Javid continues to excel at Rugby School

SCORE | Day 2, Second XI Championship: Leicestershire Second XI 393 v Worcestershire Second XI 306 for 4


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

What a difference winning on penalties makes, I had a spring in my step this morning, and all in the world was rosy. A few days relaxation before the nerve-shredding anguish of 3pm on Saturday arrives. 

Upon arrival at the ground I had a perambulation around the immediate vicinity exploring the delights of Rugby School. I had a good look at the statue of William Webb-Ellis, and sent a photograph of it to a friend of mine who is of the oval ball persuasion. William Webb-Ellis was the first Rugbeian to represent Oxford University at cricket.

Also I noticed that there are 16 Houses at Rugby School, not the built ones, but School Houses if you know what I mean. I wondered why there were not 15, in line with the number of players in a Rugby Union team, as William Webb-Ellis was the founder of Rugby Union.

When I got back to the pavilion I noticed that the 11 players from the First XI at Rugby School were listed on boards going back to 1831 to the present day. Teams from 1914 to 1918 were listed (World War I) as were teams from 1939 to 1945 (World War II). I also satisfied my curiosity finding out that the groups of teenagers milling around yesterday were foreign exchange students.

Another beautiful morning was the order of the day as the players took to the field. Leicestershire CCC resumed on their overnight 350-6, Charlie Lowen 63*, Ben Mike 5*. Jamie McIlroy took the first over and claimed two wickets in it.

The first ball of the morning saw Lowen trapped in front lbw, and two balls later, Moh Ahmed (0) was caught at third slip by Ryan Gibson. James Dickinson joined Mike, and Dickinson took the lion’s share of the bowling in their partnership. Dickinson facing 41 balls to Mike’s 18 balls. The pair adding 39 for the ninth wicket.

After four overs of them coming together, Worcestershire CCC did the unthinkable thing these days, they put a third man in. Harry Lime being briefly brought out of retirement! During their alliance Tim Murray walked past the pavilion in his own slow but regimentally striding manner, arms rhythmically swinging at his side in perfect time with one another. A hot summer’s day, cap in place of course, shirt sleeves buttoned to the cuff, and tie knotted to perfection. I am sure Tim would be similarly attired if he were walking across the desert. State of the art luggage as well (orange plastic carrier bag).

Mike (21) was dismissed in an unusual manner, he ducked at a ball from McIlroy, but left his bat in a sort of periscope manner. The ball clipping the bat and looping to Ben Twohig at first slip. County 389-9. During the morning session Ben’s mother approached me asking, are you Pete? I thought what have I done now? Nice to meet you Sue, lovely lady, if I may say so.

Hisham Khan (0) joined Dickinson, but was soon on his way, bowled by McIlroy. Leicestershire 393 all out from 118 overs, Dickinson 24 not out from 43 balls. A solid innings from Dickinson who ably demonstrated he knows how to handle the willow when the occasion demands. McIlroy the pick of the Pears bowlers with 5-84 from 28.

Worcestershire CCC commenced their reply at 12.07pm with Oli Westbury and Tom fell opening the innings. The pair of them subsequently going on to post a partnership of 191. Their 50 partnership came up off 12.4, and The Pears went into Lunch on 67-0. Westbury 28*, Fell 32*. 

Whilst having my lunch my eye caught the names of the 1978 First XI. There listed was one HG Steele-Bodger, the son of Micky Steele-Bodger, an Old Rugbeian, ex Harlequins, and England, and now President of the Barbarians. After lunch I was chatting with Robin Matthews who informed me that Steele-Bodger Jnr sits near to him at Northampton Saints Rugby games. I also had the pleasure of meeting Robin’s delightful wife. A pleasure to meet you. I have gone far in life making complimentary remarks to the right people at the right time (smiling emoji).

Westbury went to his 50 (75b, 8x4) with the score on 98-0. The 100 partnership came up from the next delivery. Fell went to his 50 (88b, 9x4). We very briefly then had, would you believe, two or three minutes rain! Then, disaster struck, there was a power cut at 2.25pm. Both Scorers on laptops, wifi gadget plugged in, and Scoreboard on electricity also. Luckily all batteries were full.

I asked a lady in the kitchen if she could get a maintenance person, with electrical expertise, to the pavilion pronto. Upon arrival, the knight in shining armour, ‘Super Sparkie’ said ‘you are going to have to move to where I can get power to you’. Move? How can one score ‘on the hoof?’. Battery percentage was getting lower and lower, Scorers verging on meltdown. Spinners on at both ends, bowling their overs at the rate seen in a T20 game! (Editor’s note: always the case in these situations)

Then as if by magic ‘Super Sparkie’ found an alternative power supply in the building. We breathed a huge sigh of relief as the batteries were down to 18%, the Scoreboard in danger of ‘crashing’ as well as our laptops. Power restored at 3.35pm, having been off for 70 minutes. Long gone are the days when a ‘bob’ for the meter would have done the trick. ‘Super Sparkie’ take a bow mate. ‘Sister Suzi’ and I were sweating like beasts!

After mopping our fevered brows, we got back in the office, and observed Westbury & Fell rack up their 150 partnership after 44.2 overs. Westbury (97) was finally dismissed when he edged Ateeq Javid to keeper Harry Swindells. The Pears 191-1 from 55.5 overs.

Worcestershire CCC went into tea on 201-1 from 59. Fell 89* Josh Dell 4*. Dell (4) was another victim of the Swindells/Javid combination soon after tea. Alex Milton joined Fell, who went to his 100 (192b, 14x4), the score 226-2 from 67.1. The 50 partnership between Fell & Milton came up from 88 balls after 74.4 overs, from the same delivery Worcestershire CCC reached 250 runs.

That sporting oracle Christopher J Stone then made an appearance on the balcony relaying to me information that had gone under my radar. I never buy a newspaper if I know I will bump into Chris, as he knows everything that has been going on. Chris had been having a squint at the School First XI Captains’ Board, and noticed that in 1882 one HT Arnall-Thompson was Captain of the First XI. The very same HT Arnall-Thompson being Leicestershire’s second ever Captain, holding the post from 1886 to 1899. A ‘needle in a haystack’ spot from Chris. I have got a couple of anoraks I am looking to get rid of, if they fit you Chris they are yours.

County took the new ball immediately it was due, and it brought quick success when Fell (117) 227b was caught in the gully by Ben Bhabra off Khan. Fell walking back to the pavilion with Worcestershire on 276-3 from 81.4 overs. (Editor’s note – we see what you did there, Pete, it's too hot for such activities though!)

Ryan Gibson (0) was another victim for left arm seamer Khan, pinned in front. Milton went to his 50 (99b, 7x4). A bit of poetic batting from Milton. Alex Milton 57* and Ben Twohig 19* guided Worcestershire CCC into stumps on 306-4 from 90, trailing by 87 runs. Javid returned excellent figures for Leicestershire CCC 26-8-55-2, a lengthy spell from him to go with his 155 from yesterday. You have my exclusive permission to put your feet up tonight Teeqy!  

The other two wickets to fall going to Khan, returning figures of 2-66 from 14. Ahmed, Dickinson, Bhabra, and Aadil (from his solitary over) were wicketless but stuck to the task in the sweltering conditions. Leicestershire CCC 5 points, Worcestershire CCC 6 points.

* The teams continue their match at Rugby School today. The game is on the First XI square, located off Barby Road, CV22 5DP.