Seconds complete New Road double

Worcestershire v Leicestershire, Second XI T20

SCORECARD - Game 1

SCORECARD - Game 2

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Leicestershire travelled to New Road, Worcester to take on Worcestershire in a SET20 match. As you may recall the format of the Second XI Competition dictates that two matches are played in the day, and the players can be changed between matches. 

The New Road home of Worcestershire is a quintessential English cricket ground, the river Severn running nearby, and Worcester Cathedral providing a picturesque backdrop. If the Leicester City strikers strike as regularly for City in the coming season as the Cathedral clock, then I shall be more than happy. 

Incidentally Worcestershire is one of only two of the first-class counties that do not have floodlights, the other being Somerset. You have got to keep alert in this scoring game.

Leicestershire enjoyed an excellent day, emerging victorious in both matches comfortably. In game one, the Foxes got home by six wickets thanks to a matchwinning knock by Mark Pettini (81*). 

In game two, County coasted home by 38 runs, Ned Eckersley weighing in with a valuable quickfire 61, ably supported by all of the bowlers, especially Callum Parkinson, who took 3-23.

There were a very good number of spectators present, for a Second XI game, when the teams took to the field, on a bright sunny morning. The majority of them were assembled in front of the Graeme Hick Pavilion, whilst a few took refuge in the Diglis End Members Stand. My Worcestershire opposite number Phil Mellish, was combining his duties as scorer with that of PA Announcer. I discreetly observed that he has an ideal face for PA Announcing.

In Game 1 Worcestershire won the toss, and elected to bat. Colin Ackermann was skippering County. Worcestershire got off to somewhat of a flier with Daryl Mitchell and Joe Clarke swiftly putting on 50 for the first wicket from 25 balls. 

Immediately after the 50 had come up Clarke (20) was stumped by Harry Swindells off the bowling of Ackermann. Mitchell went to his 50 (9x4) from 28 balls, and two deliveries later Mitchell (51) was on his way, going caught and bowled by Rob Sayer, the Pears on 77-2 from 7.2 overs. 

County then took a stranglehold on the game, Worcestershire having to work very hard for runs. Joe Leach (22) went caught in the deep square-leg area by Pettini, Cameron Delport being the bowler. 

Brett D’Oliveira (13) popped one up to Ackermann in the point area off Parkinson. Sayer then struck when he had Alex Hepburn (16) caught by boundary rider par excellence Pettini in the deep mid-wicket area. The Worcestershire innings rapidly declining with them on 127-5 from 13.4 overs.

Mat Pillans returned to the attack, and the recently recruited paceman picked up two wickets with score on 131. First Adam Wiffen (7) was snared by Eckersley in the deep on the leg-side, and Ollie Westbury (1) went caught by Eckersley, this time running in from cover. This wicket being a moral victory for Pillans, as the previous ball had whistled past Westbury’s nose, and he played the following ball with a little trepidation. Worcestershire on 131-7 from 15 overs. 

Worcestershire added 33 for the last three wickets. Ben Twohig (17) was caught at backward point by Delport off Gavin Griffiths. Charlie Morris (9) went run out by Griffiths, fielding a ball from his own bowling, and taking the bails off at the bowler’s end with non-striker Morris being out of his ground by a distance. Worcestershire closed on 168-9 from their allotted 20 overs, Sayer 2-22 and Pillans 2-26 the leading wicket-takers.

Leicestershire opened up with Ackermann and Delport but did not get off to the best of starts, being 23-2 off 3.1 overs. Delport (5) went caught at mid-wicket by Leach off Patrick Brown and Ackermann (6) went caught at deep mid-wicket by Mitchell off Morris. Leicestershire then took the ascendency thanks to a partnership of 58 between Eckersley and Pettini. 

County brought up their 50 after seven overs. The 50 partnership between Eckersley and Pettini came up from 37 balls after 9.2 overs. Eckersley (32) subsequently dragged one on from George Scrimshaw leaving County on 81-3 from 10.1 overs.

Pettini proceeded to stamp his authority on the innings, quite aptly on the first day of Wimbledon swotting seamer Morris for a four over cover from a short pitched ball, with the cricket equivalent of an overhead smash shot. 

Soon afterwards Pettini drilled Brown over mid-off for four with an air of complete nonchalance. Tom Wells was not to be outdone by the ‘jet propelled’ Pettini. Wells took Brown for a huge maximum over mid-wicket that cleared the Ladies Pavilion - that being over the top of it, not removing the occupants of said pavilion. 

Next ball Wells (12) went caught at deep square-leg by Mitchell off Brown. Pillans joined Pettini, and the pair developed a 50 partnership. Pettini was in imperious form going to his 50 (6x4,1x6) from 37 balls when the score reached 122-4 from 15.3 overs.  

Pillans got in on the act taking maximums off Scrimshaw, over mid-off, and Leach, over extra cover. The 50 alliance between Pettini and Pillans came up from 26 balls when the score reached 163-4 from 18.1 overs.

Sir Edward Elgar and Harry Styles are both sons of Worcestershire. Pettini’s innings was pomp (and circumstance), the batsman ensuring that the match was only going in one direction. Not often you can get Sir Edward Elgar and Harry Styles name in the same sentence (Editor’s note – Pete has managed it twice).

County successfully chased down the total after 18.5 overs, finishing on 169-4, and winning by six wickets. A superb innings from Pettini (81*) from 52 balls (10x4,2x6), Pillans 20* from 11 balls, an unbroken partnership of 57 between the two MPs.

There were two changes for County in game two. Aadil Ali and Lewis Hill replacing Ackermann and Swindells. Tom Wells skippered County, won the toss, and elected to bat. Aadil and Delport opened the innings. 

Aadil (3) went caught by Mitchell Santner from a steepler that appeared to catch the bat high up. County brought up their 50 runs from 5.4 overs. Immediately afterwards Delport and Eckersley racked up a 50 partnership after 5.5 overs. 

Delport (21) went caught by ‘keeper Ben Cox from a ball that spiralled into the afternoon sky off the bowling of George Rhodes. Eckersley was having a personal onslaught at the bowling, taking Barnard for a massive maximum over long-on, and Morris for a somewhat gargantuan six over backward square.

Eckersley raced to his 50 (3x4,5x6) from 21 balls with the score on 88-2 from 9.1 overs. Eckersley then hit spinner Rhodes for a brace of maximums from consecutive balls, the second clearing the unoccupied TV gantry at the Diglis End and sailing out of the ground. 

With his next delivery Rhodes had Eckersley (61 from 23 balls), caught on the long-on boundary by Shantry, County on 94-3 from 9.3 overs. 

The innings then stumbled in the final 10 overs. Pettini (4) was caught at long-on by Shantry off Twohig. Lewis Hill (9) was caught behind by Cox, attempting a reverse sweep off Rhodes. Pillans (4) went caught by keeper Cox off Twohig, Cox awaiting the descent of the ball from the sky. 

Parkinson (7) went bowled by Santner, Wells (19 at a run a ball) went in the same manner. Will Fazakerley (2) went lbw to Shantry attempting a reverse sweep. Sayer 1* and Griffiths 0*, County closing on 144-9. Santner returned miserly figures of 2-11 from his four overs. 

Worcestershire were never really in the hunt with their reply, County taking a firm grip on the innings to remain in control at all times. The skipper was rotating his bowlers regularly, as in game one, not only putting the batsman under pressure, but also the PA Announcer who was rapidly developing a sore throat due to his constant announcements.

Cox (0) went second ball of the innings, bowled by Parkinson. Tom Fell (20) went caught at mid-on by Sayer off Griffiths, and Rhodes (2) went lbw to Sayer, the Pears on 38-3 from 7.1. Santner, who was beginning to look menacing, went caught and bowled by Aadil for 28 from 25 balls. A smart piece of fielding by Aadil, a good reaction catch.

Ross Whiteley (11) went caught on the long-off boundary by Pettini off Wells, Worcestershire on 67-5 from 11.5. Barnard (5) went caught by Wells at cover off Parkinson, leaving Worcestershire on 69-6 from 12.2. At this juncture a number of spectators vacated the seats in front of the Graeme Hick Pavilion, and made their way home, as they may have felt that The Pears had been sliced open.

Twohig (12) was then bowled by the persistent Parkinson, and Alex Milton (10) was caught by Eckersley in the cover area off Pillans. The last rites of the innings were administered by Sayer who had Shantry (10) caught and bowled, and Griffiths, who dismissed Tongue (3), also with a return catch. 

All of the County bowlers used picked up wickets and returned commendable figures: Parkinson 3-23 from 4, Griffiths 2-9 from 2.1, Sayer 2-17 from 4, Wells 1-4 from 1, Ali 1-23 from 3 and Pillans 1-28 from 3. 

Worcestershire 106 all out, Leicestershire winning by 38 runs. Leicestershire taking the maximum of four points from the two games in the day.

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