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Lancs reach 92 without loss on rain-hit day

Stand-in captain Paul Horton and Luis Reece steered Lancashire to 92-0 before rain put paid to the first day of the LV=CC game at Old Trafford.

Horton (42 not out) and Reece (31 not out) prospered after Matthew Boyce won the toss and inserted Lancashire, with the young left-hander looking for his seventh consecutive first-class 50.

Only 21 overs of play were possible in Manchester, and they all came before the luncheon interval. The closest County came to a wicket was when Nathan Buck had a loud lbw appeal against Horton.

Leicestershire made four changes to the side that lost at Gloucestershire as Niall O’Brien, Michael Thornely, Tom Wells and Buck came in for Shiv Thakor, Josh Cobb, Alex Wyatt and Matthew Hoggard, who today announced his retirement from cricket after a wonderful career.

A combination of rain and bad light meant there was a delayed start until 10.45am, and the floodlights were on when the match started. There was another stoppage after 15 minutes of play with Lancashire 12-0 after 4.3 overs at that point.

The players returned to the field at 11.15am, so the second delay of the morning was of identical length to the first. Although there had been no boundary off the bat in the first eight overs, the openers cut loose as 30 came from the next two overs.

Reece struck Freckingham for three fours in the 9th over as he produced a flowing cover drive between two pull strokes. Horton then hit three boundaries in the space of four Buck deliveries and although Angus Robson did well to stop the fifth ball at long leg, the batsmen ran four.

The Red Rose county had now passed the 50 mark and there was a bowling change as Ben Raine replaced Freckingham. The all-rounder started with a maiden and went on to record fine figures in his first spell.

A couple of moments then summed up Leicestershire’s fortune on the morning. Horton picked up five in the 12th over from Buck (7-1-33-0) as a James Sykes shy at the wicket reached the ropes. Had the ball hit the stumps, it would have been touch-and-go.

A fierce Horton cut then headed towards Raine in the gully and although the fielder banged his hands on the ground in frustration at not clinging on, it was going like a tracer bullet.

Freckingham (7-0-40-0) replaced Buck for a second spell, and Horton greeted his arrival by driving and cutting to the boundary. Horton continued to impress by twice driving down the ground to the fence in Freckingham’s next over.

The last two overs from Wells (1-1-0-0) and Raine (6-3-7-0) were maidens but Lancashire went to lunch in excellent shape on 92-0 after 21 overs. But their progress was halted by the weather, which left umpires David Millns and George Sharp little choice but to call play off after tea.


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