Lancashire defeat the Steelbacks

Opener Paul Horton smashed his first century of the season as Lancashire recorded back-to-back Friends Provident Trophy wins with a comprehensive six-wicket victory against Northamptonshire at the County Ground.

Horton struggled for form against Sussex during the week picking up just five runs in two innings but smashed his way into form hitting 100 off 108 balls as the Lightning comfortably chased down 240.

South African all-rounder Andrew Hall provided the backbone to the Northants innings smashing 81 off 93 balls but had little support with Riki Wessels’ 45 the only real contribution.

Seamer Saj Mahmood was the pick of the bowlers and did his England chances no harm with figures of three for 38 off nine overs as Lancashire built on last week’s comprehensive win over Glamorgan.

Lightning skipper Glen Chapple won the toss and immediately reaped the rewards of putting Northants in when Stephen Peters edged Kyle Hogg to Horton at slip for one in the second over.

South African Hall – in at number three – took the attack to Hogg and Chapple but saw his partnership with Rob White cut short when Tom Smith snared the opener for 25.

Northants skipper Nicky Boje added 54 with fellow Protea Hall before being the next to go off Chapple for 28 with the score at 115 for two.

Hogg soon sent Hall back to the pavilion for 81 moments after keeper Niall O’Brien was dismissed for nine.

Wessels and David Willey steadied the ship with a much-needed partnership of 51 as the Steelbacks moved to 210 for five.

But when former England international Mahmood cleaned up Willey for 13 there was to be no way back for Northants.

Steven Crook, David Lucas and England spinner Monty Panesar all fell cheaply as Mahmood and Smith combined to see off the Steelbacks inside 48 overs.

Lancashire’s response was more measured with openers Smith and Horton easing the score to 59 from the opening 10 overs.

Steelbacks left-arm seamer Lucas did his best to get Northants back into contention picking up two wickets in two balls but Lancashire’s strength in depth proved too much.

Lucas first trapped Smith for 28 before sending South African overseas player Ashwell Prince trudging back to the pavilion for a duck.

Prince’s departure brought former skipper Mark Chilton to the crease and he settled in nicely anchoring Horton’s century with 41 off 73 balls in a match-winning stand of 120.

Boje chopped and changed his attack using seven bowlers and it paid off when former Warwickshire seamer Lee Daggett finally removed Horton for 100.

Chilton followed in the next over edging Willey to keeper O’Brien as Lancashire threatened to wobble.

But no more wickets fell as an unbeaten 59-run partnership from Francois du Plessis (24 not out) and Steven Croft (35 not out) saw the visitors home with five overs to spare.

Lancashire defeat the Steelbacks