LANCASHIRE’S hopes of the County Championship are still alive – but Warwickshire are holding the aces after the first day of the final round of fixtures.

The Red Rose need to make up three points of Warwickshire in their game with Somerset at Taunton.

But James Hildreth’s magnificent unbeaten 161 blunted their title bid as they chase a first outright championship since 1934.

They could find no way to remove the England Lions captain despite enjoying success at either end of an absorbing opening day.

Hildreth, dropped on 21 by Tom Smith, was responsible for more than half Somerset’s close-of-play total of 314-5, which also featured 68 from Jos Buttler.

Glen Chapple was responsible for two of the first three wickets to fall, but his potency receded as an apparent left hamstring problem grew ever more painful as the day went on. They have six overs in the morning in which to claim the five wickets needed for maximum bowling points.

And with Warwickshire totally dominating day one of their game with Hampshire and reaching 296-3 at the close of their game with Hampshire.