Gibson's guiding hand for the cosmopolitan crew

Leics 223 and 430 Notts 366 and 195 Leicestershire win by 92 runs

Seam bowling of persistence, quality and determination earned Leicestershire their first Championship victory of the season, but sadly for those who believe the county game should feed players through to the national side, neither of the main architects of the win is young, or selectable.

Seam bowling of persistence, quality and determination earned Leicestershire their first Championship victory of the season, but sadly for those who believe the county game should feed players through to the national side, neither of the main architects of the win is young, or selectable.

Well, that is a little unfair on the 38 year-old Phil DeFreitas because in this Kolpak- and European Union-dominated era, he is at least English. But his main partner in wickets, Ottis Gibson, represented West Indies and can play as a non-overseas player only via the residency rule.

This does not detract from his unstinting effort, which was rewarded with six second-innings wickets and hugely impressive match figures of 11 for 141. But, when considered with the fact that the main spinner used was Claude Henderson, a South African Test player who qualifies courtesy of the Kolpak trade- agreement ruling among EU countries, it is hard to summon much enthusiasm for Leicestershire's fine win.

They deserved it, but it need not be celebrated. In fact, if, as seemed possible at one point, Nottinghamshire had orchestrated a most improbable victory courtesy of another fine 85 by Mark Ealham, a first-innings centurion, then the result would have demanded celebration.

After 15 overs they had been 22 for 6, and DeFreitas was demonstrating why he is still competitive. Good lines allied to swing did for the Nottinghamshire stars as Keven Pietersen, an England player- elect when he qualifies in September was plumb third ball after being dropped off his first, and then David Hussey, a bona fide Australian, edged his second.

Ealham was watchful and then, with the aggressive fields, increasingly belligerent. Paul Franks accompanied him to tea with a useful half-century, and at that stage the equation was 110 to win in 32 overs. However, they were seven down and a wicket would expose one end, which was proved on the resumption when Franks miscued a pull. With little option but to attack, Ealham perished, caught at backward point. It was a worthy effort though, and, like Gibson's, deserved a victory.

Which is not something that can be said about Jon Dakin, Leicestershire's third seamer. When his captain, DeFreitas, and Gibson needed a breather, Dakin was off the field with a heavy cold. If Leicestershire are to challenge for promotion then they will have to get more work from him. The two old warhorses cannot do it all, and it is sad that a propensity to be injured or ill has followed Dakin throughout his career.

Maybe it is churlish to complain about the imports. At least they work hard and yesterday, for Leicestershire, they got the job done.

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