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Last-ball drama for Tigers cricketers

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Leicester Tigers suffered a last-ball defeat in their annual cricket challenge against a Matt Hampson XI at Rothley Park Cricket Club on Friday evening.

Tigers stars old and new made up the bulk of both teams, with the Hampson side captained by Austin Healey and including Martin Johnson, Dusty Hare, Tim Stimpson and Leon Lloyd.

And it was a Leicester newcomer who clinched victory, though, with Toby Flood taking a diving catch to dismiss Richard Blaze off the last ball of the match, with the Tigers needing just one run to level the scores.

The Hampson XI batted first and were given a good start by the opening pair of Hare – a former County cricketer – and Stimpson. All Black Aaron Mauger also added a smart 40 in a total of 183.

“None of the bowlers did particularly well,” admitted Tigers skipper Sam Vesty, a cricketer good enough to play for Leicestershire at Under-19 and Seconds level before concentrating on his rugby.

“And Tom Croft bowled particularly badly at Martin Johnson, which might have had something to do with him being England team manager and Crofty chasing a place in the England team!”

Harry Ellis got the Tigers reply off to a good start, Vesty contributed a strong 20 – “before Toby Flood found a miracle ball and bowled me,” he claimed – and Marco Wentzel top-scored with 40.

“We were one short with one ball to go,”  added the captain. “Leon bowled to Blazey, he went for a big square cut and Toby Flood made a diving catch to win the game for them.

“It was a very enjoyable game, though, it was good fun and there was a big crowd there to support the event and to support Matt.”

Proceeds were shared between the Matt Hampson Trust and junior cricket development at Rothley Park CC.