Procter and Petersen give Old Trafford reason to roar

Lancashire 332 (Livingstone 70, Davies 55, Ball 4-63) and 88 for 2 beat Nottinghamshire 242 (Read 52, Wagner 6-66) and 175 (Wagner 5-45) by eight wickets

Luke Procter and Alviro Petersen celebrate the winning six © Getty Images

Lancashire’s chief executive, Daniel Gidney, is clearly a most prescient fellow. When his county’s finance people decided to lower the price of adult admission on the last day of this game to a fiver, he tweeted the following encouragement to supporters: “Get yourself down to @EmiratesOT be 12thman to roar @LancsCCC over the line vs @trentbridge.” This seemed a shade optimistic. The last time some Lancashire supporters roared was when they received their council tax bill or had that dreadful accident with a zip.

But Gidney knew better. For most of the 17 overs it took Steven Croft’s batsmen to knock off the 86 runs they needed to beat Nottinghamshire on the final morning of this game, a large contingent of pupils from Altrincham Preparatory School was visiting the ground as guests of the excellent Lancashire Foundation. They were shown round the media centre and they sat happily in the stands as Luke Procter and Alviro Petersen put on 61 runs for the third wicket to seal a victory as complete as any that has ushered in a new season at Old Trafford.

When the county’s new No.3 drove Samit Patel to the boundary in what turned out to be the final over of the match, a chorus of “Procter, Procter” wafted out across the ground. It may not have been a roar but it was certainly a helluva squeak. The Smiths had their Rusholme ruffians; now Lancashire’s cricketers have their Altrincham Aficionados, a much more select group.

All the same, some of the children watching the cricket on this golden morning may pass through puberty before they see Lancashire bowl as well as they did in this match. Croft later said it was the best bowling performance in his time at the club and he will do well to find a bloke prepared to give him an argument. Resolute batting in the first innings also helped to set up a victory that was completed with few dramas but plenty of appreciation in only 75 minutes’ cricket on Wednesday.

Nottinghamshire’s hopes of wrenching the match out of its established course were raised when Jake Ball‘s fifth delivery of the day had Karl Brown lbw playing no shot for the second time in the match. Brown seemed to have found his position as an opener when Lancashire were in Division Two last season; his dismissal for 0 and 8 is perhaps the only item of concern on the Lancashire coaches’ agenda when they review this game.

Eight overs later, Ball enjoyed more success when Haseeb Hameed edged a low catch to Riki Wessels at slip. Hameed stayed at the wicket in case the ball had not carried; the umpires consulted and confirmed it had. The opener trooped off, disappointed in the moment of failure, yet also encouraged both by the way he had defied the Nottinghamshire attack in the first innings and by the sharp catch at short leg to remove Stuart Broad on Tuesday evening. It is curious, really; Hameed has played five first-class matches but he already looks the part.

That was the end of the consolation prizes received by Chris Read’s cricketers on Wednesday. There should have been a third when Procter hooked Broad to long leg but Harry Gurney dropped a testing catch which a modern fielder should have taken, Broad stood in mid-pitch and gave his colleague a long stare. Those capable of recalling the glory days of Coronation Street might dub it an “Annie Walker look”. Walker, played by Doris Speed, was the landlady of the Rover’s Return; her distaste could freeze a furnace.

But by then the game was almost gone. Gurney palming the ball to the floor and over the rope brought up Lancashire’s fifty. Six overs later handshakes prefaced early departures. Mick Newell knows there is work for his batsmen to do; Ashley Giles is happy but this is only one win; a pleasant overture to a demanding, delicious season.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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