Dixey leads Leicestershire to safety
Paul Dixey scored the first LV= County Championship half-century of his career as Leicestershire salvaged a draw against Division Two rivals Gloucestershire at Grace Road.
The 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, released by Kent at the end of last season, made an unbeaten 72 and shared a sixth-wicket stand of 111 with Jigar Naik to deny Gloucestershire victory on a tense final day.
Following on 181 runs behind, Leicestershire were deep in trouble when they slumped to 134 for five, with seamer Will Gidman claiming three of the wickets.
But Dixey and Naik stayed together for 31 overs and the teams shook hands on a draw at the start of the final hour, with Leicestershire leading by 64 runs on 245 for five.
Although Dixey has a first-class century to his name, for Durham University against Lancashire, he never played a championship game for Kent and has been taken on trial by Leicestershire this season.
He is currently standing in for the injured Tom New, and this valuable innings will have done his chances of securing a contract at Grace Road no harm at all.
Dixey faced 112 balls and struck 10 fours and a six, while Naik provided excellent support with an unbeaten 32 off 106 balls.
The sixth-wicket pair changed the course of a game that looked to be in Gloucestershire's grasp from the moment Ian Saxelby bowled last man Nadeem Malik in the third over of the morning. That left Leicestershire 323 all out and still needing another 181 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
They were soon on the back foot with Will Gidman having first-innings centurion Matthew Boyce caught low down at midwicket in the 11th over.
Will Jefferson followed a few minutes before lunch, trapped lbw as he tried to work off-spinner Kane Williamson away on the leg side.
Three more wickets fell in the afternoon session, with Saxelby finding the edge of Kadeer Ali and Gidman claiming the wickets off Josh Cobb and Andrew McDonald. Cobb was out lbw, and McDonald taken by wicketkeeper Jon Batty as he tried to drive on the off side.
At that stage Gloucestershire looked firm favourites to clinch victory, but Dixey and Naik turned things around with some sensible and solid batting.
Dixey reached his maiden half-century by sweeping Vikram Banerjee to the boundary and then illustrated his growing confidence with a superb six off Williamson that brought up the 100 partnership.
The draw earned Leicestershire seven points, while Gloucestershire collected 11 points from the match.