The Leicestershire Foxes ended a 993-day wait to finally gain a LVCC victory when they beat Essex by 6 wickets today. It was a solid performance with bat and ball that gave last year’s bottom-finishing Division 2 team a much needed victory after 38 attempts.
Having dealt with a tricky 15 over session last night to finish 55/0 chasing 163, expectation sat heavily on the shoulders of the Foxes. Every Leicestershire fan would have woken having dreamt of victory and every Leicestershire player must have arrived at Chelmsford today almost being able to taste it.
Angus Robson, brother of Middlesex and England opener, Sam, had already shown great maturity in his knock of 120 runs in the first innings. He steadied the ship again second time round add left the Foxes only needing a further 46 runs for the elusive victory when he was dismissed by Essex bowler James Porter.
Whilst Essex will now always be known as the team Leicestershire ended an almost three year victory drought against, they only have themselves to blame. Essex, who are now bottom of Division Two themselves after this defeat, suffered a calamitous second innings batting collapse. They lost five wickets for a paltry 20 runs leaving Leicestershire’s winning target to be 163 runs.
Veteran bowler Charlie Shreck did most of the damage. He ripped through the heart of Essex’s batting taking 5 for 71. In doing so, he also reached the milestone of 500 first class career wickets. Shreck was ably assisted by Aussie Clint McKay and youngster Ben Raine, who picked up the remaining five wickets between them.
Leicestershire debutant Andrea Agathangelou will wonder what all the fuss is about. Played one, won one, is a great start for him with the East Midlands team. Agathangelou was at the crease when his partner, local Leicester lad, Lewis Hill, hit the winning runs that started the celebrations on the balcony.
An emotional outpouring from BBC Radio commentator Richard Rae brilliantly conveyed how anyone associated with Leicestershire felt. The days, weeks, months and years of waiting were finally over.
Despite having played some very good cricket, poor sessions at key moments have resulted in Leicestershire losing three Championship matches they should have drawn so far this season. Yet you could sense they would grab a conquest soon.
Changes at the top have meant the appointment of a new CEO, coach and captain for Leicestershire in the forms of Wasim Khan and Australians Andrew MacDonald and Mark Cosgrove respectively. MacDonald, being a former member of the 2011 successful T20 Leicestershire squad, has certainly brought that winning mentality back to Leicestershire. The long suffering Leicestershire faithful will be looking at today as merely the beginning and be hopeful that the new regime sees the glory days return to Grace Road.