Lancashire’s reign in the top division comes to an early end

Lancashire's Glen Chapple shakes hands with Angus Fraser, after their match with Middlesex ends in a draw, during day four of the LV= County Championship match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 26, 2014. See PA Story CRICKET Lancashire. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Lancashire's Glen Chapple shakes hands with Angus Fraser, after their match with Middlesex ends in a draw, during day four of the LV= County Championship match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 26, 2014. See PA Story CRICKET Lancashire. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Lancashire ran out of time to stave off relegation, and return to Division Two of the LV= County Championship after their Old Trafford shoot-out with Middlesex ended in a stalemate.

Only a home victory could have sent Middlesex down instead and - after bad weather took 14 overs out of the last day - the Londoners closed out the draw on 341 for eight declared and with no prospect of a successful chase of 253 in the hour remaining.

Lanashires Glen Chapple shows his dejection after a dropped catch against Middlesex, during day three of the LV= County Championship match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday September 25, 2014. See PA Story CRICKET Lancashire. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Lanashires Glen Chapple shows his dejection after a dropped catch against Middlesex, during day three of the LV= County Championship match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday September 25, 2014. See PA Story CRICKET Lancashire. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Veteran Lancashire captain Glen Chapple performed heroics to keep hopes of survival alive when he scrambled the necessary extra batting bonus point here 24 hours earlier.

But neither he nor the best efforts of Junaid Khan (three for 84) and Simon Kerrigan (three for 106) could break Middlesex’s resistance as they secured top-flight safety at their hosts’ expense.

For Lancashire, the step back into the second tier comes in a summer which has seen an overdue title success for their Roses rivals Yorkshire - and means last year’s two promoted teams, themselves and Northamptonshire, have both gone immediately back down.