Wells and Maddy show up puny Essex

Essex 163 Leicestershire 113-0
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The Independent Online
Heady heights beckon Leicestershire. In fourth place, they are distinct title contenders. Not many counties roll over the new, up-table Yorkshire by an innings but Leicestershire did. Now they are threatening Essex with a fifth consecutive defeat in Championship matches between the teams.

Vince Wells, with a half-century from 75 balls, and Darren Maddy made inroads into a puny Essex total. The first half-century partnership of the match was from Leicestershire's openers, after tea. It highlighted Essex's earlier failings but illustrated that Leicestershire have a psychological home advantage, especially with the ball moving around. Of their nine games remaining, after this, five are at Grace Road, involving three opponents in the current table's top 10.

Essex had a frantic scuffle for runs and a testimony to the movement ruthlessly exploited after James Whitaker put them in, was three slick catches for Phil Simmons, together with Graham Gooch and Paul Prichard both being dismissed without offering a discernible stroke.

Ronnie Irani, not required by England, drove the 30 miles from Nottingham, only to be out for a duck, pushing forward to Parsons. Down-the-order resistance from Robert Rollins and Ashley Cowan emphasised that the wind- blown day was for the zealous or partisan, Stuart Law having provided light batting entertainment with three fours in an over from Wells.

Essex compiled their moderate total, mostly through deflections, rather than attacking strokes. Between lunch and tea, they lost six wickets for 68 runs. Maybe some time tomorrow afternoon this could have been a crucial passage of play.