"It was good to get going!" Sam Evans delighted with fifty as Leicestershire hold on for draw with Durham

By Simon Sinclair

By Duncan Browne
Monday, 18th April 2022, 8:44 am
Updated Monday, 18th April 2022, 8:50 am
Sam Evans. Photo: Getty Images
Sam Evans. Photo: Getty Images

Leicestershire defiantly held out for a draw in their LV= Insurance County Championship Division Two match against Durham at the Riverside, losing only two wickets on the final day of the contest.

Durham declared overnight with a lead of 394 in the hope of pressing for their first victory of the campaign, but chances were hard to come by on a lifeless wicket.

Ollie Gibson had a day to remember as he claimed his maiden first-class wicket to mark an encouraging performance with the ball in difficult conditions.

Sam Evans provided the stoic defence required to see his team to the draw, collecting his first fifty of the term and holding out an end for over 250 deliveries unbeaten on 77 before the captains shook hands.

Durham moved to second place in the Division Table after gaining 15 points, while Leicestershire collected 12 for their exploits to remain undefeated after two matches.

"We knew what the job was at the start of the day to get through the first couple of sessions," Evans said.

"We knew that we were playing for the draw to get through those 96 overs and we were able to do it.

"It was a good pitch, it was just a case of playing straight and getting forward.

"I needed a good knock out there because I'd started the season slow, but it was good to get going and hopefully I can kick on from here."

After Durham declared their second innings boasting a lead of 394, Leicestershire began their attempt to see out the day in defiant fashion with Hassan Azad and Evans.

Chris Rushworth and Matthew Potts passed the bat on a few occasions, while the odd delivery kept low, but it was not enough to trouble the visitors' openers.

Both batsmen received blows to the body and Evans was struck on the helmet as he attempted to avoid a bounce from Potts.

"When I got hit in the head the ball kept a bit low and I don't really know what happened," Evans added.

"Sometimes I think I lose a bit of concentration.

"I was in the mindset it was going to take a lot more than short-pitch bowling to get me out.

"It's key to take confidence into future games.

"We've got a couple of draws under our belt. I read on Twitter about Derbyshire's coach talking about not being a winning side, but being hard to beat.

"We've done that, and now we have to progress."

Leicestershire were rewarded for their resilience when Evans found the fence to bring up the fifty partnership in the 19th over.

Leicestershire were on their way to shutting out the home side in the morning session, but Azad made an uncharacteristic mistake against Liam Trevaskis, losing his shape a the crease and was subsequently bowled through his legs to end the opening stand for 66.

Frustration crept in for the home side after lunch as George Rhodes survived edging Potts between Ned Eckersley and David Bedingham, and a great shout for a catch at short leg by Sean Dickson which was deemed to have hit the ground.

Gibson eventually prised out Rhodes to claim a deserved maiden first-class wicket, with arguably one of his worst deliveries of the match as the Leicestershire man gloved a leg glance behind to Eckersley.

Evans' defiance continued and he worked his way to his first half-century of the term from 140 balls, keeping matters simple with a stubborn resistance against the home side.

Durham skipper Scott Borthwick attempted a variety of methods to look for a way into the Leicestershire line-up, but the Riverside pitch day four pitch offered no assistance for the home side in their pursuit of their first win of the season.

Evans and Colin Ackermann were steadfast in their defence and posted an unbeaten partnership of 84 for the third wicket before both sides agreed to call time on the contest, settling for the stalemate.