Leics win despite Wood, Balcombe blitz
Leicestershire 356 (Thakor 85, Cobb 82, Tomlinson 5-69) and 265 for 8 dec beat Hampshire 181 (Ervine 58*, Hoggard 4-27) and 314 (Wood 105*, Balcombe 73) by 126 runs
Leicestershire secured their second win of the season, beating promotion hopefuls Hampshire by 126 runs despite a swashbuckling last-wicket stand of 168 between Chris Wood and David Balcombe.
Wood smashed a maiden first-class century off 80 balls and finished unbeaten on 105 as Balcombe was finally bowled by Nathan Buck for 73 off 70 balls. Leicestershire opener and part-time legspinner Will Jones took three wickets, with Matthew Hoggard and Wayne White claiming two apiece. The win lifted Leicestershire off the bottom of the table.
Hampshire resumed at 77 for 4, still 363 runs behind, and negotiated the first ten overs of the morning with very few alarms, moving the score on to 109. Then, in the space of four balls, the game dramatically changed as three wickets fell for one run.
Leicestershire captain Hoggard called up Jones for a spell at the Pavilion End and the 22-year-old responded by taking two wickets with the final two balls of his second over. Nightwatchman James Tomlinson popped up a catch to Matt Boyce at short leg and Sean Ervine was bowled as he tried to cut a delivery that kept low.
Michael Bates then bagged his second duck of the match when he was bowled by White in the next over as Hampshire collapsed to 110 for 7. Their woes continued, with Jones claiming his third wicket - and career-best figures - when Liam Dawson charged down the pitch at him and was stumped one run short of his half-century.
A direct hit on the stumps by Hoggard from mid-wicket ran out Kabir Ali but Leicestershire's victory charge was spectacularly halted by the last-wicket pair of Wood and Balcombe, who suddenly unleashed a barrage of boundaries in an astonishing partnership.
Wood raced to 50 off 37 balls and Balcombe, dropped at slip by Michael Thornely on 6, reached his half-century off 47 balls. The blitz continued, with the shell-shocked hosts appearing to have little idea of how to end the carnage, and the next landmark was Wood's century off 80 balls with two sixes and 15 fours.
Another six by Balcombe off Hoggard sent the sides into a delayed lunch with Hampshire on 305 for 9 and the stand worth 159 in just 20 overs. But Leicestershire finally clinched the win in the third over after lunch, Buck bowling Balcombe for 73 as Hampshire were dismissed for 314.
The 23 points the Foxes collected takes them off the bottom of the table above Glamorgan and Gloucestershire, who both have a game in hand.