Cricket: Timely reminder from Hick

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Michael Atherton was given a close-up view of Graeme Hick at his best as Worcestershire trounced the Sunday League leaders Lancashire by 114 runs at New Road yesterday.

The Test exile made a run-a-ball 86 in his side's imposing 235 for 7 and then took two wickets with his off-spin as Lancashire crumbled for 121 in 28.1 overs.

Hick, with eight fours and a six, and Vikram Solanki, who reached a league- best 58, put on 136 in 21 overs to make light of the notion that the pitch would help the seamers.

With the exception of Peter Martin, who took 3 for 33, Lancashire rarely bowled well enough to put the theory to the test. Their attack lacked direction and gave away 17 runs in wides.

The stylish Solanki completed only his second league half- century from 62 balls and hit three fours and two sixes before Darren Shadford held a good catch at long-off.

This was scant consolation for the young pace bowler after he had conceded 65 runs in his eight overs, and Glen Chapple was almost as expensive, with sixes by Solanki and Hick in his 59-run tally.

Hick appeared to be closing in on his second Sunday century of the summer until he clipped off-spinner Gary Yates (two for 37) straight to Chapple at square leg.

Atherton's decision to field first had badly misfired by then and Lancashire's troubles only multiplied when Worcestershire paceman Phil Newport claimed three for 23 in six overs.

Paddy McKeown popped up a simple chance to cover from the fourth ball of the innings and the England pair, Atherton and John Crawley went cheaply to catches by Tom Moody at slip.

Moody then moved to short midwicket to intercept a pull by Graham Lloyd from Stuart Lampitt's fourth ball. That was 46 for 4 and the remaining wickets were frittered away in quick succession.

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