Derbyshire game delicately poised

Leicestershire v Derbyshire, Second XI Championship, Day 2:

SCORECARD

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Overnight and early morning rain took its toll on the ground at Kibworth, and after several inspections by the umpires, the ground was not deemed fit for play until 3.00pm. The overs available in the day being duly reduced to 66 from 104, as a result of the time lost.

Before reporting on today’s proceedings I must comment on a truly wonderful effort of endurance that was brought to my attention whilst I was on an early morning perambulation around the confines of the delightful Kibworth ground. 

Two of Leicestershire’s - and cricket’s - staunchest followers were today attending their 100th day of cricket of the current season. Their sedentary marathon commenced on March 21 when they took in a pre-season warm up game at the FCG. 

Their travels have primarily taken them to outground outposts across Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire, not to mention a venture in to deepest Herefordshire. 1st XI, 2nd XI, and Minor Counties games have been subject to their eagle eyed observance. 

A total of 100 days attendance out of a possible 120 days at their disposal is a magnificent achievement. Take a bow Rosemary and Chris, you are the bastions of the boundary edge, or even a sight for sore eyes when looking at a sightscreen!

Leicestershire made early inroads into the Derbyshire innings thanks to Dominic Manthorpe and Will Fazakerley but Derbyshire bounced back to keep the game on an even keel thanks to fine innings by Tommy Taylor, Harvey Hosein and belligerent cameo from Greg Cork. 

Derbyshire declaring their innings on 292-8, four runs behind Leicestershire. Paul Horton and Harry Dearden batted out the final seven overs of the day to take County into stumps on 21-0, a lead of 25 runs going into the final day.

Play got under way at 3.00pm thanks to the sterling hard work of Steve, the Kibworth Groundsman, ably assisted by a couple of willing helpers. There was a much fresher feel to the day when the players finally took to the field, 15 spectators being present. I am not The Last of the Mohicans but I have taught Hawkeye a thing or two. 

Ben Slater and Michael Jones opened the innings for Derbyshire. Manthorpe was on fire coming in from the Field End as he reduced Derbyshire to 33-3 after 9.3 overs. I could just about hear Kasabian rattling off their song in the background (you know, the one they play at the KPS when City score). 

First up Manthorpe had Jones (4) caught behind by Richard Bell. Charlie Macdonell (11) was comprehensively bowled, when he went back into his crease. Then the Peakites skipper Slater had a ball get ‘big’ on him and spooned a catch up to Dom Butchart at mid-wicket, Derbyshire on 33-3 from 9.3, the mighty Manthorpe having figures of 3-14 from 4.3 overs at this stage. 

Richard Jones was playing an unsung supporting role from the Pavilion End as County turned the screw. Manthorpe was replaced at the Field End by Fazakerley having bowled seven overs. Fazakerely introduced himself with a double wicket maiden in his first over, the two wickets coming from consecutive balls. 

With his second ball the big fella trapped Patel (3), next ball he had Rahib Ali (0) caught behind by Bell, Derbyshire now in a spot of bother on 48-5 from 15.3. 

Harvey Hosein and Tom Milnes then rallied the innings a little before Fazakerley struck again. I did not see the actual dismissal first hand as a chap came to ask me for a scorecard and blocked my view. I am told that Milnes (23) clipped one up to mid-off, and Mark Pettini safely snaffled the catch, Fazakerley having 3-13 from 3.4 overs, Derbyshire on 80-6 from 21.4 overs. 

Derbyshire fought their way back into the game from then on. If I may digress for a moment, as I tend to do now, and again… Ray Medland, a club umpire based in Leicestershire, but on the Northamptonshire circuit, who has stood in a number of Second XI games over the years, delivered to me his regulation offering of a bag of Werther’s ( modesty forbid me from mentioning this yesterday). 

Just before tea a gentleman named Roger made himself known to me and duly provided me with the a bag of the very same delicacies. Very kind of you, Roger. 

Back to the cricket, the 28th over of the innings was from what scorers on the county circuit tell me was a ‘Smudge’ over. This is an over where there is a different outcome to every delivery. It is named ‘Smudge’ I believe in memory of a former Middlesex scorer named Smith (I reckon I am correct on that, but I am sure you will let me know if you think otherwise). 

Apparently it is the Holy Grail for Scorers. The Derbyshire Scorer was anticipating this when we got to ball four, and when ball six arrived remarked that it was his first ever ‘Smudge’ over, he briefly self-congratulated himself with a knowing nod of approval. It was akin to him seeing Lord Lucan riding out of Kibworth on Shergar. 

Me, I had got bigger fish to fry, and was busily searching the internet to see if there was any news on City signing the striker from Man City (Kelechi Iheanacho). For the record the over was bowled by Fazakerley, and it went 2 leg byes, 1 leg bye, 3, 4, dot, 1. 

Harvey Hosein and Tommy Taylor took Derbyshire into tea on 118-6 from 29 overs, Hosein 25* and Taylor 28*. Tea was taken at 5.00pm. 

After Tea Hosein and Taylor launched an assault on the Leicestershire bowling but enjoyed a slice or two of good fortune. They brought up their 50 partnership from 64 balls with the score on 131-6 from 32.2. 

Taylor went to his 50 (9x4) from 63 balls when the score reached 150-6 from 35.4 overs. Manthorpe had returned at the Field End and saw three edges go agonisingly within inches of the slip cordon, each one going to the boundary. 

The 100 partnership between Hosein and Taylor came up with the score on 185-6 from 42.4 overs. Jones replaced Manthorpe at the Field End, and was working up a good pace. As Fred Trueman may have said, in his best gruff tones, ‘he was like lightnin’. 

Hosein when on 46 edged one to Harry Dearden at slip, off Jones, but Dearden very sportingly said it hadn’t carried, Jonesy being stifled in mid-celebration. 

Just after this another avenue of pleasure opened up for me. Yet another gentleman, this time named Simon, visited me to give me a bag of chocolate éclairs, not your run of the mill Werther’s. Ray (Medland) if you are reading this you had better up your game a bit sunbeam, word of the sweets is out on the streets. I am now moving in circles where people give me confectionery from the top end of the range. 

Sincere thanks Simon, very much appreciated. (Before you ask it was not Simon the Physio, he would not give anything away). 

Hosein went to his 50 (3x4) from 95 balls Immediately afterwards Taylor went to his 100 (14x4, 1x6) from 106 balls. When on 100 Taylor was put down at long-leg off the persevering Jones. Hosein and Taylor brought up their 150 partnership from 177 balls.

Next ball Taylor (107) was caught on the deep mid-wicket boundary by Butchart when he swotted a short delivery from Fazakerley. A made to measure innings from Taylor, who certainly cut his garment according to his cloth.  

Hosein was spilled, again at long-leg, this time off Fazakerley, when he was on 72. Greg Cork joined Hosein - and Cork was certainly popping. Hosein and Cork having put on 50 from just 25 balls when the score reached 282-7 from 55.3 overs. 

Cork (30) however was screwed down when he edged a rising delivery from Ben Mike to keeper Bell. Cork’s innings was fizzing but Mike and Bell combined to ring last orders on him. Cork’s 30 coming from 17 balls. Derbyshire declared their innings on 292-8 from 56.4 overs, trailing by four runs. 

Hosein was 85 not out from 113 balls. Fazakerley took 4-72 from 10, Manthorpe 3-54 from 13, not forgetting Jones who although wicketless in conceding 40 runs from 12 overs extremely unlucky not to get a wicket. 

Mike (1 wicket), James Dickinson and Butchart did a ‘Billy Ocean’ job for the team as well. When the going gets tough, you know the rest... 

County had a tricky seven overs to negotiate before stumps but Horton 11* and Dearden 5* were up to the task in seeing the team safely into stumps 21-0, leading by 25 runs. Leicestershire 6 points, Derbyshire 7 points.

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