No Cheerleaders, No DLF Maximums, Just Cricket (and Cake)

This weekend past was spent at Grace Road watching Leicestershire’s first game of the season against Northants.

The weather – on Saturday, anyway – was pleasant, cake was consumed, and Leicestershire won. Everything had been given a new lick of paint; most of the members had survived the winter. The guy I sat beside tried to consume his own body weight in picnic food in the shortest time possible. I bought a couple of books from the bookstall, collected my yearbook from the office and bought my ticket for the Lions game taking place in July.


First cake of the season

Everything had a pleasant “first day back at school” feeling about it, and despite a dire last season in which Leicestershire finished bottom of the second division, there was a cautious mood of optimism in the air. New season, new captain, new sense of purpose.

I missed James Taylor’s splendid innings of 88 on the first day, and the three wickets that fell during Leicestershire’s run-chase on the last, but I managed to watch everything else inbetween. Saturday was a great day for watching cricket. Leicestershire were already in a great position thanks to Taylor, ably assisted by gutsy knocks from Tom New, Matthew Boyce and Wayne White. AJ Harris chipped in with 20* in a useful partnership with White to take Leicestershire’s total to 395. It was a good total, but given the presence of Loye and Sales in the opposition batting lineup, I was fairly sure Northants would be able to match it.

Wrong. Harris dispensed of the openers early, and while Loye and Sales provided some dogged resistance – Loye in particular looked in good touch, and it was great to see him playing with something like his old confidence again – the decision of County’s new captain Hoggard to bowl Claude Henderson just before tea proved a masterstroke. By the end of the day he had taken 6-19 and Northants were teetering on 179-9. His was the standout performance, but I was most impressed with Nathan Buck who bowled his heart out on Saturday for no reward. Steaming in with consistent aggression he saw a couple of inside edges go for boundaries – when it’s your day, it’s your day, and today was not Bucky’s day.

Bucky steams in

Bucky steams in

Sunday was bloody cold compared to the blazing sunshine of Saturday. Hoggy sent Northants in again and they were bowled out for 269, leaving Leicestershire 65 to win. By stumps they had 14 of those 65 on the board with one wicket down, and on the last day went on to lose 3 more before Tom New and Josh Cobb saw them over the line. Harder work at the end than it should have been, but it was a win, and a good way to start the season.

Next up, Derby on Thursday, and the stomping ground of Chris Rogers who put Surrey to the sword at the Oval. Hoggard and his young team have momentum, and it should be a tasty encounter.

The return of Mal Loye

The return of Mal Loye

3 Responses to “No Cheerleaders, No DLF Maximums, Just Cricket (and Cake)”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sofa Scores, legsidefilth. legsidefilth said: No cheerleaders, no DLF maximums, just cricket (and cake): #countycricket […]

  2. Soulberry says:

    looks like Hoggy’s the best captain England never had. Saw him bowling his heart out once in India.

  3. Great blog post. So evocative of the start of the season.

    The start of the season only just beats the Back to School displays at the end of summer for filling me with hope and expectation. There is something about the cricket grounds waking up from their winter slumbers. Sort of like shopping for pencils in late August.

    (Although the cake looks better at your second home.)

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