Dispute takes shine off Leicestershire's win

Leicestershire 171-8 Derbyshire 170-9 Leicestershire won by 1 run
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The Independent Online

Leicestershire joined Gloucestershire, Surrey and Warwickshire in qualifying for Twenty20 finals day next month after a tense one-run victory over neighbours Derbyshire here last night. However, it was a victory marred by controversy as Derbyshire made an extraordinary bid to have the result reversed over a disputed catch by Australian Brad Hodge. The England and Wales Cricket Board insisted last night that the result could not be changed but Derbyshire were still considering using television footage from Sky's cameras to support their case.

With coach Adrian Pierson and captain Dominic Cork leading the protests, Derbyshire claimed Hodge stepped over the boundary rope after taking the catch that ended Steve Selwood's innings in the penultimate over, at which point Cork's team needed 19 to win from 11 balls with three wickets in hand.

"We are asking that the result be reversed," Pierson said. "According to our players, Hodge carried the ball over the rope. Steve should not have been out and it should have been six runs on our total."

The incident sparked a row between Hodge and the Derbyshire bench and persuaded umpire Roy Palmer to ask the Australian to clarify what had happened, apparently accepting the fielder's assertion that he did not knowingly step over the rope.

The Leicestershire captain Philip DeFreitas said: "Brad took the catch and turned to celebrate with the crowd. Derbyshire are claiming he crossed the boundary rope but the ball was under his control and the catch had been completed."

However, Alan Fordham, the ECB's cricket operations manager, said last night: "The result cannot be reversed. There is no provision in the rules for a result to be changed once the umpires have accepted the scorecards and the match is declared over."

The row took the shine off Leicestershire's victory, made possible by a solid all-round display to which almost every player contributed, led by Hodge's 30-ball 37 and Paul Nixon's 27 off just 13 deliveries.