Lancashire justified their tag of County Championship Division Two favourites with a crushing seven-wicket win over Middlesex at Lord's courtesy of a career-best bowling performance from spinner Glenn Maxwell.
The Australia international finished with figures of five 40 for his first-ever five-wicket haul in a bewitching 16.5-over spell broken only by the lunch interval.
Maxwell's efforts, ably assisted by James Anderson (three for 29) meant the hosts were bundled out for 200, leaving the Red Rose county just 39 to win and claim their first victory at Lord's since 2006.
The visitors managed to lose three wickets in doing so, including England opener Keaton Jennings and Maxwell, but it was not enough to prevent Middlesex suffering only a third Championship defeat on home turf in five years.
The day began with Middlesex 94 runs behind and needing to bat out most of the day to salvage a draw. It was a scenario similar to that at Northamptonshire in the first round of Championship fixtures a week previously.
On that occasion, Dawid Malan had risen to the task with an unbeaten 160. He would again pass 50, while Sam Robson top scored with 63, but despite their efforts a repeat rescue act never looked likely.
Yet for more than an hour at the start of the day, Robson and nightwatchman James Harris resisted bravely, the former raising his first half-century of the campaign complete with seven fours.
Harris should have been dismissed on 18 when he feathered one down the leg-side in Josh Bohannon's first over, only for the bowler's celebrations to be cut short by a cry of no-ball.
The Welshman was not able to cash in on the reprieve, however, departing just two runs later after chasing a wide one from the same bowler.
Robson too had enjoyed a slice of luck when edging one to the left hand of Maxwell at slip, but just three balls after Harris left the scene he was gone too.
Anderson produced something of a trademark delivery which left the former England opener a fraction off the pitch and he edged it through to Brooke Guest.
Malan and Max Holden got to lunch without further mishap, but soon after the resumption Maxwell began his decisive intervention.
Holden will regret his injudicious swish at a wide one, while Eoin Morgan's wretched run in Championship cricket continued when he played down the wrong line to his first delivery and was plumb lbw.
Simpson survived the hat-trick ball and for an hour he and Malan held up Lancashire's victory charge.
Malan moved to 50 with a sixth boundary, only for Maxwell to end his resistance the very next ball with one that bounced and took the edge.
Their captain's departure broke the spirit of the home side and the innings subsided quickly.
Anderson ripped out Toby Roland-Jones' middle stump, but it was fitting that Maxwell then took centre-stage once more, bowling Simpson and trapping last man Tim Murtagh leg-before two balls later.
Lancashire made heavy weather of the 39 needed for victory, though.
Jennings wasted the chance to get a not out against his name when he top-edged a short ball from Murtagh into the hands of deep-square.
There was then a third first-class wicket for Robson, who bowled Guest for 11, and Maxwell too departed to the Sydney-born part-timer before victory was confirmed.