Lancashire top after hard-fought win
Lancashire 187 for 6 (Brown 60, Payne 3-39) beat Gloucestershire 184 for 6 (Cockbain 58) by four wickets
Lancashire moved to the top of Group A in the Clydesdale Bank 40 with a tense four-wicket win over Gloucestershire at Old Trafford. Karl Brown and Paul Horton put on 82 to chase down their target of 185 in a low-scoring match.
And after both went with 15 runs still required, Ajmal Shahzad smashed 10 off five balls to help Lancashire over the line with five deliveries to spare as they leapfrogged their opponents in the table.
Ian Cockbain had made 58 off 49 balls, including 30 in seven deliveries in the final two overs, to push what looked like being a below-par Gloucestershire total into a challenging 184 for seven. Cockbain, who earlier in his career played for Lancashire seconds, also claimed a stunning catch at point to end what was becoming a dangerous knock by Stephen Moore, who made 37.
But his heroics were not enough as Horton, who dislocated his finger while fielding, made 46 and Brown 60 to steer Lancashire into pole position in the race to reach the semi-finals.
After Gloucestershire won the toss, Lancashire made an early breakthrough when Rob Nicol slashed a Shahzad delivery straight to Glen Chapple in the third over. Benny Howell quickly followed as he edged the impressive Chapple to wicketkeeper Gareth Cross.
Hamish Marshall had made 23 when he was trapped lbw by an Oliver Newby yorker as the Gladiators struggled to 35 for 3. Alex Gidman and Dan Housego steadied the ship with a 47-run partnership before Newby returned to demolish Gidman's stumps and Gary Keedy then bowled Housego for a gritty 43.
Going into the final two overs, Gloucestershire had scored just five boundaries. But Cockbain changed all that. After putting on 42 with Chris Dent, who fell to a good catch from Moore off Shahzad for 27, he helped the visitors pile on 52 runs in the last five overs - including three successive sixes off spinner Stephen Parry in the final over - before he was stumped off the final delivery of the innings.
Moore and Ashwell Prince gave Lancashire a solid start to their reply, putting on 43 before South African Prince was surprised by extra bounce and chipped David Payne - who finished with three for 39 - to Nicol.
Stephen Croft went for three when he top-edged a sweep off Ed Young and then Cockbain pulled off a stunning diving catch at backward point to end Moore's knock. But Horton and Brown overcame the tough batting conditions to set up the Lancashire victory before Horton was trapped lbw to James Fuller and Brown holed out to Payne.