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Seconds lose at Kidderminster

Second XI Championship: Worcestershire 161 (Sheikh 6-60) and 375 beat Leicestershire 257 and 113 by 166 runs.

Worcestershire Second XI produced a strong performance on the final day to secure a 166-run Championship victory over Leicestershire at Kidderminster.

Resuming 156 ahead on 251-3, Worcestershire added 124 runs for the loss of their last seven wickets in the opening session to set Leicestershire 280 to win in a minimum of 69 overs.

County lost regular wickets to ensure they were neither in a position to chase down the score nor bat out for the draw. The team were bowled out for 113 in 47.4 overs as spinners Shaaiq Choudhry and George Rhodes took 6-34 between them.

In total, 17 wickets fell on the final day for 237 runs. Atif Sheikh got the ball rolling as he had nightwatchman John Denning caught by Karl Turner (pictured right) in the slips.

Choudhry was well held by Ben Collins at mid-wicket off Ian Holland before Michael Johnson's wonderful captain's innings came to an end.

Johnson, who was 100 not out overnight, again batted like a train as he moved to 150 from 230 balls with 23 fours. He progressed to 168 before County got back on track as Raine bowled him from the Railway End.

Worcestershire were now 347-6 and completely ran out of steam as the final four wickets fell in quick succession.

Raine trapped Jamie Harris lbw and skipper Ollie Freckingham picked up the wickets of Rhodes and Liam Smith either side of a run out. David Lucas was the unlucky batsman as Garth Davson produced a tremendous throw from the boundary edge.

Bowling figures for County were: Freckingham 3-69 (18.4), Sheikh 2-76 (17), Raine 2-53 (12), Collins 0-63 (14), Holland 1-64 (14), Angus Robson 1-22 (6), Turner 0-20 (6).

The final wicket fell four minutes before lunch, so the players had something to eat before the two crucial sessions of the match got underway. The side were given a solid start by Turner and Robson but soon found themselves in trouble.

Robson was caught at slip off Joe Leach for 8 with the score on 30, and Harry Bush was then trapped leg before by Connor Smith. Liam Smith bowled Davson (2), and when Turner's fine 46 was brought to an end by Choudhry just before a rain break, County were in huge bother on 68-4.

The situation did not improve when play resumed, Sunny Patel (0) caught at short leg off Connor Smith before Raine (19) fell in similar fashion off Choudhry.

The slow left armer struck for a third time as Aadil Ali (2) was stumped and Rhodes then had Oliver Steele caught close to the wicket by Matt Pardoe. Holland was caught by 'keeper Johnson off Choudry for 22 before Rhodes held a return catch from Sheikh to end the game.

Freckingham was one not out at the end, Choudhry finishing with 4-32 (10) and Rhodes 2-2 (2.4). Other figures were: Lucas 0-8 (7), Denning 0-16 (6), Leach 1-18 (7), C Smith 2-21 (10), L Smith 1-15 (5).

Worcestershire took 21 points from the game to Leicestershire's seven, the team is back in action in the Trophy next Tuesday against Warwickshire at Coventry and North Warwickshire Cricket Club.

Pete Johnson


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