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Deluge rules out Foxes' hopes

Twenty20 finals day next month will have a very different look to it, for the first time in five years, the Leicestershire Foxes will not be there.

And there is very little the defending champions could have done about it.

Yesterday's wash-out at Old Trafford was the fifth the Foxes have suffered in their eight-game programme. With that amount of cricket lost to the weather, it was going to take something out of the ordinary to see Leicestershire qualify for the quarter-finals.

After heavy ran throughout the week, Old Trafford was under a series of pools and mini-lakes for much of yesterday and, when the umpires made an 11am inspection, they ruled there was only a "10 per cent chance'' of any cricket being played.

However, when the Foxes squad arrived at the ground in mid-afternoon they quickly saw that there was considerably less than that. None, to be precise.

The point from yet another no result was enough to see Lancashire into the last eight behind group winners Nottinghamshire Outlaws.

The Foxes retained an outside chance of making the knock-out phases and would have gone through had Derbyshire Phantoms managed to beat Yorkshire Phantoms at Headingley Carnegie.

The Phantoms, who have been almost as hard hit by the weather as the Foxes, could post only a modest 119 in their 20 overs and, although Yorkshire were struggling at one point on 68-6, Anthony McGrath and Tim Bresnan steered them home - delivering the coup de grace on Leicestershire's hopes of winning the trophy for a third time.

Senior coach Tim Boon and his players must have been hugely disappointed to see the Phoenix slip ahead of them by virtue of having posted more wins - four - than the Foxes, who could muster just a couple from their three games played.

One of those victories was on a buoyant opening night, ironically against Yorkshire.

"We're very disappointed,'' said Boon. "But the players have given everything, their attitude and morale have been really good. Unfortunately the weather has been the winner.

"We went up to Lancashire but there were huge puddles on the outfield. It was a long day for no cricket but a process we had to go through.

"We can now only reflect on what might have been.

"We've played just one 20-over game this season, and that was delayed by the sun. The rest have been annihilated by the weather.''

Also missing for the first time from finals day will be the Surrey Brown Caps, who crashed out of the southern division race. Consecutive home defeats to Sussex and Kent left them with just eight points, insufficient to go through to the next phase.

source - thisisleicestershire.co.uk
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