Hodge's heroics set up a thriller

The Australian Brad Hodge opened up his season with twin centuries to keep Leicestershire in contention in the Second Division game against Glamorgan at Grace Road.

The Australian Brad Hodge opened up his season with twin centuries to keep Leicestershire in contention in the Second Division game against Glamorgan at Grace Road.

The Victorian was ably supported by one of four new recruits in the Leicestershire line-up, the former South African all-rounder Claude Henderson, who is registered as a domestic player having turned his back on Western Province and his international career. The 31-year-old has played Tests and one-day internationals but has joined the exodus of his compatriots who are disillusioned with their selection prospects.

Following on, the home side were still 67 behind on a precarious 124 for 5 going into the final day, but Hodge struck 158 in a five-and-a-half-hour stay at the crease which featured 20 fours and two sixes. By day four, the bowlers were simply unable to dismiss him - he was run out.

Henderson chipped in with 63, adding 130 for the sixth wicket with Hodge. That at least enabled the home side to set a target of some sort, 163, and use up valuable time in search of a draw.

However, Henderson dramatically revived hopes of an unlikely victory by picking up 5 for 28 with his left-arm spin as Glamorgan stuttered to 125 for 9 in the run-chase and settled for a nervy draw.

Nottinghamshire's Cornish pace bowler Charlie Shreck returned career-best figures of 6 for 46 and his side opened their Championship account with a win as Durham succumbed with barely a whimper at Chester-le-Street.

Resuming their second innings on a parlous 30 for 3, the home side were bundled out for 93 to lose by an innings and 80 runs, following their defeat to Hampshire in the first round of matches.

Yorkshire began in winning fashion, too, against Essex at Headingley, losing three wickets on their way to a target of 128. Essex began the day on 145 for 6, one run behind, a rearguard action by all-rounders Graham Napier and John Stephenson at numbers nine and 10 proving futile.

Somerset declared on 170 for 6 to leave Derbyshire chasing an unlikely 284 for victory at Taunton. The former England pace spearhead Andy Caddick, on his return to action after missing most of last season with a foot injury, claimed an early scalp but the visitors trod warily thereafter to force the draw on 112 for 1.

Willie Watson, the former Yorkshire, Leicestershire and England batsman, died at his home in Johannesburg yesterday, aged 84.

He played in 23 Tests and scored two centuries, the first of which famously helped to save the Lord's Test of 1953 against Australia, in what was his first Ashes Test. He scored 109, sharing a partnership of 163 with Trevor Bailey to bat out more than five hours on the final day. Watson also won four caps at football and travelled with England to their first World Cup in 1950.

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