DARREN Shadford has fired Lancashire back into the championship race.

The 22-year-old paceman from Oldham produced a stunning burst of three wickets in 10 balls to take them to the brink of a fourth win in five matches against Warwickshire.

And that would leave them joint fifth in the table, only 22 points behind leaders Glamorgan with five games still to play.

It was an amazing performance from Shadford who would almost certainly have been dropped for this game if Glen Chapple or Richard Green was fit.

After making an impressive return to the first team against Kent in June, he had gone seven innings and 64 overs without a wicket - and conceded 309 runs.

But Lancashire have encouraged him to concentrate on pace and it paid off in style yesterday. Warwickshire were going well at 54-1 in their second innings when Shadford ripped out Dominic Ostler with a blustering yorker.

It was the same story for Anurag Singh while left handed David Hemp edged another full delivery to second slip where Jason Gallian took a juggling catch - and Shadford sunk to his knees in the middle of the pitch in triumph.

Shadford returned later to have Graeme Welch caught behind and also unsettled Trevor Penney when a bouncer kept low and smashed him on the helmet.

And with Peter Martin and Ian Austin each claiming two wickets, Warwickshire resumed today on 241-8 - only 18 runs ahead.

"It was a great feeling to get back in the wickets," reflected Shadford.

"The pressure was on with Chapple and Green coming back from injuries, but all I can do is take wickets. If they still pick Chappie when he's fit, fair enough - I have had a longer run than I expected when I came into the team, and I've really enjoyed it."

Gary Keedy produced a nother superb performance for the second team against Middlesex at Southgate yesterday.

Keedy, who has taken 30 wickets at an average of less than 12 for the Seconds this season, added another 5-58 as Lancashire took a first innings lead of 85, then extended it to 193 at the close of the second day.

Lancashire 292-5 dec (Haynes 98no, Chilton 70) and 108-5, Middlesex 207 (Keedy 5-58).

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.