by Pete Johnson
Another good day's work in which Greg Smith scored 158* and James Sykes and Alex Wyatt each took four wickets saw Leicestershire Second XI seal a 186-run win against Derbyshire at Grace Road.
After two positively glorious Spring days laced with sunshine, the sun failed to make an appearance on day three at a cool, overcast and chilly day at Grace Road.
County resumed Day 3 on 243-2 with Smith 123 not out and Josh Cobb 0 not out. Leicestershire batted for a further 8 overs in the morning session adding 54 more runs before declaring on 297-2.
Smith added a 35 to his overnight score to finish on a superb 158 not out. He was particularly brutal on paceman Ben Cotton this morning in taking three fours and a six from him.
Smith's fine knock of came from 209 balls and included 18 fours and seven sixes, and Cobb remained undefeated on 15 (19 balls). Derbyshire faced a daunting traget of 429 from a minimum of 86 overs.
Derbyshire had 75 minutes to bat before lunch and soon lost Ben Slater, who was expertly caught at first slip by Rob Taylor off the bowling of Ollie Freckingham.
Paul Borrington was offering stubborn resistance but survived a very confident lbw appeal from the first ball he received from Wyatt, who had replaced Nathan Buck at the Pavilion End.
Buck switched to the Bennett End in place of Freckingham, and just before lunch, R Hassan was caught behind by Lewis Hill from the very first ball of Sykes' first over. Derbyshire went into lunch on 46-2 from 17 overs.
In the first 7 overs after lunch, Derbyshire were put on the rack thanks to three wickets from Wyatt. Borrington (26) was first to go, caught by keeper Hill. Then Wyatt struck again in his next over with two wickets in three balls. Alex Hughes (15) was caught by Tom Wells at third slip, and then Tony Palladino (0) was trapped lbw from the 2nd ball he received.
Derbyshire were now on the ropes at 63-5 but an obstinate partnership of 114 followed between Jon Clare and Gareth Cross. The stand was broken when Sykes, operating from the Pavillion End, won an lbw appeal against Cross (56). Cross's 50 had come from 52 balls (9x4). Immediately afterwards his partner Clare (48) was bowled by Sykes. Derbyshire went into tea on 178-7 from 44 overs.
County took a further 19.4 overs after tea to wrap up the game, in what were now quite gloomy conditions overhead. Tom Taylor (12) went caught behind by Hill off Buck, then Greg Cork (31) was brilliantly caught down the leg side by a diving Lewis Hill.
The game was won when Sykes bowled Ben Cotton (11), the not out batsman being Adam Shepherd (4*). Derbyshire were all out for 242, giving Leicestershire victory by 186 runs.
Bowling figures: Freckingham 8-2-23-1: Buck 11-2-31-1: Wyatt 13-5-24-4: Sykes 18.4-4-82-4: Taylor 7-1-17-0: Wells 3-0-26-0: Thornely 3-0-15-0.
A good all round team effort with Taylor 134 not out, Smith 158 not out and Thornely 91 all weighing in with the bat. Sykes picking up 9-122 in the match, and there was a miserly spell by Wyatt in the second innings (4-24 off 13). Hill caught the eye with four catches in the second Innings, to go with one in the first Innings.
There is no Second XI game now until May 5, and no doubt the players will be eager to get into Championship and 50-Over Trophy cricket after a spell of Intra-Club games and this friendly fixture.