Yorkshire and Leicestershire were frustrated by final day rain as their penultimate round LV= Insurance County Championship match finished in a soggy draw at the Uptonsteel County Ground, Grace Road.

A match which saw more than 230 overs lost because of rain and bad light, including Wednesday’s second day completely washed out, finished with Yorkshire on 225-4 from 55.4 overs of their second innings, leading by 147.

There was no play beyond 1.30pm because of rain.

James Wharton was unbeaten on 58, with George Hill 32 not out.

Both sides started day four with designs on victory, with Leicestershire’s need far greater than Yorkshire’s given they are still in the promotion race.

But the draw, from which Yorkshire took eight points and Leicestershire seven, has all but ended the latter’s chances of overhauling second-placed Worcestershire with only one round remaining. 

Yorkshire, meanwhile, have closed the gap to second-bottom Gloucestershire with their ninth draw of the season. Ottis Gibson and co head into Tuesday’s home clash with Worcestershire six points behind Gloucestershire.

Wharton’s fifty was one of only three in this fixture across both sides, while Hill had an encouraging week having taken a first-innings 4-69 from 16 overs. 

James Wharton

Picture by John Heald. James Wharton pulls en-route to an unbeaten fifty.

Yorkshire started the day on 113-1, leading by 35, and both counties played out a hard-fought morning.

At one stage, Leicestershire opened the door for themselves with three quick wickets before Wharton and George Hill impressively steadied during a fourth-wicket partnership.

Nightwatchman Ben Coad was the first to fall, followed by captain Shan Masood and then Lyth as Yorkshire slipped from 119-1 in the 27th over – the fifth of the morning – to 140-4 in the 37th.

Coad had his off-stump uprooted by Chris Wright before Masood was caught at second slip off Tom Scriven. Lyth then also fell to seam, lbw against Will Davis.

At that stage, Yorkshire led by 62 with just over 81 overs remaining in the day.

Leicester, in must win territory, sniffed an opportunity.

But the door was closed by Wharton and Hill, who batted confidently either side of lunch.

They took three fours apiece off successive overs from seamers Davis and Scott Currie as Yorkshire moved to 182-4 after 44 overs. The third of Hill’s boundaries was a lovely cover drive off Davis, with Wharton doing similar to Currie.

George Hill

Picture by John Heald. George Hill has enjoyed a productive week at Grace Road.

Yorkshire reached lunch at 209-4, leading by 131 runs with a minimum of 65 overs remaining.

Unfortunately, only 4.4 overs were bowled before a sharp rain shower – heavier than we’ve seen all week, including on Wednesday when not a ball was bowled – forced a near two-hour delay from just after 1.30pm.

There was enough time for Wharton to move from 47 to his third Championship half-century of the season and second against Leicestershire after one at Headingley in early April.

This one came off 68 balls with 10 fours.

However, that was pretty much the last act from a clash which saw not one over of spin bowled, the rain all but wrecking Leicestershire’s promotion hopes. 

Grace Road

Picture by John Heald. The scene at Grace Road during the fourth afternoon.

Umpires Neil Bainton and Neil Pratt called things off at 5pm with no prospect of further play.

Leicestershire were keen to get back on in order to rectify an over-rate of -1 to avoid the deduction of a point. They weren’t able to do it.

That means they need to beat champions Durham at the Riverside next week with a maximum 24-point haul and hope Yorkshire limit Worcestershire to no more than a point at Headingley.

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