The batsmen are starting to find their groove - Horton

Leicestershire CCC came close to earning their second Specsavers County Championship win of the season, at the Home of Cricket, against Middlesex CCC – but for the deterioration of the weather.

The Foxes needed 79 runs from the final 18 overs on Friday, after a rain-affected final day at Lord’s, and were well on target despite losing overs throughout the day.

Captain Paul Horton said: “I think that it is a shame for both sides, the way the weather played it’s part today. It was set up for a great finish and we were in a really good position to chase over 300 in a really good game of cricket.

“It was a wonderful game over four days, with two sides that fought very hard and it was a real pleasure to play here.”

The Foxes put on some impressive individual performances throughout the fixture, but had to come together when the leading wicket-taker for the season, Tom Taylor, was restricted to bowling six overs in the first innings because of injury.

Horton said: “Tom [Taylor] was struggling in the first innings, only bowling six overs, and that hampered us. He was our leading wicket taker coming into this game.

“So, we had to stand up and be counted. Muhammad Abbas was brilliant. He has bowled 49 overs this week and finished with figures of 5-103.

“He was unbelievable and that is why he is one of the best bowlers in the world. It was great for the other guys to chip in around him as well.”

Colin Ackermann spearheaded the Foxes impressive second innings batting performance, hitting an unbeaten 70 from only 88 balls, and was well on his way to earning what would have been the only century in the match.

Horton realises that centuries have not come along as often as wanted but feels that the battling line up are all chipping in with meaningful stints at the crease: “As batsmen, you are judged on centuries and things like that,” said Horton.

“But nobody got a century in this game and it was a good game of cricket. We play a lot of those types of games.

“If you get a telling contribution, we’re talking 60, 70 or 80, and you win a game then that is what you play the game for rather than personal glory.

“We have had games of cricket where wickets have dictated that style of play. The batsmen are starting to find their groove and are starting to enjoy their role and are playing some decent cricket.”

The Foxes now head into a run of five-straight Specsavers County Championship fixtures starting with Derbyshire CCC next Monday (May 27).

Horton said: “Our season will be judged on the next five games, having played eight by the end of that run.

“We will need all of players to perform and all of our squad to be a part of it. It will test us but it is a great challenge and we are looking forward to it.”

*The Foxes are back in Specsavers County Championship action on Monday, May 27, as Derbyshire CCC travel to the Fischer County Ground. Buy tickets HERE.