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Lancashire pile on the runs at Grace Road

Lancashire continued their push for an instant return to the top flight of the LV= County Championship by posting 303 for five at the end of day one against bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire.

Paul Horton, Luis Reece and Simon Katich all hit half centuries at Grace Road as the Leicestershire bowlers were made to toil.

Horton and Reece set the tone with an opening stand of 104 to give Lancashire their best start of the season.

It was a memorable day for Reece, who made a championship best of 85 having scored his maiden first class century on the same ground playing against Leicestershire for Leeds and Bradford University in April.

But the home side could count themselves unfortunate not to have enjoyed more success than they did - particularly in the first hour when they posed plenty of problems for the batsmen.

Horton survived a massive lbw appeal when rapped on the pads with the first ball of the day from Matthew Hoggard, and on several occasions both batsmen played and missed just outside off stump.

However, Horton was also quick to punish anything loose, striking 10 fours as he reached his fifty off 72 balls and, with Reece providing solid support, the 100 stand came up in the 31st over.

But the partnership was broken by Alex Wyatt straight after lunch as Ollie Freckingham took a fine diving catch at mid-wicket to dismiss Horton for 59.

That brought in Ashwell Prince, who showed his intentions with a glorious straight six off left arm spinner James Sykes. Reece reached a well deserved 50 off 112 balls with six fours as the second wicket pair added 77 runs.

But then came two wickets in as many overs. Prince top edged a catch off Michael Thornely and Reece was pouched at slip attempting to drive Tom Wells, who was making his championship debut. It gave the 20-year-old son of former Leicester Tigers and England rugby star, John Wells, his maiden first class wicket.

Andrea Aganthangelou was brilliantly snapped up by Niall O'Brien off Freckingham with the score on 219, but Katich reached his half-century off 69 balls before falling victim to Hoggard when the new ball was claimed. Katich edged to O'Brien on 62, leaving him 64 runs short of 1,000 for the season.

But there was no more success for Leicestershire as Luke Procter and Tom Smith took Lancashire past 300 just before stumps for a third batting point.