Mike takes three against leaders

SCORE | Day 1, Second XI Championship: Leicestershire Second XI 26 for 0 v Durham Second XI 410 for 7 dec


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Leicestershire Second XI returned to the accommodating surroundings of Kibworth CC for a SEC match versus leaders Durham CCC. This being game six of nine in Leicestershire CCC’s 2018 SEC campaign. The weather was the same as usual for this sun-drenched summer. In the long hot summer of 1976 I recall a Minister of Water being appointed (Denis Howell MP, who was an ex football referee). Just wondering if Mrs May might be considering whistling someone up for the 2018 version of the same office?

Leicestershire CCC had a long day in the field in sweltering conditions. Durham posting 410-9 declared, with Michael Jones making 92, and Scott Steel, who got to half-centuries in the SET20 game between the two sides on Monday, weighing in with 94.

The Foxes bowlers stuck manfully to the task, and were finally fully rewarded with four wickets in the space of 12 overs when the new ball was taken. Ben Mike was the leading wicket-taker for Leicestershire CCC with three for 58 from 18 overs. County had nine overs to negotiate after the Durham CCC declaration, and safely reached stumps on 26-0.

In the pre-match warm ups I noticed Ellie, our fearless Physio, taking part in a kickabout. The game was all tippy-tappy, nicey-nicey, so as to ensure nobody got injured. No chance for Ellie to show her true prowess. I am reliably told she is known as ‘The Scythe’ in football circles. Also, welcome to Paul Johnson, who is helping support our Coaching Team this week. 

Lewis Hill skippered County, his opposite number Gareth Harte called correctly, and had no hesitation in electing to bat. There was the usual good attendance when the players took to the field, with many familiar faces amongst the faithful throng of spectators. As The Merrymen said in 1988, and some years later The Vengaboys in 2013, it was Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot.

Ross Greenwell and Jones opened up for Durham, and posted a 50 partnership from 12 overs. Just after the 50 partnership had been reached Greenwell (23, 39b) went caught behind by keeper Hill, off the bowling of trialist, and right arm seamer, Ali Khan. An extremely good catch by Hill, snaffling the ball one-handed, airborne, diving to his right.

Mike was unlucky when incoming batsman Harte edged him through the slip cordon when on 7*. I then had a visit from a gentleman named Clive, who presented me with a bag of Jelly Babies for my exclusive consumption. Sincere thanks Clive, my ramblings about being given bags of sweets are reaping rich dividends.

Jones (35*) and Harte (30*) took Durham CCC into lunch on 103-1 from 33. During the Luncheon Interval, I was asked if one of the Umpires, Scott Richardson, was the same person who played a few games for Yorkshire First XI, 2000-2003, and also appeared for Leicestershire Second XI from 1996-1999. I had no idea, but asked said Umpire at an opportune moment, and he confirmed he was one and the same person. Copyright for unearthing this Treasure Trove of Trivia goes to Chris Stone. One of those old anoraks of mine obviously fits him! 

County had a grueling afternoon in the field under a hot sun, as Durham CCC went from 103-1 at Lunch to 293-3 at Tea. In the first over after Lunch Jones and Harte posted their 50 partnership when the score reached 107-1. Five overs later County left arm spinner Moh Ahmed fell awkwardly chasing and fielding a ball, and had to leave the field. It transpired that he would take no further part in the match, and we wish him well for, hopefully, a speedy recovery.

The ball after Ahmed left the field, Jones went to his 50 (131b, 10x4) with the score at 123-1 from 39 over.

Harte went to his 50 (95b, 7x4) when the score reached 153-1 from 46.4 overs. In the next over the 100 partnership came up between Jones & Harte. They subsequently posted their 150 alliance when the score reached 204-1 from 56.5.

County had instances of misfortune in the afternoon session with a number of dropped catches, some difficult, others not so hard. I have caught many a ‘blinder’ when scoring, it looks easy sitting watching, but believe me, it’s not. Rob Sayer had two chances put down at short-leg, and later in the piece Harte was spilled at slip, as was Steel later when on 0.

Soon after the 150 partnership had been posted by Jones & Harte, County had some long overdue success. Harte (84) was trapped lbw by James Dickinson, who, as always, was in the hunt for a bargain! Durham CCC 211-2 from 58 overs.

Ryan Pringle joined Jones. The score had moved to 230 when Jones (92, 191b) was bowled by Dieter Klein. Steel joined Pringle, and was put down off the bowling of Klein. Pringle and Steel racked up a 50 partnership from 49 balls, and took Durham CCC into tea on 293-3 from 72. Pringle 39*, Steel 34*.

Just before tea, Pringle when on 39*, had survived an ear shattering appeal for caught behind off Aadil Ali. During the tea Interval it was brought to my attention that The Tim Murray Stand on the far side of the ground, in the shadow of the second Pavilion was full to capacity (seven people), sitting in the shade, not an inch to spare. The venerable Mr Murray having to seek a vantage point, and take refuge from the burning sun away from his normal bolt hole. It could not have been that hot though as his sleeves were buttoned to the cuff, as is customary, tie immaculately in place, and brown cap competently repelling any piercing rays from the sun.

Soon after tea, Pringle went crisply to his 50 (59b, 6x4, 1x6) with the score on 320-3. In the next over Steel also went to 50 (44b, 8x4). Immediately afterwards the pair posted their 100 partnership from 99 balls. Leicestershire CCC took the new ball as soon as it was due. The first delivery with the new ball brought a wicket, Klein trapping Pringle (58) in front, Durham CCC 336-4 from 80.1.

County then had their best period of play of the innings. Ryan Davies (2) got into a tangle from a short ball off Mike, and Hassan Azad took the catch running across from gully as the ball spiraled into the air.

Steel was extremely fortunate to escape being caught from a leading edge off Mike that dropped between two fielders. Liam Trevaskis (4) was pinned in front by Mike, leaving Durham CCC on 362-6 from 85.5.

Incoming batsman Josh Coughlin was put down at slip off Mike. Steel’s innings came to an end when he edged Mike behind to ‘keeper Hill. Durham declared on 410-7 leaving County to negotiate nine over’s before stumps. The pick of the County bowlers was Mike, while Klein bowled 21 overs in the demanding conditions, taking 2-88. The other wicket-takers were Dickinson 1-43 from 11, and Ali Khan 1-89 from 14.

Sam Evans and Harry Swindells opened the innings for Leicestershire CCC, against an opening attack of James Weighell (pronounced wheel), and Oliver Gibson. The pint-sized pairing safely taking County into Stumps. Evans being very resolute in defending, showing the bowler the bat maker’s name, to the majority of the deliveries he received. Evans (16*, 35b).  Swindells supporting stoically with 8* (20b). County closing on 26-0 from nine overs, trailing by 384 runs. Leicestershire CCC 3 points, Durham CCC 4 points.

Before signing off for the day I must mention my scoring colleague Peter Connolly, a lovely bloke, this week being the first time he has had the pleasure of my company, or should it be the other way round! We covered a lot of ground in our many chats throughout the day, covering a multitude of topics. I even learned that The Blaydon Races was written in 1862. Ah Me Lads!! (Editor’s note – both scoring Peters have been a big help to the club over the last few years, thank you very much for that!)

* The second day of the SEC game at Kibworth CC begins at 11am today. Admission is free.