Swindells top-scores as Seconds go close

RESULT | Day 3, Second XI Friendly (3 days): Durham Second XI 464 for 4 and 291 for 4 declared drew with Leicestershire Second XI 457 for 8 declared and 291 for 7


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Well, what a day’s cricket we had, a pulsating day of cricket that served up an electrifying finish. After being severely under the cosh on day one, Leicestershire bounced back magnificently on days two and three, to be in with a chance of winning the game from the very last over of the match.

Durham starting the day on their overnight 39-2, progressed to 291-4 declared, and challenged Leicestershire to score 299 from a minimum of 45 overs, an asking rate of 6.64 per over. County took it right to the wire, and required eight to win from the last two balls, but it was not to be, the match ending in a highly credible draw. Special mention to Harry Swindells, Aadil Ali and Mark Pettini, who oh so nearly saw us home.

My morning got off to a similar start as to yesterday. I received an e-mail, despatched before sunrise, from Pro Scorer HQ giving information about downloading a Live Score Widget. After having consulted my limited glossary of IT speak, I gently ventured my way into the unknown. Being some 180 or so miles from the IT Guru that is Dan ‘all can do’ Nice, I was somewhat apprehensive. All turned out well so I can stick yet another feather in my cap. It’s a bit like learning the Hokey Cokey, I’ve not got all of it, but I have got the ins and outs. [Editor’s note: you’re giving me too much credit here, Pete!] 

I had a pleasant surprise when John Wakefield, the Durham PA Announcer, and a native of Leicestershire called in at The Riverside early doors to see me. He had brought along some LCFC memorabilia for me to look through that brought back some good memories. John is still a Member at the FCG. Big bloke, over six foot six, played Rugby Union at a very high standard, so when he asks you to do something, you do it.

There were a dozen or so hardy spectators present when play commenced. The strong breeze of yesterday had gone, and the ripple of breeze that was evident had changed direction. Yours truly had somewhat of a challenging experience during the first 45 minutes of play. A fire alarm console on the wall in Scoring Towers was playing up, and emitting a constant whistling noise. 

Ross Greenwell 21* and Gareth Harte 1* resumed Durham’s innings from their overnight 39-2, a lead of 46 runs. Tom Taylor, and Tom Wells opened the attack for County. Taylor having a confident lbw enquiry against Greenwell turned down from the last ball of his second over. Greenwell went to his 50 (9x4, 70b), and the pair reached their 100 partnership in the 12th over of the morning, the 22nd over of the innings. 

Durham skipper Harte went to his 50 (7x4, 76b). County achieved their first breakthrough of the morning when Academy leg-spinner James Dickinson, operating from the Lumley End, bowled Harte (53), Durham on 149-3 from 36.1 overs. A news alert then popped up on my phone saying that the new Royal Prince was to be called Louis Arthur Charles. My sincere good wishes to him for a long and happy life. 

Ryan Pringle joined Greenwell, and had a life, offering a chance when on 5* off Rob Sayer. Durham went into lunch on 192-3 from 44 overs, a lead of 199 runs. In the fourth over after Lunch, Ben Mike, smoothly running in from the Finchale End, bowled a beauty that took Pringle’s middle stump. Pringle gone for 32, Durham on 212-4 from 47.5 overs. The stump was broken by Mike’s delivery and the Umpires had to call for a replacement stump. During the delay in play whilst a replacement stump was awaited, I noticed a Leicestershire fielder doing a handstand, but remarkably his cap staying in place, good effort. I reckon I will have to bring this chap’s name to the attention of Simon Cowell for the next series of BGT. I won’t name the fielder - but he is quite a tall chap, and Elvis once sang about somebody crying in there. 

Liam Trevaskis joined Greenwell, and they were looking to set up a total for County to chase. Greenwell went to his 100 (13x4, 160b) and they knocked up a 50 partnership from 47 deliveries. Trevaskis went to his 50 (5x4) from 35 balls. Durham declared their innings on 291-4, Greenwell 114*, Trevaskis 56*. This left Leicestershire to score 299 to win, from a minimum of 45 overs.

Wells and Swindells opened the innings, and rattled up a 50 partnership from 46 deliveries. Wells took Ollie Gibson for two fours and a maximum in one over, and Swindells taking six boundaries, four of them coming off seamer Gavin Main. Main unable to make any inroads into the County innings. 

A word here on Swindells, a young homegrown player, making his way in the game, promoted to open the innings, and giving the impression he had been doing it for many years. I am sure that ‘The Swindler’ will be on the scene for many years to come. Wells (22), took one for the team, when he holed out to Trevaskis on the square-leg boundary off the bowling of seamer Jamie Dass, County 55-1 from 9.3 overs. 

Aadil Ali joined Swindells, and shortly afterwards the players went in for tea. County on 58-1 from 13. Swindells 36*, Aadil 0*. After tea the homegrown duo formed a majestic partnership that racked up over 100 runs. In the first over after tea, Swindells deposited spinner Scott Steel for an enormous straight maximum. Swindells went to a thoroughly deserved 50 (6x4, 1x6, 50b). Maths has never been my strong point, but that’s a run a ball if I am not mistaken. #superswindells.  

A few overs later he cleared the rope again, this time off spinner Pringle. Another take on HS2, not a proposed train, but two maximums from Harry Swindells. Aadil meanwhile was supporting his younger partner admirably. A description, in my eyes, of Aadil’s innings today would be as follows: you know when you put a firework in the ground, light it, and nothing happens, you wonder if it is still alight. You get as near as you can to have a look, and then all of a sudden it sparks into action, sending flames and sparks all over the place that are an absolute pleasure to the eye. 

Swindells and Aadil brought up their 50 partnership from 74 balls after 21.5 overs. The firework sparked into action alright as Aadil took a cluster of boundaries when the overs delivered were in the mid 20’s. The 100 partnership between Swindells and Aadil came from 135 balls after 32 overs, Leicestershire requiring 144 from a minimum 23 overs to win. Just afterwards Aadil went to his 50 (7x4, 71b). 

Swindells was playing a wonderful innings, the Imperious Ivanhoe Icon was going through his full repertoire, stroking the ball to all parts, and scampering 'Swindellesque' between the wickets. The little rascal then even had the audacity to execute a perfectly timed reverse-sweep for four. All good things come to an end, and with the score on 162, Swindells (86) went lbw to spinner Trevaskis. A great knock from Harry, I am confident there will be many, many more to come. First innings lynchpin Ateeq Javid entered the fray, but was soon on his way, taking one for the team again, when he was stumped by Ryan Davies off Trevaskis, County 172-3 from 35.2 overs. Durham had bowled their overs at a good rate, and it now became clear that they would deliver more than the minimum 45. 

Pettini joined Aadil just before the last hour was signalled. The last hour then being signalled meaning a minimum of 16 overs had to be bowled, Leicestershire requiring 135. It was now all about putting the team before individual performances, and Aadil and Pettini set about chasing down the total required. Aadil (68) went bowled by spinner George Harding, 209-4. 90 needed from 8.3 overs. Pettini, on 9, going for it, popped one up in the air that was spilled by Ollie Gibson.

Pettini then began his own personal demolition job on the bowling in moving to a fine 50 (4x4, 1x6, 35b). Zak Chappell (23, 19b) went stumped by Davies off Pringle, the total on 260-5, 39 needed from 3.1 overs. Incoming batsman Sayer launched two maximums, one of which was initially signalled as a 4, but then after a ‘Steward’s Enquiry’ was given as a six. The next ball was then a no-ball. At the end of the over, 24 runs were needed from the last 12 deliveries. 11 were taken from the penultimate over and George Harding bowled the final over from the Finchale End. 

Pettini took a single from the first, second ball Sayer (17, 10b), caught in the deep. The batsmen crossed. Third ball dot played by Pettini, fourth ball a boundary from Pettini - 8 required from 2 balls. Dot ball from the 5th. Pettini (62) was caught on the fence by Steel off the last ball looking for a maximum. Leicestershire 291-7, falling just eight runs short of victory. Match Drawn.

A wonderful game of cricket that went right to the wire; who would have thought after day one what a magnificent game and thrilling finish we would witness. All Leicestershire players in the second innings ‘took one for the team’ in the run chase, putting the team result above their own personal statistics. A final word for Tom Smith, ably supported by Dips Patel, for hitting the ground running on his first game as Second XI Coach. Not forgetting Ellie, our new physio, who was also with the team for the first time. The only person I have not mentioned is Kieran, our bus driver, so I will do now, an impressive debut in navigating us in and around the north-east. Well that’s it then after four days in Durham we are on our way home, better get Roger Whittaker out of retirement to belt out his classic ‘The Leaving of Old Durham Town’. 

* Leicestershire CCC Second XI are in action at the Fischer County Ground next Wednesday for a Trophy fixture against Northamptonshire CCC. Admission is free with the match due to start at 11am.