A CENTURY stand between ton-up star Philip Weston and Graeme Hick gave Worcestershire a chance of beating second-in-the-table Leicestershire in their County Championship game at New Road.

In the end, however, the match drifted into a draw with the County finishing on 353-4 in their pursuit of a victory target of 475.

Weston, who resumed yesterday on 81 in an overnight total of 138-1, made 157 and put on 131 for the second wicket with Hick.

Afterwards Leicestershire's manager Jack Birkenshaw, who spent a season at New Road in 1981, said: "It got to a stage when Hicky and Weston were batting that they had a bit of a chance of beating us. But they were happy with a draw and, in the end, I suppose we were as well."

Leicestershire, bidding for their third Championship win on the trot, found Weston a major stumbling block.

However, it took him one hour and 50 minutes to gather the 19 runs he required to complete his second century in successive matches. By the time he was out he had cracked 24 fours off 344 balls and kept the frustrated Leicestershire attack at bay for nearly seven hours.

When the County resumed yesterday, still needing a further 337 to win, Weston was accompanied by Hick who was unbeaten on 13.

With Weston initially in a more watchful mood it was Hick who lifted the tempo as Worcestershire eyed the task of reaching such a daunting target.

They suffered a setback, however, when Hick was removed for 59. He hit nine fours off 167 balls and spent 55 overs with Weston who, the previous day, had figured in a 112-run stand with Elliott Wilson.

After losing the companionship of Vikram Solanki for 16, Weston was dismissed in the last over before tea with the 15th first-class century of his career safely in the book.

After that the match steadily drifted into a draw, a particularly disappointing outcome for Leicestershire who had the County on the ropes by forging a first innings lead of 158.

The visitors, however, decided not to enforce the follow on because of their fears of having to bat last on the wicket they considered was going to deteriorate further.

Birkenshaw said: "Our thoughts initially were that the pitch would get worse and worse. It didn't. It seemed to stay okay.

"Worcestershire got stuck in and it was a good game of cricket. We would obviously have liked to have won but, in the end, we weren't good enough to get them out.

"We set ourselves up to bowl them out but it didn't develop. That's cricket, but in Moody, Hick, Weston and Solanki they have some very good players."

LEICESTERSHIRE Second Innings (first inns 291; Sutcliffe 110, Solanki 4-64) Stevens b Rawnsley 31 Maddy lbw b Solanki 35 Sutcliffe b Solanki 5 Smith c Moody b Rawnsley 138 Mason lbw b Hick 36 Nixon lbw b Illingworth 7 Wells c Wilson b Illingworth 14 Dakin c Sheriyar b Illingworth 19 Williamson c L'dale b Solanki 14 Millins not out 0 Extras 17 Total (9 wkt dec, 95.5 overs) 316 Fall: 1-62, 2-72, 3-85, 4-182, 5-195, 6-237, 7-266, 8-312, 9-316. Bowling: Sheriyar 5-2-12-0; Moody 5-1-9-0; Illingworth 25-4-85-3; Lampitt 10-0-36-0; Rawnsley 18-7-43-2; Solanki 18.5-5-64-3; Hick 14-0-50-1. WORCESTERSHIRE Second Innings (first inns 133; Dakin 4-27) Weston c Sutcliffe b Mason 157 Wilson c Maddy b Mason 36 Hick c Sutcliffe b Mason 59 Solanki lbw b Millns 16 Moody not out 34 Leatherdale not out 12 Extras 39 Total (4 wkts, 142 overs) 353 Fall: 1-112, 2-243, 3-289, 4-311. Bowling: Millns 18-5-44-1; Dakin 25-7-70-0; Mason 53-20-93-3; Khan 18-6-52-0; Wells 14-2-38-0; Maddy 6-3-15-0; Williamson 8-3-14-0. Match drawn: Worcestershire 8pts, Leics 10.