September 3, 2001

Leicestershire suffer title setback as Gloucestershire boost survival hopes

Leicestershire's NUL title hopes suffered a blow as they went down by 28 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis method to Gloucestershire at Bristol.

After Tim Hancock's 67 had led Gloucestershire to 232-7 a heavy shower resulted in a reduced target of 265 in 38 overs for the visitors.

No one in the top order could play a major innings, and at 106-6 in the 23rd over, there appeared little hope for Vice Wells' side.

A fine half-century from Ben Smith put them back in the hunt, until he was run out by James Averis' throw from long leg after Darren Stevens had called for a second off Martyn Ball.

Neil Burns, James Ormond and Devon Malcolm all fell in the late slog and Stevens was unbeaten on 46 as Leicestershire were bowled out for 186 in 36 overs.

Leicestershire must now win their last two games against Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire to be sure of winning the title ahead of Kent, who are two points behind.

Gloucestershire's hopes of beating the drop were further boosted by Somerset's defeat by Warwickshire, and they face a crunch game at fellow strugglers Yorkshire on Monday.

After Gloucestershire's Mark Alleyne won the toss, Hancock and Barnett shared an opening stand of 70 in 10 overs. Barnett was bowled by Wells for 23, but Hancock advanced to his best score of the season.

He was eventually bowled by Shahid Afridi having struck eight fours and a straight six in his 68-ball innings.

'Jack' Russell, Matt Windows and Duncan Hewson were all out as Gloucestershire faltered to 162-6 in the 34th over.

But Alleyne and Rob Cunliffe put the momentum back in the innings with a seventh wicket stand of 53 in nine overs.