Northants forced to settle for a draw

Steven Crook
Steven Crook
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LV= County Championship Division Two leaders Northamptonshire were forced to settle for a draw at Leicesershire as the rain frustrated them for a second successive day.

Just 36.1 overs were possible on the final day at Grace Road and in that time Leicestershire advanced from 142 for three to 238 for six, leaving them 329 behind Northants’ mammoth first-innings score of 567 for seven declared.

But poor weather on the final two days denied the County the chance of victory, and they had to settle for nine points from the match with Leicestershire collecting five.

Despite two brief stoppages in the morning session, Northants bowled 30 overs claiming one wicket as Leicestershire added 81 runs. Australian Joe Burns, was the man out, pinned lbw by Andrew Hall for 77 off 133 balls with a six and 10 fours.

Michael Thornely joined Matt Boyce in a fifth-wicket stand of 77, twice hitting off spinner James Middlenbrook for six - the first a slog-sweep and the next a sweetly timed straight drive.

Leicestershire went into lunch on 223 for four but rain delayed the restart for 80 minutes.

When play did get underway again Steven Crook struck with two wickets in two balls.Thornley, four runs short of a half- century, edged behind and the next delivery saw Rob Taylor provide wicket-keeper David Murphy with another catch.

Jigar Naik prevented the hat-trick by clipping the next ball through mid-wicket for two runs.

Crook then took the new ball, but bowled only one delivery before another deluge sent the teams off the field for the final time, with the game abandoned as a draw during the tea interval. Boyce finished 40 not out off 127 balls. It was bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire’s seventh draw in eight matches.