Lancashire were relegated from County Championship Division One with their 109-run loss to Middlesex at Lord’s condemning them to life in Division Two for 2013  just 12 months after they won their first outright title in 77 years.

With Surrey picking up a win against Nottinghamshire across the capital at the Oval, the Red Rose county needed to match them and reach their 309 target in 39 overs. However, they were to be bowled out for 194 to seal Lancashire’s fate, with next week’s match against Surrey at Liverpool now unable to save them as they now cannot overtake Surrey, who lie on 132 points, 31 ahead of Lancs in 7th.  The win meanwhile puts Middlesex in a good position to possibly end the season as runners-up to champions Warwickshire.

However, the Red Rose side still have the club’s proud record of never having finished bottom in the County Championship to preserve with Worcestershire currently 7 points behind them and the players and coaching staff will be determined to avoid the wooden spoon.

Lancs have won just one match out of fifteen in their title defence, losing five and drawing nine of their fifteen games so far. Lying next to bottom in 8th position with one game to go, the season is in some ways reminiscent of the 2004 campaign, when as pre-season favourites for the title that year they were relegated to Division Two. Now Peter Moores’ men, after enjoying the heights of 2011 as the famous club picked up its first outright title in 77 years, now must face life in Division Two for at least a year.

The task ahead will be to repeat the feat of 8 years ago and return the Red Rose back into the top-flight.

Simon Mulligan