reports from Old Trafford
Lancashire win by 77 runs
Lancashire, without a trophy since they achieved the Benson-NatWest "double" in 1990, booked their passage to the quarter-finals of the Benson and Hedges Cup with another impressive performance yesterday. Their total is the highest for one first-class county against another in the 55-over competition's 24 years.
Michael Atherton, with four centuries this season, fell without scoring to the fourth ball after Lancashire had chosen to bat, but the total had soared to 250 before an injury-hit Nottinghamshire gained another success, as Jason Gallian and John Crawley exploited an ideal batting track with superb centuries, each finishing with his highest score in limited-overs cricket, after a partnership which eclipsed everything in their county's one-day records.
Such delight as Kevin Evans may have felt at dismissing the England captain was tempered when Crawley pulled him for six in the next over.
Nottinghamshire, without Chris Lewis and with Chris Cairns unable to bowl because of a thigh strain, took the unusual step of opening with spin at one end, but Crawley and Gallian, the gold-award winner, were into their strides so quickly that their opponents were soon facing tactical bankruptcy.
When Nottinghamshire gave up on Andy Afford and James Hindson, both slow left arm, Crawley put Gregory Mike in his place as disdainfully as he had Evans. The pair raced along at five runs per over for the first 20, accelerating to six and then seven. By lunch, at 235 for 1, they had exceeded by one the record held since 1978 by the two Lloyds, David and Clive, for the county's highest one-day partnership.
Crawley, who scored only 44 of his runs in boundaries, was eventually beaten by the 120th ball he received, which kept a shade low, and Gallian, having faced 137 deliveries and accrued 14 fours, perished taking a liberty with Hindson. But there was no respite for Nottinghamshire as Neil Fairbrother set about Hindson, who was not a happy bowler when Mike, on the mid-wicket boundary, let one slip through his hands for six and dropped another, a yard inside the rope, next ball.
Graeme Archer scored his maiden one-day half-century as Nottinghamshire replied but the visitors were never in contention.