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Graham Hardcastle at Grace Road
August 2, 2013
Lancashire 303 for 5 (Reece 85, Katich 62, Horton 59) v Leicestershire
Luis Reece enjoys batting at Grace Road. The Lancashire opener led his side's commanding first-day performance with a polished 85, his best score in the Championship in only his fifth appearance. It came just over three months after posting a first-class best of 114 not out here in Leeds/Bradford MCCU colours.
In the same match, the 22-year-old Reece captained the students to a notable win over Leicestershire in an early season friendly, and he will be hoping that this contribution helps bring about a similar result for the Division Two leaders, who are searching for their fourth win in five.
He will, however, be frustrated that he could not add a bit of symmetry to the early stages of his career - maiden first-class and Championship hundreds on the same ground. The latter will have to wait.
Reece, who hit 12 fours in 160 balls, is a first-year professional with Lancashire. Discarded after being with their academy in 2008, he impressed enough for his university side and for the Unicorns to force the coach, Peter Moores, to have another look at him. He was offered scholarship terms as a result for 2012 and a full contract for this summer.
He was part of Lancashire's first century opening stand this season with Paul Horton, back in first-team colours for the first time since May 19 after dislocating the ring finger on his right hand twice. They are the county's sixth different opening partnership in the Championship in 2013.
Horton survived an lbw appeal from Matthew Hoggard with the first ball of the contest as well a run-out chance from square leg as he wandered some way out of his ground.
After Leicestershire were invited to field first, Hoggard and new ball partner Alex Wyatt found some early assistance off the pitch to test Horton and Reece, who survived and prospered to reach three figures before lunch.
Horton will count himself unlucky to have fallen for 59 five balls into the afternoon as Ollie Freckingham took a stunning one-handed catch at midwicket to help Wyatt make the breakthrough with the score on 104.
Cracking his opening partnership has been Moores' toughest task this summer. A stable middle-order is underpinned by Simon Katich, who made 62, and Ashwell Prince and he can also count on a potent bowling attack led by captain, Glen Chapple, and left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan. But it just hasn't worked out at the top of the order for one reason or another.
Injuries have contributed, Horton being the case in point. But so has the lack of a substantial innings here and there. Stephen Moore, Luke Procter, Andrea Agathangelou and Karl Brown have all been tried against the new ball without nailing down their place.
The current pair at least know they will get a decent run at it after this performance, which was full of intent against a home attack lacking depth. Hoggard and Wyatt threatened initially before keeping things tight, but the likes of Freckingham, Shiv Thakor and Tom Wells leaked runs.
Leicester certainly improved in the afternoon and evening, taking all five wickets, and Lancashire's position in the game could have been better. But this was Reece's and Lancashire's day.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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