Paul Horton was pleased to notch his highest four-day score of the summer today, but just as frustrated because Lancashire failed to capitalise on a positive start to their County Championship match against Somerset at Old Trafford.
Horton hit a patient 69 off 160 balls to help the Red Rose progress to 162-2 in the 48th over after winning the toss and electing bat this morning. But he was one of six wickets to fall for 55 runs in 21 overs to leave the hosts at 217-8 in the 69th.
Talismanic captain Glen Chapple blasted an entertaining 55 off 79 balls to revive the innings, and his side will resume on 281-9 tomorrow morning.
See the highlights tomorrow on www.Lancs.TV
The first day was a complete washout on Saturday, and 16 overs were lost today. David Stiff claimed 3-70 from 19 overs for the visitors, while Peter Trego, Alfonso Thomas and part-time off-spinner Arul Suppiah all took two each.
Horton said: “We started off quite well, won the toss, played some good cricket at times, but had a spell where we lost wickets in a clump. A little cameo from Chappie at the end got us back up to near where we should have been. It’s probably even Stevens, but we have underperformed.
“It’s the sort of wicket that if you get in on, get used to the pace and bounce, you can do well. If you don’t, you can lose wickets in clumps like we did.”
Things looked to be going well when Horton and South African Ashwell Prince (48), shared a third-wicket partnership of 87 in 23 overs, but they were two of the seven wickets to fall during the evening session.
Stiff claimed the early wickets of Tom Smith and Mal Loye for 31 off 41 balls. He forced left-handed Smith (12) to pull straight to Charl Willoughby at mid-on to leave hosts at 35-1 in the 12th over.
Horton and Loye, who is playing his first Championship match since last September after ongoing knee and calf problems, then shared a second wicket partnership of 40 in ten overs. But Loye pulled Stiff to Trego at deep backward square-leg.
Later, Trego had Prince caught by Suppiah (2-25 off nine overs) at gully, and then Mark Chilton caught at first slip by his captain Justin Langer.
South African Thomas claimed the wicket of in-form compatriot Francois du Plessis caught by Langer in the same position for a duck and Horton caught behind. Part-time off-spinner Suppiah had Luke Sutton (20) caught behind down the leg-side and later bowled Chapple. David Stiff bowled Sajid Mahmood in between.
With four breaks for rain during the morning and afternoon sessions, Horton endured a stop-start innings spread over four hours.
“It was one of those days when we were off for a lot of rain delays. The bowlers never got tired, and I had to start my innings seven times. Give them some credit, they bowled well, continued Horton.
“It was nice to get some runs, I was unfortunate to get out, but that is cricket. I felt that I have played well all year. I have scored hundreds in the Friends Provident Trophy, but missed out in the (following) week in the Championship. That’s not because I am out of form, it’s because in April and May you can nick balls and get out lbw.”
Chapple would have been primed to do more damage in the morning had he hung on until close. But he went in what proved to be the final over of the day after sharing 64 for the ninth wicket with Oliver Newby.
Horton added: “We won the game against Worcester in three days. If we can get up to 300, bowl really well, there is no reason why we can’t knock them over and score some more runs to set up the game.”
Photos: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd