Worcestershire Royals benefit from Foxes lack of cunning

There cannot be many better places to see out a cricket season than Worcester with late summer sunshine bathing the ground and the bells ringing out from the cathedral. The match itself was not really worthy of such a setting, for Worcestershire Royals were generally in command, especially when they were batting and took advantage some woeful Leicestershire Foxes bowling to post a total of 255 for eight off their 45 overs. Foxes are meant to be cunning animals, but there was little to suggest that these Foxes are too clever when all of their bowlers managed to contribute to the wides and no ball tally that reached 16.

Kadeer Ali came in to the Royals' side in place of the injured Graeme Hick and proceeded to play an innings the like of which the absent captain might have been willing to call his own. He found the boundary seven times and went over it twice as he reached 57 from 58 balls.

That gave the innings a momentum that David Leatherdale picked up with relish. He took only 52 balls to reach 60 not out, taking advantage at the time when the bowling was in its most end of term mode. Wickets fell at the other end with just enough alacrity to allow Stuart Lampitt, playing his last match after 18 seasons of unfailing service to his county, to get to the middle. Applauded all the way to the middle, he had no opportunity to prove whether it is indeed possible to bat with tears in the eyes as he merely stood at the non-striker's end.

There were not too many moments when the Foxes threatened to overtake that total. When Darren Stevens and Neil Burns were sharing a stand of 80 for the fourth wicket, there was a chance of them making a serious challenge. Stevens struck the ball cleanly, as seen when he brought up his fifty with a straight six off Gareth Batty. Burns was also full of invention, but the end of their partnership effectively ended the run chase.

As Charlie Dagnall and Ashley Wright belatedly made a stand, the main interest centred on whether the Royals could avoid a penalty for bowling their overs too slowly. But Lampitt brought another generous and sentimental round of applause for his final bowling stint that produced figures of three for 33, the Royals won by 28 runs and the sun set on another season.