Foxes enjoy good intra-squad contest

Leicestershire CCC had their first taste of pre-season action in England today, an intra-squad friendly played at the Fischer County Ground.

The match was a 50-over contest but played with a red ball and to Specsavers County Championship regulations.

The wicket and square were in tremendous condition thanks to great work by the groundstaff over the winter, allowing the first home game of 2017 to get underway at 10.15am. 

Conditions, as you would expect for this time of year, were bitterly cold but the teams were able to get 93 overs in before the light closed in.

Twenty of the players in the game were from the Leicestershire CCC squad and Academy with Tom Wells and Ned Eckersley selected as captains for the two teams. Gavin Griffiths and Ben Hinchliffe bowled in both innings.

Team Eckersley batted first and Paul Horton (31) and Harry Dearden (17) battled hard against some probing new ball bowling.

Rob Sayer, who has recently returned from the ECB Overseas Programme in New Zealand, made the initial breakthrough as Dearden drove to cover. It was part of a fine display from the off-spinner - he conceded only nine runs in eight accurate overs.

Wells then bowled Ben Raine (1) and had Horton caught at slip before Ali (31) and Eckersley (15) played well in tandem. The latter was then caught behind off Ben Hinchcliffe and Richard Jones bowled Ali to end his gritty innings.

Chappell played a gem of a knock as the innings wore on, striking nine fours and a maximum before falling leg before to Wells. The all-rounder bowled well throughout the innings in claiming 3-21 (9 overs) as Team Eckersley closed at 163-6.

Chappell and Wells also performed well in the second innings; the tall seamer making an immediate impact by bowling Angus Robson (0).

Two wickets followed for Gavin Griffiths, who had Robson’s opening partner Lewis Hill (11) caught behind by Harry Swindells before trapping Neil Dexter lbw for 3. Charlie Shreck followed up his good work by bowling Callum Parkinson (1) to leave Team Wells struggling at 38-4.

The recovery was led in attractive fashion by Mark Pettini and Tom Wells. Pettini (32) played well before being caught at first slip by Horton off Raine while Wells was caught at point by James Sykes after top-scoring with a fine 48. 

Jones (36*) and Sayer (23*) added an unbroken 50 for the seventh wicket as Team Wells reached 166-6 after 43 overs before the game was called off in gloomy conditions. The seamers picked up the wickets but Sykes did a good job, bowling eight overs at a cost of just 11 runs.

Leicestershire are hoping to start a further intra-squad game next Tuesday, although the three-day fixture will be subject to the weather.

Team Wells: Hill (w/k), Robson, Dexter, Pettini, Parkinson, Wells (capt), Sayer, Jones, Fazakerley, Hinchliffe, Funnell.

Team Eckersley: Horton, Dearden, Raine, Ali, Eckersley (capt), Chappell, Griffiths, Swindells (w/k), Sykes, Shreck, Ahmed.

Bowling figures (1st inns): Griffiths 4-0-17-0, Jones 8-1-27-1, Sayer 8-3-9-1, Wells 9-2-21-3, Dexter 5-2-10-0, Fazakerley 5-2-20-0, Hinchliffe 4-1-21-1, Parkinson 7-1-31-0.

Bowling figures (2nd inns): Chappell 7-2-21-1, Griffiths 6-2-15-2, Shreck 9-2-37-2, Sykes 8-3-11-0, Raine 5-1-33-1, Horton 5-1-25-0, Ahmed 2-0-11-0, Hinchliffe 1-0-1-0.