Horton keeps Lancs alive
Unbeaten 97 from Horton keeps Lancashire's hopes alive
Last Updated: 31/07/11 8:18pm
Horton: Unbeaten 97 for Lancashire
Lancashire still have an outside chance of qualifying from Group C of the Clydesdale Bank 40 after edging a nail-biter against Gloucestershire by four wickets.
Paul Horton's 97 was the key to victory for the visitors at Cheltenham, with him finishing unbeaten just three runs short of his hundred as Lancashire won with just 11 balls to spare.
Chasing 291 for victory, Lancashire were also indebted to Tom Smith and big-hitting Oliver Newby, who smashed 77 and 35 not out respectively.
But it was Horton's 90-ball innings that made the difference, as the Australian-born batsman blasted Lancashire into contention before finishing off the job.
Alex Gidman, Chris Taylor and Ian Cockbain earlier contributed quick-fire half centuries as Gloucestershire won the toss and posted an imposing 290-4 on a typically flat Cheltenham pitch.
Much to the delight of a crowd of more than 4,000, Taylor and Cockbain maintained the scoring rate with a partnership of 86 in 12 overs for the fourth wicket.
Although Taylor holed out to deep cover in the 36th over, Cockbain and Ireland World Cup star Kevin O'Brien ensured there was no respite for Lancashire's flagging attack in an unbroken fifth wicket partnership that yielded 50 in four overs.
Gloucestershire must have fancied their chances when Stephen Moore and Steven Croft departed without troubling the scorers in the first over in Lancashire's reply.
When Karl Brown played down the wrong line and was bowled by left-arm seamer David Payne for 27, the visitors were 52-3 and under pressure.
Uninhibited by what was going on around him, Smith continued to play his shots, accruing 11 fours and raising 108 with Horton for the fourth wicket to put his side back into contention.
Lancashire required 86 off the final 10 overs and Gareth Cross went on the offensive, lifting Saxelby over the pavilion for six and Oliver Newby, a former Gloucestershire loan signing, crashed 16 runs off three balls in the 37th over to spoil Payne's figures as Lancashire closed in.
Newby put the outcome beyond doubt, smashing a competition-best 35 not out from just 16 balls, including 4 fours and 2 sixes. But it was Horton's well-timed innings, which included nine fours, which ensured victory.