O'Brien gives Leicestershire winning feeling
Leicestershire 164 for 3 (N O'Brien 47*, Eckersley 39) beat Derbyshire 163 for 6 (Hughes 59, Godleman 38*, Naik 3-23) by seven wickets
Niall O'Brien hit 47 off 27 balls to guide Leicestershire to their first win of the season in all forms of cricket. The Ireland wicketkeeper hit five fours and one maximum in an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 69 with New Zealand international Grant Elliott to see Leicestershire home in conditions of almost Stygian gloom in front of a delighted crowd of close to 5000 at Grace Road.
Leicestershire skipper Mark Cosgrove chose to bowl first after winning the toss, and Derbyshire suffered an early blow when Hashim Amla was held by Rob Taylor off the bowling of Clint McKay for just 8, an outstanding catch two-handed low down running in from the deep square leg boundary.
Wes Durston and Chesney Hughes took the Falcons score past 50, but offspinner Jigar Naik picked up the wickets of Shiv Thakor and then Scott Elstone, both caught behind by O'Brien, off consecutive deliveries.
Tom Poynton also fell to the offspinner, held by Tom Wells at long-on, but Hughes, improvising cleverly in between clubbing blows over the leg-side, went to his 50, though not before he was dropped by Clint McKay. The Australian failed to hold a skier off his own bowling in an incident that saw an angry Ned Eckersley confront non-striker Billy Godleman, accusing the Derbyshire batsman of shouting an inappropriate comment while the ball was in the air.
A target of just over eight runs an over allowed Leicestershire to pace their reply, and although Cosgrove went quickly, lofting Ben Cotton straight to Amla at mid-off, Eckersley hit 39 off 33 balls in a partnership of 66 with Kevin O'Brien.His dismissal brought Elliott to the wicket, and despite the increasingly bad light, Leicestershire's overseas signing played with calm assurance.
After Kevin O'Brien holed to Greg Cork at backward square leg, his older brother played himself in before striking Mark Footitt high back over his head for a huge straight six.
"It's always good to celebrate a win, and yes, hopefully it will lift everybody connected with the club," said Cosgrove. "Jigar Naik changed the game with his spell in their innings, we took our catches - which we haven't always been doing this season - and then the batsmen did their job. The aim now is to take the lift and momentum into next week's T20s and then the Championship."