Mike and Klein excel at Blackpool

SCORE | Day 1, Second XI Championship: Lancashire Second XI 270-7 v Leicestershire Second XI


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Leicestershire travelled up to the Fylde Coast to take on Lancashire in the penultimate fixture of the SEC campaign. The match taking place at the Stanley Park home of Blackpool CC. Stanley Park has seating for some 2,000 spectators, and has been regularly used for County Cricket by Lancashire CCC, additional temporary seating brought in when the Red Rose County play here.

A host of professional cricketers have turned out for Blackpool CC down the years, including Harold Larwood (1939), Jim Parks, Hanif Mohammad, Rohan Kanhai, Mustaq Mohammad, Collis King, and Richie Richardson. There is a Blue Plaque on the front of the pavilion in recognition of Harold Larwood having played here as Blackpool’s professional.

Blackpool CC are members of the Northern Premier League. A certain DI Gower made his County Championship debut for Leicestershire CCC against Lancashire CCC at Stanley Park, Blackpool on 30 July 1975, in what was Leicestershire CCC’s first County Championship winning season.

The Scorers are situated on the top floor of the solid, and purposeful looking pavilion. Blackpool Tower stands proudly some distance behind us to our left, a flag fluttering with regimental straightness at the top of the tower. I wonder if it is the same flag as when Reginald Dixon was banging out tunes on the organ in the ballroom at Blackpool Tower back in the 50s and 60s? The Tower Ballroom now being the place that Strictly contestants who survive until the final few weeks of the competition.

A very convivial gentleman whose christian name was Lester made himself known to us. He sits in an office next to where we are seated, and is all things Blackpool Cricket Club, Marketing, Communications etc, you name it, he does it. A bit like a tangerine/north-west version of Dan Nice. Second thoughts one version of Dan is enough! Dan, desperate to edit that bit out no doubt (Editor’s note: I’ll shoulder arms to this one given it’s the first day of the game!)

It was a stop start type of day with three breaks for rain, the final one of which curtailed play for the day. A total of 60.4 overs were possible during the day, in which Lancashire posted a total of 270-7. This was thanks mainly to a fine undefeated 131 from opener, and skipper, Haseeb Hameed. He was finely supported by Stephen Parry, who made 64.

Ben Mike had a purple patch each side of lunch claiming three wickets in four balls. Dieter Klein weighed in with a very impressive spell of left arm seam bowling, also snapping up three wickets.

Sam Evans took on the role of Captain of the Second XI for the first time, called correctly, and elected to field. The players took to the field on a dull, cloudy, and windy morning, with a hint of rain in the air. There was a small gathering of hardy Lancashire CCC Members huddled together in the seats in front of the pavilion.

Tom Wells picked up an injury in the pre-match warm-ups, and was unable to take any part in the day’s play. Rob Jones and Hameed opened the innings for Lancashire CCC against an opening attack of Klein and Mike. After five overs, with Lancashire on 20-0, rain drove the players from the field. 18 minutes play was lost, but the ‘Golden Hour’ was in operation so no overs were lost.

Jones and Hameed posted a 50 partnership after 13.1 overs. Two balls later Jones (13, 44b) was comprehensively bowled by Mike. Before the incoming batsman Brooke Guest could reach the middle the Umpires took the players from the field because of rain at 12.22pm. Lunch was taken at 1.00pm, and play resumed at 1.50pm, with two overs having been lost from the day’s play.

Luncheon intervals must have an effect on Mike (Editor’s note: just like the scorer!) as a couple of weeks ago at Desborough he took three wickets in 10 balls immediately after Lunch. This time he took two in three deliveries immediately after the resumption, to go with the wicket he took from the final ball before the interval – three wickets in four balls this time for Mike.

Guest (0) went first ball when he played no shot, and was rapped on the pad. Guest far from overstaying his welcome at the crease. Incoming batsman Shiv Chanderpaul (0) was pinned in front by Mike second ball. Lancashire 51 for three after 13, three wickets in the over for Mike. It is the second time this season Chanderpaul has gone lbw to Mike, the acclaimed West Indies International batsman being dismissed by Mike in an SET game earlier in the season.

I was delighted to read that Mike has been offered a contract by Leicestershire earlier this week. I remember him coming into the Second XI, and have seen his career start, and subsequently evolve. There are people far more qualified than me to comment on Ben’s cricketing ability, but purely from a personal point of view, you could not wish to meet a more professional, polite, and respectful young man. I really do hope that he forges out a successful career in the game. (All monies to my usual account please Ben).

Klein then claimed a deserved wicket two balls later when he trapped Sam Perry (0) in front. Lancashire CCC 52-4. George Lavelle joined Hameed, played out 15 balls, and then was another lbw victim for Klein, Lavelle the fourth batsman in the Lancashire CCC innings failing to get off the mark. Lancashire CCC’s numbers three to six all going without scoring. Lancashire CCC thus having all their ducks in a row, thanks to the impressive seam bowling of Klein and Mike. Lancashire 72-5 from 18.3.

Parry joined Hameed, and both players who have represented England in the past built a solid partnership of 123. Hameed went to his 50 (52b, 7x4), and brought up a 50 partnership with Parry from 62 balls when the score reached 122-5. The slow left arm spinner went to his 50 (72b, 9x4) when the score was 167-5 after 37.4 overs.

A mention here for Lancashire CCC’s Brooke Guest who although being dismissed first ball, enquired on a regular basis if the Scorers required a cup of tea, and delivered on a couple of occasions. On a tea front, Brooke certainly ‘bonding’ with the Scorers. (Editor’s note: #clappingemoji)

Hameed and Parry brought up their 100 partnership from 121 balls with the score on 173-5 from 38.4. Hameed went to a superb 100 (104b, 15x4) when the score reached 189-5 from 41.5. The Hameed/Parry alliance was brought to an end when Rob Sayer, in his second over, had Parry (64, 92b) caught at first slip by Aadil Ali.

George Balderson joined Hameed, but the left-hander went for 9 (22b), caught behind by ‘keeper Lewis Hill off Klein. Lancashire 218-7 from 48.5. Liam Hurt joined Hameed. After 51 overs Aadil left the field feeling unwell.

Hameed and Hurt safely took Lancashire CCC into tea on 262-7 from 58. Hameed 131*, Hurt 27*. Only a further 16 balls were possible before rain set in for the day. In that time, Hameed and Hurt brought up their 50 partnership from 69 balls. Both batsmen going at just over a run a ball. Hurt adapts very much an ‘Adam Ant’ style when at the crease, Stand and Deliver.

At 5.25pm the Umpires took the players from the field due to rain with Lancashire CCC on 270-7 from 60.4. Hameed 131* (148b), Hurt (35* (41b). The pick of the Leicestershire bowlers were Klein 3-50 from 16, and Mike 3-76 from 14. Rob Sayer the other wicket taker with 1-39 from 10. No wickets for right arm seamer Alex Evans, left arm seamer David Sayer or slow left armer Oli Clarke, but a good effort combined with valuable experience for the 3 young bowlers. Lancashire CCC 3 points, Leicestershire CCC 3 points.

Breaking News: Leicestershire CCC has arranged a further fixture in September. They will play a 3 Day Friendly against Sussex CCC at Blackstone Academy Ground, Woodman Cote, West Sussex, BN5 9NT. The game is scheduled to take place from Tuesday, September 11 to Thursday, September 13 (10.30am start). 

Disciples of my daily dispatches will be pleased to know that I have managed to offload my England vs Switzerland ticket for the International being played at the KPS on Tuesday, September 11, and will be able to accompany Tom Smith’s charges on their sojourn to the south coast.

* Leicestershire Second XI’s next home game is a 50-over friendly against Derbyshire Second XI at the Fischer County Ground on Tuesday, August 28. The game will start at 11.30am.