Delport dominates for Seconds

Middlesex v Leicestershire, Second XI T20 Friendly

SCORECARD – Game 1

SCORECARD – Game 2

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Leicestershire took on Middlesex in a SET20 Friendly encounter at the home of Uxbridge CC. In the recent past the home of Uxbridge CC has been rebranded as Uxbridge Sports Club encompassing cricket, rugby, squash, and bowls. 

Uxbridge Sports Club is bordered by a road named Gatting Way, and Brearley Close is a small housing development off Gatting Way, lasting recognition of icons from Middlesex’s past. Uxbridge is also a ubiquitous name on the front of London Underground trains when heading west, it being the last stop on the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines. 

Sadler’s cavalcade of cricketing Corinthians regally swept into the Uxbridge Sports Ground on a dull, overcast, and cloudy morning. The outfield was surprisingly dry considering the heavy rain in the area over the past 12 hours, the grass being brown in colour in the majority of areas as opposed to green.

Each side won one game in the two-match format of the day, both victories being by nine wickets. In game one, the Leicestershire victory was spearheaded by Cameron Delport who made an outstanding 99 not out. Delport chased the innings down like a one man pack of hounds chasing their beleaguered quarry. An innings of the highest quality, up there with the best that I have seen in my (considerable) time. 

In Game two, the Middlesex spinners got to work, restricting County to a small total and the batsmen knocked the runs off comfortably.

Tom Wells was skippering County, won the toss, and elected to field. Robbie White and Martin Andersson opened up for Middlesex. The Middlesex white ball top being a rather eye-catching pink number. 

White (4) went caught at slip by Aadil Ali off Richard Jones. Andersson (7) soon followed when he dragged one on from Jones. George Scott and James Fuller then added 33 for the third wicket before Callum Parkinson, bowling from the Town End bowled Fuller (22), Middlesex on 46-3 from 6.3 overs. 

The 50 then came up from 45 balls. George Scott was proving difficult to dislodge, ticking over at a run a ball. Jamie Harris (11) went to a scintillating catch at point by Delport off the bowling of Wells. 

Soon afterwards Savin Perera went lbw to Delport, who was operating from the Pavilion End. Middlesex on 92-5 from 13.4. Scott went to his half-century (3x4) from 42 balls when the score reached 108-5 after 15.1 overs.

Scott (51) was then bowled by a slower ball from Wells, who worked a bit of magic to ‘beam Scotty up’. Wells then repeated the trick when he completely deceived Nathan Sowter (4), also bowling him with a slower ball. Splendid acumen from Wells. Middlesex on 119-7 from 17 overs.

Don Manuwelge (10) went superbly caught right on the third man boundary by Parkinson off Jones, who had replaced Delport at the Pavilion End. A great catch by Parkinson, who was just inside the rope, and took the catch high above his head, in doing so preventing a maximum.

Ravi Patel (0) was bowled by Jones, leaving Middlesex on 120-9 from 17.5. Jones getting the wicket with a slower ball, a la Wells. The last pair Harry Podmore (18*) and Tom Barber (1*) saw out the 20 overs, Middlesex closing on 138-9. Jones returning superb figures of 4-18, backed up by Wells with 3-35. 

Paceman Jones not only caused problems for the Middlesex batsmen, as he had my scoring colleague somewhat perplexed as well. Jones was not wearing his allocated number 25 shirt, but was wearing a number 5 shirt, with the name Dearden on the back. How the same article of clothing can fit both Harry Dearden, and Richard Jones must be the eighth wonder of the world. Jones being  tall and Dearden being small in stature. 

Parkinson and Delport (sounds like a firm of solicitors) weighing in with a wicket apiece.  Also a mention for the diminutive little gloveman Harry Swindells. There was only one bye in the innings, and that came following a front foot no-ball from Delport. The ‘free hit’ ball sent down by Delport bowled the batsman (Harris), and squirted off the stumps in the direction of backward square, the batsmen running through for a bye. This was actually the only bye in the match, testament to the excellent glove work of both keepers.

The Leicestershire reply got off to a good start Aadil Ali and Delport adding 28 for the first wicket from three overs. Aadil (10) was run out by an outstanding piece of fielding by Perera, who threw the stumps down from cover with the batsman just out of his ground. 

We then witnessed a tremendous innings from Delport. He was joined by Will Fazakerley, and the pair rattled up a 50 partnership from 43 balls with the score on 78-1 from 10. Delport was in magnificent form, cruising to his 50 (6x4, 2x6) from 34 balls.

Fazakerley was proving a good foil for Delport, and was playing a fine RSJ role (supporting). We were then treated to an over of pyrotechnics by Delport off the bowling of seamer Scott, the 12th over of the innings. Delport hit balls 1,3,4, and 5 for enormous maximums, one of which merits a full description, probably one of the finest improvised  shots your esteemed ‘warhorse’ of Second XI shootouts has seen. 

The left-handed Delport was launching his assault on Scott who was coming in from the Town End. For one of the maximums Delport turned his wrists as the ball was on its way, kept his feet in situ as a left hander, and blasted the ball over cover for a huge maximum. Cover being in the correct position for when a left-hander was facing. 

The power that was generated from this ‘reverse’ shot was out of this world. I am sure a certain bloke, who we see on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday with a similar name (Kammy) would have said unbelievable Jeff! Blowers would have been overcome by the exuberance of his own verbosity had he been commentating on it. 

Delport and Fazakerley brought up their 100 partnership from 63 balls with the score on 133-1 from 13.2. Delport duly made the winning shot when he deposited spinner Patel for what else, but a maximum. County 142-1 from 14.2 overs, winning by 9 wickets. Delport 99 not out (8x4, 8x6) from 48 balls, no century but plenty of red balloons. All-rounder Fazakerley finished with a creditable 30 not out from 28 balls. 

County made one change for game two, Jacob Bailey replacing Delport. Wells won the toss again, and decided to bat. It was a case of after the Lord Mayor’s Show as County were dismissed for 88 from 18.5 overs. The innings got off to a good start with Aadil and Dearden adding 31 for the 1st wicket from 3.4. 

If Aadil considered himself unfortunate to get run out in the first innings, he must have known it was not his day when caught at mid-wicket from a ball that left his bat at jet propelled pace, about knee high. The ball arrowed to Thilim Walallawita at mid-wicket who took an absolute blinder of a catch. Aadil, I would not bother buying a Lottery ticket this week. 

Fazakerley joined Dearden, but was not able to repeat his first innings exploits when he was adjudged lbw to spinner Walallawita for 8. Harry’s game (good TV Drama that) was up when Dearden (21) from 18 balls went stumped by White off Walallawita. County 50-3 from 8.4. Mark Pettini (4) was another stumping victim for White, this time off the bowling of Patel. 

Wells (15) went bowled by Patel, and the last five wickets fell for just 15 runs from 4.5 overs. Swindells (4) was bowled by Nathan Sowter attempting a Dick Van Dyke impression - sweeping. Parkinson (14) was the third stumping victim of the innings, this time off the bowling of Sowter.

Mike (0) was bowled by Walallawita, Jones (4) caught and bowled by Harris, and Bailey (0) bowled by Harris,  County all out for 88 (I can hear a bingo caller in full flow now) from 18.5 overs, the Middlesex spinners claiming 7-48 from 12 overs.

Middlesex chased down the total in 10.2 overs for the loss of one wicket. They reached 50 from 39 balls. Sowter (34) was caught by Manthorpe off Aadil when the score was 66 from 7.5 overs. Scott 37* and Podmore 14* saw Middlesex home. 

There were no points at stake in these matches, as if you were paying attention at the beginning of my literary masterpiece, you will recall it was a SET20 Friendly.

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