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County up against it

Eleven wickets fell in 54.4 overs as Glamorgan had a good opening day of the LV=CC game against Leicestershire at the SWALEC Stadium.

Leicestershire are yet to win a toss in 2014 and Glamorgan took advantage of seam-friendly conditions as they bowled the team out for 109 in 38 overs.

Niall O’Brien and Anthony Ireland each made 17 for Leicestershire while wickets were shared among the Glamorgan seamers on a pitch with a green tinge, including three apiece for Jim Allenby and Will Owen.

The home side more than halved the deficit as they progressed to 56-1 between the showers, Jacques Rudolph finishing a truncated day on 26 not out after Rob Taylor (4-1-12-1) dismissed debutant Tom Lancefield.

Leaders Hampshire had inflicted the first LV=CC defeats of the season on both Glamorgan and Leicestershire in their most recent red-ball outings, so both sides were looking for an immediate response.

Leicestershire remained unchanged while Glamorgan made five adjustments to the XI that last played at the Ageas Bowl, including the return of strike bowler Michael Hogan.

The Australian seamer was back after being at the birth of his second child, and seamer Owen was recalled. Former Surrey and Unicorns opener Lancefield was brought in while Ben Wright and Chris Cooke came into the middle order.

Hogan’s return coincided with the loss of in-form new ball colleague Graham Wagg (groin) while Gareth Rees, Stewart Walters, Murray Goodwin and Ruaidhri Smith also dropped out of the XI.

After the groundstaff mopped up a wet outfield, play got underway at 11.30am and Hogan announced his return by removing Leicestershire top-scorer Greg Smith’s off-stump with the second ball of the day.

Angus Robson and Ned Eckersley took the score to 6-1 after 5.1 overs before bad light stopped play. The players returned after a brief stoppage but Robson (5, 14b) fell to the third ball upon the resumption as Tom Helm trapped him in front.

Eckersley drove Hogan (11-2-30-2) away to record the first boundary of the day in the 7th over, and the number three batsman also hit Helm over point in the next over. But Eckersley (9, 36b) then chopped Helm (6-2-9-2) onto his wicket and Leicestershire were now 17-3.

Josh Cobb (4, 4b) drove pleasantly down the ground for four but he became the fourth batsman to fall as he struck Will Owen (8-1-42-3) to Will Bragg at mid-off. A key blow then followed as Ramnaresh Sarwan (7, 25b) edged Jim Allenby (13-6-20-3) to Mark Wallace and Leicestershire were in big trouble on 34-5.

O’Brien and Taylor each picked up a three in the lunch over as County went in on 43-5. O’Brien then hit his first four from the second ball after the break delivered by Allenby but the players left the field because of rain immediately afterwards.

Play resumed again at 2.25pm with 18 overs now having been wiped off the day, and the stop-start nature of proceedings couldn’t have helped the batsmen. O’Brien continued to be busy, and Taylor collected a brace of threes off Allenby and Hogan respectively, but both set batsmen fell with the score on 62.

O’Brien (17, 22b) became the second victim of the Allenby-Wallace partnership as the highest stand of the innings (28) came to an end. Taylor (11, 27b) then nicked a ball that seamed by Hogan and Wallace snapped up a superb one-handed diving effort.

Ireland punched down the ground for four before pulling to the fence while Jigar Naik (13*, 41b) pulled Owen for six down to long leg despite Helm getting a hand to it. The batsman was then nearly caught and bowled off the next ball but he lived to tell the tale.

Ireland dispatched an overpitched delivery for four as he moved to 17 but he edged an attempted pull off Owen and Dean Cosker took the catch at gully to end the 26-run alliance. A ninth wicket fell as Nathan Buck (2, 8b) gloved Owen to Wallace as he looked to leave.

Although Charlie Shreck smoked over mid-on before edging down to the vacant third man boundary, he was bowled by Allenby after making a plucky 15 (20b). Tea was taken at that point so that a mammoth final session of 40 overs was on the cards at that stage.

Lancefield and Rudolph settled in and the former South Africa international cut Ireland (4-0-18-0) away to register the first boundary at the end of the 6th over. Lancefield then flicked Shreck (4-0-8-0) away for four before Rudolph hit another boundary as Glamorgan moved to 28-0 after eight overs.

Buck (4.4-1-12-0) replaced Shreck and Rudolph cut a third four before a shower had players scampering for cover. Play recommenced at 5.25pm with another 11 overs being wiped from the day’s tally and there was a promising start. Lancefield pulled Taylor high into the air and O’Brien got underneath it.

Bragg dug in alongside Rudolph but rain returned just before 6pm and the final 12.2 overs of a frustrating day were lost. Leicestershire will use day two as the opportunity for a fresh start - this has been a rare bad day after a promising opening to the campaign.


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