Paul Horton’s third List A century set Leicestershire up for a 72-run victory at Northamptonshire in the opening game of the Royal London One Day Cup.
Horton’s 103 in 126 balls guided Leicestershire to a competitive 265 for 7 having lost the toss, a score that proved more than enough after the home side were bowled out for 193 in 38.2 overs.
Josh Cobb gave the chase a bright start with three successive fours in the fourth over – two drives through the covers and a short-arm pull over mid-on. He pulled Callum Parkinson’s left-arm spin for four and then six through midwicket to raise fifty in 57 balls but then drove Gavin Griffiths to short extra-cover.
Cobb’s dismissal followed Ben Duckett running himself out trying to take a single to Michael Carberry at mid-on, Richard Levi driving to deep cover where Neil Dexter claimed the catch with a juggle, and Alex Wakely chipping a drive to point.
Griffiths then produced a ball that bounced from a length from round the wicket to take the shoulder of Luke Procter’s bat to point and a beauty that straightened to clip the top of Adam Rossington’s off stump. Griffiths finished with a career-best 4 for 30.
The game was effectively over but White and Hutton extended the afternoon. White thumped Ben Raine down the ground for four and then slog-swept Parkinson for six to raise the fifty stand. But when White edged Ben Raine to Ned Eckersley any chance of a recovery was ended.
It ensured Horton’s fine century was in a winning cause. He began by flashing a drive over point for the game’s first boundary in the fourth over and steered another along the ground in more convincing fashion but it was a patient Powerplay where Leicestershire made 34 for 0.
Horton top-edged a pull before passing fifty in 67 balls with six fours and was then very nearly stumped as he was beaten in the flight advancing at White on 58, only to get a feather of an inside edge past Adam Rossington.
But he thereafter played fluently to work the bowling around and reached his century in 120 balls with nine fours. His career-best of 111 was within sight before he was strangled down the leg side flicking at Rory Kleinveldt.
The dismissal had a profound impact on the innings as Leicestershire slumped from 182 for 2 after 36 overs to 213 for 6 after 44. Kleinveldt bowled Zak Chappell after a failed promotion to No. 5 before Luke Procter removed the dangerous Mark Cosgrove for 27, caught behind trying to run a ball third man, and Neil Dexter, who having struck the first boundary for eight overs, slapped straight to mid-off.
The slide severely checked Leicestershire’s ambitions on a good wicket and it took Ben Raine – hammering three fours over extra cover – and Ned Eckersley – who swung Brett Hutton to the midwicket fence – to add 44 in the final five overs to push the visitors to a total that proved more than enough.Northants head coach David Ripley said:”We talked a good game, we had some good things in place but just didn’t play smart enough cricket and didn’t use our brains with the bat.”We have quality players with the bat that should have won us that game on a decent pitch and at half-time I thought we would win.”It is only game one though and we have a team good enough to qualify in this competition.”Leicestershire head coach Paul Nixon said:”It was a great innings from Paul Horton, he had to get in and then dominate and that’s what he did.”He almost missed the fun part getting out when he did bit it was a special innings.”The group are positive but we realise how quickly things can change and we’ll keep ahead of the game, keep working and keep our discipline going forward.”