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Foxes battle to win rain game

Leicestershire are facing a massive headache for what should be the most exciting five days of their season.

The Foxes are due to stage three Twenty20 Cup clashes in front of bumper crowds.

But the weather forecast is grim, so they are doing everything possible to make sure that the games go ahead.

County have taken out insurance against tomorrow's game against Nottinghamshire at Grace Road being washed out. But they will lose potentially lucrative bar and catering receipts.

And, just as importantly, they will lose the opportunity of filling the ground in a competition in which the Foxes have become the acknowledged kings.

The Leicestershire public have really taken to Twenty20 and there was a sell-out crowd of more than 5,000 for the opening- night win over Yorkshire.

Yesterday, there were only about 600 tickets left for the clash against Notts (2.40) which is due to be shown live on Sky TV.

And, weather permitting, there should also be big turn-outs for the evening games against Derbyshire on Monday and Durham on Wednesday.

County are again planning to have a second giant blotter to soak up the surface water on the outfield, a policy that ensured the Yorkshire game went ahead despite torrential rain a few hours before the start.

The groundstaff were spiking the outfield yesterday to help drainage and the whole of the square has been covered.

But there is little that can be done if it pours down during the scheduled hours of play.

County are concerned that they will lose bar and catering revenue. But they are just as worried that fans will miss the experience of enjoying themselves at a major cricket event, and the encouragement to become regular fans.

The fixture list is congested but County spokesman Nick Lucy said he thought that the England & Wales Cricket Board might look at rescheduling games in future seasons.

He said: "Twenty20 has proved hugely popular. It is an opportunity to bring in big crowds and you have to do everything you can to protect that.''

Lucy is also concerned that the bad weather could scupper the defending champions' chances of qualifying for the knock-out stages.

The top two in each group and the two best third-placed teams from the three groups go forward to the quarter-finals.

He said: "Notts are in the fortunate position of having three wins already and it could come down to who can play.''

With Sky cameras present, everything possible will be done to ensure some action tomorrow but, if the game is washed out, fans will be able to use their tickets for any Pro40 match of their choice later in the season.

The Foxes' immediate concern is to get a victory in tonight's floodlit clash at Derby.

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