Spinners put Leicestershire on top
Leicestershire 94 for 3 trail Gloucestershire 234 (Cockbain 48, Henderson 3-32) by 140 runs
Leicestershire spinners Claude Henderson and Jigar Naik shared five wickets as Gloucestershire were bowled out for 234 on the first day at Grace Road. The home side then tightened their grip by reaching 94 for 3 at stumps, with Greg Smith unbeaten on 47.
Victory in this final match of the season would take Leicestershire above Gloucestershire in the table. Henderson took 3 for 32 and Naik 2 for 36 as Gloucestershire lost their last four wickets for nine runs in four overs. Ian Cockbain and Hamish Marshall shared a fifth-wicket stand of 96 to prop up a disappointing Gloucestershire performance.
It was an eventful and entertaining pre-lunch session after Gloucestershire won the toss and decided to bat. They raced along at more than four runs an over but lost four wickets on a pitch that offered some assistance to the home side's seamers.
Nathan Buck struck the first blow, yorking Ed Cowan for 19 with the total at 31. Ben Howell followed four runs later, bowled off stump by Wayne White after being dropped at slip in the same over. Despite a flurry of boundaries the wickets continued to fall with Alex Gidman trapped lbw by Shiv Thakor, who then produced an absolute beauty to bowl Dan Housego in his next over.
That left Gloucestershire on 71 for 4, but Marshall and Cockbain launched a spirited counter-attack sharing a stand of 96 in 17 overs. It was an exhilarating partnership while it lasted with 56 of the runs coming in boundaries - seven to each batsman.
But Marshall was caught behind for 47 slashing at a wide delivery from Buck shortly after lunch, and when Leicestershire turned to the spin of Henderson and Naik, the Gloucestershire innings subsided. Henderson had Cockbain caught at short extra cover for 48 and the final four wickets fell for nine runs in four overs either side of the tea interval, Henderson claiming the last two with successive deliveries.
Leicestershire's reply began badly, with Michael Thornely out lbw to Will Gidman without scoring. But Smith, recalled to the side after an unbeaten century in the Second XI Championship final last week, looked in good touch.
He lost two more partners however, as Liam Norwell bowled Ned Eckersley for 25 and Will Gidman pinned Matt Boyce lbw. Smith stood firm and was 47 not out at the close, with Leicestershire trailing by 140 runs.