Seven draws from seven for Leicestershire as Sam Northeast seals stalemate

Leicestershire 343 for 9 dec (Handscomb 103, Hill 92, van der Gugten 5-65) drew with Glamorgan 387 (Byrom 86, Carlson 80, Northeast 61, Currie 5-64) and 157 for 4 (Northeast 41*)

Leicestershire remain the only side in either division of the Vitality County Championship to neither win a match nor suffer a defeat after their match with Glamorgan at the Uptonsteel County Ground ended in an almost inevitable stalemate, with Glamorgan 157 for four in their second innings, 201 runs in front with Sam Northeast 41 not out.

No team has been promoted with fewer than five wins since the two-division system was introduced in 2000, yet after seven of the 14 fixtures in this season’s competition Leicestershire’s unbeaten record has been enough to keep them in third place in the Division Two table, despite a zero in their wins column.

The wet spring has led to a scarcity of positive results across the board and rain took its toll on this match, too, particularly on day three, although periods of stultifyingly low scoring on a slow pitch did not help. Five wickets each for Glamorgan’s Timm van der Gugten and Leicestershire’s Scott Currie and a century for Currie’s team-mate Peter Handscomb were the highlights.

Glamorgan’s overnight lead of 58 with one wicket down did not look a particularly promising starting point if the match was to end in any result other than a draw and the slow progress of the opening hour did nothing to alter that perception.

After a long wait for the day’s first boundary, extended by a 20-minute interruption while a shower passed through, Marnus Labuschagne began to get things moving but a couple of wickets before lunch provided a semblance of encouragement for Leicestershire, whose ambition at this stage was to bowl Glamorgan out and hope there was still time to overhaul whatever lead they had managed to chisel out.

Scott Currie, Leicestershire’s stand-out bowler in this match, picked up a wicket that looked a tad fortunate as Eddie Byrom was given out leg before but there was no good fortune about Ben Mike’s dismissal of Labuschagne, however, the right-armer bowling the Australian with his second ball, one that nipped back to pass between bat and pad and hit just below the top of off stump.

Two overs after lunch, Mike removed Kiran Carlson too, the batter perhaps still mindful of the painful effects of being struck in the lower abdomen moments before when he went back in his crease to a delivery that also came back, this time hitting middle. At that point, Glamorgan were effectively 135 for four, with 62 overs left in the day.

It opened up a small window of opportunity for the home side, although it had to be borne in mind that they were one seamer short with Tom Scriven injured on day one had no front line spinner anyway, and when Chris Cooke and Sam Northeast guided Glamorgan to 132 for four when more rain arrived before just before three o’clock, a lead of 176.

Cooke and Northeast extended their partnership to 66 when play resumed after an early tea, at which point more gathering rain clouds and the very rare sighting of Australian opener Marcus Harris bowling in a first-class match signalled the direction in which the contest was drifting.

Harris had bowled only 16 overs in his 13-year career and was left on 99 balls delivered in first-class cricket – still looking for his maiden wicket – when the skies opened again.

The 31-year-old Western Australian can claim, though, that he always bowls against Glamorgan, having sent down one over against them last year for Gloucestershire, his only other over to date in the County Championship in his only other appearance against the Welsh county.