Cricket: Modest target too much for feeble Lancashire

Yorkshire 203 Lancashire 154 Yorkshire win by 49 runs
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The Independent Online
Lancashire's desire for success away from the one-day arena may become more acute fairly quickly after their grip on the Benson and Hedges Cup was loosened by Yorkshire, who avenged last season's nail-biting semi- final defeat by a surprisingly comfortable margin yesterday.

The holders, who lost Glen Chapple with a dislocated knuckle sustained in the field, will need to show considerable improvement against Derbyshire today if they are not to find themselves looking in other directions for silverware even before April is out.

The injury to the fast bowler, who will have an operation today, may have been a factor in that Lancashire had planned to use him as their pinch-hitter. His absence could not possibly excuse the result, given the modesty of their target.

Lancashire, their resources already depleted by the absence of their captain, Mike Watkinson, capitalised on Yorkshire's early-season rustiness, dismissing them for 203 with two overs to spare. But the efforts of Peter Martin, who pressed his case for an England recall with 3 for 31, and the others were undermined by a unusually feeble reply from the home side's one-day specialist batsmen, who fell well short of their target.

Michael Atherton was especially subdued, taking 20 overs in making 15, and even Neil Fairbrother's unbeaten 64 lacked the left-hander's customary gusto. It was Lancashire's first defeat in the competition for three years.

Chris Silverwood, who claimed Atherton's wicket via a catch to cover, took the Gold Award, finishing with 3 for 22. His dismissal of Ian Austin, ending a dangerous 67-run partnership with Fairbrother for the fifth wicket, was a pivotal moment.

Important blows were struck also by Peter Hartley, who dismissed Jason Gallian and John Crawley in his first two overs, and Darren Gough, who produced a peach of a delivery to remove the in-form Graham Lloyd.

In the morning, Martyn Moxon and David Byas, who had guided Yorkshire to 43 without loss before Monday's rain, extended their partnership to 69 before Martin sent back both in consecutive overs.

Yorkshire's subsequent efforts seemed disappointing, without the knowledge that they would prove enough in the end. No one came up with an innings of real substance and the decision to omit their Australian import, Darren Lehmann, on the grounds of a lack of practice, looked likely to backfire badly. In the event, Michael Vaughan's 45, an innings of no great fluency, assumed much value.

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