Lamb and Bailey steer Lancashire to thrilling win at Sedbergh
A magnificent century partnership between Danny Lamb and Tom Bailey took Lancashire to a stunning last-gasp victory in the opening Royal London Cup match at Sedbergh School.
When Sussex spinner Archie Lenham took his third wicket to leave Lancashire 115-7 in the 28th over the target of 271 was still 156 runs away and the Red Rose had a mountain, or perhaps given the location, a fell to climb.
But Lamb and Bailey refused to give in and engineered a remarkable comeback with a Lancashire record 8th wicket alliance of 112 off 106 balls.
And once Bailey departed for a one-day best 45 with 44 required off 28 balls, Lamb took centre stage finishing unbeaten on 86 off 69 balls-also the highest score by a Lancashire number 8 batsman in one-day matches-courageously aided by Liam Hurt as the pair took Lancashire home with six balls to spare.
“Amazing,” was Danny Lamb’s reaction after his match-winning display.
“We just tried to take it as deep as we could,” he explained.
“It was hard because Bails was itching to hit their off spinner for six. So I was just trying to keep him calm!”
“He batted superbly," added Lamb. "He’s an experienced cricketer and knows what he’s doing. He did really well.”
The pair managed the run-chase expertly with good shot selection and good running to put their youthful opposition under pressure during the closing overs.
“It’s about trying to manage risk efficiently as possible," said Lamb.
“It’s hard when you need more than ten an over, although in this day and age ten an over on grounds the size of Sedbergh are manageable. In the end we did it relatively comfortably time-wise.”
“We were trying to take the over down early-with a six or a four-and then knock ones (for the rest of it).
“I thought we did that pretty well."
And there was still a tough target to chase when Hurt joined Lamb in the middle.
“Liam can bat well,” added Lamb.
“So there was no issue with me not being able to trust him and have to farm the strike or anything like that.
“So we carried on as before (with Bailey). Knock down the over early and you can turn things over very easily.
“Be aggressive, put the bowler under pressure. As a bowler I know what that’s like. The pressure of thinking ‘where do I get a dot ball from?’.
“It was a good way to start the competition,” he smiled.
It certainly was, especially after the game seemed to be slipping steadily away from Lancashire.
That was hard on a young Sussex side that had contributed to a great game, acknowledged at the end by a good crowd, on a memorable day at an outstanding ground.
Chasing that target of 271 Lancashire’s reply started poorly with three wickets down for 19 runs inside six overs.
Pace bowler Joe Sarro bowled Keaton Jennings via a bottom edge for 2 and had Josh Bohannon caught behind for 8 before Luke Wells was well caught at first slip by Tom Clark off Henry Crocombe for 5.
Dane Vilas and Rob Jones rebuilt the Lancashire innings with a 46-run partnership but having made 31 off 27 balls, Vilas found a leading edge off Danial Ibrahim that flew to Clark who took a diving catch in the covers.
Lenham followed with a three wicket burst to seemingly swing the game firmly the way of the visitors. The spinner, playing on his seventeenth birthday, found an edge from Steven Croft that was snapped up by wicketkeeper Oli Carter and then added two in one over-George Lavelle stumped for 8 and Rob Jones lbw for 35 to leave Lancashire 115-7 in the 28th over.
That looked to be the decisive moment but Lamb and Bailey had other ideas.
The pair posted a century partnership off 100 balls and went on to better the 8th-wicket record of 105 by Warren Hegg and Ian Austin against Middlesex at Lord’s in 1991.
With 44 required off 28 balls Lenham struck to claim his fourth wicket with Bailey, having already struck two sixes and two foors, stumped aiming another big hit.
But Lamb hit the spinner for four and then smashed four and a six off Henry Crocombe in the following over, the ball bouncing off the top of the sightscreen, to bring the target down to 13 off 2 overs.
In fact just one over was required as Lamb pulled Sarro for six over square leg and Hurt, who had contributed a calm unbeaten 14, sealed a remarkable victory with a drive to the long-on boundary.
It was a day where debuts abounded at Sedbergh; Lancashire handed one-day starts to wicketkeeper George Lavelle and left-arm spinner Jack Morley while Luke Wells also made his red Rose one-day debut.
No less than nine Sussex players were making their one-day List A debuts, with only overseas batsman Travis Head-playing his 100th List A game and also making his Sussex debut-and leg-spinner Will Beer providing any experience at this level.
The visitors rallied from a poor start after losing two early wickets.
Hurt troubled the Sussex top order in a fast five-over spell from the Evans end and removed both left-hand opening batsmen in near identical fashion; Clark via a leading edge to Vilas at mid-off for 0 and Harrison Ward for 4 trying to force a drive but finding Vilas.
With Bailey producing a miserly five-over spell of 11 runs, Sussex reached the end of the 10-over powerplay struggling on 31-2.
Sussex skipper Tom Haines, who pulled Lamb for six in the 15th over during his 61-ball 38, and Aussie overseas batsman Head rebuilt the innings with a 64-run partnership that was broken by a great piece of fielding by Jones at mid-wicket to run out Haines.
Having reached his half-century from only 54 balls Head edged behind trying to glance off-spinner Wells down to third man with Sussex 101-4 two overs before the halfway stage of the innings.
But the Sharks rallied with three excellent partnerships; 33 between James Cole and Carter and, after Coles fell lbw for 9 sweeping at Wells, Carter and Ibrahim added 59 inside 12 overs followed by an outstanding 72 for the 7th wicket by Ibrahim and Beer.
Carter reached his half-century off 55 balls but fell to a leg side catch by wicketkeeper Lavelle off Lamb for 55.
16 year-old Ibrahim, who needed treatment after being hit painfully at the start of his innings, remained composed to produce an impressive and important contribution of 46 off 56 balls that ended when he was caught off the last ball of the Sussex innings to give Hurt one-day best figures of 3-55.
Beer added the impetus from the other end, striking a six over long-on off Lamb in 46th over in making a rapid 40 off 30 balls with 81 runs from the final ten overs propelling the visitors to a challenging 270-9 that for a long time looked to be enough.
But in an incredible finish, Lamb, Bailey and Hurt combined to prove otherwise.
Photos: Barry Mitchell & Luke Adams