Jones takes five for Seconds

SCORE | Day 1, Second XI Championship: Northamptonshire Second XI 304 v Leicestershire Second XI 57 for 3


REPORT | By Pete Johnson


Following our SET20 yesterday, we returned to Desborough Town CC for a three-day SEC v Northamptonshire CCC. There had been a thunderstorm locally at 5.30am, and the outfield had taken a bit of a battering from the precipitation.

The Umpires carried out an inspection at 10.00am, and a further inspection at 11.00am. The wicket was fine, but parts of the outfield were still wet. After a sterling effort from the Groundstaff volunteers, play was able to get underway at 11.30am. As the ’Golden Hour’ operates on Days one and two of SEC matches, no overs were lost.

Leicestershire CCC had Northamptonshire CCC in trouble at 54-4, and subsequently 176-8. However, Northamptonshire CCC’s tail wagged like a long-lost dog who had not seen its owner for several days. A tenth wicket partnership of 71 being the highest of the innings, followed by a partnership of 57 for the ninth. Richard Jones bowled impressively taking 5-56 from 12. Leicestershire CCC closing on 57-3 from the 19 overs remaining. Harry Dearden standing firm on 20*.

Lewis Hill skippered County, but his opposite number Charlie Thurston won the toss for Northants CCC, and elected to bat. There were yet again a good number of spectators around the boundary edge when play commenced. An old friend of mine, Bill, personally delivered a bag of Jelly Babies to me before the start of play, a sort of aperitif to the bag of Werther’s Original, given to me yesterday by, you know who, that I omitted to mention in yesterday’s edition of War & Peace. Didn’t mention it as I do not want the Editor sending his heavies round to relieve me of any avenue of pleasure that I may have at my disposal… (Editor’s note: someone is one their way to Desborough as I type…)

After yesterday’s A Day in the Life, I had to pad it out a bit as only one game took place, I will try to concentrate on the action on the field unless anything else crops up in my daily six or seven hour Scoreathon.

Ben Curran and Ben Claydon opened up for Northamptonshire CCC against an opening attack of Dieter Klein and Jones. Claydon (0, 5b) was soon on his way, bowled by Klein in the third over of the morning. Emelio Gay joined Curran, and saw two chances off Klein being spilled when he was not off the mark. He was subsequently put down again off Klein when on 4*.

Gay (19, 31b) was finally caught behind by Harry Swindells off Jones. A score of 36 for two soon became 36 for three when Jones trapped skipper Turston (0, 3b) in front in the same over. Opener Curran was offering resistance but, on 25, was bowled by left arm paceman David Sayer, leaving the score at 54 for four from 21.2 overs.  

Saif Zaib 31* and Tom Sole 23* took Northamptonshire CCC into lunch on 102-4 from 32 overs. After taking lunch, and before play resumed, I was in the company of those two cricket watching stalwarts, Rosemary & Chris. They had read with interest my ramblings about my Scoring colleague Q being able to rattle off the Shipping Forecast areas in correct order, clockwise, around the UK.

They had a copy of the Sunday Telegraph with them dated 13 August 2017 (don’t ask me why!). A crossword clue in said newspaper was ‘what is the southernmost of the Met Office’s Shipping Forecast areas? Q was on a march around the boundary after polishing off a generous helping of lunch.

I summoned him to our little quorum, and told him his reputation was on the line if he could not answer a certain question. The question was put to him, he scratched his chin, recited a few things aloud to himself, and wallop came up with the correct answer, Trafalgar.

Rosemary and Chris were in awe of his knowledge of useless information. I had no doubt whatsoever that he would deliver the correct answer, having been cooped up with him for a day-and-a-half. Upon returning to the Scorebox Q went on his laptop, and proudly showed me where the Trafalgar Shipping Area was. Right down off the coast of Portugal. North Westerly veering 5 to 6 today, Sea state moderate or rough, no icing. The man is a legend in his own lunchtime.

Zaib and Sole resumed their innings after lunch, Sole pleased that there was no fish on the menu (Editor’s note: the Shipping Forecast may be of interest to him though), and looking forward again to hearing the sound of leather on willow. From the second ball after lunch they posted a 50 partnership from 67 balls. In the next over Zaib (31, 70b) was caught by Swindells off Jones.

Another half-century partnership followed between Sole and Drew Brierley for the sixth wicket from 47 balls. Brierley being the aggressor making 34 (26b) before being run out attempting a second run. Klein swooping on the ball at cover, and arrowing it in to keeper Swindells who removed the bails with Brierley frankly short of his ground. Anyone remember that Leicester entrepreneur Frank Brierley from the 1960s?

Northants CCC 161-6 from 41.3 overs. The score had moved to 176 when Sole (46, 66b) was expertly caught, one-handed, by Rob Sayer in the gully off Jones. I was hoping Sole may have been out fishing outside the off stump, but it was not to be. As he made his way back to the Pavilion, Q matter of factly remarked that Sole is a Met Office Shipping Forecast area (Editor’s note: see previous note, I’m always ahead of the game, my grandfather was in the Royal Navy), sandwiched between Fitzroy, and Lundy. Aggghhhhh help…

The score of 176-7 quickly became 176-8 when Luke Bartier (0, 2b) went lbw to Jones. A five-for for Jones. Boing Boing Jonesy! We then had a partnership of 57 for the ninth wicket between Charlie Horne and Adam King. Their 50 alliance came from 128 balls. The overall partnership between the pair swallowing up 145 deliveries. A tremendous rebuilding job from the two young Northants players.

King (24, 67b) went lbw to David Sayer before Home reached 50 (95b, 6x4, 2x6) the score on 267-9 from 74.4. The tenth wicket partnership then surpassed the ninth, to become the highest of the innings. Ben Cotton, like his namesake, playing the dots, but Cotton picking off the bowling when deliveries so merited it. Cotton trading with the bowling. (Editor’s note: this thread needs to stop now!)

The 50 partnership between Home and Cotton came up from 56 balls, 283-9 from 77.2 overs. The Tea interval was delayed as nine wickets were down, but the tenth wicket pair survived for the regulation 30 minutes. Tea taken with Northants on 299-9 from 81, Home 67* Cotton 45*. The afternoon session comprised of 49 overs, a 3 hour 12 minute session. Tea being taken at 5.37pm. I was ready for supper with cocoa, let alone tea. (Editor’s note: there was hot chocolate and Bovril on offer at Emerald Headingley last night!)

The new ball was taken immediately after tea. Klein bowled the first over with the new cherry, but with the second ball of his first over with the new ball, David Sayer dropped one in short to Cotton (40, 49b) who spooned it to Hassan Azad at square leg. Charlie Home (67*, 117b), a fine knock. A partnership of 71 for the tenth wicket. Northamptonshire CCC 304 all out from 82.2 overs. Jones took 5-56 off 12, David Sayer stepped up to the plate with 3-48 off 14.2, and Klein kept at it with 1-53 off 19.

I would also like to make mention of wicket-keeper Swindells. There were four byes in the innings, all coming off one delivery just after lunch. The Swindler kept a tight ship behind the stumps, on many occasions throwing himself about like a goalkeeper in a penalty shoot-out, with takes wide to his left, and to his right.

Leicestershire CCC had 19 overs to bat before Stumps, and found themselves in somewhat stormy waters. This shipping forecast thing is catching, it’s the company I am in from 11.00am until Close of Play. However, Harry Dearden steadied the ship through to stumps, although losing of his crew mates overboard.

Dearden & Swindells opened the innings against an opening attack of Cotton and Brierley. Swindells (10, 22b) went caught behind by keeper King off Brierley, 32-1 from 7.4. Aadil Ali (0, 2b) went lbw to Brierley two balls later in the same over. Umpire Paul Baldwin came on the radio to inform us it was leg before, not caught behind, as we had initially thought when the ‘keeper threw the ball skywards.

Dearden had meanwhile found the ropes with perfectly executed shots off Cotton (x2), and Bartier. Lewis Hill (12, 16b) went bowled by Bartier, when playing forward. Ben Mike came in as nightwatchman, and helped Dearden take Leicestershire into calmer waters.

Close of Play arrived with County on 57-3 from 19 overs. Dearden (20*, 52b) and Mike (9*, 23b), County trailing by 247 runs. Northamptonshire CCC CCC 5 points, Leicestershire CCC 4 points. The day’s play finished at 7.34pm. Golden Hour, more like Midnight Hour, where’s Wilson Pickett when you need him?

* The second day’s play of this Second XI Championship game at Desborough Town CC will start at 11am on Wednesday.