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Lancs hit by batting collapse
Lancs hit by batting collapse
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Lancashire Lightning were saved by the wet weather after a batting collapse in their final one-day pre-season friendly against Derbyshire Phantoms at Old Trafford.

A strong Red Rose side collapsed to 89 all out in just 36.3 overs, but heavy rain prevented Derbyshire beginning their chase.[Scorecard]

Opener Kyle Hogg top scored for the hosts with 20, while Gareth Cross (19), Tom Smith (18) and  captain for the day Mark Chilton (17) were the only others to make it into double figures.

Leg-spinner Mark Lawson finished with the most impressive bowling figures with 2-18 from his ten overs, although Ian Hunter claimed 3-41 from eight. This was the third time in a week that Lancashire have had some sort of batting collapse, the previous two being against Yorkshire - but this was by far and away the worst of the lot.

“We are disappointed that we didn’t bat well, we will make no bones about that,” said coach Peter Moores.

“The bonus is that it doesn’t mean anything in competition, but it means something to players because they want to play well and get the most out of practice. Derbyshire bowled well, but we didn’t bat very well. They showed what can happen if you pitch the ball up in England. The pitch definitely seamed.

“When you are going through practice you are building, you are getting better, you have got to get back to English conditions. We know that when it really matters is the 19th April. I will look at it positively, but I also won’t sweep it under the carpet.”

Luke Sutton, playing as a batsman only against his former side to give Cross an opportunity behind the stumps, recorded his third duck on the trot. Although Lancashire were tottering at 24-2 after two wickets from former Warwickshire all-rounder Groenewald, it was a spell of three wickets in two overs from seamer Hunter that really did the damage. He bowled Hogg and Sutton in the eighth over of the innings before trapping Karl Brown (0) lbw in the tenth over to leave the score at 32-5.

Chilton and Cross tried their best to rescue things with a sixth wicket stand of 31, but it was not enough because former Durham medium pacer Park removed them both in successive overs.Lawson then helped to mop up the tail by having Steven Mullaney caught behind and Stephen Parry trapped lbw, while Dan Redfern trapped Oliver Newby in front to close the innings.

Moores and his strong 12-man squad travel straight up to Durham, where they will face the students of Durham University at the Racecourse Ground tomorrow for the three-day first-class friendly.

“We have got three days now in a more relaxed environment where it gives a player chance to settle. We have also got three or four days of practice next week to get things settled,” he continued.

South African batsman Ashwell Prince, the club’s overseas player, will make his debut for the county after arriving in the country on Wednesday.The 31 year-old left-hander, who has scored 312 runs in his last two Test match innings, will fill in as the club’s overseas signing until India’s VVS Laxman arrives towards the end of next month after completing his IPL duties.

Moores added: “It will be nice to get Ashwell up there playing. He has been around the place chatting to a few of the lads for the last few days.He is a mentally strong man, who knows what he is about, and he is excited about the opportunity. He will make a difference in our batting because he is a good player.

“He will bat at No.3 in the game at Durham University, but we have still to decide what our first line-up will be in the Championship.”

Hogg is unlikely to feature after taking a blow to his right forearm whilst batting today. He had it x-rayed, and it is just bruised.
Graham Hardcastle
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd