Kyle Hogg was the Lancashire hero in a nail-biting Clydesdale Bank 40 win over the Unicorns at Colwyn Bay today
The all-rounder scored the lion’s share of the 13 runs needed off the last over to chase down 254 off the very last ball.
It meant that the Lightning survived a five wicket haul from medium pacer Neil Hancock. But only just! They won by two wickets.
Lancashire were winning this match at a canter when Karl Brown and Paul Horton were at the crease, and pressing on relentlessly during an opening stand 115 inside 21 overs.
The game looked to be hurtling towards a one-sided finish with those two together, but 34 year-old ex-Somerset man Hancock had other ideas.
The burly Ian Blackwell lookalike returned 5-64 from eight overs to change the course of the match completely, and give the hosts a sniff of their fourth win - one which would have seen them leapfrog their opponents in the Group A table.
Only when you looked at the board and saw that Lancashire needed 93 runs off the last ten overs did you ever think anything other than a win for Horton’s men was possible.
And it took a 43-ball 51 from Steven Croft to get the visitors back on track.
Hogg, who finished 35 not out off 26 balls to add to his two wickets earlier in the day, hit 12 of the 13 runs needed off Jonathan Miles’ final over to secure a win, celebrating as if the Red Rose had won the competition.
Who says there is any such thing as a dead match?
Hogg commented: “It got closer than we would have liked. After the start we made I would have thought we’d have knocked them off easier than we did. It was about time we won one of them. We have come up a bit short sometimes this season, so it is nice to get one in the bank.”
Innings of 84 off 69 balls and 64 off 70 from Keith Parsons and ex-Worcestershire wicketkeeper Josh Knappett had earlier taken the hosts to a competitive 253-7 in good batting conditions after Horton had won the toss and elected to bowl.
Luke Procter finished with 3-29 from his six overs of medium pace and man of the moment Hogg had started his day to remember with 2-27 from eight.
The Unicorns had recovered from 31-2, but they would have surely posted a winning total had they not lost four wickets in the last nine overs of their innings.
Skipper Parsons, the 37 year-old Somerset stalwart, and Knappett had taken a liking to Stephen Parry and Gary Montgomery in particular during a fourth wicket stand of 120 in 16 overs.
Knappett swept Parry for two sixes into the pavilion, while Parsons hit Montgomery for a six over mid wicket and also pulled Parry over square leg.
Procter bowled Michael O’Shea and Neil Saker, and also had Hancock caught at deep mid wicket by Brown.
Procter had earlier helped to set Lancs on their way with a superb diving catch running around from deep square leg to mid wicket to give Daren Powell the early scalp of Jackson Thompson.
Brown then hit 64 off 70 balls and Horton 63 off 71 to put the visitors on top, hitting three sixes between them.
Horton pulled Miles behind square, Brown flicked Glen Querl over mid wicket and smeared Hancock over long off to leave the trio of reporters cowering in the press gazebo.
But then Hancock intervened with his memorable burst.
He bowled Brown off an inside edge, forced Mark Chilton to chip to deep mid wicket, deceived Gareth Cross with a slower ball – he was caught at point - bowled Croft and had Procter caught at long on.
Croft hit three sixes and four fours in his entertaining effort before Hogg’s late heroics included a straight six into the gardens overlooking the Embankment End of this picturesque ground.
Graham Hardcastle at Colwyn Bay
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd