Lancashire Lightning may have lost today's entertaining pre-season friendly against Yorkshire by 13 runs at Old Trafford, but star batsman Paul Horton hailed the game as a real good run out for us.
The Red Rose county finished up on 226-8 in their pursuit of 240 after Yorkshire had posted 239-7 thanks to Anthony McGrath’s attacking 88. [Scorecard]
But the margin of defeat would have been a lot greater for Lancashire had Horton not impressed yet again with 96 to help his side recover from 102-5 in the 30th over. The 26 year-old was helped along by Karl Brown’s 47 in a century partnership that brought the home side back in to the game.
“We played today like it is a cup final, we play every game like it is our last. We were disappointed that we got beat, but it was a real good run out for us,” said the in-form player, who had already notched a century on the pre-season tour of the UAE.
Lancashire’s reigning Player of the Year Steven Croft showed exactly why he was awarded top billing at Old Trafford last summer by kicking off the new season with five wickets in the Yorkshire innings. The 24 year-old only arrived back in England on Saturday following a hectic winter playing New Zealand state cricket for Auckland, but he showed no ill effects by finishing with figures of 5-62 from his nine overs.
Croft, who will bowl better than this and take fewer wickets, removed both openers, Adam Lyth and Joe Sayers (39), before snapping up Gerard Brophy and then Tim Bresnan and Rich Pyrah in consecutive balls late in the White Rose innings.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan made a solid 29 off 53 balls, but he was caught at short cover off the bowling of Steven Mullaney.
Yorkshire skipper McGrath stole the show for his side, during his fine 93-ball innings on the back of the century he scored against Lancashire in the recent Pro ARCH Trophy game in Sharjah.
The Lightning got off to a slow start in reply, losing Kyle Hogg early on when he was run out, but Mal Loye encouraged with 43. The opener was caught at mid-wicket off the bowling of James Lee, and was followed back to the pavilion soon after by Mark Chilton, Croft and Luke Sutton to leave the score at 102-5.
Horton, like McGrath, started slowly, but exploded towards the end when Lancashire needed 75 to win with eight overs remaining. Brown helped him out with his swift 53-ball 47 – the pair shared a sixth wicket stand of 116 in 19 overs – but they both fell in the closing stages to hand the visitors their second Roses win of pre-season. Off-spinner Azeem Rafiq was the pick of the Yorkshire bowling with 2-22 from seven overs.
Horton’s knock was the latest example of why he is pushing hard to be a starter in the one-day side when Glamorgan visit Old Trafford for the Friends Provident Trophy opener on April, 19. He only played two FPT games in 2008, but added: “To get some runs and keep knocking on the door is what I am trying to do. It’s nice to keep getting runs to make sure that I am selected. If I am selected, I will try to win some cricket games. I have got a bit of belief, I feel that I am ready to play. We are a side with a new coach and a new captain – in theory there are a lot of spots up for grabs.”
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd