Middlesex closed their 2012 LV= County Championship with a victory as Lancashire were bowled out for 194 in the final hour of an ultimately doomed attempt to stave off relegation.
Chasing 304 in 39 overs for a victory which was made essential for suvival by Surrey's defeat of Nottinghamshire earlier in the day, defending champions Lancashire swung valiantly from the hip in an attempt to conjure a miraculous escape.
But despite some lusty blows throughout, Middlesex - led by Steven Crook (5/48) and Ravi Patel (4/72) - picked up regular wickets and finished off the win in the final hour to leave themselves in third position. Angus Fraser's side could be pushed down in the last round of matches next week (they are the only team to have completed their 16 fixtures), but can be extremely pleased with their first season back in the top flight of English cricket.
Glen Chapple earlier bowled with great heart to collect 5/47, earning him figures of 10/133 in the match.
That performance will be of little consolation for the Lancashire captain though, who sees his team relegated to the second tier less than 12 months after a historic first outright championship victory since 1934.