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Red Rose resist Napier fireworks

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Lancashire survived a late onslaught from Graham Napier to secure a 28-run win over Essex in the Clydesdale Bank 40.

Stephen Moore, Steven Croft and Paul Horton all hit half-centuries as Lancashire posted 258 for nine in the Group A clash at Old Trafford.

Essex were in trouble on 139 for six in the 28th over in reply before Napier smashed 51 from just 25 balls in a rapid 68-run partnership with Greg Smith to give them a fighting chance.

Once Napier holed out to a brilliant catch from Croft, Smith, who struck 44 from 40 deliveries, continued the fightback.

But, in the end, the Eagles fell short as they were bowled out for 230 with 15 balls left, Lightning spinner Gary Keedy claiming 3-49.

Moore and Croft gave Lancashire an excellent start after they had won the toss.

Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore contributed 62 at the top of the order for Lancashire in a total of 258 for nine that proved beyond the reach of opponents Essex

They each brought up their half-centuries at faster than a run-a-ball, with Moore smashing a six off Tymal Mills to bring up the 100 partnership from 77 deliveries.

Tom Craddock ended the 111-run stand when Moore was caught at cover by Smith for 62, which came off just 50 deliveries.

David Masters then struck twice in an over. First, Croft was trapped lbw for 53 and then Karl Brown chipped the ball to Mark Pettini for 15 as Lancashire slumped from 130 for one to 148 for four.

Horton, however, led the rebuilding process with 54 from 53 balls.

Lancashire continued to lose wickets regularly and Masters finished with 4-41 by adding the scalps of Stephen Parry and Horton. Napier saw off Sajid Mahmood en route to 2-49.

Alviro Petersen and Pettini made a bright start for Essex until Ajmal Shahzad claimed his first wicket at Old Trafford as a Lancashire player by bowling the South African for 24.

Pettini, who was dropped by Horton on nine, added just eight more as Parry took a difficult catch.

After Tom Westley was involved in a mix-up which saw Adam Wheater run out for a duck, he put on 56 with James Foster to keep Essex in the game before being caught on the boundary by Mahmood for 33.

Foster made 41 before being bowled by Keedy, and when Michael Comber was run out for a duck two overs later, the game looked over.

Napier and Smith ensured Lancashire were tested to the end, with Mahmood suffering the brunt of their attack.

The result leaves Essex still looking for their first win in the competition, while Lancashire have now won their opening two matches.

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