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Cricket: Thakor and Boyce to rescue – again

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Leicestershire ground their way to 250 on the opening day of their Championship game at Grace Road yesterday.

And given that they had endured a horrible morning against Gloucestershire after winning the toss, that was a pretty reasonable effort.

They obviously would have liked more runs on the board but given that, at one point, they were tottering on the brink of collapse at 52-5 County did at least stand their ground and find a way into the game.

Half-centuries from Shiv Thakor and Matthew Boyce in a century stand for the sixth wicket saw County recover and eventually pick up two batting points, while the fact that Robbie Williams and Ollie Freckingham both picked up wickets late in the day, to leave the visitors on 31-2, was a bonus.

It didn't take long for Leicestershire to hit trouble, Michael Thornely bowled by just the second ball of the day.

They were two down with only eight on the board when Niall O'Brien chased a wide delivery and was caught behind.

Ned Eckersley, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Josh Cobb all made starts of sorts but they were dislodged by the medium pace of Benny Howell, who was to finish with career-best figures of 5-57.

Faced by a difficult position, Boyce and Thakor, who had prospered against Kent a fortnight ago when they each made centuries, set about restoring County's fortunes. They reached lunch at 67-5, but then dominated the afternoon session with what was good, solid batting and, by tea, Leicestershire had progressed to a much healthier 171-5.

Both batsmen had half-centuries to their names by that point, Thakor the more aggressive of the pair as he hit seven boundaries to reach 50, Boyce finding the ropes on four occasions.

Thakor, who produced some strokes of the highest calibre, also benefited from a 'five' thanks to overthrows as the batsmen took control of the action.

It was a pity, from Leicestershire's point of view, that the stand of 125 was broken just two overs and half-a-dozen runs after the interval when Boyce, on 55, clipped Howell straight to short mid-wicket.

Thakor's 180-ball stay ended at 75 when off-spinner Jack Taylor had him smartly taken at slip by Hamish Marshall. Claude Henderson bludgeoned a rapid 33 to help take the total to the respectability of 250 before he was last out to give Will Gidman his third victim.

That left County's new-ball bowlers nine overs in which to claw back something from the day. Williams and Freckingham charged in, the former trapping Chris Dent lbw in the fourth over, while Freckingham had Dan Housego caught behind by O'Brien as he fenced at a short delivery in the seventh.

On balance, Gloucestershire can justifiably claim to have enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges. However, what had threatened to be a one-sided day proved a good deal more even than many would have thought thanks largely to the graft of Thakor and Boyce.

Cricket: Thakor and Boyce to rescue – again


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