Leicestershire hit Hampshire hopes

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A remarkable 10th-wicket stand of 168 was not enough to prevent Division Two promotion hopefuls Hampshire sliding to defeat by 126 runs against Leicestershire in the LV= County Championship match at Grace Road.

Chris Wood smashed a maiden first-class century off 80 balls and finished unbeaten on 105, while David Balcombe contributed 73 from 70 deliveries before being bowled by Nathan Buck.

Their sterling efforts could not deny Leicestershire, however, who climbed off the foot of the table to seventh with the aid of three wickets from part-time leg-spinner Will Jones.

Hampshire resumed on 77 for four, 363 behind, and negotiated the first 10 overs of the morning with very few alarms in moving to 109.

David Balcombe

David Balcombe, pictured, and Chris Wood added 168 for the last wicket before Leicestershire beat Hampshire by 126 runs

Yet in the space of four balls, the game dramatically changed as three wickets fell for one run.

Leicestershire captain Matthew Hoggard called up Jones for a spell at the Pavilion End and the 22-year-old responded by taking two wickets with the final two balls of his second over.

Nightwatchman James Tomlinson popped up a catch to Matthew Boyce at short-leg and Sean Ervine was bowled first ball as he tried to cut a delivery that kept low.

Michael Bates bagged his second duck of the match when he was bowled by Wayne White in the next over as Hampshire collapsed to 110 for seven.

Their woes continued, with Jones claiming his third wicket - and career-best figures - when Liam Dawson charged down the pitch and was stumped one run short of a half-century.

A direct hit by Hoggard from midwicket ran out Kabir Ali but Leicestershire's victory charge was spectacularly halted by last-wicket pair Wood and Balcombe, who suddenly unleashed a barrage of boundaries in an astonishing partnership.

Wood raced to his fifty from 37 balls with a six and eight fours and Balcombe, dropped at slip by Michael Thornely on six, reached his half-century off 47 deliveries with seven fours and a maximum.

The blitz continued, with the shell-shocked hosts looking to have little idea of how to end the carnage, and the next landmark was Wood's century including two sixes and 15 fours.

Another maximum by Balcombe off Hoggard sent the sides into a delayed lunch with Hampshire on 305 for nine and the stand worth 159 in just 20 overs.

Leicestershire finally clinched the win in the third over after lunch, Buck bowling Balcombe for 73 as Hampshire were dismissed for 314.

The 23 points the hosts collected takes them above Glamorgan and Gloucestershire, who both have a game in hand. Hampshire have now played two matches more than leaders Derbyshire and one more than chasing Yorkshire and Kent.

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