Trusz battles hard in Southport draw

Lancashire v Leicestershire, Second XI Championship, Day 3:

SCORECARD

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

For the second day running, we arrived at Southport & Birkdale CC to find that heavy overnight rain had taken its toll. After an early morning Inspection the umpires were concerned about the bowlers run ups at the Tennis Courts End of the ground.

After further inspections at 11.00am and 12 noon, the decision was made to start immediately after the regulation lunch Interval for day three. Play would therefore get underway at 1.10pm, with a minimum of 64 overs available in the day.

The groundstaff had yet again worked tirelessly to enable play to commence at the earliest opportunity. Cricket spectators are a unique species, some ten people hung around from the scheduled start time of 10.30am until the commencement of play.

Their dedication is commendable. One gentleman sat alongside the sightscreen at the Houses End in a chair that he had brought along, patiently waiting for play to commence, reading his newspaper whilst wearing a woolly hat and gloves.

The match ended in a draw, the teams shaking hands as the final hour was about to commence. Leicestershire were dismissed for 140 in their first innings, trailing by 175 runs, and were asked to follow on.

County reshuffled their batting order somewhat for their second innings. Ash Trusz, who recently turned 18 years of age, opened the batting, and was 34 not out in a total of 71-3 from 36 overs. Trusz caught the eye with a solid and accomplished innings as he begins his cricketing journey. Trusz was ably supported by Adam Ball and Dominic Butchart.

Leicestershire resumed on their overnight 108-7, Trusz 5*, Butchart 2*. Arron Lilley and Chris Sanders opened the bowling for Lancashire. In the fourth over of the morning Trusz expertly leaned forward and caressed a ball from medium pacer Sanders behind square for a boundary.

In the next over Butchart (5 from 46 balls) was bowled when going back to Lilley, not really a savage delivery, but I won’t go there. Good application shown from Butchart, who would again come to the table in the second innings.

Richard Jones joined Trusz, and the pair had added 16 runs when Mahmood replaced Sanders at the Houses End. With his second ball Saqid Mahmood enticed an edge from Trusz (22), and he was caught behind by keeper Brooke Guest. A fine innings from Trusz, who faced 79 balls. Gavin Griffiths joined Jones, six runs had been added when Jones (10) was trapped in front by Lilley. Leicestershire 140 all out from 63.5 overs. Griffiths 0*.

Chris Sanders picked up 3-25 from 12, and Lilley claimed 3-37 from 18.5 overs. Mahmood weighed in with 2-11, and Liam Hurt 2-23. Leicestershire were asked to follow on, trailing by 175 runs, a minimum of 49 overs remained in the day.

Leicestershire commenced their reply at 1.59pm, and reshuffled their batting order. Sam Evans and that (young) man again Ash Trusz opened the batting. Mahmood and Hurt opened the attack for Lancashire.  After 2.3 overs Evans (2) was adjudged lbw to Mahmood.

Adam Ball joined Trusz and the pair steadied the ship, ensuring that Lancashire did not get a sniff of victory. At 2.38pm precisely, a diesel multiple unit of six coaches rattled past on the railway line, on the far side of the ground, on its approach to Southport station. The first time over the three days that a train of six coaches had all six coaches of the same colour!

I knew from my keen eyed observations of the past days that these six coaches would reappear 10 minutes later, going in the opposite direction towards on their return journey to Liverpool. Sure enough they did. I had my wife (who I had graciously treated to a few days away) sitting in the vicinity of my ‘nerve centre+’ today, and when I informed her of the in-depth knowledge I had acquired regarding the local train time table she gave a yawn that could possibly be heard back in Leicestershire. (+ Denotes table that you score from).

Trusz and Ball are still at it meanwhile. Trusz stroked Hurt for a textbook cover drive, and Ball was pushing and prodding 1s and 2s. The pair safely took County into tea on 32-1 from 17 overs. Trusz 15*, Ball 13*. Lancashire skipper Rob Jones had used six bowlers, to no avail, in an effort to dislodge Trusz and Ball. During the tea interval, the 72 inch TV on the wall in the clubhouse caught my eye, you could hardly miss it, possibly the largest screen I have seen on a TV.

Essex claimed the final Warwickshire wicket at Edgbaston, and had all but won the County Championship. Congratulations to them. After 5.2 overs of the evening session, Lancashire at last had some success when Adam Ball (17) went lbw to medium pacer Josh Bohannon. Ball’s innings stretching over 54 balls, and ensuring that County did not get into troubled waters.

Andrew Rishton joined the resolute Trusz but soon went lbw to Lilley. Rishton made 6, Leicestershire 49-3 from 24 overs. Butchart joined Trusz, and the pair started where they left off in the first innings. Both displaying the patience of a Saint; that’s a Saint of the religious order, not a frustrated Southampton supporter.

With the last hour upon us, and a minimum of 16 overs remaining, the players shook hands on a draw with Leicestershire on 71-3 from 36 overs, Trusz 34* from 115 balls. A tremendous effort from the opener, who can be suitably proud of his performance as he takes the first steps on his cricketing journey.

Trusz plays his club cricket for Loughborough Town, remember the name Trusz, when pronounced properly it rhymes with Cruise, as in the Tom variety. Solid application again from Butchart 6* who repelled the Lancashire attack for 33 balls. Bowlers taking wickets for Lancashire were: Mahmood 1-5 off 5, Lilley 1-21 off 12, and Bohannon 1-16 off 8. Match drawn, the game concluding at 4.30pm.

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