LV= Insurance County Championship Division Two - 03 September 2023

Leicestershire won by eight wickets (3 points)

Venue: Uptonsteel County Ground, Leicester

Leicestershire v Gloucestershire | LV= Insurance County Championship


Leicestershire’s bid to win promotion in the LV=Insurance County Championship to go with their first one-day final for 22 years started impressively as they returned to red-ball action at the Uptonsteel County Ground.

Gloucestershire, the side they bowled out for 125 here last Tuesday to clinch their place in the Metro Bank One-Day Cup final, fared scarcely better, dismissed for 159 by Leicestershire’s seam attack despite Chris Dent’s half-century.

Tom Scriven, with a career-best four for 30, and veteran Chris Wright (three for 30) exploited a green pitch, with much of the damage done between lunch and tea as Gloucestershire collapsed from 77 for one.

In reply, against a visiting attack lacking three of their top four wicket-takers, Leicestershire were 103 for two in their first innings at the close, with opener Rishi Patel closing in on 1,000 first-class runs in a season for the first time in his career, on 60 not out.

Leicestershire, who have a game in hand but probably need a victory in this match to stand a realistic chance of going up alongside runaway Division Two leaders Durham, had two players making their county debuts in wicketkeeper Ben Cox, who has joined initially on loan from Worcestershire, and 33-year-old Pakistan international batter Umar Amin, signed for the last four matches of the season in place of Peter Handscomb, who has returned to Australia.

Bowl first looked the obvious choice for whoever won the toss but in the event it was the losers, Gloucestershire, who had the better of the opening morning, going to lunch at 73 for one.

Leicestershire might argue that they were unlucky with the balls that did whistle past the edge, while the visitors benefited disproportionately from the last two overs of Wiaan Mulder’s opening spell as Ben Charlesworth picked up three fours from each, albeit a couple through third man and another off an inside edge past off stump.  Yet one wicket was certainly fewer than home skipper Lewis Hill would have hoped for.

It was claimed by Scriven, who took over from Mulder at the Pavilion End and conceded only three runs in seven overs. In the midst of that was an excellent delivery that beat Charlesworth’s inside edge and clipped the off bail.

Mulder - 0 for 35 from five overs first up - had a much more effective second spell, two for seven from nine, either side of lunch, with both wickets coming after a change of ball immediately after the interval. The South African all-rounder bowled Ollie Price past a defensive bat and beat Miles Hammond, another of Gloucestershire’s predominant left-handers, with a fullish ball into the front pad.

Those wickets set up Leicestershire for a much more productive afternoon. Chris Dent completed a 138-ball half century with a nice shot through the covers off Scriven for his seventh boundary only to leg before to the same bowler without addition.

Chris Wright, in his 200th first-class match, picked up his 577th wicket through a misjudgement by James Bracey, who was bowled shouldering arms before Zafar Gohar became a first victim behind the stumps for Cox, giving Scriven his third success.

Josh Shaw was dropped at first slip on one off Matt Salisbury but added only seven before he became a debut lbw victim for Amin, leaving Gloucestershire 145 for seven at tea.

Amin, who bowls medium pace off a five or six-step run-up, has not played international cricket for five years and no first-class cricket since November last year, yet is a familiar figure to some in the Leicestershire dressing room. He has spent this summer playing for Cavaliers and Carrington in the Nottinghamshire Premier League - alongside Leicestershire all-rounder Rehan Ahmed and interim head coach Alfonso Thomas.

Half a dozen overs after tea, Gloucestershire were all out. Harry Tector, on Championship debut for the county, was leg before trying to work to leg off Wright, who then had Zaman Akhter caught at second slip off the shoulder of the bat. Luke Charlesworth - younger brother of Ben - lasted five balls on his first class debut, falling leg before pushing forward as Scriven claimed his fourth wicket.

It left Leicestershire to face 24 overs before the close. They quickly lost the recalled Sol Budinger, bowled through the gate by Shaw, before Hill edged Dom Goodman to gully for 21, but Patel, unfazed by giving what looked like a half-chance to point on 46 off Akhter, went past fifty for the seventh time this season to take his first-class aggregate to 950.


Leicestershire held, lost and then regained the upper hand over Gloucestershire on an eventful second day of their fast-moving LV=Insurance County Championship match, which ended with the home side eyeing up a win inside three days as they seek to strengthen their promotion challenge.

On a pitch that continued to make batting hard work, Gloucestershire closed on 179 for eight, with a lead of 134 after Tom Scriven (three for 43) increased his match return to seven wickets, although Leicestershire’s points haul from this match may be under threat as a result of their slow over-rate, the scoreboard showing minus five as they left the field.

Earlier, Leicestershire had surrendered what could have been an even stronger position by losing their last eight first-innings wickets for just 54 runs as Zaman Akhter (four for 46) and Luke Charlesworth, who took three for 54 on his first-class debut, led a spirited fightback from an inexperienced Gloucestershire attack.

But only when Miles Hammond (46) and Ben Charlesworth (33) were adding 70 for the third wicket did Gloucestershire threaten to turn that to their advantage, although Akhter’s late unbeaten 22 from 30 balls could yet be important in a low-scoring contest.

Leicestershire’s collapse, from 56 behind overnight with eight wickets in hand, was all the more surprising after they had achieved the day’s first objective by negotiating the first hour without too many alarms.

It all changed following a stunning catch by second slip Ollie Price.  His one-handed grab as a loose Colin Ackermann drive flew hard off the outside edge precipitated the loss of three Leicestershire wickets for no runs in 11 balls.

Rishi Patel, top scorer with 73, became Luke Charlesworth’s maiden first-class victim, hanging his bat out at one that swung away, the 20-year-old right-armer’s older brother, Ben, taking the catch at first slip. Umar Amin’s debut lasted four balls, ending with an expansive drive edged to second slip.

Louis Kimber was the fourth casualty of the morning, beaten past the outside of the bat by Dom Goodman two overs before lunch, before another cluster of wickets soon after the interval - four in 14 balls - completed Leicestershire’s spiral from 150 for two to 204 all out.

Charlesworth capped a memorable debut by dismissing Leicestershire debutant Ben Cox leg before and then had Matt Salisbury caught behind, either side of two wickets in two balls from Zaman Akhter - another of the rookies in this Gloucestershire side - who will be on a hat-trick when he bowls in the second innings, after Wiaan Mulder was caught on the hook and Chris Wright bowled first ball.

Although to a degree Leicestershire had been the architects of their own demise, what had been prepared as a result pitch continued to aid those deliveries that landed in the right place, as Gloucestershire discovered as they set about overhauling the home side’s modest 45-run advantage, quickly losing their first two second innings wickets.

Wright, whose six-over burst with the new ball conceded just one run, struck first as Chris Dent got an inside edge on to his stumps. Mulder appealed for caught behind off a thin edge against Ollie Price before realising he’d actually dislodged the off bail.

A period of relative prosperity for the visitors followed, Ben Charlesworth and Hammond dominant for a while in adding 70 in 13 overs for the third wicket, with change bowlers Scriven and Salisbury somewhat easier to get away than they had been on day one.

It was the introduction of Ackermann to bowl the first spin of the match that checked their progress as Charlesworth, attempting to repeat a previous boundary hit over the top, skewed the ball to backward point.

At 95 for three at tea, 50 in front, there was still potential for Gloucestershire to establish a lead that might set a test for Leicestershire in the fourth innings but the return of Wright and Mulder after tea made that less likely.

Mulder squeezed one between a defensive bat and pad to trap Hammond in front before Wright did for Tector with one that kept a shade low, after which Salisbury and Scriven delivered simultaneous spells of outstanding accuracy that saw just nine runs added in 10 overs, the rewards for pressure going to Scriven, who had James Bracey and Shaw caught behind and Zafar Gohar taken at slip.


Leicestershire kept themselves in the hunt for promotion from Division Two, closing out a three-day win over Gloucestershire by mid-afternoon, an unbroken partnership of 161 between Colin Ackermann (93) and skipper Lewis Hill (62) guiding them home by an impressive eight-wicket margin.

Leicestershire have not played Division One cricket in the LV=Insurance County Championship since 2003 and realistically the odds against them returning next year are long, especially if Worcestershire consolidate their grip on second place by completing a win over Glamorgan at New Road.

But the Foxes have a game in hand away to Sussex next week. If they can come back from the south coast with a fourth win of the season it would set up an intriguing finale in which Leicestershire and Worcestershire both have to face Yorkshire and Durham in their last two fixtures.

Gloucestershire, relegated from Division One last season, are still looking for a first win of their campaign, having been bowled out here for 159 and 212 in conditions that, for the first two days at least, favoured the bowlers. It left Leicestershire needing 168 to win, a target they secured inside 42 overs.

At the start of the day, Leicestershire needed 10 overs to prise out the two remaining Gloucestershire wickets at Monday’s close, or rather three from Wiaan Mulder after the seamers were initially held back to allow spinners Colin Ackermann and Louis Kimber to address the matter of their side’s sedate over-rate, which stood at minus two overnight even after the usual adjustments.

Once the dial had been sufficiently moved, Mulder bowled Dom Goodman, who chopped on, with his sixth ball and had Luke Charlesworth leg before with his 16th. Gloucestershire were grateful for an unbeaten 41 from Zaman Akhter - his highest score in 12 first-class innings to date.

After two days in which batting had often looked a perilous occupation, Gloucestershire would have felt the outcome was no foregone conclusion and they were encouraged by removing both Leicestershire openers in the first five overs, both caught behind off Josh Shaw, who tempted Rishi Patel to nibble at one outside off stump and profited again via a thin top edge as Sol Budinger slashed at a much wider ball.

But Hill and Ackermann avoided further mishaps in the 15 overs left before lunch, eventually beginning to push the scoreboard along, taking turns to hit three boundaries in an over off Luke Charlesworth and Akhter in trimming 76 runs off the requirement to leave another 95 needed.

The pair were watchful after lunch as Shaw went for three consecutive boundaries at the Pavilion End with Zafar Gohar’s left-arm spin building pressure at the other end.

It was eased, though, when Ackermann took back-to-back boundaries off Shaw and as their partnership moved into three figures, Hill completed his seventh half-century of the season from 74 balls, quickly followed by Ackermann’s from 84.

With time on their side, the duo had the luxury of knowing they need not take any risks, waiting for the inevitable bad ball to put away, Ackermann eventually taking the lead role, cuts and late cuts providing the biggest proportion of his 14 boundaries.

Gloucestershire skipper James Bracey said:

“We started the game poorly and ended it poorly and that’s the story, really.

“We were pretty good in the middle of the game the way we fought back to bowl them out. The way we came back with the ball was brilliant from a very young attack.  It was a great learning curve for the likes of Dom and Luke.

“If you had given us the position we were in this morning at the end of day one we would have been delighted with that because it gave us a real sniff.

“The way we started and finished with the bat second innings was pretty good but we just lacked the big partnership that would have given us something more to defend.

“We started to put together some nice partnerships at times, a couple of 20s and 30s, a couple of 50s and 60s, but when we came under pressure we got out, sometimes because we gave our wickets away, sometimes just because they bowled well. That’s something we have struggled with all year.

“The pitch did get better. There weren’t so many demons in it yesterday than at the start, so it was an important toss to win. But having said that, we could have done a lot more to help ourselves as well.  

“We’re desperate to get a couple of wins on the board before the end of the season. It doesn’t help that we keep getting bowlers injured, but if the batters can show there is something about them, hopefully we can put some big scores together and set it up for the bowlers.”