Lancashire completed a hard fought friendly win by eight wickets over the Leeds/Bradford MCC Universities side at Weetwood in Leeds today as stand-in captain Stephen Parry took five wickets in the home side's second innings.
Nick Gubbins and Luis Reece shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 135 inside 50 overs to hold Lancashire up after the visitors had enforced the follow-on yesterday afternoon.
Gubbins made 82 and Reece 77 to go with his 41 first time around. Both batsmen were extremely composed on a slow pitch. They took the score to 219-3 in the 82nd over, but their hard work was undone by a loss of seven wickets for 46.
Leeds/Bradford were bowled out for 265 inside 102 overs, with Parry finishing with 5-70 from 28.3 overs having taken three in the collapse. Jordan Clark and Gavin Griffiths, who shared the second new ball, equally split the other four wickets.
Lancashire were set 73 to win approximately half an hour before tea, a target which they reached for the loss of two wickets in the first over of the evening session.
There were a number of encouraging displays with both bat and ball for the Red Rose throughout the three days.
Stephen Moore scored 58 and Alex Davies 69 before Kabir Ali bowled 22 overs across the two innings and took three wickets as he returns to fitness.
Rested Ali did not take the field today, but he saw Clark and Griffiths share the seam bowling duties and Parry add three wickets to his two yesterday. Parry finished with eight in the match.
Club captain Glen Chapple was with the team as part of the coaching staff, and he was delighted with what he saw.
“Kabir bowled exceptionally well yesterday and got through some good work, which is probably the most work he's done in some time. His standards and skill level were very high, which is nice to see. It gives us another option,” he said.
“Some of our batters made good scores, and it's been a good run out.”
In some University fixtures, you often see county sides opt against enforcing the follow-on to give themselves more time in the middle. But Lancashire did not go down that route yesterday afternoon.
“We knew the pitch was slowing up a bit and that it would be a challenge for our bowlers. What you don't really want to do is come here and have an easy day in the field having bowled them out cheaply and bat again and go home without having done any real work,” explained Chapple.
“This was a test for our bowlers. Kabir had a day off, but out there we had two bowlers, one who's coming back from injury in Gavin and the other who's developing in Jordan. That was proper work.
“Teams love to win, and we're happy with the result. But we also wanted competitive cricket and people to be challenged. We got that.”
Reece’s innings for the students, which included only three fours in 162 balls, will have pleased Chapple and coach Peter Moores as he bids for a first-team opportunity with Lancashire. But he was caught at second slip by Andrea Agathangelou off Clark - the same way Gubbins had fallen.
Griffiths had Charlie MacLeod caught at third slip by Brown and Harry Rouse caught behind. Parry bowled Andy Laws and had James Lee and Alex MacQueen caught at short cover by Tom Smith to wrap up the innings.
Brown hit 32 off 22 balls in the chase before edging Rouse behind. Smith also hit 27 before chopping the same bowler on to stumps. Moore smashed his second ball for a straight six off the spin of MacQueen before nudging a single to clinch victory.