Seconds dominate in SEC win at Northants

RESULT | Day 3, Second XI Championship: Leicestershire Second XI 357 and 99-1 beat Northamptonshire Second XI 304 & 151 by 9 wickets


REPORT | By Pete Johnson


Another lovely summer’s day greeted us upon arrival at Desborough Town CC for the third and final of the SEC game between Northamptonshire CCC and Leicestershire CCC, a match the Second XI would go on to win convincingly by a nine-wicket margin

I had a glow of accomplishment on my face this morning as last night I secured a ticket for the upcoming International between England and Switzerland at KPS.

Tickets yesterday going on general sale from the FA not LCFC. Shock horror, I was not able to secure my own seat, someone who is a member of the England Supporters Club snapped it up when tickets were on sale exclusively to England Supporters Club members.

Before play started I visited the children’s shop at the nearby West Lodge Farm Park. I bought a couple of little presents for my granddaughters, which should get me a few ‘Brownie Points’ with Mrs J. A cunning ploy, I am not as daft as I look.

A good number of spectators present yet again at Desborough Town CC, this fixture having been very well attended. Thanks to everyone who has been along for showing their interest, encouragement and support. I am sure I speak for everyone connected with both counties in saying such.

Before the start of play, the gentleman with the brown cap, T Murray Esq, fount of all sporting knowledge, came up to the Scorer’s window. After a bit of verbal sparring he said ‘I have got a question for you Pete’. Question was as follows: Who was the player who made just one appearance for Leicestershire CCC, and with his one and only spell in First Class cricket took a wicket with his first ball?

Tim’s face was a picture, a knowing look, and smiling, as if to say ‘I have got you there mate’. He said ‘I will leave it with you’, no looking at the internet etc. After about 10 seconds I fired a name at him. The smile disappeared from his face, and a look of astonishment and amazement replaced it. Bang on with my answer. Mr Murray slunk off towards his bolt hole on the boundary edge, wondering how on earth I had nailed it. I will not divulge the answer in case Tim should wish to challenge someone else with his question.

Finally, I must mention in my pre-match ramblings that following yesterday’s absolute bombshell about The Milky Bar Kid, a packet of Milky Bar Buttons were handed to me prior to the start of play. I would respectfully point out that Milky Bars are not my favourite item of confectionary, and that other chocolate based products are available. Goodness me, is it that time already? The Umpires are on their way out. Doesn’t time fly when you are enjoying yourself.

Northamptonshire CCC commenced from their overnight 79-4, leading by 26 runs, Saif Zaib 33* Charlie Home 3*, 31 overs of their innings having being bowled last night. Richard Jones and Dieter Klein opened the attack for County. Zaib and Home were concentrating more on occupation of the crease than scoring runs, Home having made a defiant 67* in the first innings from 117 balls.

After two overs Lewis Hill took over wicket-keeping duties from Harry Swindells. Klein was bowling a very impressive spell up the hill. He was beating the bat on several occasions with no luck whatsoever. This was compounded when Zaib when on 34* was put down off him at second slip.

Klein got his due reward in his sixth over of the morning with a double-wicket maiden. Zaib (38, 88b) was pinned in front, and incoming batsman Tom Sole (0), out of the fire into the fryer, then went in exactly the same manner from the second ball he received. Sole had had his chips. Northamptonshire CCC 103-6 from 43 overs.

At this stage Klein had figures for the innings of 12-7-10-3. Klein bowled a further over that went for 10. Klein bowled beautifully, and greatly helped to put County in the ascendency. The unassuming left arm paceman delivering a great spell.

Home and Luke Bartier then dug in against Ben Mike, David Sayer, and Rob Sayer. James Dickinson bowled a solitary over before lunch. Home was swallowing up balls, his strike rate diminishing over by over, down in the lower 20s, but he was doing his job by occupying the crease. Bartier was adapting the same format against the variation of bowling on offer. Right arm seam, left arm seam, off spin, and one over of leg spin.

The pair took Northamptonshire CCC safely into lunch, Home (28*, 124b), Bartier (25*, 60b). The hosts on 145-6, leading by 92 runs.

A little window of opportunity to relate yet another startling piece of information gleaned in conversation with the legend, to my left, that is Q. You may recall that Q said yesterday that if he owned a racehorse he would call it South East Iceland. Well, during the morning session Q was most concerned as to the maximum number of letters allowed in the name of a racehorse.

South East Iceland may exceed the permitted number. Google was called into action. The maximum number of letters permitted in a racehorses name by the British Horse Racing Authority is 18, including spaces and punctuation marks. Our fingers were called into action to count up, with the spaces taken into account, South East Iceland comprises of 18 letters, including spaces! Q breathed a huge sigh of relief, a look of delight spread across his face, fist pumps all round. Under Starters Orders now as it is lunch.

Well, I don’t know what Mike had for his Lunch, but it certainly did the trick. County polished off the Northamptonshire CCC innings in just 2.4 over’s after lunch, Mike taking three wickets in 10 deliveries.

With the fourth ball after lunch, Mike bowled an absolute ripper taking the top of Home’s off stump. The perfect delivery, bowling coaches the world over, including a big bloke back at the FCG with the initials MM would have been purring at that one. The on-watching Daffy must have thought, not a bad ball that son, Home (30, 128b). A job well done by Home

Rob Sayer then bowled an over up the hill. Mike coming in downhill for his second over after lunch. The second ball rapped Adam King (0) the pads, gone lbw. Two balls later, Mike reels Ben Cotton (0) in, rapped on the pads, big appeal, out! Northamptonshire effectively all out at 151-9 as Ben Claydon was unable to bat as a result of an injury sustained yesterday. It had become desperate in Desborough for the Steelbacks.

Mike the leading wicket taker returning figures of 4-37 from 13.4 overs. Great effort too from Klein with 3-20 from 13. Jones picking up 1-29 from 10, and Rob Sayer 1-26 from 14. No wickets for David Sayer, but he gave his all 0-28 from 12. It’s a team game so let’s not forget James Dickinson’s solitary over, along with his exceptional fielding skills. Dicko saves countless runs in the field with his alertness, busily scampering over the greensward, or should it be brownsward with all this dry weather? Even Kasper does not have a safer pair of hands either. Leicestershire CCC requiring 99 to win from a minimum of 61 overs.

Team Harry, Dearden and Swindells, opened up for Leicestershire CCC, against an opening attack of Ben Cotton and Luke Bartier. The pair wasted no time at all with both batsmen playing some lovely shots to the boundary, Dearden catching the eye with some exquisite cover drives, and Swindells peppering the hedgerows around the ground with an array of perfectly executed shots.

The pair posted a 50 partnership from 51 balls. It came as somewhat of a surprise when Dearden (31, 34b) went forward to one from spinner Saif Zaib, and was bowled. Leicestershire 82 for one from 11.5 overs. Swindells went to his 50 (42b, 9x4) five runs later.

Swindells hit the winning runs when he dispatched seamer Emilio Gay down the ground for a boundary. Leicestershire 99 for one, winning by nine wickets. Swindells 62* (49b), Aadil Ali 3* (16b), Northamptonshire CCC 8 points, Leicestershire CCC 24 points.

Before leaving Desborough, even as the away side, sincere thanks to Mick and his team for all their hard work on the ground. A very special thank you to Elaine for all her much appreciated efforts on the catering side. Elaine is ‘retiring’ from her post as catering supremo at Desborough Town CC after this match. I would like to thank her personally for all the little catering treats that she has given me over the past few years when we have played at Desborough. Thanks also to Hayley & Maggie for their hard work in helping Elaine too.

Finally, au revoir to the man himself Q, an absolute pleasure to be secreted in a confined space with him for four days. I think you know where I am coming from on that one Q. When I hear those pips on the radio, followed by the Shipping Forecast, you know what I will be thinking. Yes! He must get out more... #laughingemoji

Arrivederci Desborough.

* The Second XI is next in action at Lancashire CCC next week, playing two T20 friendlies at Westhoughton CC on Tuesday.