Leicestershire romp to 10-wicket win
Leicestershire 448 for 9 dec. and 4 for 0 beat Northamptonshire 250 and 198 by 10 wickets
Jigar Naik took four wickets as Leicestershire rounded off their season with a thumping 10-wicket victory over Northamptonshire on the final day of the County Championship season at Wantage Road. Northamptonshire, whose season has tailed off badly, collapsed to 198 all out with only James Middlebrook's 62 and Lee Daggett's 48 off as many balls providing some semblance of resistance.
Spinner Naik claimed figures of 4 for 58 and 19-year-old seamer Nathan Buck took 3 wickets as Leicestershire ensured themselves a top-half finish in Division Two. The visitors did have to bat a second time, but needing just a single run Matt Boyce took just one ball to seal the win with a boundary.
Northamptonshire started the day on 10 for 1, 188 runs behind their opponents, with Mal Loye and Alex Wakely resuming on four and two respectively. Wakely was only able to make it to six, however, before Buck forced him to edge to Leicestershire wicketkeeper Tom New, who took a good catch to his right.
David Sales made nine before being bowled by Matthew Hoggard in the following over to give the Leicestershire captain his 50th wicket in the County Championship this season. Northamptonshire's miserable morning continued when Loye (15) edged Harry Gurney to Matthew Boyce at first slip to leave them floundering on 39 for 4.
Rob Newton, who made a century in his first innings, made it to 18 before missing his attempted pull off Gurney and playing on to his stumps. The white flag was raised further by the hosts when wicketkeeper David Murphy (six) nudged Naik to Jacques du Toit at slip.
Middlebrook and David Lucas finally managed to push Northamptonshire over 100, but Lucas (11) was unable to last until lunch because he was pinned lbw by Naik. Jack Brooks (seven) was to perish the fifth over of the afternoon when he edged Buck to New, who took a simple catch to push Leicestershire to within two wickets of victory.
Daggett and Middlebrook then frustrated the Leicestershire bowling attack with Northamptonshire's first 50 partnership of the innings, with Middlebrook completing his half-century off 90 balls. Daggett went on to surpass his previous highest score in first-class cricket, beating the 33 he made for Warwickshire at Durham in 2007.
Middlebrook eventually holed out when he launched Naik high into the air to Hoggard at mid-off to end a stand of 74 for the ninth wicket. Daggett was bowled by Naik just two runs short of his maiden half-century with the scores level meaning Leicestershire needed a single run to win and Boyce smashed the first ball off Wakely for four to seal it in double-quick time.