Dan Redfern made a hundred in his first Leicestershire innings as the team got in some useful time in the middle against Northamptonshire at Grace Road today.
Redfern was particularly severe on anything short as he scored 111 of the 165 total runs gathered while he was at the crease.
Niall O’Brien was also in the runs in posting an unbeaten 53 as Leicestershire declared on 249-7 after 60 overs.
Northants then batted for a session and scored 113-2 in 30 overs with James Middelbrook top-scoring with 50. Ben Raine took both Northants wickets to fall.
Maurice Chambers picked up two wickets in an over as Greg Smith (2) was caught in the gully and Michael Thornely (11) was bowled.
Eckersley and Redfern played some nice strokes amid solid defence as they developed a stand that passed 50 in the opening session.
Redfern struck a couple of cracking cover drives while a pull also raced to a long boundary towards the manual scoreboard. Eckersley was then caught in the covers off Steve Crook for 22 (47 balls) with the score on 75.
Redfern pulled two sixes off Chambers to move to a well-constructed 62-ball 50 and Leicestershire were 104-3 at lunch.
The left-hander hit two flowing off drives as he picked up where he left off but Matthew Boyce (5) was brilliantly caught by Matthew Spriegel in the gully off Chambers (13-3-41-3).
A third six followed for Redfern but Josh Cobb (11) was well held by Kyle Coetzer at cover off Crook (15-1-70-2).
Redfern twice pulled Chambers for four as he moved into the nineties and the 100 came up from 108 balls with a pull to the boundary off Andrew Hall. It was his tenth four and the batsman also hit three sixes in the milestone.
Hall trapped Redfern leg before with the score on 176 before O’Brien played very positively. His fourth boundary took the score beyond 200. Northants had taken good catches throughout the day and that theme continued as Graeme White held a sharp return effort to dismiss Raine (5).
O’Brien moved to a 66-ball 50 and Rob Taylor (17 not out) helped him add an unbroken 40 for the 8th wicket. Tea was taken and Northants then had a 30-over session to bat.
Raine and Taylor took the new ball and the former took the first wicket by pinning Rob Keogh in front. A double change came as Tom Wells and Thornely were introduced, and Raine then switched to the Bennett End. Middlebrook progressed to a 62-ball 50 that contained eight fours before he lost his off stump to Raine.
Spriegel (40*) and Hall (18*) saw out the rest of the day, and the Leicestershire bowling figures were as follows. Raine 8-2-23-2, Taylor 7-1-27-0, Wells 4-0-25-0, Thornely 5-0-18-0, Sykes 4-0-15-0, Redfern 1-0-2-0, Cobb 1-0-3-0.
The second day of the match will take place at Wantage Road and Leicestershire’s line-up will include more bowlers given Northants will bat for two sessions.