Alex Wakely:
"You can't do anything about the weather. We were on top and it would have brilliant for us to win but it wasn't to be and I am very proud of everyone in the side. From start to finish we played the best cricket and we basically controlled the game.
"Ben Duckett was the star for me. He was phenomenal. He has so much talent. He will annoy opponents because he hits the ball in funny areas.
"Olly Stone also bowled brilliantly on a very flat wicket for the seamers. His spell changed the game for us and our spinners bowled very nicely too."