Cricket / County Championship: Wheel of fortune turns the way of Potter: Henry Blofeld reports from The Oval

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The Independent Online
Leicestershire 216 and 267-5 dec; Surrey 218 and 193. Leicestershire win by 72 runs

AFTER achieving very little in the first two days, Surrey and Leicestershire produced a most entertaining last day which ended with Leicestershire winning with three balls left yesterday. The victory, for which Nigel Briers must take great credit, moved them into second place in the Championship.

The pitch held up well and a Leicestershire success seemed most unlikely when Briers declared, leaving Surrey to score 266 in 51 overs. Darren Bicknell and Paul Atkins ventured nothing to begin with and the score had reached 19 in the ninth over when Atkins pushed Alan Mullally firmly to Peter Hepworth at forward short leg.

At 50, Alec Stewart was lbw playing back and across the line to Gordon Parsons, who persevered from the pavilion end for 20 consecutive overs. Bicknell was then caught at wide mid-on mistiming a pull and it was only then that Surrey suggested that they were interested in victory.

Graham Thorpe and Monte Lynch, who is in fine form, added 65 in 10 overs, mostly from Laurie Potter's left-arm spin and Parsons. Both batsmen timed the ball beautifully and made one wonder why, on this good pitch, Surrey had not attempted more earlier in their innings.

The score had reached 144 when Thorpe was lbw trying to work Parsons to leg and one run later, Alastair Brown hit a fierce straight drive which would have gone through Potter if he had not caught it.

Surrey now needed 152 from the last 20 overs and Martin Bicknell and Lynch carried on the assault until, after two driven fours, Bicknell drove at a wide one from Potter and was caught at slip.

One run later, at 182, Joey Benjamin pushed at Tim Boon's first ball and was caught and bowled off the leading edge. Lynch then cut at the first ball of Boon's second over and was caught behind and, at the same score, Neil Kendrick was also caught behind playing forward to Potter.

There were 28 balls remaining as Surrey's last man, Tony Murphy, came out to join James Boiling and Leicestershire closed in for the kill. The pair survived almost to the end until, with three balls left, Murphy pushed forward to Potter and was quickly caught at silly point right-handed by Justin Benson, who had been fielding as substitute for Ben Smith.

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