Hegg heaves Lancashire to unlikely win

Yorkshire 250-5 Lancashire 251-9 Lancashire win by 1 wicket
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The Independent Online
There could never be a much better limited-overs match than this. When Craig White ran in to bowl the last ball to Peter Martin, Lancashire, with their last pair together, needed two to win. Martin, who had missed the two previous balls, drove to backward point and the two runs were scampered.

This breathtaking finish took Lancashire through to play Northamptonshire in the Benson and Hedges Cup final at Lord's on 13 July, but the events leading up to this last ball were as dramatic from the very first delivery of this extraordinary second day which was eventually dominated by Warren Hegg's batting.

A mixture of brilliant strokes, crafty improvisation and one or two bits of luck had brought Yorkshire 52 runs in their last four overs at its start and had taken Michael Bevan and Richard Blakey to their best scores in this competition. Their stand of 167 in 162 balls was also a sixth- wicket record for the competition.

Their onslaught took the stuffing out of Lancashire just as it inspired Yorkshire. In the first 11 overs of their innings Lancashire lost three wickets for 36, but at 46, came the moment in which Yorkshire probably lost the match. Neil Fairbrother, who was 10, drove at Peter Hartley and David Byas dropped a juggling catch at the third attempt at slip. The importance was not immediately apparent, because a splendid throw by Michael Vaughan from deep extra ran out Nick Speak, and at 97, Graham Lloyd was caught behind.

It was now that Hegg began his innings. He was frenetic and he began by crashing Craig White to the off-side boundary three times in an over. His first 25 runs came from 20 balls and he and Fairbrother put on 64 in 72 balls and gave Lancashire their first inkling of victory.

At 161 in the 40th over, Hegg pushed Hartley a yard or two to the off, ran and White coming in from cover kicked the ball on to the stumps to run out Fairbrother. When Ian Austin gave Gough a gentle return catch 13 runs later, Lancashire seemed out of it again.

However, Gary Yates proved an excellent partner for Hegg. When Richard Stemp, who had bowled nine overs for 29, came back for his last, Yates off-drove him for six, Hegg off-drove him for another, the ball going through Martyn Moxon's hands on the boundary.

With five overs left Lancashire still needed 47. The ball was changed, Hegg drove the first with the new one over cover for six and was bowled carving at the next having made 81 in 61 balls. Eleven were needed from two overs; brilliant fielding by Anthony McGrath ran out Yates and with eight needed from the last over Lancashire's final pair took them to Lord's at the very last gasp.

Northamptonshire win, Scoreboard, page 24