Sutcliffe and Ridley rattle Leicestershire

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Cricket

HENRY BLOFELD

reports from The Parks Leicestershire 299-4 dec & 145-3 dec Oxford University 207-6 dec & 212-7 Match drawn

Some brilliant strokeplay by Iain Sutcliffe and Andrew Ridley, who put on 142 in 30 overs for the second wicket, took Oxford close to a remarkable victory over Leicestershire. After being left to score 238 in 90 minutes plus 20 overs, the university were 80 for 1 when the last 20 overs began.

It looked a dull draw, but in the first over of the last 20, Ridley straight-drove Adrian Pierson's first ball over the sightscreen for six and Sutcliffe swept the third for another, and the final assault had begun.

Runs came at a hectic pace and for a long time Leicestershire had five men back on the boundary but were still unable to check the flow of runs.

Oxford needed 92 from 11 overs when Sutcliffe cut Gordon Parsons and Pierson held an excellent tumbling catch deep in the gully. Gul Khan who had failed earlier in the day by six runs to make a century in his first innings for Oxford, came half forward to drive Darren Maddy and was lbw - this was Maddy's first first-class wicket.

Mark Wagh played two or three good strokes before being run out while Ridley went on in fine style, playing shots all round the wicket. He swung Parsons square for six and reached his first first-class hundred in 101 balls, with eight fours and four sixes. When he skied Maddy to backward point Oxford's heroic challenge had ended.

But it had been a wonderful day for university cricket, set up by a good declaration from James Whitaker, Leicestershire's new captain. In their second innings, the county's main batsmen all played some nice strokes, which will have done their confidence good.

The day had begun with Khan, who was 56 not out, continuing to play some glorious strokes. He faced 123 balls and hit 12 fours and one six in his 94. He was released by Essex last year and in this form will surely make them have embarrassing second thoughts.

(Leicestershire won toss, final day of three)

LEICESTERSHIRE - First Innings 299 for 4 dec (B F Smith 123 no, P A Nixon 100 no, V J Wells 57).

OXFORD UNIVERSITY - First Innings

(Overnight 133 for 4)

G Khan c Nixon b Millns 94

H S Malik c Nixon b Millns 15

M E D Jarrett not out 8

J N Batty not out 16

Extras (b4, lb10) 14

Total (for 6 dec, 67 overs) 207

Fall continued: 5-176, 6-187.

Did not bat: R Thomson, D P Mather, S P DuPreez.

Bowling: Millns 18-6-59-2; Mullally 15-2-53-1; Parsons 13-3-37-1; Pierson 13-2-33-1; Wells 4-0-9-1; Maddy 2-1-1-0; Macmillan 2-1-1-0.

LEICESTERSHIRE - Second Innings

*J J Whitaker b Malik 47

G I Macmillan c Jarrett b Mather 17

V J Wells c Ridley b Malik 33

D L Maddy not out 33

G J Parsons not out 14

Extras (w1) 1

Total (for 3 dec, 32 overs) 145

Fall: 1-38, 2-84, 3-105.

Did not bat: A D Mullally, B F Smith, P A Nixon, C C Remy, A R K Pierson, D J Millns.

Bowling: Mather 11-1-56-1; DuPreez 5-0-20-0; Malik 11-0-46-2; Wagh 4- 0-18-0; Khan 1-0-5-0.

OXFORD UNIVERSITY - Second Innings

*C M Gupte c Pierson b Millns 5

I J Sutcliffe c Pierson b Parsons 65

A C Ridley c Pierson b Maddy 104

G Khan lbw b Maddy 0

M Wagh run out 13

H S Malik not out 11

M E D Jarrett run out 0

J N Batty run out 1

R Thomson not out 0

Extras (lb11, nb2) 13

Total (for 7, 41.4 overs) 212

Fall: 1-5, 2-152, 3-157, 4-177, 5-202, 6-210, 7-212.

Did not bat: D P Mather, S P DuPreez.

Bowling: Mullally 9.4-2-31-0; Millns 6-1-21-1; Parsons 10-2-43-1; Pierson 9-0-58-0; Wells 2-0-20-0; Maddy 5-0-28-2.

Umpires: A G T Whitehead and N G Cowley.

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