By Pete Johnson
Leicestershire Second XI had another good day against Nottinghamshire in the Second XI Championship game at Grace Road.
The players took to the field on a chilly May morning with menacing clouds overhead approaching the ground in an orderly queue from the direction of the groundstaff HQ.
County resumed day 2 on 439-5 with Neil Pinner not out on 116 and Lewis Hill undefeated on 41. Leicestershire were on the lookout for quick runs to herald a declaration.
Hill wasted no time in finding the rope on four occasions in Luke Fletcher’s first two overs. With the second of these boundaries Hill moved to a pugnacious 50 (6x4,69 balls).
Aadil Ali (2) joined Hill and the pair added 14 before Ali was trapped lbw by Sam Wood. Trialist Chris Whittock (1) was lbw soon afterwards to spinner Adam Tillcock. County then declared their innings on 482-7 from 112.5 overs, Hill unbeaten on 73.
Good early season form from Hill, both with the bat and behind the stumps, and a stalwart of the second team over the past seasons, has seen him rewarded with a very well-deserved summer contract.
Notts set off on their 1st Innings at 11.50am, but County soon had them on the ropes, and when bad light stopped play for ten minutes after 6.2 overs they were 26-2. Opener Hassan Azad (1) the first to go caught by Billy Root at second slip off Ollie Freckingham. Bilal Shafayat (0) soon followed castled by Alex Wyatt.
Following a ten minute break for bad light, Sam Kelsall and Sam Wood took Notts into lunch on 61-2 from 19 overs. A further 57 minutes of play was possible immediately after lunch before a combination of rain and bad light drove the players from the field.
During this spell of play Tom Wells picked up the wicket of opener Kelsall (34) caught by Alex Williams in the slip cordon. The players were then off the field until 5.11pm, having taken tea, of course, during the lengthy break in play.
When the players returned to the field there were 42 overs left to bowl. Wood prospered against the bowling and went to his 50 (10x4,69 balls). However when he had reached 84 he got an edge to a vicious lifter from Freckingham that flew at pace to keeper Hill. Wood occupied the crease for 114 balls (16x4) and Notts were now on 136-4.
A partnership of 32 between Adam Tillcock and Ben Hutton was broken when Wyatt again rattled the stumps, sending back Tillcock, leaving Notts on 168-5. With gathering gloom overhead and the light becoming suspect, at 6.25 pm with 25 overs remaining, County opted for an all-spin attack of Usman Tariq and Aadil Ali.
With Tariq’s first delivery he had the dangerous Hutton lbw for 27, leaving Notts on 197-6. Fletcher (30) showed a bit of menace with the bat before being caught and bowled, low down, by Tariq, leaving Notts on 220-7.
Aadil Ali was replaced at the Bennett End, by the seam of first Atif Sheikh, and then Chris Whittock as the light had improved dramatically. However, Shafique (33) and Paul Franks (41) saw Notts safely through to stumps on 285-7.
The day’s play finished at 7.43pm as the evening shadows lengthened, with your humble scorer wondering if the scorer’s position should operate on a double dayshift basis in such matches!!