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Worcestershire stay in the hunt

Worcestershire kept their slim hopes of promotion alive with a nine-wicket victory against bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire in their LV= County Championship clash at Grace Road.

After dismissing the hosts for 248 in the last over before lunch, Worcestershire reached their target of 185 in 45.1 overs to claim their fourth win of the season. It earned them 22 points but they still trail second-placed Northamptonshire by 45 with three games to play.

Matthew Pardoe and Moeen Ali both hit half-centuries and shared an unbroken second-wicket stand of 123 to see Worcestershire home after Daryl Mitchell was bowled by Matthew Hoggard for 35.

The visitors were 112 for one at tea, but Pardoe and Moeen unleashed a barrage of boundaries on the resumption, scoring 73 runs in 13.1 overs. Pardoe finished on 76 not out off 126 balls with 12 fours, while Moeen faced 76 balls, hitting eight fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 63.

The only bright spot for Leicestershire, who have not won a game in the championship this season, was a second century in the match for Ned Eckersley. He followed up his first-innings 106 with 119 before being bowled by Jack Shantry.

Eckersley faced 224 balls and hit 14 fours to become the first man to score two centuries in a game for Leicestershire since Brad Hodge in 2004.

The hosts, resuming at 190 for six, added 58 runs for the last four wickets in 28.2 overs. It took Eckersley half an hour to score the runs he needed for his century, which came with a leg glance to the boundary off Alan Richardson. It was his 12th four.

James Sykes was then trapped lbw by Richardson for 32 to halt a stand of 92 for the seventh wicket and the end came quickly after that.

Shantry had Ollie Freckingham caught at cover before bowling Eckersley off an inside edge and Hoggard was pinned lbw by Shaaiq Choudhry with the last ball before lunch. Shantry finished with 4-53.

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