Cricket: Chapple makes hay before sun shines

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The Independent Online
Leicestershire 206; Lancashire 45-1

SUN ended play yesterday, adding a rare September postcript to Leicestershire's chase for prize money. The glare, directly behind the bowler's arm at the Stretford End, prompted the players to leave the field for a bizarre but entirely authentic reason at 5.45pm.

It provided a curious but not original footnote, a similar situation terminating play prematurely a month ago at the same ground against Gloucestershire. The umpires, Ray Julian and Barry Dudleston, conferred twice before offering a variation on bad light. The problem occurs here partly because the stumps are pitched east and west, so being vulnerable to the setting sun.

Those who have disparaged Leicestershire's rise to second place in the table and with a potential reward of pounds 24,250, may have disregarded their recuperative qualities, which were once again in evidence.

Standing 11 points clear of third-placed Nottinghamshire, they chiselled a batting bonus from Lancashire's granite control. Glen Chapple, selected for the forthcoming England A tour of India, imposed it by returning 5 for 58, having captured all of the first five to fall for 36 runs in 11 overs. The uncapped Chapple, from Skipton, has taken 23 wickets in the past five championship innings, passing 50 this summer, but even he was frustrated by Phil Robinson, a fellow Yorkshireman, who made a half century from 77 balls, and by Adrian Pierson.

Leicestershire's last three wickets added 101 runs on a pitch growing easier.

Pierson shared a partnership of 55, the best of the innings, in 18 overs for the eighth wicket with Robinson.

Others had disappeared at an alarming rate for those fancying Leicestershire to finish as runners-up for the first time in 12 years. Phil Simmons, needing 91 to complete 1,000 runs this season, was caught at second slip, Nigel Briers, the captain, glanced a leg-side catch and James Whitaker miss-hooked into the deep.

After the first day wash- out, the sight of players and umpires standing in the middle waiting unsuccessfully for the sun to go in, added to the game's mysteries for the uninitiated.