Happy finale for Leicestershire

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Leicestershire ended the LV= County Championship Division Two season on a high, beating Gloucestershire by two wickets after a dramatic finish at Grace Road.

Chasing a victory target of 236, Leicestershire were coasting at 205 for three but then lost five wickets for 13 runs as Gloucestershire fought back.

Yet Wayne White held his nerve to hit the winning boundary off Will Gidman while Josh Cobb struck a blistering 65 off 51 balls and Ned Eckersley made 63.

It was Leicestershire’s third win of the season and the 21 points lifted them to seventh, with Gloucestershire replacing them at the foot of the table.

The game looked evenly poised at the start of play with Gloucestershire on 254 for nine, leading by 193 runs.

Leicestershire’s target was to end the innings as quickly as possible, but it took them 70 minutes and 19 overs as Jon Batty and Liam Norwell shared in a defiant last-wicket stand of 42.

Matthew Boyce

Matthew Boyce struck an impressive fifty as Leicestershire ended their LV= County Championship Division Two campaign with a victory

It was finally broken by Matthew Hoggard, who bowled the latter with the second new ball to leave Batty on 40 not out on his final day in first-class cricket having announced his retirement from the game.

With Gloucestershire all out for 296, Leicestershire had a victory target of 236 in 75 overs and they tackled it in positive fashion.

Openers Greg Smith and Michael Thornely put on 45, with the former smacking three boundaries in one over off Norwell.

Smith had been dropped on four by Batty off Will Gidman, but there was no escape in the 14th over when he chipped an easy catch to square-leg off Norwell.

Thornely looked in good touch as well, but, having made a confident 36, was bowled attempting an expansive drive at a delivery from James Fuller.

Matthew Boyce brought up his side’s hundred with a sweep off Jack Taylor but was then trapped lbw by a ball that kept low.

His departure heralded Cobb’s arrival, and the newcomer unleashed a barrage of boundaries, including a massive six over square-leg off Norwell, as he raced to 50 off 33 balls. 

With Eckersley also striking the ball well and reaching his fifty off 81 balls with nine fours, the fourth-wicket pair put on 99 in 17 overs to leave Leicestershire in sight of victory on 205.

But when Cobb was out lbw to Gidman for 65, a collapse began as five wickets fell in 10 overs - with the home side slipping to 218 for eight.

Gloucestershire were back in with a chance of winning but White struck three boundaries in an unbeaten 14 to see Leicestershire home; the all-rounder was then awarded his county cap at the end of the match, after a season in which he scored 616 championship runs and took 43 wickets.

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