The best is yet to come. That is the view of Peter Moores as Lancashire prepare to face Gloucestershire at Liverpool
Lancashire have a 14-man squad travelling to Aigburth with Simon Katich returning following the head injury he sustained in the nets at Hampshire last week.
Lancashire (from): Glen Chapple (capt), Andrea Agathangelou, Karl Brown, Steven Croft, Gareth Cross (wkt), Kyle Hogg, Simon Katich, Simon Kerrigan, Stephen Moore, Oliver Newby, Stephen Parry, Ashwell Prince, Luke Procter, Wayne White.
Gloucestershire (from): Dent, Klinger (capt), Housego, Marshall, A Gidman, Howell, Roderick, Young, Miles, Fuller, Norwell, McCarter.
The Red Rose county are joint second in the LV= County Championship Division Two table with Essex on 62 points having won two and drawn three of their five matches so far, their most recent fixture against Hampshire finishing in a draw at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday.
Ironically, Lancashire’s least convincing performances in the Championship have come during their wins against Glamorgan and Essex, with them going up a gear just in the nick of the time during the final day of each encounter.
They were ahead against Hampshire for the majority, with three hundreds for Andrea Agathangelou, Gareth Cross and Steven Croft three major positives. As was their first-innings bowling performance when they bowled Hampshire out for 258 in batsman-friendly conditions.
Ahead of tomorrow’s clash with the Bristol-based county, Moores said: "We've played some good cricket, but we haven't played to our full potential yet. We have still managed to win two games, but I think there is a lot more to come from the team.
“I'm hoping we can start it against Gloucestershire where a lot of areas of the team are all playing well at the same time. Then we are going to be a very tough team to play against.”
It would be a major surprise if Agathangelou did not get the opportunity to build on his 170 runs in the match against Hampshire, including a first-innings 121 - his maiden Championship century.
"He's stuck his hand up and said 'you've given me a chance, I've taken it',” continued Moores.
“He played brilliantly both innings to be fair. He was very composed and calm, and it's a great position for us to be in. We've had some challenges with our batting over the last couple of games, but for somebody to come in and stand up is fantastic.
"You normally judge an innings by how many times they play and miss or get hit on the pads, and I can't remember him playing and missing or getting hit on the pads hardly at all.
"That's a testament to how well he played. He accumulated his runs, and it wasn't block, block, bang. It was a very mature innings. That's going to set him up hopefully.”
This is the first Championship fixture between the two counties since September 2004 when they played out a draw at Old Trafford. It was a match Gary Keedy will remember fondly for taking seven wickets in each innings.
It will be the ninth Championship clash between the two at the Aigburth ground, the last of the previous eight coming in 1961.
"We've seen Gloucestershire in one-day cricket quite a bit, but that's part of the challenge,” said Moores. “We're going to have to play some good cricket. By the same token, they won't have seen too much of us in Championship cricket, so it's a fair deal.”
Captain Glen Chapple needs just one more wicket to reach 900 in his first-class career this week. He will become the 16th Lancashire player to reach the milestone whether it is this week or later in the season.
Moores expects to be congratulating the 39-year-old this week: “There aren't many games when Glen goes through a game without getting a wicket,” he added. “900 is a big milestone - it's a lot of wickets - especially in the modern game. He's a great performer. He'll be hoping to be 900 and a few by the end of that game.”
Gloucestershire head to Merseyside having won one of their five Championship matches this season.
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh