Leicestershire opener Angus Robson has predicted that the county’s Championship win over Essex will be like a “breath of a fresh air” and the beginning of a “new start” at Grace Road.
The Foxes won their first Championship game for close to one thousand days with their Chelmsford success, having previously gone two full seasons and 33 games since tasting victory in county cricket’s oldest competition. According to Robson, victory is a significant monkey off the back.
“It was a very big day for everyone involved at the Club. There was a lot of excitement, with so many young guys in the team this year. It’s really exciting to get that win,” said the 23-year-old the morning after the success. “We’ve been close on a number of times this year. It feels like a breath of fresh air getting it under our belts. We can move forward and we’ve put ourselves in a much better place than we have been for a while”
Leicestershire have had somewhat of a revolution in playing personnel since that last victory in 2012, with only Ned Eckersley, Jigar Naik and Matthew Boyce playing in both matches, a fact Robson attributes to their Chelmsford success.
“We’ve got a lot of different faces from the ones who didn’t win those games. A number of those new players are here, and it definitely feels like a new start, and a great place to be at the minute.
“They’re all keen and young and ready to get stuck in, so I definitely think it’s a fresh start, and I hope they all stay together for a long time.”
Despite the winless run, Robson played down the significance of his county’s barren spell, even with the opener having just one first-class victory to his name in 25 attempts before this week.
“It played on my mind a little bit, but not as much as the media made out.
“But it was definitely not something we wanted to be associated with, so it was something we wanted to get off our backs. We didn’t worry about it, we just trained hard and got ourselves in that position”.
Robson and co. were in a strong position heading into day four at Chelmsford, with just 108 more runs needed for victory with all ten wickets still intact, with the Australian-born man resuming on 34 having made a century in the first innings.
“We were in a decent position at the end of the third day and we deserved to be there. We played the better cricket for the majority of the game and there was anticipation in the dressing room. We knew we would get there. We knew that if we played solid cricket and took care in our batting then we would win the game, and that showed.
“It was very pleasing to get big runs in a valuable game. In every game you want to make runs, so from a personal point of view it was a good week for me, and probably the best I’ve batted given that there was something in it for the bowlers. In a pretty low scoring game, I was pretty pleased to help the team, and put us on the way to a win.”
As well as the changes in playing staff, Grace Road has seen a coaching restructure with Wasim Khan and Andrew McDonald integral in the backroom roles, while Mark Cosgrove has returned to lead Leicestershire on the field as Club captain.
“A lot of the boys are one year older and more experienced now. They’ve been able to play a number of games, myself included, and build on their cricket,” continued Robson. “It’s almost felt like a new culture. Clint McKay has been outstanding, on and off the field, as have Mark Cosgrove and Andrew McDonald. Wasim Khan’s brought us forward a huge amount.
“The Club has got a real community based feel about it this year, We’re in a real great place. It’s great to have people like Richard Rae [BBC Leicester commentator] who are so passionate about the Club. Some of the lads posted links to his commentary, which I’ve listened to – he’s a great supporter of Leicestershire.”
While Leicestershire have struggled in the Championship over the past few seasons, Robson has quickly cemented his place at the top of the order, with the 191 runs in this match lifting him to the heights of top run-scorer in Division Two since the start of 2014.
“It’s great to have that record, even though I didn’t realise it! I’m improving all the time, and it’s a very thrilling time to be a cricketer right now. I’ve just got to keep building on what I’ve done. I feel like I’m improving all the time. I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, keep scoring runs and keep getting better and who knows what will happen.
Born in New South Wales, Robson could, like his brother Sam, qualify for international cricket with either England or Australia, but the younger sibling insists he has a long way to go before that’s on his mind.
“The ultimate goal is always to play Test cricket. I just need to wait and see what happens, and whoever that happens with. I definitely want to play international cricket. I’m a long way away from that at the minute, but that’s where I’m striving to be.
“I’d love to play international cricket, but I just need to focus on what I do on the pitch and the rest will take care of itself.”
Whether this success will be the start of many more to Leicestershire is yet to be seen, and while Robson is keen to keep his feet firmly on the ground, confidence and optimism is a firm part of the youngster’s psyche with Surrey on the horizon.
“We came into the year knowing we would get that win. We’ve had a different team and a different approach to that of the last few years. If we can now string some results together, we’ve got a team capable of challenging the best in the league. It’s about going again on Sunday against Surrey and getting ourselves up the table.”