Wickets fall on absorbing day

Durham v Leicestershire, Second XI Championship, Day 1

SCORECARD

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

I write today’s match report with a heavy heart. Our sincere thoughts go out to the bereaved families, and families of the injured in the Manchester atrocity. Not just cricket, but all sport seems insignificant at times like this.

Leicestershire arrived at the Emirates (No, not the home of Arsenal), to take on Durham in a SEC encounter. County having won one and drawn one so far this season in their three-day campaign.

The Emirates Riverside home of Durham CCC is in Chester-Le-Street. On 5 October 1936 the Jarrow Marchers stopped in the town centre, on the first day of their walk to London. Lumley Castle, (Joanna kept that quiet), built in 1388, on the eastern bank of the River Weir, looms in the distance, and overlooks the ground.

Bruce Welch of The Shadows, one time backing group of Cliff Richard, was brought up in Chester-Le-Street. The BBC may be interested to know that I am open to negotiations for contract work on Who Do You Think You Are? With my geographical knowledge not being in the mastermind category, up until today I thought Chester-Le-Street was a bloke from the Channel Islands.

Durham CCC gained First Class status in 1992, increasing the number of first-class counties to 18. It makes you wonder how the ECB would have juggled fixtures in all the various competitions nowadays were there still only 17 counties with first-class status.

Leicestershire finished day one trailing Durham by 50 runs with four wickets in hand. Durham were bowled out for 219 and County finished on 169-6; a total of 16 wickets going down in the day, sadly the same theme as local football teams Middlesbrough, Sunderland, and Hartlepool.

Charlie Shreck (4-30) led the honours with the ball, ably supported by Will Fazakerely, Dominic Manthorpe and Callum Parkinson, while Ben Raine and Lewis Hill made important contributions with the bat for County.

Ben Raine skippered Leicestershire and called incorrectly, his opposite number Adam Hickey electing to bat. The players took to the field on a lovely late spring morning, the sun making a much-awaited and long overdue appearance.

County got off to an absolute flier and reduced Durham to 49-6 after 17 overs. The first wicket fell with the last ball of the second over. Manthorpe coming in from the Finchale End had Gareth Harte (3) caught at third slip by Lewis Hill.

Fazakerley then had Durham on their knees by snapping up three wickets from the Lumley End. Michael Jones (0) was caught by keeper Harry Swindells, and the same combination struck again to dismiss Tom Hewison (4).

Saf Imtiaz (0) was subject to a hostile baptism by Fazakerely. The first ball he received crashing into his helmet. Fazakerley gave him a bit of ‘chin music’ with the second. The third ball he received offered a chance down the leg-side to Swindells who took a good diving catch at the second attempt, Durham 10-4 from 6.1 overs.

The lean mean Channel Island machine (William N Fazakerley for the people of a nervous disposition) claiming 3-8 from 4 overs. Shreck then replaced Fazakerley at the Lumley End. For a man of my discerning taste, and of life’s experiences, the picture of a rather spritely looking actress of similar years to myself comes to mind, rather than a castle, with the mention of the name Lumley.

In his 5th over, the 17th of the innings, Shreck conjured up a double wicket maiden. He trapped Usman Arshad (8) in front, after which a leg bye was taken, and then he had Hickey (17) caught behind by Swindells; the fourth victim of the innings for the effervescent Swindells. Durham is the land of the Prince Bishops, but here was a princely performance from Harry. Durham tottering (a bit like Joanna in a pair of killer heels) on 49-6 from 17.

A rebuilding job followed from Jamie Dass and Josh Coughlin. The pair took Durham into lunch on 110-6 from 34. Soon after lunch Coughlin brought up his 50 (9x4) from 61 balls, with the score on 132-6 from 38.

After 44.2 overs the pair brought up their 100 partnership with the score on 149-6 from 44.2. Dass went to his 50 (6x4) from 110 balls when the score had reached 162-6 from 48 overs. A fine effort from Dass (55) came to end when he was lbw to Manthorpe. This was just reward for the left arm seaming Suffolk Superman, who had a loud appeal against Dass turned down, then sent him on his way a couple of balls later. The name Manthorpe portrays an image, in my mind, of a stately home.

Durham 171-7 from 50. Barry McCarthy (12) went caught by Manthorpe off Parkinson. A well-judged catch by ‘Dapper Dom’ Manthorpe, running back from extra cover, and taking the catch over his shoulder. Coughlin (87) then went caught at second slip by Hill, in a most ‘matter of fact’ manner off Shreck, who was now operating from the Finchale End. Durham 218-9 from 60.4.

The innings came to an end when Oli Smithson (7) was caught in the gully by Parkinson off Shreck. Durham all out for 219 from 62.5 overs - Shreck taking 4-30 from 14.5 overs. Fazakerley 3-34 from 12, Manthorpe 2-42 from 11, and Parkinson 1-30 from 10.

The tea interval was then taken. County had 41 overs left to bat in the day. Aadil Ali and Raine opened up, but Ali (4) was out to the fourth ball of the innings, caught at second slip by Harte off McCarthy.

Hill joined Raine, and the pair threatened to put County into a commanding position. Raine was dismissive of the Durham attack playing shots all around the wicket, and finding the ropes on regular occasions. Hill likewise playing some eye-catching shots, and cutting like a butcher on piece work. They brought up their 50 partnership with the score on 57-1 from 10.4, Raine going to his 50 (8x4/1x6) from 46 balls, with the score on 87-1 from 14.2.

Their 100 alliance came up after 17.4 overs with the score on 104-1. Just prior to which Benny Boy had launched a huge maximum in the direction of the Scorers’ bolt hole that had us ducking for cover. Skipper Hickey then introduced himself at the Lumley End and picked up two wickets in his first three balls with his spinners.

With his first ball Raine (66), found a route back to the pavilion when appearing from, my position of side on, to drag one on. Raine’s 66 coming from 61 balls with 9x4, and 2x6; an excellent knock from the skipper. Joe Barrett (0) went bowled second ball by Hickey.

Fazakerley joined Hill, and the pair added 29 for the fourth wicket, Fazakerley hitting three sumptuous boundaries before being caught behind by Imtiaz off Fez Hussain. Faz out to Fez, you cannot beat a bit of alliteration in the post tea session.

Hill meanwhile was going along nicely looking totally untroubled, then an unfortunate run out occurred. Parkinson played a ball into the area of mid wicket/wide mid-on being patrolled by Fez Hussain. Parkinson called Hill for a somewhat challenging single, and nonchalantly ambled to the bowler’s end in a relaxed and leisurely manner. Hill meanwhile was scampering down the wicket, towards the ‘business end’ his legs going at a feverish frenzy at a speed fast enough to cause a ‘dust storm’ on the wicket

Hill dived for the crease in a manner that would have got a nod of approval from Tom Daley. After all his exertion, Hill cast a furtive glance and apologetic look in the direction of the square leg umpire to see him standing there with his finger raised, Hussain’s throw having been straight into the eager mits of keeper Imtiaz. Parky meanwhile leaning on his bat at the other end in pipe and slippers mode, whilst Hill trudged back to the pavilion, sweating profusely, his clothing covered in soil and grass stains.  

Hill out for 43 from 77 balls, including seven boundaries. At the Lumley end of the ground is a Gym, one of a chain bearing the name of Duncan Ballantyne of Dragons Den fame; Hill no doubt breathing fire at the time. I was fortunate to have a brief interlude during the afternoon session to be able to witness a lovely display on offer on the balcony of the gym, with the aid of my binoculars.

Parkinson and James Sykes put County within sight of the close, but with 4.2 overs of the day remaining Parkinson (12) went caught behind by Imtiaz off seamer McCarthy. Parkinson not removing his helmet on his way up the pavilion steps, so as to be fully prepared for his reception from Lewis J Hill.

Sykes had stroked three delightful boundaries through mid-on. Sykes (20*), and Swindells (3*) took County into stumps on 169-6 from 41 overs, trailing by 50 runs. Durham 5 points, Leicestershire 5 points.

I will finish today’s report as I started, with sincere thoughts for the people of Manchester, and their families.

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