Paul Horton was Lancashire's star of the show with a steadfast 110 during today's first day of their LV= County Championship match against Surrey
A day interrupted by the weather yet again at Guildford finished with the Red Rose well placed at 245-3 from 81 overs.
Horton found the boundary 15 times in his 237-ball stay at the crease, adding to the match-saving 137 not out he scored against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in May.
The 29 year-old also passed 500 runs for the Championship campaign shortly after bringing up three figures in the latter half of the evening session. He was helped along by Karl Brown’s 49, the pair sharing an important second-wicket stand of 122 in 36 overs, and added 64 inside 23 overs with Ashwell Prince for the third wicket.
Prince will resume day two unbeaten on 32, and he is also closing in on a milestone. The South African is just seven away from posting 700 runs for the season.
I was a bit disappointed not to carry my bat at the end of the day, but I’d have taken that at the start,” said Horton. “It’s a fast-scoring ground, and you get good value for your shots. We managed to see off the new ball and build slowly through the day.
“I missed out a couple of times early in the season, and I felt the luck wasn’t riding my way. It’s nice to get a hundred.”
Having been invited to bat first, openers Horton and Stephen Moore started cautiously against the new ball pair of Chris Tremlett and Jon Lewis on a true playing pitch.
Moore cut Lewis to the boundary in the second over, scything Tremlett to the fence shortly afterwards as the Red Rose reached 44-0 after ten overs, also thanks to Horton taking successive boundaries off Stuart Meaker in the tenth.
He clipped the England one-day bowler off his legs behind square and guided him through mid-wicket as eleven runs came off the over.
Meaker gained some success in the 14th over when Moore was the first Lancashire wicket to fall - and their only loss in the morning session - when he was trapped lbw for 24 as he played back. That left Lancashire at 47-1.
The visitors claimed five runs courtesy of an overthrow from wicketkeeper Steve Davies after Brown and Horton, whose partnership began to flourish, had run three to third-man during the second half of the morning.
And they gained a further slice of luck on the stroke of lunch when Brown was dropped by captain Gareth Batty at first slip on 30 off Tremlett’s bowling with the score on 106.
Horton reached a 95-ball half-century just before the break, continuing his impressive innings largely untroubled through the afternoon - although he did see an outside edge off Tremlett fall just short of former team-mate Kartik Murali at second slip whilst on 55.
Horton late cut Batty’s off-spin to the point boundary as he approached 80, by which time he and Brown had brought up their century stand.
Brown followed that by lofting Batty straight down the ground for four in the same over, the 49th, but fell shortly afterwards when he was caught behind by Davies off Meaker’s bowling, leaving the score at 169-2.
Rain arrived to signal an early tea with Lancashire at 188-2 and Horton on 85. When play resumed, Horton cut Kartik to the fence to move to 90.
A further spell of rain arrived just as Lancashire reached 200 followed by a third shower, combined with some bad light, after the players had returned to the field for just one ball.
When play resumed again, Horton notched the 15th ton of his first-class career off 219 balls including 14 fours.
“They probably thought there was a little bit more moisture in the track than panned out when they decided to bowl,” added Horton. “They bowled well through the middle period of the day, they applied themselves and dried us up. But, thankfully, we managed to see that off.”
Photo of Paul Horton (c) Nigel French/EMPICS
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd