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O'Brien and Buck thwart Glamorgan

A combination of a stubborn rearguard from Niall O’Brien and Nathan Buck and the weather ensured Leicestershire held out for a draw in the LV=CC game at Cardiff.

County looked in all sorts of bother on 182-8 with well over a session remaining but O’Brien (19*, 82b) and Buck (4*, 66b) saw out 129 deliveries as Leicestershire moved to 204-8 before rain set in.

Michael Hogan and Jim Allenby had earlier exploited the miserable conditions to put their side in pole position before Leicestershire regrouped to take seven points from the contest.

Persistent morning rain meant that no play was possible at the SWALEC Stadium before lunch, which was taken at the earlier time of 12.30pm.

Umpires Nigel Cowley and Martin Bodenham inspected immediately afterwards and decided to start at 1.50pm. With no extra half an hour available on the final day, 34 overs had been wiped off at that stage. By the end of the day, that total had reached 50.

Angus Robson progressed to a gutsy 81 – his third score in excess of 80 from a productive summer – before being the third of five Leicestershire wickets to fall for the addition of nine runs in 10 overs as Glamorgan seized control.

Leicestershire needed a steady start but Hogan (19-7-41-3) and Allenby (19-9-28-2) more than made up for lost time. They combined with Mark Wallace on four separate occasions as Glamorgan looked to be homing in on a precious victory.

The day started in promising fashion for Leicestershire as Robson cut Allenby for four but Hogan then picked up two wickets in as many overs with beautiful deliveries.

Ramnaresh Sarwan (7, 34b) edged the Australian through to the skipper without addition to his overnight score and Josh Cobb (4, 8b) fell after an eventful trio of balls. Cobb clipped through mid-wicket for four before receiving a vicious bouncer. The next delivery was pitched up further and it lifted sharply to take Cobb’s edge on the way through to Wallace.

Opener Robson had held firm but he was the middle victim of Glamorgan's purple patch, falling in extraordinary fashion. He edged Allenby to a diving Wallace, who parried the ball towards Jacques Rudolph. The second slip’s excellent reflexes saw him kick the ball back to Wallace, who completed a dismissal that was far from route one.

Leicestershire’s goal had now been made much harder, and a fourth wicket fell as Rob Taylor (0, 11b) got a touch down the leg-side to the on-song Hogan. The Australian now had a devastating haul of 3-5 in the space of 3.2 overs as Wallace took an effort diving to his right.

Anthony Ireland (0,10b) was then bowled by Allenby, who had changed to the Cathedral Road End, without further addition to the score as Glamorgan continued to dominate proceedings.

O’Brien had made a brisk century against Glamorgan earlier this year but he showed another side to his game here. Buck was a more than useful foil as Leicestershire dealt with whatever was thrown at them.

With the light deteriorating, Glamorgan tried Will Bragg in place of the excellent Allenby alongside the occasional leg-spin of Rudolph (2-0-5-0), who had come on for Dean Cosker (22-6-37-1).

O’Brien pulled Rudolph to the ropes and Cosker then switched to the Cathedral Road End in place of Bragg (6-2-22-0). The new ball had been due in the medium pacer’s last over but Glamorgan were unable to utilise their opening bowlers because of the conditions.

Leicestershire moved to 195-8 when rain forced the players from the field, and tea was taken at that point. O’Brien and Buck had negotiated 14.3 overs, adding 13 runs for good measure, so Leicestershire were 46 in arrears going into the final session.

The slow left arm of Tom Lancefield (1-0-6-0) was introduced after tea and O’Brien drove a boundary to take the score beyond 200. Cosker and Allenby then combined again, with the former Leicestershire man switching from medium pace to spin before more rain arrived.

It got heavier as the evening session went on and even when it stopped, the clouds were dark and looked ready to burst again. There was no further play despite the best efforts of the groundstaff. The partnership had yielded 22 - but it was the 21.3 overs used up which was the most important statistic of the innings.

Leicestershire now turn their attention to the NatWest T20 Blast against Birmingham Bears at Grace Road on Sunday (2.40pm start) while Gloucestershire visit in the LV=CC on Monday (11am start).

 
 

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