Danny Lamb inspires impressive Lancashire victory over Gloucestershire in Royal London One Day Cup
Danny Lamb claimed career-best figures of 5-30 to inspire Lancashire to a comfortable six-wicket victory over Gloucestershire in a one-sided Royal London One Day Cup contest at Bristol.
Lancashire won the toss, inserted the hosts on a drying pitch beneath leaden skies and, with Preston-born seamer Lamb to the fore, dismissed Gloucestershire for 171 in 48 overs.
Only lower-order resistance from Matt Taylor, who top-scored with 51 not out, and George Scott, who contributed 43 runs to a swashbuckling eighth-wicket alliance of 69 in 16 overs, prevented an even heavier defeat.
Keaton Jennings registered a patient 47 to afford the reply solid foundations, while Josh Bohannon, Luke Wells and Rob Jones all weighed in with useful cameos before Steven Croft and George Balderson helped Lancashire attain their target with 6.2 overs to spare. Gloucestershire's most effective bowler, Josh Shaw took 4-36 in a losing cause.
Gloucestershire were on the back foot from the very outset, openers George Hankins and Ben Charlesworth falling inside five overs to new ball bowlers Liam Hurt and Tom Bailey respectively.
Any prospects of Graeme van Buuren and Tom Lace redressing the balance were dashed when their stand, worth 41, was terminated by the advent of Lamb, who claimed three wickets in 11 balls as the home side lurched from 56-2 to 63-5 in the space of three calamitous overs.
Lamb induced Lace to mishit a drive to mid-off for 15, van Buuren became the latest batsman to play himself in and then surrender his wicket cheaply when slicing to point for 17, and Jack Taylor was pinned inside his crease as Lamb took a wrecking ball to the top and middle order.
Introduced from the Pavilion end at the mid-point of the innings, England Under-19 slow left armer Jack Morley made an instant impression, bowling debutant Ben Wells with his first ball, then hurling himself low to his right to take a startling return catch and send back Tom Smith on his way to incisive figures of 2-22 from 10 overs.
Deep in trouble at 89-7 in the 29th over, Gloucestershire were indebted to Scott and Matt Taylor, these two carrying the fight to the red rose county and at least restoring a semblance of respectability.
Between them, they amassed 10 boundaries, more than the rest of their teammates combined, and the visitors breathed an audible sigh of relief when Scott edged a catch behind off the returning Lamb and departed for an 84-ball 43.
Matt Taylor went to 50 in the grand manner, hoisting Bailey high over deep square leg to register his third six, and finished unbeaten on 51, made from 64 balls, while Lamb bowled Shaw to claim his first List-A five wicket haul and wrap up an innings which never quite recovered from the loss of early wickets.
Forced to set attacking fields in pursuit of early wickets, Gloucestershire made a breakthrough in the eighth over, Scott taking off at point to hold a marvelous catch and send back Bohannon for 24 off the bowling of Shaw with the score on 36.
Smith took an equally thrilling catch at deep point as Luke Wells succumbed to Shaw for 31, but Jennings proved unmovable in his role of anchor, the former England opener chiseling 47 from 84 balls and raising 51 for the third wicket with Jones to usher Lancashire to within sight of victory.
The returning Shaw denied Jennings a half century and then accounted for Jones as the visitors experienced a slight wobble, but Croft and Balderson calmed any nerves in an unbroken stand of 41 for the fifth wicket.
Lamb said: "We have aspirations to win this competition this season and this was a really good start for us against a useful Gloucestershire side.
"There are still some really top players to come back into the team after the Hundred is over and we have tremendous strength in depth. You saw that today, with everyone chipping in.
"On a personal note, it was great to get a career-best with the ball after making my highest score with the bat recently. It's beginning to cost me a lot in beer!
"I thought we took made the most of the conditions, took wickets at the right time and kept up the pressure on Gloucestershire throughout. There were some really good contributions with the bat and we took the game away from them early on, which stopped them from building any pressure."
Victory made it two wins out of two for Lancashire ahead of Wednesday's trip to Kent.
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