Big games in the championship tend to be decided by experienced players. This was emphatically the case in the final Championship game at Cheltenham, where Leicestershire's senior pros guided them to a potentially tricky 3rd day chase without undue alarm.
We have previously written about how well Leicestershire recruited over the winter, bringing in Mark Pettini from Essex, Paul Horton from Lancashire and Neil Dexter from Middlesex.
Glos were put in under bowler-friendly skies on Day 1 and were dismissed for a disappointing 183, with only a battling Jack Taylor passing 50. By the close Leics were 122-5, only 61 behind with opener Angus Robson 49*. Leics reached 218 all out on Day 2, with David Payne finishing with an excellent 5-36. The lead of 45 proved important as the game progressed rapidly on the second day, with only Michael Klinger looking like batting for an extended period was possible. He ended the day 33* and a lead of 250 would surely have been hard work for Leicestershire to chase down against a strong Glos bowling lineup.
However, Glos slumped to 161-8 in the first session of Day 3 and only an unlikely partnership of 48 for the last wicket between Josh Shaw and Benny the Frenchman enabled us to set a target over 150. In the end, 181 proved inadequate, as despite losing Dexter and Robson early, the experienced Aussie duo of Horton and Cosgrove broke the back of the chase with a stand of 108 for the third wicket. Both departed before the end, but thew hard work was done despite a good performance in the field from the boys. Glos had bowled Essex out for 151 the previous week, but against a strong and experienced batting side you really need to set a target of at least 200 to have a chance, especially in a game which concluded with 15 overs remaining on Day 3.
A disappointing result to end the Championship portion of the Cheltenham festival, but onwards and upwards with 6 championship fixtures still to play, plus a T20 quarter final next Wednesday against Durham.