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Category: Leicestershire

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County cricket talking points: old heads lead Yorkshire in T20 Blast

Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan and Steve Patterson combined to give Worcestershire their first defeat in the competitionBy Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket BlogWorcestershire stay top of the North Group in the T20 Blast having won one and lost one last we…

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County cricket talking points: Royal London Cup throws up a few surprises

Worcestershire and Derbyshire are leading the north group, with Hampshire making the early running down southBy Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket BlogThe Royal London Cup north group table is beginning to take on a shape and it’s something of a surpris…

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County cricket talking points: Notts are threatening to emulate Essex

Newly promoted Nottinghamshire are top of the table after their third win of the season. Will they ‘do an Essex’?By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket BlogNottinghamshire’s third win of the season puts them 17 points clear at the top of Division One, as…

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Somerset’s Steve Davies and Jack Leach fend off Matt Parkinson for draw

• Lancashire leg-spinner’s career-best fails to force win• Notts go top of First Division with win over HampshireOn a scorching day in Manchester, as the swifts arrived from the south, Somerset batted all day until the teams shook hands at te…

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County Championship: fans of all 18 counties preview the cricket season

How is your team shaping up? Fans give their verdicts on the season aheadI thought we’d narrowly avoid relegation before last season, so found our Championship win quite astonishing. But Simon Harmer won’t be the same unknown quantity this season and J…

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County Championship 2018: how will your team perform this season?

With the new county cricket season beginning next week, we’d like to hear your hopes for the summer aheadThe weather is looking a bit kinder than in recent weeks and soon cricket grounds around the country will be hosting domestic games. Friday 13 Apri…

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Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone hits double century against Warwickshire

• England prospect scores unbeaten 215 to build massive lead
• Essex bowlers bring leaders back into the game against Somerset

The sense that Liam Livingstone is a rare talent who will end up playing all three formats for England was emphatically strengthened by his brilliant maiden double-century for Lancashire against Warwickshire at Old Trafford.

Livingstone’s unbeaten 215 (from 318 balls with 25 fours and three sixes, one of which – a pull off Olly Stone – brought up his century) leaves Lancashire 284 runs ahead with four first-innings wickets in hand at the game’s halfway stage. A golden opportunity awaits to close the gap on the Division One leaders Essex before their visit to Old Trafford next week. Lancashire will go into that game second, and look the team best placed to haul Essex down.

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County cricket talking points: Imran Tahir proves worth and Adam Lyth revitalised by record

Derbyshire reach T20 Blast quarter-finals while Yorkshire miss out despite a milestone but can separation by net run rate be made less opaque?

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Fifteen of 18 counties eyed scoreboards anxiously on the last day of the T20 Blast group stages as, after all those weeks of matches, only three (including Durham) had no chance of making the quarter-finals. Is that a testimony to the competitiveness of the format or a condemnation of the foolishness of hijacking high summer for a lot of sound and fury that ultimately signified nothing? Soon we will have two chances to consider that conundrum. Leicestershire won’t be too bothered about such musings as they secured their spot in the last eight with a victory over the team of the season (so far) Nottinghamshire, who had already topped the North Group. The most fantastic Mr Foxes proved to be Cameron Delport and Matt Pillans, the former making a century, the latter defending seven off the last over. Both are South African-born, somewhat nondescript (for this level) players, whose faces will not be screaming out of the knockout stages marketing posters. Good on them but also, I’m afraid, as the young people say, meh.

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County cricket talking points: Ross Whiteley hits six sixes … and loses

Ross Whiteley scored 37 in one over for Worcestershire but David Willey’s 118 helped Yorkshire win the match and climb to the top of their T20 Blast group

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Kevin Pietersen’s Surrey (see what I did there) top the South Group after a couple of strange matches at The Oval. On Wednesday, a raucous (but not too raucous) capacity crowd saw him almost single-handedly get Surrey up to 150, a score that proved good enough on a slow pitch exploited with Yorkshire nous by Gareth Batty, whose four overs brought him 2-19. But back to Pietersen, as always seems to be the case. Having been badly dropped at cow corner by Dan Lawrence and “running” like a stiff Alastair Cook, he appeared to decide to hit sixes and five of the match’s eight flew off his bat. In more ways than one, he played like a right-handed version of Chris Gayle – whether that is a good look these days remains to be seen. It worked in this match, no other batsman crossing 30, as Essex fell 11 short of their target.

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Simon Harmer grabs nine wickets for Essex and they do for Middlesex

• Compton hits first century since August but to no avail
• Derbyshire end tortuous two-year wait for a victory

These are heady days for Essex cricket. After defeating Middlesex by an innings and 34 runs, despite losing a day to rain, they sit proudly top of the County Championship by 28 points, after seven years out of the top flight. They have won three in succession and, whisper it, in turning over the title winners so emphatically, have the look of champions themselves.

Related: County cricket: Essex thrash Middlesex to go 29 points clear – as it happened!

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County Championship roundup: Cook and Browne pile on pain for Middlesex

• Middlesex 246 & 27-0; Essex 542-3dec
• Essex in control after openers put on 373

Essex have the champions on the rack thanks to a remarkable opening stand of 373 between Alastair Cook and Nick Browne.

By the time Cook edged a turner from Ollie Rayner to slip for 193, two shy of his highest Championship score, the record books were dog-eared and relieved: this was Essex’s largest ever opening stand (surpassing Graham Gooch and Paul Prichard’s 316 against Kent here in 1994), and the largest partnership in any game between them and Middlesex.

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County cricket talking points: Essex lead Lancashire as season hits halfway point

Six observations from the week’s action, including praise for Simon Harmer, Dane Vilas, Paul Stirling, Samit Patel, Joe Clarke and Barry McCarthy

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

At the halfway point of the season, Essex are top of Division One. Even with Alastair Cook available, few expected that sentence to be written when Ryan ten Doeschate’s side planned this season, back in the top flight and without the services of old pros Graham Napier and David Masters. But the batting keeps coming at you – nine centuries shared between six batsmen in seven matches, the latest from Ravi Bopara (192) and James Foster (121) setting up the win over sorry Warwickshire, rock bottom and 40 points from safety. It’s a different story among the bowlers though, with just three crossing double figures for wickets in 2017: Jamie Porter (31); Neil Wagner (23) and Simon Harmer (33). The South African off-spinner relished the heat at Chelmsford, setting records with match figures of 66–24–128–14, proving that not every Kolpak is focused on the pound-rand exchange rate.

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Sam Robson jogs a few memories as Middlesex make merry against Yorkshire

• Middlesex 337-4 v Yorkshire
• Hampshire frustrate Lancashire, Essex go slow against Warks

The first five games of Middlesex’s title defence have not exactly gone to plan. Some of their cricket has been passive, and injuries and call-ups have been disruptive, not least for this game, with the batting backbone of Nick Gubbins, Dawid Malan and Adam Voges all absent. The impressive unbeaten run is gone, too, and they are winless.

But they like playing Yorkshire – who have lost their past three at Lord’s, and their last three against Middlesex, all in remarkable fashion – and through centuries from Sam Robson (152 not out) and Paul Stirling (111), the latter’s long overdue first in Championship cricket, they have carved a strong position on a pitch that appears green but largely played true (save for a couple that stayed low) under a beating sun. As they tend to when Stirling is in town, runs flowed freely throughout.

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County cricket roundup: Ryan McLaren sparks Lancashire comeback

• Heroics with bat and ball help secure stunning victory over Somerset
• Gary Ballance saves Yorkshire against Hampshire with twin centuries

Lancashire skittled Somerset to pull off a remarkable heist at Old Trafford, having been dismissed for 109 on the first day and after conceding a 169-run first‑innings deficit.

Lancashire’s grizzled, unglamorous overseas pro, Ryan McLaren – who balances their side from No7 and offers a steady first change option – was the star of the fourth day. His eighth-wicket stand of 77, which began on the third evening, with Stephen Parry built on Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone’s extraordinary partnership of 245, to haul Lancashire to 463 and set Somerset 295 in 77 overs.

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County cricket round-up: Alastair Cook’s return powers Essex past Somerset

• Cook hits century in first match since resigning England captaincy
• Yorkshire’s Ben Coad takes 10 wickets against Warwickshire

Essex and Alastair Cook are back, and mean business. In his first competitive match since resigning the England captaincy in February, Cook’s 110 – his 57th first-class century – provided the backbone of Essex’s remarkable chase of 255 against Somerset at Taunton, their first win since returning to the top flight after a six-summer absence. For Somerset, runners-up last year and brimming with youthful, local talent, this represented a disappointing start to a season they are highly fancied for.

Cook’s was an untroubled, unfussy innings in a cruise of a chase, a surprise given 18 wickets had fallen on the second day. All it took, it turned out, was some better batting, because the surface – unlike last season – offered no great help to bowlers, fast or slow. Having brought up his century with a nudged 202nd ball to leg for four, Cook fell before tea, heaving Dean Elgar to midwicket but an authoritative chase was just 39 from completion.

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County cricket talking points: Surrey top the table but it’s not an even playing field

Pre-season punishments have made the season unnecessarily complicated; Mark Footitt impressed for Surrey; and Dan Lawrence is one to watch at Essex

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

So, eight teams in the top flight, 10 teams in the lower: but 14 matches for each. Durham, having finished fourth in Division One last season, start this season in Division Two on -48 points with Leicestershire on -16 points, a penalty prompted by an offence committed in a university match. This just isn’t acceptable. The game is complicated enough – it’s one reason why we love it – but how is anyone, casual observer or avid fan, supposed to keep up with it all? Durham deserved some punishment (and, by God, did they get it) and Leicestershire’s disciplinary rap sheet is deeply unimpressive, but points should be won and lost on the field by scoring runs and taking wickets. You don’t have to employ the imagination of the Marquis de Sade to find sanctions that retain sporting competitions’ fundamental integrity. But, you know, county cricket, eh? Never easy, is it?

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County round-up: Lancashire’s Jimmy Anderson torments Essex with the bat

• England bowler shines in last-wicket stand; Surrey punish Warwickshire
• Gary Ballance starts Yorkshire captaincy with fine innings against Hampshire

There was plenty to interest England’s watching chairman of selectors, James Whittaker, on the season’s first day at Chelmsford. With Lancashire opting to bat first, a look at Haseeb Hameed, back from his hand injury, and Liam Livingstone, up at No3.

Then, with the shadows lengthening, Jimmy Anderson was involved in a sprightly last wicket stand of 51 as Lancashire were bowled out for 319 – a few more than Essex would have liked from 160 for six – then looked in good order, picking up the wicket of the nightwatchman Aaron Beard, as the hosts reached stumps 39 for two. Hameed’s hand held up as he looked typically tidy, making 47 before falling in uncharacteristic fashion; bowled, misjudging a leave in the second over to Jamie Porter, who managed Essex’s leap in Divisions handsomely, after lunch. Hameed had retired hurt against Cambridge MCCU last week after trapping his finger in the turf doing short-leg training. After the injury he suffered on England’s tour of India last November, he has a plate in his hand which he says will need removing – with a resulting six-week recovery period – at some stage.

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Leicestershire docked 16 points on eve of new County Championship season

• Punishment relates to incident involving bowler Charlie Shreck
• County also fined £5,000 after match against Loughborough University

Leicestershire will start their County Championship campaign on minus 16 points and with their captain, Mark Cosgrove, banned for one match after they were dramatically punished on the eve of the new season following an incident last week against Loughborough University involving their seam bowler Charlie Shreck.

The club’s punishment, which also includes a £5,000 fine and a further eight points suspended for one year, was handed down for chalking up five such incidents in the space of 12 months. They now become the second side in Division Two to start the summer with a deficit against their name after Durham were relegated for financial reasons last October and docked 48 points.

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County Championship 2017: Divisions One and Two – team-by-team guide

Surrey’s signings make them a good bet for the title, though Middlesex and Somerset should challenge again while Sussex have solid promotion credentials Continue reading…

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County Cricket talking points: Middlesex condemn Notts and Yorkshire crush Durham

The battle to avoid joining Nottinghamshire in Division Two next season looks as tasty as that for the County Championship title after a week of batting collapsesBy Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkThough separa…