Dearden posts stunning T20 hundred

RESULT | Second XI T20 Friendly (x2) v Lancashire CCC at Westhoughton CC

Game 1: Lancashire Second XI beat Leicestershire Second XI by 4 wickets

Game 2: Lancashire Second XI beat Leicestershire Second XI by 49 runs



REPORT | By Pete Johnson


Leicestershire CCC took on Lancashire CCC in a SEFT20 at Westhoughton CC. This fixture having been originally scheduled for 17 July 2018. Lancashire Second XI have qualified for SET20 Finals Day at Arundel on Thursday by winning the Northern Group. Durham CCC qualified with Lancashire CCC from the Northern Group, Essex CCC and Gloucestershire CCC going through from the Southern Group.

Westhoughton is in the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, and is some 4.5 miles South West of Bolton. Westhoughton CC are members of the Bolton Cricket League. Mike Watkinson ex Lancashire and England began his cricketing career at Westhoughton CC. Footballer Francis (Franny) Lee ex Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City, Derby County and England, also turned out for Westhoughton CC after he retired from football. Leicestershire CCC’s Callum Parkinson is a native of the Bolton area. If you mention his name around here it opens many doors, but unfortunately it closes twice as many! #extremelyjovialemoji

The ground at Westhoughton CC is named St George’s Oval. My Lancashire Scoring colleague decided that we should score ‘al fresco’ for the game, as from his previous experience at this ground he was of the opinion that it would be too hot for us in the scorebox. We sat at a couple of tables adjacent to the sightscreen at the Pavilion End, with the Pavilion to our right. A railway branch line Wigan/Bolton, was shielded by a tall hedgerow immediately behind us. The playing area at Westhoughton CC is extremely big for a club ground, with accompanying long boundaries.

The two SEFT20 games both ended in Lancashire’s favour. Highlights of the day were 106* by Rob Jones in game two for Lancashire, his score beaten by Harry Dearden who posted 107*.

There was a very large attendance by Second XI standards when the players took to the field. There were Leicestershire CCC debuts for James Keast, right arm leg spinner, Uzair Amjaid, right arm off spinner. It was also good to see Dominic Manthorpe turning out for the Foxes again - the left arm seamer having appeared for Leicestershire Seconds many times last season.

Game 1

Aadil Ali skippered County while Lancashire were captained by Haseeb Hameed. Lancashire won the toss, and elected to field. There was a partnership of 50 for the second wicket (34 balls) between Charlie Lowen and Aadil, and a partnership of 58 for the fourth between Lewis Hill and Dearden. Their 50 alliance came from 32 balls.

Hill racked up 51 (2x4, 3x6), his 50 coming from 33 balls. Leicestershire posted 170-7 from their 20 overs. The wicket-taking bowlers for Lancashire were Liam Hurt 2-20 from 4, Tom Hartley 2-21 from 4, and Tom Bailey 2-33 from 4. One batsman (Hill) being run out.

After about ten overs of the Leicestershire innings my colleague Gary gave me a fleece to put on, as it had turned much cooler. It would be too hot in the Scorebox he said earlier… weather presenters around the country, your job is safe!

Lancashire had a bit of a stutter at the start of their innings with Richard Jones and Ben Mike snapping up an early wicket each. Unfortunately Jones had to leave the field with an injury having bowled just 1.2 overs. Extremely bad luck for the paceman having taken a 5-for at Desborough last week.

As their innings progressed Lancashire CCC were thankful for a partnership of 72 between George Lavelle and Tom Bailey for the sixth wicket. They posted their 50 alliance from 29 balls, and their overall stand came from 39 balls. Lavelle finishing on 61* his 50 (31b, 6x4, 1x6).

Lancashire CCC getting home off the last ball of the 19th over, winning by four wickets. There were three outstanding catches in the innings, Jones and Aadil both taking catches with both hands, with the ball travelling at jet propelled speed. My Champagne Moment for catches however going to Lowen who took a catch on the long-off boundary to dismiss the dangerous Bailey (37, 21b).

Lowen spiraling into the air, akin to an Olympic Gymnast, or a diver jumping up off a springboard, his body taking the form of a contortionist, with arms and legs pointing to all points of the compass, Lowen sticking out an arm, and somehow taking the catch one-handed.

There was a Stewards’ Enquiry to whether he had stepped on, or stepped outside the boundary rope, but the Umpires were happy that all was good. Special mention to debutant  Keast who delivered three tidy overs of leg spin, claiming two wickets in his first over. Wicket-takers for Leicestershire were, Keast 3-22 from 3, Jones 1-5 from 1.2, David Sayer 1-30 from 3, and Ben Mike 1-34 from 3.

During the break between games yours truly had to abandon his shorts (clothing not drinks), and put on warm weather gear. The faithful tracksuit bottoms coming out of a lengthy hibernation period. [Editor’s note: it was bobble hat weather in the north east this evening!]

Game 2

The number of spectators had diminished somewhat as many people were making their way over to Old Trafford for Lancashire’s Vitality Blast game later today.

Leicestershire won the toss and elected to field. Dearden was skippering County. Lancashire posted a challenging 212-1, somewhat above par I felt. The highlight of their innings was 106* by Rob Jones. His 50 (34b, 7x4, 1x6), and his 100 (60b, 11x4, 3x6).

He was supported by his fellow opener Ed Fluck 50 (30b, 4x4, 3x6) and Haseem Hameed 50* (28b, 5x4, 1x6). In the last over of the innings Jones went to his 100, Hameed to his 50, and the 100 partnership came up between Jones and Hameed (53 balls). The solitary wicket taker for County was Amjaid. His wicket thanks to yet another catch out of the top drawer. Hill this time doing the business on the deep mid-wicket boundary.

Leicestershire fell somewhat short in their reply, but in no way due to the magnificent efforts of Dearden. The Bury Bulldog not too far from his home patch, blasted a chanceless 107*. Dearden’s innings comprised of five enormous maximums, some of which disappeared out of the ground, in the area between mid-wicket and wide long-on. This was no mean feat as the boundary on that side was, should we say, a big ‘un.

Dearden’s 50 (37b, 8x4, 1x6) and his 100 (63b, 10x4, 5x6). His century coming up in the 18th over. The only support of note he had was from Aadil (18, 17b) and Tom Wells (23, 16b), Dearden and Wells completing a partnership of 64 for the fourth wicket. Their 50-run alliance coming from 29 balls.

Dearden was in sparkling form, it was unfortunate that no one could offer the required support at the other end.

County closed on 163-4, losing by 49 runs. Wicket-takers for Lancashire were: Stephen Parry 1-17 from 4, Liam Hurt 1-31 from 3, Chris Sanders 1-25 from 3, and George Balderson 1-17 from 2. We wish Lancashire CCC well when they take part in SET20 Finals day at Arundel on Thursday.

* The two teams meet again in a Second XI Championship fixture at Blackpool on Wednesday, August 15 (11am start).