Hegg in high spirits after fourth century

Cricket: Lancashire 495 Leicestershire 98-5
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The Independent Online
Warren Hegg's winter months were spent as a barman. The drinks, probably hot chocolate, were on him last night. The Lancashire wicketkeeper made a career best 134 before pouching four dismissals as Leicestershire were out-foxed.

High spirits from Hegg were not an optical illusion because Lancashire look a buoyant force, prepared to mix the attritional bat-on-towards 500 with the flamboyant. Surely they will win something again this summer - maybe the championship title they last collected outright in 1934, a 62-year blot on Old Trafford's otherwise handsome landscape.

Last year, they finished fourth. Now without Wasim Akram, they have another worthy, South Africa's Steve Elworthy, whose dismissal of his opposing overseas player, Phil Simmons, leg-before pushing forward, enhanced their heart-warming, if body chilling day.

Hegg's fourth first-class hundred improved on his previous highest of 130, scored as a night watchman at Northampton nine years ago. Freedom of strokeplay and calm authority accounted for 22 fours and a six from 199 balls.

Hegg, now 28 and a former England A tourist, arrived at 240 for 5 and his dismissal to a mis-timed, lofted drive was the penultimate one. Leicestershire had kept their cool and their thermals with the off-spinner Adrian Pierson deserving his four wickets, the innings extending into 161 laborious, wind-swept overs.

Peter Martin, like most quick bowlers, fancies his chances with the bat and supported Hegg with the ability that underlines Lancashire's depth of run-makers. As for Leicestershire, seeing Darren Maddy and Vince Wells open was an odd experience after all the years of Tim Boon and the now injured Nigel Briers. The vision was purely temporary because Wells was taken at the wicket, pushing, and Maddy succumbed to Watkinson's second ball, being expertly stumped. Watkinson proceeded to take three for 14 in 11 overs.

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