<
>

Horton's return to form keeps Leicestershire in the hunt

Leicestershire 407 and 172 for 2 (Horton 75*, Cosgrove 58*) lead Worcestershire 349 (Leach 90, Fell 61, Mitchell 52, McKay 4-59) by 230 runs
Scorecard

Opener Paul Horton and skipper Mark Cosgrove helped Leicestershire establish a position to push strongly for a revenge victory on the final day of the Specsavers County Championship encounter with Worcestershire at New Road.

Horton has encountered a lean time with scores of two, nine, 19, 15, five and three in Championship cricket since scoring 89 in the defeat against their opponents at Grace Road last month - when they were bowled out for 43 in their second innings.

But the former Lancashire player made a timely return to form after his side had been held up by all-rounder Joe Leach and the lower Worcestershire order during the first half of the day.

He was well supported by Cosgrove as the duo brought up a century stand for the third wicket in exactly 28 overs. Horton brought up his fifth score of 50 or more of the campaign off 103 balls with seven fours while Cosgrove's half century came from 98 deliveries and contained nine boundaries.

By the close the Foxes had moved onto 172-2 with Horton on 75 and Cosgrove 58 - a lead of 230.

Leicestershire had obtained a first innings lead of 58 and would have hoped for considerably more when Worcestershire resumed on 193-7 - still needing a further 65 to avoid the possibility of being asked to follow on.

But the first part of the day had been dominated by Leach who fell 10 short of his first Championship century since his maiden ton against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham three years ago.

Leach was at that time regarded as a batting all-rounder and since then his bowling skills have come to the fore with 121 wickets in the competition since the start of the 2014 campaign.

He has dropped down the order but the ability to bale out the side when in a sticky situation has materialised on more than one occasion and this was the latest example.

Leach was given excellent support by former England Under-19 all-rounder Ed Barnard. The eighth wicket pair added 100 in 21.4 overs and the home side ended up with three batting points which had appeared unlikely at the start of the day.

Cosgrove broke the stand when Barnard (42) was caught at mid wicket off a low full toss. But Leach continued to attack and until he flicked a Clint McKay delivery straight into the hands of deep fine leg. His 104 ball knock contained 13 boundaries.

McKay finished with 4-52 after he wrapped up the innings by having Kyle Abbott caught at slip.

Leach's excellent day continued at the start of the Leicestershire innings when Angus Robson (15) slashed a delivery to point and Neil Dexter (2) was brilliantly stumped by Ben Cox.

But then Robson and Cosgrove established a firm control for the visitors to push for a third Championship win of the campaign tomorrow.