Lancashire suffer fall from Grace
Lancashire slumped to a heavy defeat at the hands of struggling Leicestershire in the Royal London Cup at Grace Road.
It was Leicestershire’s first win in the competition since August, 2014 as they prevailed by 131 runs.
Mark Pettini (92) and Mark Cosgrove (91) powered Leicestershire to 307 for eight from their 50 overs after being sent into bat.
Then career-best List A bowling figures from Neil Dexter (four for 22) helped dismiss Lancashire for 176 in reply, with more than 10 overs unused.
The win was the Foxes’ first in the competition since beating Hampshire almost two years ago and saw them climb off the bottom of the North Group, with Lancashire now occupying that position.
Put in by visiting captain Steven Croft, Leicestershire’s innings began steadily with former Lancashire opener Paul Horton hitting five boundaries in his 32 before being trapped lbw to a Tom Smith delivery that stayed a little low.
Cameron Delport made a fluent 25 before edging an attempted drive at Jordan Clark behind, but from 93 for two, Pettini and Cosgrove joined forces in a 140-run stand that set Leicestershire on their way to exceeding 300.
Neither player was able to reach their hundred, though, with captain Pettini departing when, having hit nine fours in his 99-ball stay, he tried to clip Smith to midwicket and went leg before.
Cosgrove too looked set for three figures, but hit Nathan Buck high to long-off where Croft claimed a spectacular catch. He looked set to concede a six as he fell back over the boundary as he caught the ball above his head, but had the presence of mind to toss the ball back over the ropes as he did so, and the athleticism to then scramble back and claim the catch before it hit the ground.
Cosgrove’s 91 came off 82 balls, and included 11 fours.
Lewis Hill and Michael Burgess followed in short order, but Dexter hit Stephen Parry for consecutive sixes and Niall O’Brien also hit out to good effect to help the Foxes to 307.
It looked a competitive total, if not necessarily intimidating on a flat wicket facing a Leicestershire attack lacking strike bowler Clint McKay.
The target looked even more achievable when Smith (56) and Alviro Petersen (24) were adding 74 for Lancashire’s first wicket in just under 14 overs.
However, that stand was broken when Petersen was stumped as he attempted to reverse sweep the off-spin of Rob Sayer.
The introduction of Dexter’s medium-pace increased Lancashire’s problems, although Karl Brown had only himself to blame as he pulled a short ball into the hands of Ollie Freckingham at deep square leg.
Smith looked in outstanding touch, hitting eight fours in going to his 50, but remarkably then became Horton’s first victim in List A cricket.
Horton had not previously bowled a single delivery in 105 List A matches, but was thrown the ball by Pettini and saw Smith’s mis-timed attempt to hit his third ball over long on give Hill a catch at mid-on.
Dexter then bowled Luke Procter and ended Liam Livingstone’s frenetic innings with an out-swinger that found the edge, and the writing was on the wall when Delport picked up two wickets in as many balls, those of Jordan Clark and Croft.
Dexter trimmed Kyle Jarvis’s off-bail with an out-swinger, and Dieter Klein, making his first-team debut for the Foxes - the South African left-armer is on trial with the county - ended the match by having Tom Moores caught by Cosgrove at extra cover.