Weston frontier

Lancashire 392 & 26-2 Worcestershire 350-3 dec
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The Independent Online
Lancashire's punishment came from both directions - the expected and the unexpected - during a long and largely unrewarded day in the field at Old Trafford yesterday.

Given his voracious appetite for Lancashire bowling over the past few seasons, it was entirely predictable that Tom Moody would once more tuck in to a handsome helping of runs.

For once, though, the Worcestershire captain had to play a secondary role to the rather less prolific Philip Weston.

Weston has hardly been a regular compiler of massive scores during his five years at Worcestershire, but when he passed 125 yesterday afternoon he was topping his previous best in first-class cricket for the third time this season, making it a memorable day for him, if not for a toiling Lancashire.

His was an innings of varying moods and rhythms. After sharing a carefree opening stand with Matthew Church, who was brilliantly run out by a direct hit from Graham Lloyd, Weston found himself becalmed in the forties.

Indeed, he was stranded motionless on 46 for no less than 15 overs before breaking out and going to 50 in the first over after lunch.

By then he had also lost Tim Curtis, who played one on from Mike Watkinson that turned and kept low. Moody, the next man in, went to his fifty in forthright fashion off 56 balls, but then became uncharacteristically circumspect on a pitch that was giving both Watkinson and Gary Keedy some assistance.

Moody, being Moody, made an exception of one Watkinson over, hoicking two successive balls to the legside boundary for six as he closed in on his century.

It was not quite vintage Moody - there were too many periods when his timing was not quite there - but he duly reached three figures before being caught off bat and pad by Steve Titchard, who had dropped him 67 runs earlier, off Keedy's bowling.

The left-handed Weston, particularly powerful on the leg side, pressed on regardless. After he survived a slip chance, dropped by Neil Fairbrother when he was only 27, Lancashire never looked likely to get him out and he was still there, undefeated on 171, by now leaving his previous best far behind, when Worcestershire declared 42 runs behind Lancashire's first innings.

That left Lancashire with time to lose two wickets, including the first- innings century maker Jason Gallian for a duck, to complete another bad championship day for the Benson and Hedges Cup finalists.