Home-grown talent key to progress
A look at the squad for Leicestershire's final County Championship match of the season ought to be a good indicator of the immediate playing future for the club.
It is no secret that money does not grow on the trees that surround the County ground, so the likelihood of a raft of big-name additions this winter can be ruled out.
Home-grown talent, though, is in plentiful supply.
Eight of the 14 players Phil Whitticase named ahead of the Gloucestershire clash have come through the County's academy, while a ninth, Rob Taylor, can be considered a local product.
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Tom Wells, having climbed the ranks of the club's youth system, has just signed a contract with the Foxes and Ben Collins' qualities saw him earn selection for the England Under-19 World Cup squad.
That will please Leicestershire members, who this season have seen Shiv Thakor break into the first team in spectacular fashion, while all-rounder Taylor and slow left-armer James Sykes have made a good impression.
So, whatever the on-field difficulties of the past five months, the nucleus of a good side, which can compete in all formats of the game, is developing.
How it continues to develop remains to be seen. The bulk of the youngsters at the club are all under contract for another couple of years but Leicestershire will only truly feel the benefit if they remain at the club for another few seasons beyond that.
And as everybody connected with the club will be only too well aware, there are plenty of other sides around who will be casting their eye across to Grace Road, and all too ready to wave the cheque book in this direction.
That, sadly, is largely beyond Leicestershire's control. All they can do is continue to put in the hard yards behind the scenes to continue nurturing that talent and add one or two experienced faces to help assist their young players along the way.
There was a distinct lack of t20 excitement at Grace Road this season for one reason or another. But the clash between the Foxes and an All-Stars side of former Leicestershire favourites led by Paul Nixon did not disappoint.
The game was a the second of a double-header on Sunday which formed part of the club's benefit year. The morning saw the Foxes defeat Everards League t20 champions Broomleys in a high-scoring affair before the Foxes past and present went at it.
Honours finished even, too. Chasing 189 to win after Shiv Thakor had posted his second half-century of the day, the All Stars needed 12 from the final over.
John Sadler – a title winner in 2004 and 2006 – smashed the first ball for six but the batsmen were limited to singles over the course of the final over as the game ended in a tie.
Surely, though, if the fixture is repeated next season, the fans should be treated to the spectacle of an 'eliminator' over in the event of deadlock?