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Five-star Howell hurts Leicestershire

Gloucestershire

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Benny Howell claimed career-best figures of 5-57 as Gloucestershire dismissed Leicestershire for 250 on the opening day of their LV= County Championship Division Two game at Grace Road.

At one stage, Leicestershire were 52 for five - only for a stand of 125 between Shiv Thakor and Matt Boyce to ensure a recovery of sorts; the former top-scored with 75 and the latter hit 55.

Claude Henderson smacked 33 off 30 balls to help earn two batting bonus points - and the hosts felt a little happier at the close after Gloucestershire stuttered to 31 for two.

But it was all-rounder Howell who made the biggest impact on the day. Before this match, the 24-year-old - in his second season with Gloucestershire - had taken only nine first-class wickets with a best return of 2-37 against Northants last season.

He had bettered that by lunch, picking up 3-17 in an eight-over spell.

The home side were already in difficulties when Howell came on as first change; Michael Thornely was bowled by Will Gidman with the second ball of the day and Niall O'Brien soon followed, edging behind off David Payne.

Howell, finding some away swing with his medium-pace, had Ramnaresh Sarwan caught at gully, trapped Ned Eckersley lbw offering no shot and bowled Josh Cobb off an inside edge.

With half the side out in the space of 22 overs, Leicestershire were staring down the barrel. However, for the second championship game in succession, Thakor and Boyce dug in to bring some respectability to the batting.

They stayed together for 44 overs, Thakor reaching his fifty off 110 balls with seven fours plus an all-run five and Boyce doing likewise from 120 balls with four boundaries.

Yet both fell quickly after tea; Howell had Boyce caught at slip and Thakor was taken low down by Hamish Marshall cutting off-spinner Jack Taylor.

Howell picked up his fifth wicket when Jigar Naik edged to slip but Henderson's quick 33 represented valuable late runs.

The day ended well for Leicestershire, with Robbie Williams trapping Chris Dent lbw and Ollie Freckingham finding the edge to dismiss Dan Housego, leaving Gloucestershire 219 behind at stumps.

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