Tom Wells made a sparkling 61-ball hundred but Leicestershire Second XI lost a high-scoring game by three wickets against Lancashire at Lutterworth CC.
Steve Croft proved the star turn for the visitors as he took 1-24 from eight overs of off-spin before smashing an unbeaten 92. The key moment of the game came when the skipper was dropped on 20 off the bowling of Nathan Buck.
Lancashire won the toss and asked Leicestershire to bat under a cloudless sky. A very healthy number of spectators ringed the boundary when Leicestershire commenced their innings.
The trees that lined the Leicester Road end of the ground stood smartly to attention, with their many leaves in full summer plumage being undisturbed by a gentle breeze that woke from its slumbers from time to time.
County opened with trialists Karl Turner and Grant Hodnett, and the pair provided a sound platform to the innings with a partnership of 87 before Turner was caught and bowled by Croft for 34.
Angus Robson joined Hodnett but the opener soon departed caught by Croft off Jordan Clark after scoring 47. Wells partnered Robson, and the pair increased the tempo in adding 67 at a run a ball. Robson was run out for 26 (37) in attempting a second run.
Wells, meanwhile, was finding the boundary regularly and was feasting on the bowling served up to him. He reached his 50 from 38 balls (6x4,2x6) and went to his 100 in just 23 more deliveries (61b, 14x4,3x6).
The big-hitting Wells finally went for 111, 'keeper Alex Davies taking a steepler off the bowling of former County man Wayne White. Wells' runs came from just 68 balls, and he was also partnered by Rob Taylor (8, 6b) and Ben Raine, who was run out for a run a ball 24.
George Corbett was 1 not out and Oliver Steele was run out for 1, County closing on 268-7 from their 40 overs. Bowling figures for Lancashire were: White 7-1-52-1, Griffiths 8-0-53-0, Clark 8-0-71-2, Ghaus 3-0-31-0, Croft 8-2-24-1, McKiernan 4-0-22-0, Livingstone 2-0-10-0.
The Lancashire innings got off to a blistering start and they raced to 88-0 off the first eight overs. Davies was the destroyer in chief making 62 of the total from 32 balls with one of his sixes crashing into the scorebox roof, making both scorers dive for cover! The unfortunate recipients of this eight over carnage were Robbie Williams, Buck and Raine.
Stumper Davies' opening partner Stephen Moore (31, 20b) went in the 9th over, caught by Wells off Rob Taylor with the score on 97. Croft joined Davies to embark on what was to become a matchwinning innings.
Davies soon followed Moore, falling lbw to Raine when trying to perform a 'Dilshan' having scored 63 from 34 balls. His 50 came from only 27 balls, including nine fours and a maximum. County then fought their way further back into the game as Clark (3) went caught and bowled by Taylor, leaving Lancs on 104-3 from 9.1 overs.
All-round duo White and Croft added 78 for the fourth wicket before White (39, 47b) was brilliantly caught by Wells on the long-on boundary off Robson. Lancs then had a mini collapse as Livingstone (0) was caught by Turner at deep square off Buck, and Oliver Newby also departed for 0, bowled by Taylor.
Leg spinner Robson was turning in a good spell from the Leicester Road end, and had Henry Thompson (6) caught behind when cutting by Oliver Steele. Lancs were now 205-7 still needing 64 from 12 overs.
However, Mattie McKiernan made 19 (23b) to support Croft who ended on 92 not out, his 50 coming from 44 balls (5x4,1x6). His innings spanned 79 balls in total. County were left to reflect on the cost of the missed opportunity when Croft was put down on the square leg boundary after hooking Buck in the 18th over.
Bowling figures returned for Leicestershire: Williams 7-0-68-0, Buck 8-0-46-1, Taylor 7-0-49-3, Raine 6-0-44-1, Rob Sayer 3-0-27-0, Robson 6-0-34-2.
Sincere thanks to all at Lutterworth CC for the work put in to host the game. A special mention to Linda and Roger for their excellent work on the catering side, and to Jeff and his team of groundstaff.