Seconds end T20 campaign with a win

RESULT | Second XI T20 v Northamptonshire CCC at Desborough Town CC

Game 1: Leicestershire Second XI (2 points) beat Northamptonshire Second XI by 4 wickets

Game 2: No result – 1 point each



REPORT | By Pete Johnson


Leicestershire Second XI took on Northamptonshire Second XI at Desborough Town CC in the final two matches of the SET20 2018 campaign. It was a somewhat surreal experience returning to Desborough Town CC as the away side, having played a fair number of our home games at this venue in the past.

My journey over to Desborough was somewhat of a logistical challenge for me, but resulted in me reaping rich dividends. At 9.00am precisely tickets went on sale to the general public for the World PDO Darts Championships at The Ally Pally between Christmas and New Year.

I pulled over into a lay by at 8.55am, laptop on, phone to my ear, ready to be first in the queue for tickets. Anyone travelling past in a car would have thought that they had seen a ‘Captain of Industry’ hitting the ground running on a Monday morning. However, I had bigger fish to fry with Ally Pally Darts tickets up for grabs. All done & dusted by 9.20am, a feast of fancy dress fun & frolics waits, not to mention the odd beer or two.

I shall be accompanied on this intrepid expedition by a gentleman who is ‘the man’ at the Company whose name adorns the back of our shirts for Specsavers County Championship games. Needless to say our visit to the Mecca of Darts does not clash with any LCFC matches over the festive period. 

Upon arrival at Desborough the Umpires had a good look at the pitch, and decided on a 10.30am inspection, that was subsequently followed by an 11.00am inspection. Overnight, and early morning rain had taken its toll, and also the wicket showed signs of wear.

Leicestershire CCC had Northants CCC teetering in game one on 25 for six, the Steelbacks eventually making it to 106 for nine from their 20 overs. Richard Jones was the leading wicket taker with 3-21 from 4. In reply Leicestershire reached their target after 17 overs. Charlie Lowen weighed in with 30 at the top of the order, supported by cameos from Lewis Hill (15), Sam Evans (20) and Rob Sayer (18*).

Play got underway at 12.16pm. There was a very good crowd present for a Second XI game. Spectators were sitting in front of the fencing at the Farm Park End, on the pavilion verandah, around the boundary to the left of the Pavilion, adjacent to the screen at the Field End, and on the far side of the ground. A humid overcast morning greeted the players as they took to the field.

A warm welcome to club legend Phil DeFreitas, who is assisting with Second XI coaching duties this week.

Game 1

Lewis Hill skippered Leicestershire, Northants won the toss and elected to bat. The hosts were soon in a bit of trouble. Jones and Dieter Klein opened the attack. Ricardo Vasconcelos (11, 11b) went caught by David Sayer at mid-off from the bowling of Klein.

Ben Curran (0, 1b) went first ball, caught expertly by the diving Harry Dearden at mid-off from the bowling of Jones. Saif Zaib (0, 1b) got a first baller from Jones when he was caught at mid-wicket by Ben Mike.

Skipper Charlie Thurston (5, 5b) went caught at deep mid-wicket by Evans off Klein before Drew Brierley (0, 4b) was bowled by Jones. The West Brom supporter bagging his third wicket of the innings. Northants 18-5 off 4.4 overs. It soon became 25-6 when Luke Bartier (2) was bowled by left arm paceman David Sayer.

Then followed a rebuilding job, and a 50 partnership off 40 balls between Andrew Bramley and Brett Hutton.

Their alliance was broken when Bramley (30, 34b) was superbly caught by Klein on the long-on boundary off Rob Sayer, Klein taking the ball, travelling at jet propelled speed, with both hands above his head standing inches inside the rope.

At this juncture I must mention my scoring colleague, Quentin, Q to his mates. No, not the Q in the James Bond films, but he of the Q fame who can rattle off the Shipping Forecast areas as his party piece. Q, who is on loan from Oxford for this fixture, now has another little gem up his sleeve. He now has knowledge of Inland shores UK Shipping Forecasts, a little taster of his chamber of secrets is that he is an expert on the inshore area of Berwick upon Tweed to Whitby. If you tune in to BBC Radio 4, at 00.45 hours or 05.20 hours, I am told you can hear said Inland Shore Forecast first hand. An enthralling four days coming up I feel…

It soon became 83-8 off 14.1 when Hutton (32, 21b) was caught by Lowen at mid-off off Ben Mike. Ben Cotton (0, 2b) was caught by Aadil Ali at mid-wicket, again off Mike. Last man Ben Bhabra (10*, 20b), who has appeared for County 2s this season, and Charlie Home (12*, 15b) saw Northants to 106-9 from their 20 overs.

Leicestershire had five wicket-taking bowlers, Jones 3-21 from 4, Klein 2-8 from 4, Mike 2-18 from 4, (D) Sayer 1-18 from 3, and (R) Sayer 1-19 from 4.

Charlie Lowen and Harry Swindells opened up for County, and Lowen was fast out of the blocks taking three boundaries off paceman Hutton in the first over of the innings. Swindells (4, 5b) took a boundary in the next over, but was caught in the deep by Brierley off seamer Cotton. Aadil Ali (3, 4b) had a brief stay being caught by Bramley off Hutton.

Hill joined Lowen, and the pair put on 29 for the third wicket, the highest partnership of the innings. Lowen (30, 19b) was bowled by seamer Bhabra, Hill (15, 16b) went lbw to spinner Zaib, and Dearden (6, 15b) went caught by Bhabra off Zaib, leaving Leicestershire on 67-5 from 12.

Evans & Rob Sayer then quelled any jitters County may have had. Evans took three boundaries off Bhabra. Sayer scored a four off Bhabra plus a huge maximum off Zaib. Evans (20, 25b) went caught behind by keeper Vasconcelos off seamer Bartier.

Sayer (18*, 11b) and Ben Mike (8*, 7b) saw County safely home on 107-6 from 17. Northamptonshire CCC 0 points, Leicestershire CCC 2 points.

Game 2

Unfortunately game two was abandoned due to an unfit pitch. This completes Leicestershire Second XI SET20 campaign, although we still have two friendlies to play at Lancashire CCC. We have finished fourth in the Northern Group on 15 points.

Lancashire CCC (18 points, two games still to play) and Durham CCC (18 points, all games completed) from the Northern Group have qualified for Finals Day.

A final point that I feel it is prudent to mention. The game finished at 2.53pm. I can remember exactly where I was 52 years ago to the date, 30 July 1966, at that precise time. Sitting in front of a TV for the World Cup Final, England v West Germany, and we all know what happened next! I actually went to three group matches in that unforgettable time for English football.

* The two teams now meet in a Championship fixture at Desborough Town CC over the next three days.