Leicestershire CCC Head Coach Paul Nixon dedicated the thrilling Specsavers County Championship victory against Glamorgan CCC to the entire club.
The Foxes emerged victorious by three runs following a dramatic game in which momentum swung like a pendulum to the very last.
“It’s a win for the whole club, those on the field and off it,” said Nixon. “This is for the groundsmen, the marketing team, our Chief Executive Wasim Khan and his team, the Members and spectators, many who were still here at 7.30pm – it’s for everyone.
“It’s been a long time coming for people who care passionately about this club. Championship cricket is the truest test, physically and mentally, and it’s a game of chess over four days. To come out on top at the end, there’s nothing quite like it.”
Everybody went through every possible emotion during a gripping final session and Nixon thought it was appropriate that Ben Raine and Callum Parkinson were involved in the winning moment.
All-rounder Raine struck 65 and took 4 for 44 on what turned out to be the final day while Parkinson was involved in a crucial ninth wicket partnership worth 40 and also took the ninth wicket, that of Timm van der Gugten, at a moment that the Foxes really needed it.
Nixon said: “It was an unbelievable game of cricket, absolutely extraordinary. There was fight shown by both sides, it swung one way and the other from the first day on. It was such a topsy-turvy game and I’m almost speechless.
“Rainey [Ben Raine] was going for the yorker and sometimes a low full toss isn’t a bad ball, and it hit quite high up on the bat, but with [Marchant] de Lange’s power it still flew down to long-on. Parky [Callum Parkinson] has a great set of hands. He takes those chances in his sleep and never looked like dropping it.
“We’ve worked so hard, we took a lot of learnings from Durham, and we’ve got over the line. It was fitting that Rainey and Parky had the final say because their partnership on the third morning was massive for us.
“We made a few mistakes along the way but we’re still learning, and that will continue to be a process. Realistically we should have won with 50 runs to spare as we should have been more clinical with bat and ball. But we’ve got the win and that’s the most important thing.”
Nixon also paid tribute to the groundstaff at the conclusion of the game, and spared a thought for Glamorgan duo Marchant de Lange and Michael Hogan, who contributed significantly to a brilliant day of cricket.
“The scores didn’t do justice to the wicket, it was a fantastic wicket but the bowlers were on top throughout the game,” said Nixon.
“The Glamorgan lads saw how Ben [Raine] played and followed suit. We tried to bat more positively as the ball got older, and Rainey did that for us – but what an innings [Marchant] de Lange played.
“How well did he strike the ball? Not just over the boundary but over the stands, and he came so close to winning the game. About four balls went out of Grace Road and one went straight through the umpires’ room window. We’ll be sending him a bill for that!” laughed Nixon.