Javid takes five as Seconds draw

RESULT | Second XI Championship: Leicestershire Second XI 393 and 121 for 4 drew with Worcestershire Second XI 459


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Two days on the bounce that I have had a spring in my step early in the morning. On Wednesday morning as a result of the Three Lions winning their World Cup game, and today as a result of Leicestershire’s incredible Vitality Blast win at Northampton last night. I was following the game on Twitter, and BBC Sport, and could not believe how the game was unfolding. A better chase than the Grand National. The Dynamic Duo, Dan & Harry, were keeping us all posted (Editor’s note – not sure dynamic is the right word, but we’ll go with it).

My morning commenced with a leisurely stroll around the alluring perimeters of the Rugby School Cricket ground. I spent time looking around the graveyard of nearby St Marie’s Catholic Church reading the gravestones of some, what appeared, top brass Roman Catholic Priests, and gravestones of about a dozen or so Sisters of Mercy (Nuns). The Church Spire I am told, is one of the tallest Catholic Church Spires in the Country. Would be interesting to know how many RC Churches have spires.

Next up on my cramped agenda, and play is still an hour or so away, was a whistle-stop guided tour of Rugby School. Tim Day, Housemaster of Michell House, and LCCC & Gower Club Member, in addition to being a Member of four other counties, at the last time of counting, got in touch with me last night, and kindly invited to show me round. I took ‘Sister Suzi’ (Mrs Drinkwater, WCCC Scorer) along, as she politely asked if she could join us.

Tim turned up to meet us, near the William Webb-Ellis plaque on the Doctors Wall, on his company transport – a push bike - complete with Rugby School logo emblazoned on the frame. It was extremely interesting looking around the school. I was shown classrooms, the Library, the Chapel, and the Temple Speech House that can seat all of the pupils at the school, some 800 plus. The name of every pupil who lost their life in the two World Wars is suitably honoured in the Chapel.

There is also a plaque acknowledging Old Rugbeians awarded the Victoria Cross, and also names of those awarded the George Cross. I was also shown mementoes acknowledging that Lewis Carroll, Neville Chamberlain, and Rupert Brooke attended the school.  Tim also informed me that HG Steele-Bodger who I referred to in yesterday’s debriefing is an ex Housemaster of School Field, and is now Admissions Registrar. If RB Matthews Esq is perusing this masterpiece, he will no doubt stick that in his memory bank, and bring it up at an opportune moment. Very sincere thanks to Tim for showing me round. I was in awe at some of the rooms within the school complex. A wonderfully informative overview of Rugby School. The place certainly has the wow factor.

I subsequently settled into my position on the pavilion balcony after my cultural masterclass, in preparation for another day’s relaxing observation. Power cuts permitting of course!

Worcestershire CCC commenced on their overnight 306-4, Alex Milton 57 not out, Ben Twohig 10 not out. The hottest day of the three that we have been at Rugby School, the mercury touching 28 degrees, greeted the players as they took to the field. Just a handful of spectators in attendance, but their presence very much appreciated. There was very little breeze to provide relief from the burning sun.

Milton and Twohig forged an indomitable partnership, which was not broken until the final over before lunch. Leicestershire CCC had a third man in position at the start of play, this could catch on! Milton & Twohig posted their 50 partnership, from 75 balls, with the score on 330-4 from 96.2 overs. Their 100 partnership coming from 162 balls when the score reached 378-4 from 110.5 overs.

Skipper Harry Dearden was using Mike, Khan, Bhabra, Javid, and Ahmed in an effort to dislodge the pair. Twohig went to his 50 (86b, 3x4, 1x6) 86b, and Milton, keen to get to his century, did so two balls later from 191 balls (15x4). In the final over before lunch, Ateeq Javid, who was bowling a long spell from the Pavilion End had Milton (108) caught at first slip by Dearden. Worcestershire CCC into lunch on 409-5 from 117.2 overs, Twohig 54 not out.

After I had taken lunch I went for yet another walk around the outer limits of the ground and came across a plaque, on a grassy mound, saying that Boys retreated to this Island (now a grassy mound) after the Great Rebellion at Rugby School, resulting in the reading of the Riot Act 1797. When I hear the words Riot Act mentioned, Mrs J is usually within arm’s length.

Immediately after lunch, two wickets fell in the space of three overs, Ben Bhabra coming in from the Church End doing the damage. Nick Oxley (0) went trapped in front lbw, as did Twohig (56). The Pears now on 411-7 from 120.2 overs. Javid was still wheeling away from the Pavilion End, and was rewarded with a ‘Michelle’ (5-fer) for his unstinting efforts.

Jughara Johal (16) went caught at deep mid-wicket by James Dckinson off Javid, Liam Grey (8) went lbw to Javid, and last man Alex Wilkinson holed out to Dickinson, at deep mid-on off the bowling of Moh Ahmed. Worcestershire CCC all out for 459 from 134.2 overs at 2.45pm. Brinder Phagura 7 not out. Javid turning in a marathon spell, returning figures of 43-12-95-5, just reward for the little twirler. Hishaam Khan 2-79 from 19, Ben Bhabra 2-68 from 21, and Mo Ahmed 1-67 from 20.2, being the other wicket-takers for Leicestershire CCC. Worcestershire CCC holding a lead of 66 runs with a minimum of 49 overs remaining in the day.

Dearden and Harry Swindells opened up for County. The left-handed Dearden stroked two boundaries, but when on 14, he was adjudged leg before to left arm spinner Oxley. County into tea on 35-1 from 13. Swindells 12*, Aadil 2*. Swindells was having somewhat of a slow start by his standards, but later in his innings he posted six boundaries from 20 deliveries.

Just after Tea I thought I was hallucinating, as Tom Smith appeared, asking if ‘Sister Suzi’, and I would like a drink. Excellent work Tom, I am much looking forward to you building on this initiative as the season progresses.

Aadil Ali (4) played one on to his stumps from Oxley, and Javid (I wish I had a pound for every time I have said his name over the past three days) went lbw to Oxley. County 67-3, leading by one run with a minimum of 25.1 overs available.

Sam Evans and Swindells all but ensured that the game was safe. Evans (16) went bowled by leg-spinner Johal before Swindells progressed to another half-century (91b, 6x4). The last hour was called with a minimum of 16 overs to be bowled at 5.03pm. Two further overs were bowled before the players shook hands on a draw. Leicestershire 121-4 from 35 overs, Swindells 58 not out, Hasan Azad 8 not out. Match Drawn. Leicestershire 10 points, Worcestershire 11 points.

Three days cricket played at Rugby school in a wonderful setting. Sincere thanks from everyone at LCCC for making both teams very welcome, and allowing us all to enjoy your excellent facilities. Very sincere thanks to the Groundstaff, Catering Team, and Cleaning Team, and ‘Super Sparkie’, of course. (Editor’s note – can I please echo those sentiments, special thanks to Michael Powell, James Mead, Tim Day and everyone in the Chartwells catering team for their support and assistance, it was much appreciated).

* The Second XI is next in action at Loughborough Town CC in two SET20s on Monday, with the first game starting at 11.30am. Admission is free for both matches.