Last week work-wise was a large steaming bowl of arse gravy. So the only antidote was to get myself down to Grace Road for the first Pro40, sorry, Clydesdale Bank 40 (jesus) match of the season, against Nottinghamshire.
And Leicestershire won, by crikey. Again. I make that 3 wins since Matthew Hoggard assumed the captaincy crown. Not wasting any time settling in to the job, is he?
Sunday was a rum old day as far as the weather went. I woke up at 5:30AM and it was hammering it down. Thankfully, the match wasn’t due to start till 1:45PM and for the rest of the day, bar the odd short shower (which fortunately didn’t interrupt play), we were spared by the weather gods, who, while making us aware of their presence, chose not to unleash the full extent of their wrath until after Leicestershire had wrapped up the victory and we’d made our way home.
Jacques du Toit played a major part in giving Leics a total to defend, making 141 from 122 balls out of a total of 282-6, and Wayne White’s dream season continued with another personal milestone of a career-best 6-29.
To be honest, seeing the way Amla and Hales opened Nottinghamshire’s innings, Leicestershire’s performance with the bat looked like it may have been found wanting. Amla’s placement and timing just made it all seem too easy – he really is a class act – and Alex Hales impressed with a confidence and maturity in aggressively going after the bowling. Hoggy, however, didn’t let the team’s morale falter, and after bringing on Claude Henderson the runs suddenly dried up and wickets started falling. Hoggard removed Hales and Wagh in the space of two overs, and Henderson and Harris chipped in with a wicket apiece with Josh Cobb turning his arm over to tie them down from the Pavilion end.
The match was arguably Chalky’s, though. Wayne White’s been having a barnstormer of a season so far; four of his wickets today came from 9 balls, and the atmosphere in the Meet, where I was sitting, was absolutely electric. A glowering bank of black rainclouds heaving in over Grace Road did nothing to dispel the tension, and many necks were cricked craning to make out the total required by Duckworth Lewis on the scoreboard, but victory for the Foxes arrived before the rain did, and boy, did it feel good.
It was a bit tough being a Leicestershire member last season. There was so much raw potential in the team, but the step from potential to performance a lot of the time seemed a leap too far. This year, the team seems to be playing with a sense of renewed purpose and enthusiasm, and I put this down, in large part, to the arrival of Matthew Hoggard.
Thanks, Hoggy. Long may it continue.