Horton guides Lancashire to valuable win

Lancashire 236 for 4 beat Gloucestershire 235 for 6 by six wickets

Paul Horton's magnificent unbeaten 95 guided Lancashire to a six-wicket victory over Gloucestershire in their Clydesdale Bank 40 match at Old Trafford.

Horton combined in an unbroken run-a-ball 123-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Gareth Cross (66 not out) to guide the host to victory with seven balls to spare. Horton, who made 97 not out in Lancashire's four-wicket win over the Gladiators at Cheltenham last Sunday, hit six boundaries in his 91-ball innings.

The right-hander combined effectively with Cross, who produced his best score of the season, as their skilful placement ran Alex Gidman's bowlers and fielders ragged to surpass the visitors' 235 for 6.

New Zealander Kane Williamson top-scored for the Gladiators with 64 while Ian Cockbain added 59, but it was their bowlers who failed to produce as Ed Young's one for 37 was the best any of them could muster.

Lancashire's pursuit of their target had got off to a poor start when Karl Brown was caught at cover off Ian Saxelby in the first over. But skipper Steven Croft's 21-ball 28 supplied early acceleration before Tom Smith and Horton added 56 for the third wicket in less than 10 overs.

Although Smith perished at long on off Vikram Banerjee when he had made 29, and Jordan Clark was bowled by the impressive slow left-armer Young for eight, the arrival of Cross at 113 for four signalled a key revival in Lancashire's fortunes.

Williamson had earlier provided the backbone of Gloucestershire's score as he managed 64 off 75 balls despite hitting just two boundaries. The promising 20-year-old New Zealander worked the ball around impressively as his colleagues struggled against the spinners on a slowish wicket.

The Gladiators had reached 139 when Williamson was fourth out in the 29th over, leaving Cockbain and Jonathan Batty to take the attack to the home bowlers. The fifth-wicket pair accomplished their task impressively with Cockbain making 59 off

50 balls - his second Clydesdale Bank 40 half-century in six days against the county he played for as a junior. Cockbain added 69 runs in under 10 overs with Batty before the Gloucestershire wicketkeeper holed out at long-on off Stephen Parry for 29. That gave slow left-armer Parry his third wicket of the innings as he finished with three for 40.

It was, however, a poor evening for the Red Rose's Pakistan seamer Junaid Khan, who took 1 for 54, as Gloucestershire rattled up 89 runs in the last 10 overs.