Buttler Serves Up Lightning Victory

LANCASHIRE LIGHTNING 187-3: Buttler 58*       (Middlebrook 2-26)



Lancashire Lightning proved to be too hot to handle for their opponents on Friday evening when the Northamptonshire Steelbacks was dismantled by the Red Rose County with both bat and ball, namely in the form of Lightning`s Junaid Khan with the ball and Jos Buttler with the bat. It saw Lancashire go joint top once more with the leaders Worcester Rapids in the Natwest t20 Blast Northern section, with the Lightning beating last year`s tournament champions by a massive 53 runs and saw the hosts never allowing the opposition to get any kind of foothold in the match at the Emirates Old Trafford on way to victory.

It saw Lancashire win the coin toss and elect to bat first, which has been an advantage to the Lightning side in this year`s competition and saw openers Tom Smith and Ashwell Prince start out for the home side in their twenty overs. 
  The hosts opening wicket of their innings went down, when Tom Smith who has had a stunning t20 campaign so far for the Red Rose County, saw Smith sky his shot up in the air from a David Willey delivery and had James Middlebrook take the catch to see him out for (2).

  This led to Prince and Karl Brown then putting on a 90 run partnership between the pair for the Second wicket as the Lightning moved onto 99-1, before both batsmen departed in quick succession with Karl Brown being the first to go, when he was caught out by Keogh off the bowling of Middlebrook for (46).

South African Ashwell Prince then followed suit next ball, as Middlebrook took his second wicket with former Lancashire player Steven Crook taking the catch to see Prince return to the dugout for (43).  James Middlebrook was now on a hat-trick and with it saw him unable to take three successive wickets in a row and that was as good as it got for the visiting Steelbacks.
  It saw Steven Croft and notably England International Jos Buttler go on a scoring streak and move Lancs past the three figures before motoring the home side to a fairly high total score at the Emirates Old Trafford this season in the t20 Blast.

Steven Croft made (29) runs from 20 balls in his innings, which saw him record four Four`s on his way to his total, while his partner at the other in Jos Buttler saw the Wicket-keeping batsman for the Lightning make an impressive and game changing (58) from his 26 balls, that saw the talented England International smash three 4`s and three 6`s to help his side reach a difficult 187 for 3 from their twenty overs to put pressure on their opponents.

Northampton had been set a tough a target to try and knock off by the hosts, with history not on their side either. With no side scoring over 187 to beat Lancashire in a run chase at Old Trafford in t20 history. 
  In truth, the reply for the Steelbacks never remotely got started at all saw and it didn`t help their cause either when Northamptonshire found themselves two wickets down in their second over. They lost Richard Levi for (3) thanks to some superb work by Ashwell Prince in the field to the Lightning man pick up the ball and throw down the stumps to run out Levi, when it seemed certain the batsman would make it home for the single.

Fast bowler Junaid Khan then got in on the act in the same over when he showed his pace, as he clean bowled the danger man for the Steelbacks in David Willey and he went for (1).  It saw the scoreboard make dismal reading for Northamptonshire after 1.3 overs gone their innings, with them two down for just three runs in their run chase.
  David Sales and Rob Keogh then put on a stand of 42 to see the Steelbacks try their best efforts to get back in the contest and despite Sales hitting two Sixes in his inning of (25), even he couldn`t help but see his shot find Karl Brown in the field and the Lightning man was happy to take the catch as Aaron Lilley picked up first wicket of the match.

Steven Crook then went for (14) off the bowling of Stephen Parry with Ashwell Prince catching him out and when Rob Keogh fell for (28) lbw to Lilley, it seemed that it was just a matter of time now before the rest fell like a house of cards.
  However the Lightning then found Ben Duckett and Matt Spriegel difficult to move from the crease as it saw the Northamptonshire duo put on a good little partnership of 50 between them. Unfortunately for Duckett he was out for (17) as Prince took the catch from Kabir Ali`s bowling to see them 124 for 6 and then it was Spriegel sent packing, as he was run out by Prince for (32) as they lost quick wickets.

James Middlebrook came to the crease and was out shortly after for just (1) when Junaid Khan knocked over his stumps to see him head back to the Steelbacks dugout. It saw Oliver Stone make a quick return himself, as he was out for a duck to see Khan on a Hat-trick for the hosts, but the new batsman Azharullah came in to face the hat trick ball off the Pakistani International and seen him manage to survive the delivery.

It saw Lancashire Lightning one wicket away from winning the match and in a phrase coined by Sky commentator and former Lancashire coach David Lloyd, it was very much the case of ‘Start the Car!’ as the Steelbacks were outplayed in this contest from the off and were eventually bowled out for a miserable 134 all out.
  It saw Kabir Ali taking the final wicket of the match when he got Graham White out for (6) with Steven Croft claiming the catch to see the Lightning rolling along to a 53 run victory and seen them move closer to progressing to the quarter finals of the competition.

Lancashire Innings187 for 3 (20.0 overs)

Runs Minutes Balls 4s 6s
Smith c Middlebrook b Willey 2 4 4 0 0
Prince c Crook b Middlebrook 43 47 33 7 0
Brown c Keogh b Middlebrook 46 41 38 6 0
Buttler not out 58* 28 26 3 3
Croft not out 29* 27 20 4 0
Extras 2nb 2w 3b 2lb 9
Total for 3 (20.0 ovs) 187
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Spriegel 1.0 0 8 0
Willey 2.0 0 12 1
Stone 4.0 0 37 0
Crook 2.0 0 17 0
Azharullah 3.0 0 38 0
White 4.0 0 44 0
Middlebrook 4.0 0 26 2
Fall of Wicket
9 Smith
99 Brown
99 Prince
Back to top

Northamptonshire Innings134 all out (18.5 overs)

Runs Minutes Balls 4s 6s
Levi run out (Prince) 2 4 6 0 0
Willey b Khan 1 6 3 0 0
Sales c Brown b Lilley 25 24 24 2 1
Keogh lbw b Lilley 28 36 28 1 0
Crook c Prince b Parry 14 10 11 0 1
Duckett c Brown b Ali 17 20 15 1 0
Spriegel run out (Prince) 32 19 16 4 1
Middlebrook b Khan 1 3 3 0 0
White c Croft b Ali 6 7 4 0 0
Stone b Khan 0 1 0 0
Azharullah not out 3* 3 3 0 0
Extras 2nb 3w 0b 0lb 5
Total all out (18.5 ovs) 134
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Croft 4.0 0 17 0
Khan 3.0 1 16 3
Ali 3.5 0 37 2
Parry 4.0 0 36 1
Lilley 4.0 0 28 2

Fall of Wicket
3 Levi
3 Willey
45 Sales
71 Crook
74 Keogh
124 Duckett
124 Spriegel
128 Middlebrook
128 Stone
134 White






Tom Smith 50                                                                                   Matt Boyce 47

Lancashire Lightning bounced back from their controversial Roses clash to arch-rivals the Yorkshire Vikings last week and saw the Lightning hold their nerve to see off a dogged Leicestershire Foxes side at the Emirates Old Trafford, with them edging victory by just nine runs to see them remain at the top two of the Northern section of the Natwest t20 blast competition with victory.
  It saw the Lightning win the toss and choose to bat first, much like they have done over the entire campaign and where they have been very successful in defending their totals throughout  in all but one of their matches this season.
Tom Smith and Ashwell Prince were the opening duo for the home side and between them, saw the pairing rotating the strike as they made a steady start to the Lancashire Innings and was going well, that was till Richard Jones delivery to Prince was hit to Matt Boyce in the field and where he took the catch to remove the former South African batsman for just (12) runs after Three overs of play.
  Tom Smith carried on his fantastic t20 batting this year, with the opener hitting a six off the bowling of Ben Raine to see the Red Rose county 37-1 after four overs gone. Karl Brown then tried to take on Jones in the next over, as after hitting him for a four the next delivery he faced saw him edge behind to wicketkeeper Niall O`Brien and saw him depart for just (7) runs.
  Smith and Captain for the T20`s in Paul Horton saw both Lancashire batsmen`s help the hosts along to 82-2 after 11 overs of play, with Tom Smith edging closer to his half century.  It then saw a mixture fortunes for Smith in the 12th over, when he smashed a Six into the Old Trafford crowd to see him reach his fifty, but fell the very next ball as he was given out lbw off the bowling of Rob Taylor.
  The hosts were 91-3 when new batsman Jos Buttler walked out to the middle and the England International tried to help his side get going a bit in the match as they seemed to have slowed down a tad in their innings.
  Paul Horton went off the bowling of Jones for (40) as the Leicestershire man claimed his second wicket of the Innings, to see the Lightning four down and coming to a tricky part of their Innings.
  Jos Buttler then shown glimpse of his devastating batting power when he hit a big six off Anthony Ireland in the 18th over with his recent 121 for England in the One Day International against Sri Lanka recently it saw a new confidence installed in Buttler and was playing like a new man since making the move from Somerset in the winter.
With the final couple of overs left in the hosts Innings, it saw Steven Croft taking on Jones who he hit to the boundary and then fell the following ball for just (7) runs scored, before Jos Buttler was soon joining him back in the team dugout as he tried to played a creative shot but could only it flick it up in the air and saw Jigar Naik take the easy wicket to leave Lancashire 145-6.
  In the final over it saw Jordan Clark hit a six into the crowd before then picking out Smith in the field with Ireland picking up a wicket too see the home side 146-7. Then Aaron Lilley then rallied with a four and a six to see the Lightning post 166 after their twenty overs.
Leicestershire in their reply to Lancashire`s total saw them requiring 167 runs for victory to see them topple the best defensive side in the competition so far this year.
  It started off very well for the Foxes with Josh Cobb striking a Six and a Four in successive balls to see the visitors getting a good start to their run chase. Cobb then hit Jordan Clark out the stadium with another six as he was getting into the Lancs attack from the start.
  Niall O`Brien then succumb to the bowling of Clark soon after, as substitute fielder Alex Davies took the catch to see the Leicestershire man out for just (9) runs scored.
Pakistani International Junaid Khan then came into the bowling attack and had Josh Cobb caught out by Tom Smith, as the fast bowler applied some pressure onto the Foxes Innings as they were 39 for 2 after Five overs gone in their reply.
  Kabir Ali then struck in the next over the Lightning, with the bowler getting Greg Smith out for (6) with Paul Horton taking the catch to see the Foxes man head back to the dugout at the end the over.
Matt Boyce then came to the crease to join Ned Eckersley at 46 for 3 and they both put on the second highest partnership of the match, as they helped the Foxes in their run chase as they put on 41 runs between them to move Leicestershire to 86 for 4.
  Ned Eckersley was then brilliantly caught and bowled off Stephen Parry for (12) as it seen Lancashire finally make the breakthrough to break up the pairing.
As it got down to the final four overs of the Foxes innings, it saw them needing another 46 runs off the remaining 24 balls. The only hope the visitors had of getting close to the total was that of Matt Boyce who was doing his best at the crease and was getting close to his half century.
  However the second ball of Junaid Khan`s third over saw him clean bowl Boyce to see the Lightning grab the advantage back in the game once again. Tom Wells then put up the last resistance for the Leicestershire Foxes as hit a six off Khan and then when trying to push on and put pressure back on the home side in the final over, he fell short going for another huge hit and found Jordan Clark ready to the catch and saw the end of his cameo for the away team.
   Rob Taylor then struck a six the very next ball and with the final over to be bowled by Kabir Ali, it saw Leicestershire needing 17 runs from it to win the match.
  But some good death bowling by the Lancashire Lightning man saw them restricted to singles or threes, with the last ball of the match saw Ali bowl Rob Taylor out for (20) and see the Lightning win the match by 9 runs, but it was far from straight forward for the Lightning side. 
Scorecard taken from : LCCC.CO.UK
Lancashire win by 9 runs
J.J. Cobb c T.C. Smith b J.M. Khan 27 18 1 2 150.00
N.J. O’Brien c sub b J. Clark 9 8 1 0 112.50
G.P. Smith c P.J. Horton b K. Ali 6 6 1 0 100.00
E.J.H. Eckersley c & b S.D. Parry 12 16 0 0 75.00
M.A.G. Boyce b J.M. Khan 47 35 6 0 134.29
T.J. Wells c J. Clark b J.M. Khan 28 22 1 1 127.27
*R.M.L. Taylor b K. Ali 20 12 0 1 166.67
B.A. Raine not out 2 3 0 0 66.67
Extras 2b 2lb 2w 6
TOTAL FOR 7 (20.0 OVS) 157 RR: 7.85
Fall of wickets: 1-36 (N.J. O’Brien, 36), 2-38 (J.J. Cobb, 2), 3-46 (G.P. Smith, 8), 4-87 (E.J.H. Eckersley, 41), 5-122 (M.A.G. Boyce, 35), 6-140 (T.J. Wells, 18), 7-157 (R.M.L. Taylor, 17)
S.J. Croft 3.0 0 22 0 7.33
K. Ali 3.0 0 26 2 8.67
J. Clark 3.0 0 24 1 8.00
*J.M. Khan 4.0 0 30 3 7.50
A.M. Lilley 3.0 0 24 0 8.00
S.D. Parry 4.0 0 27 1 6.75
T.C. Smith lbw b R.M.L. Taylor 50 36 5 2 138.89
A.G. Prince c M.A.G. Boyce b R.A. Jones 12 9 1 0 133.33
K.R. Brown c N.J. O’Brien b R.A. Jones 7 7 1 0 100.00
P.J. Horton c A.J. Ireland b R.A. Jones 40 40 3 0 100.00
J.C. Buttler c J.K.H. Naik b R.A. Jones 20 18 0 1 111.11
S.J. Croft c R.M.L. Taylor b R.A. Jones 7 5 1 0 140.00
J. Clark c G.P. Smith b A.J. Ireland 9 4 0 1 225.00
A.M. Lilley not out 12 3 1 1 400.00
*K. Ali not out 0 0 0 0 0.00
Extras 4lb 1w 4nb 9
TOTAL FOR 7 (20.0 OVS) 166 RR: 8.30
Fall of wickets: 1-27 (A.G. Prince, 27), 2-41 (K.R. Brown, 14), 3-91 (T.C. Smith, 50), 4-123 (P.J. Horton, 32), 5-145 (S.J. Croft, 22), 6-145 (J.C. Buttler, 0), 7-154 (J. Clark, 9)
J.K.H. Naik 4.0 0 19 0 4.75
A.J. Ireland 4.0 0 51 1 12.75
*R.A. Jones 4.0 0 34 5 8.50
B.A. Raine 2.0 0 14 0 7.00
R.M.L. Taylor 4.0 0 26 1 6.50
J.J. Cobb 2.0 0 18 0 9.00
Toss: Lancashire won the toss and elected to bat.
Lancashire: Tom Smith, Karl Brown, Steven Croft, Ashwell Prince, Paul Horton (cpt), Jos Buttler (wk), Jordan Clark, Arron Lilley, Kabir Ali, Stephen Parry, Junaid Khan
Leicestershire: Joshua Cobb (cpt), Niall O’Brien (wk), Greg Smith, Ned Eckersley, Matthew Boyce, Tom Wells, Rob Taylor, Ben Raine, Anthony Ireland, Jigar Naik, Richard Jones
Umpires: P Willey (On Field), M J D Bodenham (On Field)
* indicates the batsman on strike and the bowler currently bowling

Sledge Hockey: SIX-shooter Nicholson downs the Phantoms




       Nicholson x6, Booth                                                                                Coleman, Le Galloudec


Manchester Phoenix`s Sledge Hockey side got their home opener underway this past Saturday, when they faced off against the current reigning champions in the Peterborough Phantoms at the Altrincham Ice Dome.

  Peterborough came into this match having a few key players out missing as well as some not available for other reasons too. It saw the Phantoms icing with just 7 players in the game and that included two players that they drafted in very late in the day to make up the numbers and to make sure a game could have been on.





Manchester was hoping to kick start their season against the undefeated Peterborough side after the Phoenix first match saw them beaten 7-1 by the Kingston Kestrels and so needed to try and get their first win on the board to get some confidence going.

  The game saw it`s opening penalty after just twenty seconds gone in the contest when Barry Sprakes who was guesting from the Widnes Wildcats became the first player of the game to pick up a penalty, as he took a Teeing penalty to put the Manchester Phoenix on an early powerplay opportunity.





From the resulting powerplay, it saw the Phoenix take the lead through Great British Paralympic International Karl Nicholson with the Manchester forward collecting a pass from the combination play of Anthony Booth and Rob Allen, which then saw the veteran forward bury his effort past another late draftee to the Phantoms line-up in netminder Matt Lloyd, to put the home side 1-0 at 1-14 in the opening period of play.

  Both sides had chances in the game early on with Matt Lloyd in the Phantoms goals coming under pressure from the home side, as Lloyd had come out of retirement to help the visitors with their crippling numbers problem and probably wished he hadn`t at time with the amount of rubber he was facing.





At the other end of the ice, it saw Steve Midgehall having to be alert to stop another Great British Paralympian in Matthew Coleman as he had his effort saved by the Phoenix netminder and saw Midghall do well to stop from the G.B forward and keep his clean sheet intact in the process.

   Anthony Booth then went close for the home side, as his pass come shot across the front of the net almost found it`s way into the nets when Lloyd was almost caught out. Peterborough though was quick to react to the danger and cleared the puck away from harm and to see it stay within one.

   Manchester then made it 2-0 shortly after at 10-35 when defenseman Graham Wilson sent a pass towards Karl Nicholson and the veteran forward fired from just inside the right hand face-off circle, to see the puck find it`s way over the line and into the back of the net, with Lloyd unable to deal the shot fully.




From the re-start it saw Karl Nicholson once again finding himself in space and the Phoenix man fired by the goaltender only to see and hear the pipe work deny him of a goal as it pinged off the near post and away from goal.

  Anthony Booth then scored goal number three for the home side at 12-10, when Nicholson held the puck up well and then played a precise pass for Booth to get up the ice and quickly onto, which then led to him finishing nicely and shooting the puck under the netminders blocker to extend the lead for the Phoenix.

  Peterborough then got on the scoreboard at 12-40, when the visitors stretched the home defense and saw Rob Gaze and Daryl Quelch combine to set up Matthew Coleman for the Phantoms to break away on goal and seen the forward fire low past Steve Midghall for a 3-1 score to see the league champions back in the game just before the end of the first period of play.





The Second period saw a change in goals for the Phantoms with Matt Lloyd having aggravated his shoulder in the opening period and meant that a ten minute delay was called between periods and led to Rob Gaze put his goaltending equipment on, as he took his normal place between the pipes for the Phantoms.

  When play resumed it took just thirty-nine seconds into the second stanza to see the score line change, with Karl Nicholson scoring his hat trick goal courtesy of play by Rob Allen and Graham Wilson, as they worked well to help set up the chance for the Manchester forward and seen him fire high over the shoulder of Gaze to make it a 4-1 game at 15-39.

   Manchester carried on their aggressive pressing in the game and saw a frenetic scramble around the Phantoms goals, which had the forwards and defenders all battling away as both sides tried to gain control of the puck before Peterborough were able to come away with it and clear their lines.





Karl Nicholson shown his devastating attacking prowess once again, as he fired in goal number 5 for the home side coming a minute before the end of the second period with an unassisted strike at 29-00.

  Nicholson had managed to weave his way through two defensemen, before then roofing it high up into the Phantoms cage for his fourth goal of the game and had all but killed off any hopes that Peterborough had of making a comeback in the match.

  With the hosts 5-1 up after two periods of hockey, you`d be forgiven if Manchester took their foot slightly off the pedal and took pity on their helpless opponents, to which the game and lead up to wasn`t exactly the best way to prepare for a game for the away side.

   But credit where credit is due, the visitors plugged away all game long and even with the numbers game not in their favour, it saw them given a chance to try and pull another goal back when Rob Allen was called at the end of the previous period for Interference.




Peterborough`s powerplay unit never got going at all to be fair and it was fairly clear to see that the tiredness and fatigue had set into the Phantoms now, with Manchester`s defence on top and led by Graham Wilson who played a fantastic defensive game for the hosts, saw him and his team doing an excellent game of shutting down the Phantoms play and hardly saw them create much in way of chances created.

   Phoenix then found themselves on a 5 on 3 penalty kill and with some good defending and netminding too by Steve Midghall between the pipes for Manchester, it seen the hosts maintain their four goal cushion.

  Minutes later saw Phoenix Captain Karl Nicholson pick apart the opposition once more time, as he started a move off in his own zone before a nice move with Charles Tomlin saw him play it back towards the GB international for 6-1 as he lifted it high in the goals at 34-06 to see him take his scoring exploits to five goals now and the worry for the visitors was, there was still enough time to score more.






Manchester..or should i say Karl Nicholson made it 7-1 at 36-33, when play between Graham Wilson and Rob Allen saw them set up the Phoenix forward yet again and when he found himself 1 on 1 with Rob Gaze, it was the goaltender who came out on top initially as he made a stop to deny him, but Nicholson wasn`t going to be out done and saw him put in his own rebound to slip the puck under Gaze and get a stroke of luck too, as he watched the puck bounce in off the inside of the far post, to see Manchester equal the score line that they had inflicted upon them by the Kingston Kestrels in their previous match.

   The Six-goal hero for the Manchester Phoenix then got called for Interference by referee Kris Wells at 51-32 and seen them on the penalty kill to which more defending was needed, but they were able to hold out with the man down to see them kill off the penalty.




Peterborough though then had a bit of purple patch towards the end of the match, when the home side seemed to have a couple of lapses in concentration as the visitors created a great chance for a second goal when Barry Sprakes who was guesting for the Phantoms from the Widnes Wildcats. It saw him go to the front of the net and then fanned on his shot to see the puck go past him and away from danger.

   If the home side thought that Peterborough would just go away they were wrong to come to that conclusion, as the Phantoms did eventually pull a consolation goal back, when the Phoenix couldn`t deal with the puck in their own  zone and saw Peterborough determination finally pay off. Barry Sprakes pass to Matthew Coleman saw him fire at Steve Midghall in the Phoenix goal, but the netminder couldn`t deal with it fully and saw Jon Le Galloudec follow it up with a tap in at the front door to see him score his first ever sledge hockey goal at 42-46 .

  The goal was well deserved for the East Anglian side, if just for the effort and hard work they put in for the final two periods of the game and never giving up to, as it made it score line 7-2 and saw with no further scoring in the game it saw Manchester pick up a vital win.



 The result saw the league champions 100% record go up in smoke as all sides in the league have now lost a game and makes it an interesting Planet Ice Sledge Hockey league for the rest of the season now.

  For Manchester the win will give them a massive boost ahead of their upcoming two games against the win-less Cardiff Devils side, as the Phoenix travel down to South Wales on the 5th of July to visit the Devils and where they will hope to push on after this fantastic result against one the forces in British Sledge Hockey.




Pos Team Pld W T L Goals Diff Pts
1 Kingston Kestrels 3 2 0 1 23 – 3 20 4
2 Peterborough Phantoms 3 2 0 1 12 – 9 3 4
3 Manchester Phoenix 2 1 0 1 8 – 9 -1 2
4 Cardiff Devils 2 0 0 2 0 – 22 -22 0


Khan steers Lightning to victory over the Bears


NATWEST t20 BLAST @ Emirates Old Trafford

                                         Lancashire Lightning: 126 (19.5 overs)  Tom Smith 44 –  Ateeq Patel  3-15                               Birmingham Bears: 111 (20.0) Laurie Evans 29  –    Junaid Khan  4-12 

 Lancashire Lightning have been enjoying a good run of late in the Natwest t20 Blast, with the Old Trafford outfit having recovered from their opening group lost to the Nottinghamshire Outlaws and from where they had won 3 from 3 since as victories over the Worcestershire Rapids and then following it up with wins against the Derbyshire Falcons and a tense finish up at Chester-le-Street with the Lightning winning it by a solitary run. It saw some great  bowling noticeably by Kabir Ali and Overseas player Junaid Khan, who is permitted to only play t20`s for the Red Rose county by the Pakistan Cricket board.

  So when they faced the Birmingham Bears at the Emirates Old Trafford , it saw the visitors who have adopted the name of the second City for the t20`s this season in a way of boosting sponsorship and has drawn very strong opinions from both camps on the name change, with some in favour and a large majority not.


  It saw the hosts bat first as Lancashire`s Tom Smith made a steady start for the Lightning as he scored 12 runs in the Second over to help the hosts scoreboard tick along, while his partner down at the other end in youngster Alex Davies saw him struggle to get going. However it saw mixed fortunes for the Lancashire man as Davies in the next over smashed a six off Keith Barker and the very next ball seen him then edge behind to Tim Ambrose for 7 runs with the home side on 21-1.

 Lancashire then stagnated for a few over’s, which saw them picking up only the odd one`s and two`s and had Birmingham`s bowlers restricting their opponents very well.      Chris Wright was then introduced into the attack for the Bears and saw Tom Smith take him on, smashing four Fours in the over to see the hosts move onto 51-1.  Karl Brown then went for 9 as he played at a Boyd Rankin delivery and saw him caught behind by Ambrose to see the wicketkeeper take his second catch of the match to see the Lightning on 53-2.

Lancashire`s Tom Smith on way to 44   Pic: BBC Sports

Easily the best batsman this season in the colours of the Red Rose county has been that of Paul Horton and so saw him come to the crease to partner Tom Smith who was going along very well himself.

Both batsmen`s then took turns to rotate the strike between them and see some the score slowly build move on the board, as they weren`t exactly find their timing with the bat.

 Horton was then trapped lbw by Jeetan Patel for 9 and with Tom Smith then attempting to hit it into the stands, it saw his shot fall short and was caught by the boundary by Ateeq Javid to dismiss the danger man to Birmingham and so sent Smith packing after a great knock of 44 runs. 

   Steven Croft then went shortly after for 1 with Javid grabbing a wicket himself, as wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose claimed his third catch to see the hosts stumbling along to 77-5 and looked like they were struggling out in the middle.

  South African Andrea Agathangelou then smashed a six off the bowling of Patel to see him move along gradually just as him and Jordan Clark tried to put the Lightning back on track, but just as they looked to be doing that, Birmingham then struck twice in as many balls just after the hosts had gone into triple figures, it saw Clark caught by Barker off the bowling of Patel and then two balls later Aaron Lilley was run out to see Lancashire move to 104 for 7.

   Kabir Ali was next to head back to the dugout as he was out for a duck off the bowling of Javid and saw Varun Chopra take the catch to see him depart. Agathangelou then got dismissed for 21 which saw Rankin take his second wicket of the match as Webb took the catch to see Lancs on 109-9.

  With the last over upcoming they needed to try and score a few runs in the final over to see them post a tougher score to defend, as the score looked to be  abit below par. 

  Junaid Khan managed to hit a four to the ropes and then ran two with Stephen Parry as the hosts moved onto 126, however the next ball saw Khan top edged it behind to Ambrose from another Rankin delivery, to bring an end to the Lancashire Lightning`s innings and see them finish on 126. 

Bears Laurie Pic: ECB.co.uk

 Birmingham was set 127 runs for victory in their run chase and they made a pretty good start in the first over in their reply, as they scored 9 runs to set them on their way. Lancashire`s then had two very good overs by Kabir Ali and Junaid Khan saw them help the Lightning slow the Bears progression with some tidy bowling by the pair.

  Jordan Clark was then hit for 11 runs in the fourth over which looked to have undone some of the good work that Ali and Khan had done for the hosts in previous overs.

  In the Fifth over Junaid Khan bowled his second over and saw William Porterfield play at a delivery and saw him caught out with Lilley taking the catch to remove the Bears opener as he made 14 runs.

  Kabir Ali then took a wicket in the next over as he removed Varun Chopra from the crease with the Birmingham batter edging behind to Davies who safety took the catch and things got better in the seventh over with Jonathan Webb hitting right down the throat of Captain Paul Horton and saw him take the catch off the bowling of Parry for 3, before Rikki Clarke was then run out for 1 to see the Bears 33 for 2.

   Birmingham then moved along to 49 for 4 at the halfway stage of their overs and had Tim Ambrose to thank as he scored two successive Fours in the twelve over, to see the Bears score ticking along with Laurie Evans supporting his team mate in the middle.

  Brilliant bowling then saw Ambrose out stumped off the bowling of Parry, with the Lightning man spinning the ball away from the Birmingham man and saw Davies whip the bails off to see the Bears 79-5. 

   Junaid Khan then took wickets in his second spell with the ball, as he firstly got Evans out for 29 as Karl Brown caught him out and then Khan with his last ball of his over clean bowled Keith Barker to see the Bears 91 for 7 and needing another 36 runs from 18 balls for victory.

  With two overs left in the match, it saw Birmingham Bears needing 23 runs off the remaining 12 balls to pick up victory and so the Pakistani International  bowl his remaining over and removed Ateeq Javid for 15 with Captain Paul Horton claiming the catch and all but see Lancashire win the game.


   With Kabir Ali bowling at the death it saw Birmingham needing 20 runs off the final 6 balls and looked a very tall order indeed for the away side and was made tougher, when Patel attempted a pull shot and fell short of the rope and into the hands of Agathangelou.

  The last ball of the innings saw Ali bowl a slower ball to Boyd Rankin and the Bears tail-ender misjudged it and found Jordan Clark with the home fans all standing up to celebrate victory and had them celebrating even more as he claimed the catch to clean up the Bears Innings, as they fell short by 16 runs with the home side bowling them all out for 111 and stay top of the North section.

Lancashire celebrate win :Pic from BBC SPORTS

Lancashire Lightning 1st innings   Runs Balls Mins 4s 6s SR
Tom Smith c Ateeq Javid b Jeetan Patel 44 27 38 8 0 162.96
+Alex Davies c Tim Ambrose b Keith Barker 7 6 9 0 1 116.67
Karl Brown c Tim Ambrose b Boyd Rankin 9 15 17 1 0 60.00
*Paul Horton lbw b Jeetan Patel 9 9 8 1 0 100.00
Steven Croft c Tim Ambrose b Ateeq Javid 1 4 5 0 0 25.00
Jordan Clark c Keith Barker b Jeetan Patel 10 16 18 0 0 62.50
Andrea Agathangelou c Jonathan Webb b Boyd Rankin 21 18 23 0 1 116.67
Arron Lilley run out (Keith Barker) 1 1 2 0 0 100.00
Kabir Ali c Varun Chopra b Ateeq Javid 0 5 2 0 0 0.00
Stephen Parry not out 10 9 13 1 0 111.11
Junaid Khan c Tim Ambrose b Keith Barker 9 9 10 1 0 100.00
Extras (b 0, lb 3, nb 0, w 2) 5
Total (close, 19.5 overs) 126
Fall of Wickets:
1-21 (Alex Davies, 2.3 ov, 21 runs), 2-53 (Karl Brown, 6.6 ov, 32 runs), 3-70 (Paul Horton, 9.1 ov, 17 runs), 4-71 (Tom Smith, 9.4 ov, 1 runs), 5-72 (Steven Croft, 10.2 ov, 1 runs), 6-102 (Jordan Clark, 15.1 ov, 30 runs), 7-104 (Arron Lilley, 15.3 ov, 2 runs), 8-105 (Kabir Ali, 16.3 ov, 1 runs), 9-109 (Andrea Agathangelou, 17.2 ov, 4 runs), 10-126 (Junaid Khan, 19.5 ov, 17 runs)
Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Extras
Keith Barker 2.5 0 18 2
Rikki Clarke 1 0 14 0
Chris Wright 3 0 31 0
Boyd Rankin 4 0 15 2
Jeetan Patel 4 0 15 3 2 w
Ateeq Javid 4 0 20 2
Laurie Evans 1 0 10 0
Birmingham Bears 1st innings   Runs Balls Mins 4s 6s SR
William Porterfield c Arron Lilley b Junaid Khan 14 12 19 1 0 116.67
*Varun Chopra c Alex Davies b Kabir Ali 13 19 23 0 0 68.42
Jonathan Webb c Paul Horton b Stephen Parry 3 5 7 0 0 60.00
+Tim Ambrose st Alex Davies b Stephen Parry 22 27 29 2 0 81.48
Rikki Clarke run out (Alex Davies) 1 2 2 0 0 50.00
Laurie Evans c Karl Brown b Junaid Khan 29 30 31 3 0 96.67
Ateeq Javid c Paul Horton b Junaid Khan 15 13 20 0 1 115.38
Keith Barker b Junaid Khan 0 1 1 0 0 0.00
Jeetan Patel c Andrea Agathangelou b Kabir Ali 3 6 14 0 0 50.00
Chris Wright not out 3 4 6 0 0 75.00
Boyd Rankin c Jordan Clark b Kabir Ali 1 2 2 0 0 50.00
Extras (b 0, lb 2, nb 2, w 3) 7
Total (close, 20.0 overs) 111
Fall of Wickets:
1-29 (William Porterfield, 4.5 ov, 29 runs), 2-33 (Varun Chopra, 5.4 ov, 4 runs), 3-33 (Jonathan Webb, 6.2 ov, 0 runs), 4-34 (Rikki Clarke, 6.5 ov, 1 runs), 5-79 (Tim Ambrose, 14.5 ov, 45 runs), 6-90 (Laurie Evans, 16.4 ov, 11 runs), 7-91 (Keith Barker, 16.6 ov, 1 runs), 8-106 (Ateeq Javid, 18.4 ov, 15 runs), 9-108 (Jeetan Patel, 19.2 ov, 2 runs), 10-111 (Boyd Rankin, 19.6 ov, 3 runs)
Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Extras
Steven Croft 4 0 27 0 2 w
Kabir Ali 4 0 23 3 1 nb
Junaid Khan 4 0 12 4
Jordan Clark 1 0 11 0
Stephen Parry 4 0 12 2
Arron Lilley 3 0 24 0

 Stats taken from ECB.CO.UK