Prince defies Nottinghamshire
Featured News | 2nd May 2009
Former overseas batsman Ashwell Prince held off Nottinghamshire as the visitors had to be content with a draw at Old Trafford.
The South African vice-captain, who had a short spell at Trent Bridge at the end of last season, hit an unbeaten 135 to rescue Lancashire after the hosts lost three wickets in the first hour's play.
Ryan Sidebottom and Luke Fletcher shared the wickets, with 20-year-old Fletcher removing Tom Smith and Francois Du Plessis lbw, while Paul Horton was caught behind by Bilal Shafayat, deputising behind the stumps with Chris Read attending the birth of his first child.
But the pitch then flattened out and Notts were unable to find the chances to push on for a win, taking 11 points from the draw.
Director of Cricket Mick Newell was nevertheless pleased with the performance from his players and said: "11 points is a pretty satisfying haul from the game and continues our good start to the season.
"I'm happy with how things are going so far, but you don't want to get too far ahead of yourself.
"The pitch didn't do a great deal, we didn't beat the bat much and once Prince and Mark Chilton got settled, it was difficult to create pressure.
"Our wickets came out of the blue to some extent - the ball certainly wasn't moving around as it had been during the first couple of days.
"I suppose that if it hadn't rained on Friday, we might have been able to go on and claim the win. But Lancashire might also have put some runs on the board and put the pressure back on us, so I'm not going to complain about that."
Newell also reserved special praise for Fletcher, who finished with match figures of 4-63 from 30.3 overs on his Championship debut.
Added Newell: "Fletch had an excellent game and I'm delighted with how he performed. It's clear he's going to be a major part of the team this year - not necessarily every match, but certainly an important member of the attack."
Fletcher only earned a summer contract last season but has shown real potential in his first team appearances, and Newell said: "I'm not surprised by how he's progressed.
"If you spend any time with him, you'll soon see how determined he is to succeed. He applies himself, works hard and has settled nicely into the dressing room.
"We want to see more youngsters in the side and Alex Hales has also stepped up. If they're performing well and deserver a chance, we'll give it to them."
Luke Fletcher performed well on Championship debut