A career-best one-day knock of 90 from Leicestershire opener Angus Robson, the highest of the match, could not stop Yorkshire completing a 31-run victory over their visitors in the Royal London One-Day Cup clash at Headingley.
Yorkshire’s fourth win in six matches strengthened their chances of finishing in a top-two place in the North Group table and gaining a home tie in the quarter-finals but defeat for Leicestershire left them with only one point and still searching for their first win.
For a while it looked as if Leicestershire were capable of chasing down a target of 278 as both Mark Cosgrove and Aadil Ali gave solid support to the fluent Robson.
But when all-rounder Will Rhodes claimed the wickets of Robson and Niall O’Brien in the space of six balls, Leicestershire were left on 167 for five after 38 overs and the task was beyond them.
A crowd of 4,021 saw Yorkshire make a promising start after being put in to bat with acting captain Alex Lees and Andy Hodd adding 80 together in confident manner before Hodd, attempting a quick single, was run out by Ned Eckersley’s direct hit at the bowler’s end from mid-wicket for 36.
Lees reached his half-century from 76 balls with five fours after Glenn Maxwell had survived a difficult chance to Burgess at mid-on when only two. The Australian then struck Rob Sayer over mid-wicket for six but the miss was not too expensive because when he had sailed on to 28 from 24 balls he lofted the off-spinner to Ali at long-on.
Rhodes batted brightly alongside Lees, who eventually had his stumps knocked back by Rob Taylor for 75 from 110 deliveries with five boundaries. Jack Leaning then departed in the same over for a duck as Robson held on to a leading edge.
When Rhodes was bowled by Ben Raine for 46, Yorkshire were 220 for five in 40 overs and Leicestershire bowled well enough to stop a surge of runs in the final stages of the innings, Clint McKay mopping up to finish with three for 47.
Leicestershire made a measured start to their reply and Robson and Cosgrove had put on 49 by the tenth over when Matthew Fisher replaced Tim Bresnan and bowled Cosgrove for 23 with his second delivery.
It became 87 for two as Eckersley was bowled leg stump by Maxwell but Ali and Robson kept their side in the hunt with a 72 stand in 15 overs. Robson survived a stinging low return catch to Maxwell’s left on 48 before moving to a 71-ball half-century.
In attempting to increase the tempo, Ali took a big swing at Adil Rashid and sliced to Steve Patterson at short third man with Robson departing soon afterwards by driving Rhodes gently to Lees at mid-wicket, his 90 coming off 114 balls with eight fours.
Michael Burgess, Raine and Taylor all hit big sixes as Leicestershire tried hard to regain some momentum but Yorkshire’s eight-man attack held together well and the end came with one ball remaining as Taylor holed out to Richard Pyrah off Patterson.
* A large crowd gathered in front of the pavilion during the interval to watch Yorkshire President Dickie Bird cut the tape in a ceremony to mark the opening of the players’ balcony which has cost £125,000 and has been paid for by the famous former umpire who played for both Yorkshire and Leicestershire.
Although the dressing rooms are housed in the iconic Carnegie Pavilion, players previously had no clear vantage point from which they could view the cricket.
“You cannot have a Test ground without a balcony. Players have to be mentally prepared before going out to bat or field and they cannot do that without having somewhere to sit and watch,” said Bird.
“I am glad it has been done in time for the one-day international between England and Australia because when Australia were last here they played hell about the dressing room facilities.
“It is something that wanted doing but if I hadn’t come forward I don’t think it would have been done.
“The players all came and shook hands with me today and that means more to me than anything else.”