STEPHEN Parry claimed career best figures as Lancashire Lightning secured a dramatic seven-run win over Surrey in their Yorkshire Bank 40 Group B clash at Emirates Old Trafford.
The left-arm spinner took 5-17, the joint second best return by a Lancashire player in the history of limited overs cricket, and also smashed a crucial 23 from 25 balls as Lightning secured their first win in the competition this season.
Karl Brown played a crucial innings, scoring an impressive 80 off just 86 balls, to help Lightning - who were without Simon Katich who had a back spasm - recover from 59-5 after being put in to bat to finish on 176-9.
And even though Jason Roy and Steven Davies smashed 60 off the first eight overs in Surrey’s reply, Parry and Wayne White, who claimed 4-35, helped Lancashire bowl out the visitors for 169, with the last wicket falling off the final ball of the match.
“It is right up there with anything I have done in my career. But to me the most important thing is winning,” said 27-year-old Parry.
“It was an amazing win and it is always nice to have an impact. To come on and get wickets, especially after the start they made, was great.”
But Parry admitted he enjoyed his batting more than his bowling.
“People think I am batting down there just to get knocked over, but deep down I rate myself as a batsman! I think batting is my love, but I am better at bowling,” he said.
“Browny’s knock was great. He went on to score big and not one of their batsmen did and that was the difference.
“And it was great to bat with him. We have known each other since we were 12 and now we are out there playing together for Lancashire.”
Parry’s display eclipsed the return of fellow left-arm spinner Gary Keedy, who was playing his first match at Emirates Old Trafford since leaving to join Surrey at the end of last season after 18 years at Lancashire.
But Keedy did have his moment, claiming the wicket of Wayne White with his first ball.
“I knew what he was doing,” said Parry. “He had his mid-wicket open and he was going to bowl it slow, I know how he operates and I was watching it and thought ‘please Whitey don’t do it’ and he did!
“Keeds got his eight overs out of the way for not very many runs and he could have had a few more wickets. If he had been wearing the Red Rose he could still have done the business for us today.
“It felt strange playing against Keeds, he is a great fella, a great cricketer and I owe him a lot.
“But we have to move on, and for me it was great to get the opportunity. And his departure, with it giving me the chance to play more cricket, has probably given me a push as well.”
Photo: A jubiliant Stephen Parry celebrates bowling Steve Davies on his way to a career-best one-day figures (c) Simon Pendrigh