Hill century sets up interesting last day

SCORE | Day 2, Second XI Championship: Leicestershire Second XI 312 for 6 dec v Durham Second XI 410 for 7 dec & 60-0


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

We arrived at Kibworth CC for the second day of the SEC game between Leicestershire and Durham. Weather forecasters are predicting that today, Thursday, is likely to be the hottest day of the year so far. I ensured that I had got my binoculars readily to hand, so as to observe the players giving their all in energy sapping conditions, as I leisurely relaxed in my very comfortable armchair. Yes, armchair, it’s a rocking one as well. All mod cons at Kibworth!

Welcome to former Fox Phil DeFreitas who is assisting Paul Johnson with Coaching duties today.

In the pre-match warm-ups, another person caught my eye in the game of football that was being played. Alex, one of the S&C team appeared a bit of a dark horse, the LCCC equivalent of a budding twinkle-toes came to mind. I wonder if Jamie Vardy has him on the radar for his V9 Academy?

Leicestershire CCC threw down the gauntlet to Durham CCC on day two, declaring on 312 for six, 98 runs in arrears. Lewis Hill top scored with an outstanding ‘Len Barry’ (remember his song?) of 123.  He was ably supported by Rob Sayer with 50 not out. Hassan Azad also chipped in with 35 at an important stage of the innings. Durham CCC had 24 overs to bat in the remainder of the day, and closed on 60-0, taking a lead of 158 runs into the final day.

There was a change to both teams before the start of play; Harry Funnell was brought into the Leicestershire CCC 12 and Ben Seabrook came in for Durham CCC.

There were many of the usual faithful gathering of spectators present when play commenced. You will be comforted to know that Tim (Murray) was in position in the shaded area adjacent to the second pavilion at the start of play. I can accept Tim not being able to get a seat there yesterday, mistakes do happen, but for him to miss out two days on the trot would have been pure carelessness.

Just before play started I was visited by a gentleman who wished to remain anonymous, but he kindly gave me a bag of Jelly Babies, and a rather challenging bag of Wine Gums, ideal for anyone who has a new pair of dentures they wish to run in. Thank you very much for your kind gesture. I shall soon have to get an assistant to help me eat all of these sweets. Applications via my Agent please. (Editor’s note: sweets can be sent directly to main reception at the Fischer County Ground to cut out the middle man!)

Leicestershire resumed on their overnight 26-0, Sam Evans 16* Harry Swindells 8*. Gareth Harte & James Coughlin opened the attack for Durham. Evans and Swindells had only added 14 to the overnight total when Evans (23) was caught at second slip by Ryan Pringle off Coughlin.

Aadil Ali joined Swindells. Swindells & Aadil both took Harte for two boundaries in the ninth over of the morning. Swindells sending two cover drives to the ropes, Aadil also sending a cover drive away, and finding the mid-wicket boundary as well. Aadil (17) went caught in the gully by Ross Greenwell off seamer Oliver Gibson.

Hill came in, and the pair were together for a further 9.5 overs before Swindells (32) went caught by keeper Ryan Davies off leg-spinner Ben Whitehead. Swindells attempted a sweep, but the ball went some distance in the air, and that allowed the keeper to amble towards the leg side to take the catch.

The pair of Hill and Azad posted the highest partnership of the innings. Hill was cutting venomously to the ropes, and also taking boundaries through the mid wicket area. Azad, patience personified, always has a close look at the bowling, and gives occupation of the crease his number one priority.

Hill went to his 50 (79b, 9x4) with the score on 134-3 off 39.4. The 50-run partnership came up between Hill & Azad from 73 balls, Hill contributing 38 to Azad’s 10, with two extras. A demonstration of Hill’s aggression, and Azad’s durability. Leicestershire CCC went into lunch in decent shape on 151-3 from 42. Hill 62*, Azad 11*.

After lunch Azad was like an oyster, coming out of his shell, and playing a pearl of an innings. Azad took three boundaries in the space of nine balls he faced from seamer Coughlin. Hill scored boundaries from successive deliveries from seamer Oliver Gibson.

I then had a fleeting visit from our old friend Ray (Medland) of Umpiring fame. Ray was being pulled round the boundary by his two dogs, had a window of opportunity, and breezed nonchalantly up the pavilion steps gazelle-like, to present me with his quarry, a bag of Werthers. Few words were said, just a mutual nod of approval, and respect from both parties. Then, he was gone, like a blur into the afternoon sunlight. Sincere thanks Ray, very much appreciated.

Hill and Azad brought up their 100 partnership from 159 balls, Hill contributing 61, Azad 35, with 4 extras. Azad was out from the very next ball following the 100 alliance, bowled by Pringle, Azad (35, 84b) not finding the flavour of Pringle’s delivery to his liking. Charlie Lowen (4) then went lbw to Whitehead, Leicestershire CCC now 216-5 from 61.2 overs.

Captain Hill found another ally in Sayer, and became a bit like today’s temperature in certain parts of the UK, in the 90s for a long while. Hill was on 91* after 57.2 overs, and went to his 100 after 65.5. He faced only 20 balls during that time however, nine singles and 11 dots, and went to a thoroughly deserved 100 (143b, 13x4) with the score at 232-5 from 65.5. The Lutterworth Legend had done the business, and The Lewis Hill Fans twitter feed was in meltdown.

Sayer took boundaries in successive ove’s off Harte, Whitehead and Trevaskis early in his innings, and then reverted to ones and dot balls. Hill and Sayer brought up their 50 partnership from 100 balls after 78.1, the score 266-5. Hill chipping in with 24 to Sayer’s 26. The pair took County into Tea on 279-5 from 81. Sayer scoring two boundaries off Trevaskis in the final over before Tea. Hill 123* Sayer 36*.

Just before the players took the field after tea, we had five minutes of heavy rain, yes rain, although the sun was shining brightly! Steve, KCC Groundsman hastily removed the covers from their cobwebs, and chugged onto the pitch on his tractor, covers trailing behind. He had got them all perfectly in place, and the rain stopped. The clock on the ‘Golden Hour’ was not called into operation.

Durham took the new ball immediately. The fifth delivery with it was a short ball from Gibson, Hill pulled it round to deep backward square where Seabrook took the catch. Hill not adding to his tea time score of 123 (176b, 15x4). Just noticed that the Durham side contains two players with the name of crisp manufacturers, Pringle & Seabrook. One’s mind does wander doing this Scoring lark.

Dieter Klein joined Sayer, and the pair took the attack to the Durham CCC bowling. Klein dispatching the new ball for three boundaries, and Sayer taking a brace of fours. Sayer went to a workmanlike 50 (94b, 8x4) with the score on 307-6 from 86.3 overs. At the end of the over Leicestershire declared on 312-6, 98 runs behind. Sayer 50* (95b), Klein 19* (16b).

There were 24 over’s remaining in the day. Swindells took over wicket keeping duties for Leicestershire in Durham’s 2nd Innings. Greenwell and Michael Jones safely took Durham into Stumps on 60-0, with only one minor scare. When Jones was on 31 he survived a very confident caught behind shout off Sayer. The appeal went on for so long a couple of players had to take a second breath. Their 50 partnership coming up after 18.3.  

At the close Greenwell had scored 19*, and Jones 35*, Durham CCC 60-0 from 24 overs, leading by 158 runs. Leicestershire CCC 7 points, Durham CCC 7 points.

*The third and final day of the game starts at Kibworth CC at 11am. Admission is free of charge.