Cricket: Millns lifts champions

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Leicestershire 442-6 dec

Somerset 256 and 146-3 Match drawn

Soggy weather did no favours to a festival fixture that could be under threat when the present agreement with the local council expires. It clipped a little time from the first and last days, and ruined the two in between.

One option could have been for the Leicestershire skipper James Whitaker to swear on Wisden that he would not enforce the follow-on, persuading Peter Bowler to declare overnight, forfeiting Leicester's second knock and leaving Somerset 371 to win in whatever time the weather allowed, which turned out to be 30 minutes short of the four days. A similar artifice could have been hammered out at lunch time.

Leicester stuck with Plan A - to build a substantial total and then bowl out Somerset twice. But the lost time meant that this required taking 18 Somerset wickets yesterday.

Leicestershire's optimistic attacking strategy was bolstered by a pitch that spit fire when attacked by as muscular a bowler as David Millns, and a lengthening Somerset injury list.

Yesterday, Richard Harden was Millns' first and most serious casualty. Whereas Rob Turner and Kevin Shine could wince and carry on when the ball jammed their hand against the bat handle, Harden broke the little finger of his left hand and will sit out the next few weeks.

Somerset were never at ease against a rampant Millns, who took his best figures of the season in a long and venomous spell, and the home side was swept away by mid-afternoon.

Leicestershire then had a minimum of 41 overs to repeat the trick, and when an edgy Somerset were 31 for 3 in the 10th over, it seemed possible. But Turner, who had top-scored in the morning, and a determined Keith Parsons dug themselves in, killing off the match and earning Somerset their draw points with a defiant three-figure stand.

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