So, farewell then, Ashwell Prince. After a career spanning 20 years and 287 first-class matches, the end of a brilliant career came on a cloudy afternoon at Chelmsford, Essex.
The drawn rain-ravaged match ensured Lancashire finished second on the Division Two table, 10 points behind Surrey. But Prince ended the top scorer of the championship, his 51 runs off 38 balls in this outing taking his season’s total to 1 478 runs, 510 ahead of Sam Northeast with 1 168. Among Prince’s total were five fifties and five hundreds. And he did what he set out to do, guiding Lancashire to promotion, with the added bonus of the T20 Blast title.
The mantle will pass, perhaps, to Alviro Petersen, who missed this match to prepare for the domestic season in South Africa. They have had some good times together, as the ‘AP Coalition’.
Against Derbyshire at Southport in May, they shared 258 for the third-wicket on the way to an important victory. Later in the summer, they trumped that by some distance to share a record-breaking 501 partnership for the same wicket in the crucial win over Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay.
Elsewhere, Jacques Rudolph signed off his season with Glamorgan with a 69 as they raced to a draw against Gloucestershire, edging his run total for the season just over the 1,000 mark. All the Saffas made hay while the sun shone: Colin Ingram contributed 101 and Chris Cooke 102 to Glamorgan’s second innings in a game that was going nowhere after so much time had been lost. They had a fourth-wicket partnership of 180 and the contest was called off with Glamorgan on 365-3.
Ryan McLaren, signed as emergency cover for four matches, put in a magnificent effort and arguably was the factor which helped Hampshire survive in Division One with victory over Notts.
In those last four matches Hampshire won two and drew one, losing only one where the weather forced it into a lottery. He took 11 wickets, and scored 123 runs at an average of just under 31, batting at nine.
Of those runs, 56 came in this last match, which helped Hampshire to 14 runs shy of Notts’ first offering of 340 (Riki Wessels 106). McLaren and Hampshire’s other Saffa, Gareth Berg (72), put on 123 for the ninth wicket.
McLaren’s 2-22 and Berg’s 2-28 then helped dismiss Notts for 185 leaving the visitors a simple run chase of 200.
All in all, the Saffas stood proud in the County Championship.
Compiled by Mark Salter