Bowley & Hill lead Seconds to impressive win

RESULT | Second XI Championship: Leicestershire Second XI 270 & 200-4 beat Derbyshire Second XI 158 & 311 by 6 wickets


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Upon arrival at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield for the third and final day of the SEC game between Derbyshire CCC and Leicestershire CCC, there were no Canadian Geese to be seen on the outfield, so I was not requested to assist in administrative duties related to geese removal.

Leicestershire CCC recorded a comprehensive six-wicket victory over Derbyshire CCC. There was an outstanding spell of off-spin bowling by 17-year-old Academy prospect Nat Bowley on day three, who was aged just 17 years and 17 days when the match commenced.

Bowley, on his Leicestershire Second XI debut, claimed 4-70 in Derbyshire CCC’s second innings total of 311, to go with his return of 2-15 in the first innings. Match figures of 35.3-8-85-6. An outstanding debut by the Loughborough-based spinner.

Leicestershire CCC, set a target of 200 to win, were all but seen home by a sparkling innings of 80 from 56 balls by Lewis Hill. Sam Evans’ contribution of 135 in our first innings also proved pivotal.

A sparse crowd compared to days one and two was present to see Derbyshire CCC commence on their overnight 198-2, leading by 86 runs. Calum Brodrick 45*, Tom Wood 54*. Although the crowd was sparse there was a travelling support of one, in the shape of a very well-dressed gentleman in a brown cap. A fine effort from the roving raconteur, that is you know who!

Brodrick and Wood brought up their 100 partnership from 251 balls in the sixth over of the morning. Four balls later, Broderick (48, 188b) received a fast, short delivery from David Sayer. Brodrick gave the short ball the treatment, but unfortunately for him was caught at long-leg by Don Butchart. Just reward for Sayer who always gives it everything he has got. Also, there few safer pair of hands around than those of Butchart. Derbyshire CCC 213-3 off 78.5 overs.

The new ball was taken after 82.1 overs. Wood and Zen Malik had added 46 for the fourth wicket when Wood (83, 140b) feathered Ben Mike down the leg-side into the eager gauntlets of Hill. The Umpire at the bowler’s end conferred with his colleague at square-leg before raising his index finger in an upward trajectory.

Bowley was then thrown in at the deep end and asked to bowl at the Lake End. Bowley however was far from out of his depth, and delivered a spell of bowling that put Leicestershire CCC on course for victory. In the second over of his spell Ewan Cox (0), played a shot onto the leg-side. The ball hit short-leg fielder Hassan Azad on the left knee, went up into the air, Evans taking the catch at short mid-wicket.

Bowley forced Malik (22, 68b) on to the back foot and trapped him in front in his next over. The Umpire sending Malik in the one direction available to him. Josh Lacey (5) was then run out. Sam Conners pushed a ball from Aadil Ali up to mid-off, called for a run, then sent Lacey back. Aadil removing the bails at the bowler’s end, the batsman short of his ground, Evans having gathered and returned the ball to him.

In the fifth over of his spell Bowley bowled the best wicket-taking ball of his spell in my opinion. He gave the ball more air, and completely bamboozled Conners (0), bowling him middle peg. Derbyshire CCC 274-8 from 101.5 overs. Ali Hassan 6* and Tom Brett 0* took Derbyshire CCC into lunch, leading by 163 runs with a minimum of 66 overs remaining in the day the crowd having also built up during the morning.

It took Leicestershire CCC a further 17.1 overs after the break to claim the last two Derbyshire CCC wickets. Hassan (16, 45b) stepped back to cut Bowley, but only succeeded in edging to keeper Lewis Hill.

The last pair Brett and Nick Potts hung around for a further nine overs before skipper Evans pulled a master stroke. Aadil had been bowling a frugal spell from the Pavilion End, when Evans brought himself on to change things up. With his very first ball Evans had Brett (6, 45b) caught at short-leg by Azad. Evans, with the initials ST, turning in a saintly performance.

Potts (15*, 36b), County not able to clean Potts up. Bowley turning in a wonderful spell of spin bowling today, for one so young, final day figures of 19-6-46-4. Other wicket takers: Ben Mike 2-48 from 18, Sayer 1-26 from 8, Butchart 1-38 from 8, and Sam Evans 1-0 from 0.1. Ed Moulton and Quinton Boatswain bowled well without taking a wicket, but if ever anyone deserved a wicket it was Aadil with figures of 26-10-28-0.

Leicestershire CCC required 200 to win from a minimum of 46 overs at a rate of 4.34 per over. Leicestershire CCC commenced their reply at 2.39pm with Evans and Azad opening the innings. Azad (4) went in the third over when he hit a long hop from paceman Harry Wanford straight down the throat of Potts at square-leg. It’s very rare that you see Azad getting out for single figures in both innings.

Aadil joined Evans and dispatched a cluster of boundaries. The pugnacious Aadil racking up eight fours in the space of 34 deliveries. The ball was in danger of getting the grass equivalent of carpet burns as Aadil pierced the field with expert precision. Aadil’s demise came on 36 (34) when he was caught at mid-off by Brett off Potts.

Aadil had added 43 for the second wicket with Evans, who had contributed three while observing Aadil’s pyrotechnics from the non striker’s end. Leicestershire CCC 52-2 from 11.4 overs. It was a case of out of the frying pan into the fire for Derbyshire CCC when Hill replaced Aadil. The Lutterworth legend had a brief squint at the bowling before tea, Hill leisurely going into the meal break on 5*, Evans 20*, Leicestershire CCC 71-2 from 14 overs, requiring a further 129 to win from a minimum of 32 overs.

Just after tea, Hill panned Potts, taking him for six boundaries in two overs. The ball rocketed to the square cover, cover, and extra cover boundary from Hill’s flashing blade. Hill was giving Derbyshire a mountain to climb, he was in peak form, the summit was coming into view.

Hill also reverse-swept two consecutive balls from spinner Josh Lacey to the unguarded third man area. Hill not showing Lacey as much respect as Cagney does. Let’s not forget Evans, who was providing a better foundation that you would find on a cosmetic counter.

The duo brought up their 50 alliance from 38 balls, Evans contributing 14. Hill went to his 50 (10x4) from just 38 deliveries with Leicestershire CCC at 134-2 from 22.3 overs. Evans doing a fine job whilst the run bonanza was going on at the other end, another major contribution to go with his first innings marathon.

Evans (37, 68b) went caught at first slip by Wood off Lacey following a partnership of 99 with Hill. Butchart joined Hill, and the pair added 24 for the fourth wicket with Hill taking the majority of the strike.

The ‘keeper, who scored 80 off 56 balls, had put Leicestershire all but home when he was caught on the deep mid-wicket boundary by Cox off Brett with a further 25 runs to win from a minimum of 17.2 overs. The last hour was called at 5.00pm, with County requiring 12 to win, from a minimum of 16.

Butchart and Jack Nightingale saw County cruise home with a minimum of 10 overs remaining. Butchart pushed the final ball of the 36th over, bowled by Malik, out on to the off-side, set off for a single, Nightingale fluttered down to the other end, job done.

Leicestershire CCC 200-4 from 36 overs, winning by six wickets. Butchart (25*, 35b) and Nightingale (3*, 16b). Derbyshire CCC 5 points, Leicestershire CCC 23 points. A resounding victory for a Foxes side that included four players from our Academy, plus Ben Mike who has just graduated with honours. I suppose you could say it was an inspired performance by the team, considering that the crooked spire overlooks the Queens Park ground.

Whilst all this has been going on, let’s not forget Ashish Trusz, who was hit on the helmet on day one by a fierce delivery. Ash had to be taken hospital for a precautionary check up as a result. I am pleased to report that all is well.

I witness the professionalism of the Second XI Support Staff first hand, and everyone associated with Leicestershire CCC should be immensely proud of the unseen work put in by Coaches Tom Smith, Dips Patel, and especially Physio Ellie Frank when one of our players suffers an injury. Their dedication, and concern for the players at such times is extremely reassuring (Editor’s note: Hear, hear, they all do a grand job.)

* Leicestershire Second XI next play in a 50-over Friendly against the same opposition at the Fischer County Ground on Tuesday. Please note that the match starts at 11.30am, and admission is free.