Seconds end T20 campaign

Durham v Leicestershire, Second XI T20

SCORECARD - Game 1

SCORECARD - Game 2

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Leicestershire Second XI made their second journey of the season up from the Midlands to The Emirates, Riverside, this time for a SET20 encounter against Durham.

Our previous visit this season, towards the end of May, was for a SEC match. When Roger Whittaker, now aged 81, sang about the leavin’ of Old Durham Town in 1969, he must have left out the bit about coming back again nine weeks later. However, Sadler’s ‘Boomerangs’ (they always come back) made the journey north again.

International cricket grounds have a very welcoming appearance when the sun is shining, but look today there were thousands of empty seats and a backdrop of a threatening sky.

In Game 1 Leicestershire had a comfortable victory, winning by 42 runs, spearheaded by Harry Dearden who made 53 runs, and returned bowling figures of 3-7 from 1.5 overs.

Dearden received good support with the bat from Michael Jones, Ned Eckersley, and Sam Evans, and from Rob Sayer with the ball. In game two Durham held the upper hand, posting 199-5 from their 20 overs, thanks mainly to 69 from Usman Arshad. County were restricted to 167-8 despite half-centuries from Eckersley and Aadil Ali. County closing on 167-8, losing by 32 runs.

Eckersley was skippering County, his opposite number Brydon Carse won the toss for Durham, and elected to field.

A cloudy, cool, late July morning greeted the players when they took the field at this cavernous north eastern arena. Harry Dearden and Michael Jones opened up for Leicestershire, and set about the Durham bowling from the off. They posted a 50 partnership from 5.3 overs. Dearden being particularly brutal, pulling like a seasoned member of a Tug of War team.

The pair put on 77 for the first wicket from 7.4 overs, M Jones by no means playing a supporting role, taking three maximums in his innings, one of which disappeared over the lengthy cover boundary. M Jones (35) was then bowled by Onions.

Aadil joined Dearden, and the pair brought up the 100 from 10.4 overs. Just afterwards Aadil (12) holed out to long-on. Dearden went to his 50 (8x4) from 34 balls with the score on 104-2 from 11.1 overs. Dearden (53 from 36) went caught at deep mid-wicket by Josh Coughlin off leg-break bowler Ben Whitehead.

Eckersley (30 from 19) and Evans (29 from 21 balls) ensured County reached a challenging total. The team posted 180-6 from their allocation of 20 overs,  Will Fazakerley 8* and Richard Jones 1*.

The Foxes pegged Durham back at the start of their reply, reducing them to 17-3 from 4.2 overs. Sayer picking up two early wickets and Dominic Manthorpe one.

Durham’s Gareth Harte and Carse set about repairing the damage, putting on 50 runs from 30 balls, the score on 67-3 from 9.2 overs.

There was rain in the air but Durham were always well adrift of the D-L-S. Carse (34) went caught in the deep by Evans off Aadil. Evans running in from long on, failed his audition for Dancing on Ice, as he slipped over, but safely pouched the catch sitting on the floor. Good Evans!!

Shortly afterwards Harte (43) was another victim of Evans’ mits, caught at a deep gully position off Sayer. Durham on 99-5 from 13 overs.

It was all one way traffic from then on with Dearden mopping up the lower order with the precision of a cleaner at a Motorway service station. Dearden returning SET20 career best figures of 3-7 from 1.5 overs. Dearden was very well supported by Sayer, who picked up 3-31 from his 4 overs, Leicestershire winning b y 42 runs. Durham 0 points, Leicestershire 2 points.

Durham made one change for game two, Ross Greenwell replacing Graham Onions. County were unchanged. Durham won the toss and elected to bat. Only 2.4 overs were possible before rain drove the players from the pitch at 3.09pm. Durham on 30-0, Greenwell 2* and Liam Trevaskis 26*.

After a 35-minute stoppage play resumed at 3.44pm, no overs being lost as there are 60 minutes allowed across the course of the day before overs are reduced.

Greenwell and Trevaskis brought up their 50 partnership from 5.2 overs. Trevasksis (37) went caught by Eckersley off Dominic Manthorpe. Greenwell and Arshad then posted a 50 partnership from 39 balls when the score reached 105-1 from 11.5 overs.

Greenwell (39) went caught and bowled by Will Fazakerley, who completed a diving forward roll (with pike) to take the catch, finishing up halfway down the wicket.

Harte (2) went caught by Eckersley off Fazakerley, and Carse (20) was bowled by Sayer. Arshad went to his 50 (1x4,3x6) from 39 balls with the score on 178-4 from 18.4 overs.

In the final over of the innings Arshad clubbed two maximums before holing out to Eckersley at wide mid-on off the bowling of Sayer. Durham closed on 199-5, Scott Steel 12* and Bradley Yates 0*. Of the five wickets to fall, three were caught by Eckersley.

County only briefly threatened the Durham total thanks to a third wicket partnership of 81 between Eckersley and Aadil. Dearden (4) and M Jones (16) were unable to repeat the excellent start they gave the innings in game one.

Eckersley and Aadil brought up their 50 partnership from 31 balls after 9.4 overs with the score on 86-2. Eckersley went to his 50 (4x4, 2x6) from 32 balls but a couple of overs later he was caught by Coughlin off George Harding for 53 with Leicestershire on 117-3 from 13.5 overs.

Evans (3) went caught by Callum Appleby off Trevaskis, trying to force the pace, before Aadil progressed to 50 (3x4, 2x6) from 36 balls.

At this point it became very difficult to follow the play as the sun, sitting just above the pavilion roof, was shining straight into the scorers’ faces. This, coupled with trying to follow the trajectory of a white ball against a backdrop of a multitude of empty white seats, was rather challenging. (Editor’s note: following T20 is tough at the best of times, you have my sympathy Pete!)

Sayer (0), Aadil (50) and Ben Mike (0) all departed with the score on 138, attempting to press on the accelerator, leaving the Foxes on 138-7 from 16.2 overs, requiring a further 62 runs from 22 balls. Climbing Everest in a pair of flip flops looked an easy challenge by comparison.

Fazakerley rattled up 20 not out from 16 balls, Richard Bell (6) went caught by Scott Steel off Arshad, Dominic Manthorpe 2 not out. County closing on 167-8, losing by 32 runs. Durham 2 points, Leicestershire 0 points.

This brings to an end Leicestershire's SET20 campaign for 2017. The record was: Played 12, Won 4, Lost 6, No Result 2.

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