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Croft century in vain
Croft century in vain
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Stand-in skipper Steven Croft hit his maiden one-day century at Taunton but Lancashire slid to a seven wicket defeat against Somerset

Their chances of Clydesdale Bank 40 success are now hanging by a thread.

Lancashire have now lost three out of four Group C matches having failed to defend 248-6, thanks in the main to a brutal 111 not out from Marcus Trescothick.

The ex-England opener, and current Somerset captain, helped to wrap up the match with eight overs to spare, and Somerset, the pre-competition favourites, have now won five out of five matches.

Lancashire’s innings was underpinned by Croft’s maiden one-day century, a fine 107 off 109 balls.

But Lancashire’s highest one-day total of the season proved to be insufficient against a powerful batting line-up on a fast scoring ground, despite looking competitive at the halfway stage.

Croft said: “It was very disappointing. We just couldn’t seem to contain them. Everything we tried, they just managed to keep the board ticking along. In one-day cricket you generally get two or three bowlers who go to the fence. Unfortunately here, it was most of us.”

Croft shared half-century stands with Karl Brown, Paul Horton and Mark Chilton, and hit eight fours and a swept six off the seam bowling of Adam Dibble. The six he hit reminded Lancashire fans present at Taunton of former batsman Mal Loye.

But the Lightning were hamstrung by the fact that no other batsman was able to make it beyond Brown’s 33. They only scored 71 from the last ten overs having been well placed at 177-3 after 30.

Seamer Lewis Gregory, the 18 year-old in only his third one-day match, was the pick of the home bowling with figures of 4-40 from eight overs. He picked up the wickets of Stephen Moore, Croft, Chilton and Gareth Cross.

“When we were out there assessing the pitch, we said that we needed a minimum of 250,” said Croft. “We played well until the 30th over of our innings. We’d set ourselves a good platform, but they bowled well and we didn’t bat to our potential.”

This was Croft’s second successive score above 50, having hit 52 in the defeat against Glamorgan last week.

In only his second match as the side’s locum leader, he said: “I’ve certainly felt a lot more confident as the season’s gone on. Hopefully I can take that into the Roses game this week.”

Somerset openers Peter Trego and Trescothick then started the reply at break-neck speed, with the former hitting straight sixes off the bowling of Kyle Hogg.

Playing his first match of the season, Hogg managed to get Trego caught at long-off with a slower ball for 32 off 18 balls. But it was only a brief respite for the Lancashire star who has been on the sidelines since suffering a thigh injury in the match at Oxford University early last month.

Trescothick lifted him over wide long-on for another six, and Hogg’s first four overs cost him 44 runs. He finished with 1-63 from six.

In one sense, it was a shame for Croft that his effort was overshadowed by Trescothick’s power. On the other hand, the ex-England opener’s 79-ball innings, including eleven fours and three sixes, was a joy to watch.

Having also seen Nick Compton depart thanks to a smart stumping from Cross off a leg-side wide from Simon Kerrigan, he smeared left-arm spinner Stephen Parry into the stands twice on the way to his 69-ball ton.

Jimmy Anderson picked up a consolatory wicket as Jos Buttler also finished 51 not out for Somerset. The Somerset keeper brought up his half-century off 46 balls with what proved to be the last ball of the match.

Graham Hardcastle
Photo (c) PA Images
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