Lancashires unbeaten start to the season has gone courtesy of a six-wicket defeat to Friends Provident Trophy holders Essex Eagles at Chelmsford today.
See the highlights tomorrow on www.Lancs.TV
The Lightning, who have won all three one-day matches so far this season in addition to two County Championship wins and a draw, were bowled out for 157 inside 45 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat.
South African batsman Ashwell Prince top scored for the Red Rose with 44 off 58 balls, but David Masters claimed 3-19 from nine overs for the Eagles while Graham Napier and Danish Kaneria took two wickets apiece.
Luke Sutton (31 not out) and Stephen Parry (31) shared an encouraging ninth wicket partnership of 74 to help recover things from 82-8 in the 22nd over of the innings. It ended up being a record ninth wicket stand for the county in this competition.
Varun Chopra hit 72 off 99 balls for the hosts, while Parry rounded off a memorable debut with figures of 1-17 off ten overs. Glen Chapple finished with figures of 2-16 from his seven overs.
Wicketkeeper Sutton said: “Stephen Parry had a magnificent game. A young guy coming in for his first game, he was a bag of nerves, should go away feeling really proud of himself. The partnership was great because we needed to bat time to get a total on the board. Run-rate comes into play in this competition, so we needed to get something. He was fantastic, and will learn a lot from it. He backed it up with ten beautiful overs, and he bowled with very attacking fields for a lot of the time.”
Paul Horton started the procession of wickets when he played on to Napier just four balls into the match. Prince cracked the Twenty20 specialist for two consecutive fours in the third over, but Kyle Hogg was caught behind by James Foster off Masters in the next to leave the visitors reeling at 10-2.
Prince and Mark Chilton took a boundary each off Napier’s third over, while Prince broke Masters’ run of three maidens with a pulled four in the eighth over of the match. Chilton, a centurion last week against Derbyshire with Horton, drove straight into the hands of Matt Walker to gift Masters his second wicket in the 12th over to leave Lancs 48-3. And it was the first of seven wickets to fall for 34 runs in ten damaging overs.
Francois du Plessis was stumped by Foster off Masters for one to leave the score 52-4, while Pakistani leg-spinner Danish Kaneria picked up two of the next three wickets to fall. Steven Croft was caught at first slip by Chopra for a duck, while captain Chapple was caught behind by the impressive Foster for three. Sandwiched in between, Ravi Bopara bowled a furious Prince.
Sajid Mahmood was next to go, brilliantly run out by Chopra and Foster for just seven, and Lancashire were 82-8 in the 22nd over. Sutton and debutant left-arm spinner Parry, playing in place Tom Smith, then set about their recovery mission.
Parry, who was an integral part of the club’s pre-season preparations both at home and abroad, even walloped Kaneria for a super straight six. He later quipped: “I don’t really know what happened there.” Parry was bowled by James Middlebrook in the 44th over, ending his 64-ball stay at the crease, while Gary Keedy had his leg stump uprooted four balls into the 45th over – the first of the batting powerplay.
The Red Rose made a promising start to their bowling effort, reducing the home side to 33-2 in the tenth over. Chapple had Mark Pettini caught behind by Sutton for 13 in the sixth, and had England star Ravi Bopara well caught by a diving Croft at mid-wicket for just two. The England selectors had allowed Bopara, a centurion against the West Indies at Lord’s last week, to play for his county to get more time at the crease ahead of the second Test at Chester-le-Street this week.
Chopra and Matt Walker (34) then shared a third wicket partnership of 82 in 21 overs before the former Kent left-hander was run out by Keedy from mid-off to leave the score at 115-3 in the 31st over. And Parry grabbed his maiden one-day wicket when Chopra, with victory in sight, danced down the wicket only to be stumped by Sutton in the 36th over. Chopra faced 99 balls, hit eleven fours and one six. Grant Flower finished unbeaten on 24, while Foster hit the winning runs. Essex won with 35 balls to spare.
“It was a bad day at the office for us," said Sutton. "I just don’t think we bowled well enough, and we didn’t get enough runs. Some people would say that when you have had such a good start, you are going to have a bad one at some point.
“I don’t look at it that way, I just think that it was a poor day. On a decent wicket we were probably 100 runs short.”
Parry said: “I have been waiting for a few weeks, and part of last year, and I am glad to have taken the chance when it came. I thought I bowled quite well, It was just good to get my first wicket.
“It is a shame about the result, but at least we went down fighting.”
Photo: Stephen Parry by SWpix
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