Luis Reece insists Lancashire still have a lot of hard work ahead of them before they can celebrate a return to Division One of the LV= County Championship.
The in-form opener, who has scored fifties in his last four innings, knows only too well the Red Rose are 65 points clear of third-placed Essex with four matches to go, including tomorrow’s clash with Hampshire at Southport.
The county only need 56 more points at the most to secure promotion, and they could achieve that goal in their next but one match against Leicestershire at Emirates Old Trafford should results go their way.
With seven wins already in the bag, it could be that Lancashire do not have to win again in their last four matches to go up. But why leave it to chance?
“Yes, we do (have some daylight),” said 23-year-old left-hander. “But we understand that we need a couple more wins to make certain of that. There’s no resting. There’s a lot of hard work in front. Hopefully a couple of wins this week and in the next game will have us up.”
Reece has scored 53, 85, 59 and 56 not out in his last four Championship innings, the latter two in the most recent win against Worcestershire at New Road, which finished on Sunday.
“It’s nice to contribute,” he said. “I’d rather get a big one first innings so that I don’t have to go out there second innings, but it’s good to contribute. The lads have done really well. Kat got a big hundred (at Worcester), and a lot of it is down to him because he put us in a good position.
“I’ve been hitting them reasonably well. The year’s gone quite well for me. The thing about the fixture list is that the games come thick and fast. If you get in a bit of form, you can run with it and see where it takes you.”
Despite being in the early stages of his professional career with Lancashire, Reece is a cricketer of some pedigree.
He has starred for Leeds/Bradford University, whom he has captained this year, with both bat and ball, scoring a hundred in a win over Leicestershire earlier this year and taking seven wickets with his left-arm medium pace against Sussex last.
He bowled for the first time in the Championship at Worcester, getting Matt Pardoe caught behind in the first innings.
“I love bowling and being involved in the game,” he added. “I understand my way into the side is through my ability with the bat. The ball is a bonus. If someone picks up a niggle or it isn’t coming out right, I’m there if needed. I’ve taken a few first-class wickets at uni level, so I know that I can do a job at this level.”
Coach Peter Moores is delighted with Reece’s form. He said: “He’s playing really well. The nice thing is it looks simple and repeatable. He’s played really good cricket. It’s nice to see a young man come in and take a chance when he gets it.”
With only two wins from eleven matches, Hampshire are closer to the bottom of the table than the top. They desperately need a win keep themselves in with a chance of promotion. There is a 51-point gap between themselves and second-placed Northamptonshire, but they do have a game in hand.
Squad: Glen Chapple (capt), Andrea Agathangelou, Karl Brown, Steven Croft, Gareth Cross (wkt), Kyle Hogg, Paul Horton, Simon Katich, Simon Kerrigan, Oliver Newby, Ashwell Prince, Luke Procter, Luis Reece, Tom Smith.