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    Friday 31 October 2014

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County progress halted by weather

Leicestershire posted a healthy 221-4 before rain ended the first day of the LV=CC game against Glamorgan prematurely.

County were asked to bat first and four batsmen posted scores in the forties, with captain Josh Cobb (49*, 73b) and Niall O’Brien (46*, 56b) adding an unbroken 84 for the fifth wicket.

Their work built on good foundations from the top order as Matthew Boyce (49, 123b) shared an opening stand of 49 with Greg Smith (28, 63b) and 68 for the second wicket with Ned Eckersley (42, 71b).

Graham Wagg pegged back progress with three quick wickets but Cobb and O’Brien batted with great intent to ensure County ended the day in a position of strength.

Leicestershire named an unchanged team from the one that drew at Canterbury while Glamorgan made two enforced changes from their draw against Gloucestershire.

Michael Hogan is on paternity leave and Ruaidhri Smith has returned to university to prepare for his finals, so Will Owen and John Glover came into the side.

The visitors won the toss and Leicestershire knuckled down in overcast conditions. Smith struck down the ground in the first over to open the team’s account with a boundary and Boyce followed suit in the fourth.

A clip off the pads brought Smith four more and a guide through the cordon also flew to the fence. Smith then produced a dismissive pull off Wagg (17-5-68-3) before Boyce drove with élan through extra as he picked up his second boundary.

Smith drove through the off-side as he continued to impress and Boyce also drove over backward point when John Glover (9-1-42-0) entered the attack. The score moved to 49 and the batsmen were looking good, so it was a shame when Smith drove Jim Allenby (17-5-52-1) to a diving Wagg at short extra cover.

Number three Eckersley struck two beautiful off-side boundaries but Allenby nearly had a second wicket between those strokes. Boyce was put down by Stewart Walters at second slip and the batsman rubbed salt into the wounds by striking the final ball of the over to the extra cover boundary.

Boyce pulled and guided the returning Owen for four as Leicestershire went to lunch in good shape on 82-1. Boyce was on 36 and Eckersley 16 at that point in proceedings.

Boyce twice drove fours through the covers and Eckersley struck through point as the stand moved past 50 after the break. Eckersley then pulled a Wagg bouncer to the long leg boundary before clipping a lovely stroke through mid-wicket as ten came from the 39th over.

Wagg reacted by taking two wickets in two balls in his next over. Boyce nicked a good delivery and Mark Wallace took a good catch moving to his left while Robson chopped on.

Skipper Cobb played two fine strokes through mid-wicket and another four came as a defensive stroke ran down to the vacant third man boundary. But Wagg continued his purple patch as Eckersley nicked to Wallace, and Leicestershire were now 137-4.

Cobb and O’Brien responded with an extremely positive alliance. The captain hit two straight fours, and four overthrows helped O’Brien get off and running with a five. That also brought up the 150 and Cobb pulled Glover to register his sixth four.

A sharp chance came as Cobb drove Owen hard to Wagg in the covers but the fielder, who was having a breather after sending down his 17th over, wasn’t able to cling on. The all-action period continued as Cobb clipped Glover over mid-wicket for four before driving back to Owen (14-4-43-0), who couldn’t take a sharp return catch.

A Cobb nick evaded second slip and also raced away for four, and O’Brien pulled a single to register a 50-run stand that came up in just 8.4 overs. Glamorgan needed some control back and Dean Cosker (7-4-16-0) entered the attack from the Bennett End.

The slow left armer had bowled two maidens in his first spell before lunch and repeated that feat. But O’Brien and Cobb struck boundaries from the other end and County now had their first batting point.

Allenby thought he had gained success when Cobb nibbled at one but although Wallace got a hand to it, the ball went to ground. O’Brien then took the attack to Cosker and 11 came from his sixth over, including a drive and cut to the ropes.

Leicestershire went to tea on 221-4 with the duo closing in on half-centuries but rain then came and prevented any further play. The game will resume at 11am tomorrow morning.

 
 

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