Paul Horton would fulfill a childhood dream if he scored a hundred at Lord's this week.
The Lancashire opener, who debuted for the county in 2003, has never played a first-class match at the home of cricket in his 10 seasons as a professional cricketer, although he has played one-day matches there.
Horton is certainly not the first player to have spoken about his dreams of raising his bat at Lord’s, and he won’t be the last either.
But the 29 year-old, who has two hundreds to his name already this summer and impressed with 78 in Saturday’s CB40 semi-final defeat against Warwickshire, would bite your hand off if you offered him two golden ducks and a Lancashire win.
The Red Rose county head south knowing that it may take two wins in their last two matches to preserve their Division One status, starting with tomorrow’s clash against mid-table Middlesex, who they drew at Liverpool earlier this season.
Currently occupying second from bottom in the table, Lancashire round off their campaign against close rivals Surrey at Liverpool next week.
“I've never played a first-class game at Lord's,” confirmed the Liverpudlian. “To bat and score a hundred probably would be a childhood dream. If you want any inspiration, that would be it - let alone keeping Lancashire in the top-flight. That's the goal for this week.
"The key is to take one step at a time. We need to win the first session come Tuesday. It doesn't help us if we lose the first session. We need to win the first session, the second and the third. We need to win more sessions than Middlesex over the four days. Hopefully the weather stays fine and we get a win. If you look too far ahead, the game passes you by.
“Going down would hurt us. For a big club like us, with the talent in the squad, we shouldn't be playing in Division Two. We should really be challenging for the title, not scrapping to stay up. That's the reality.
“We've finished in the top four for the last few years. We should really be finishing up there not down at the bottom.”
Horton has recently gained a new partner at the top of the Red Rose order in Luke Procter, a player with minimal experience of opening the batting in first-team cricket although he has impressed up top for the seconds in the past.
“I've had some openers over the years, that's part and parcel of it,” he added. “Moorey hasn't really fired recently, but Luke's come in. It's a tough ask, but he's well capable of doing it. It just makes my responsibility even greater. I need to step up to the plate and stand up and be tall. There is even more importance on my role than there ever has been.”
Lancashire’s last visit to Lord’s for a Championship match was in 2006 when they beat Middlesex by 10 wickets. Brad Hodge scored 161 as the visitors made 505 in their first innings before Dominic Cork took two four-wicket hauls to leave a victory target of 83. Mark Chilton and Iain Sutcliffe knocked off the runs with ease.
Squad: Glen Chapple (c), Andrea Agathangelou, Karl Brown, Steven Croft, Gareth Cross (wk), Kyle Hogg, Paul Horton, Gary Keedy, Simon Kerrigan, Oliver Newby, Luke Procter, Ashwell Prince, Ajmal Shahzad, Tom Smith