Good final day awaits at York

SCORE | Day 2, Second XI Championship (3 days): Yorkshire Second XI 253 v Leicestershire Second XI 375 for 9 dec & 109 for 7


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

We arrived at York Sports Club for day two of the SEC between Yorkshire CCC and Leicestershire CCC. The first challenge of the day greeted my co-pilot, and I, before 9.00am upon our arrival at the ground. It involved finding a parking space as a course/seminar was being held in one of the function rooms at York CC, and the delegates were in situ before the cricketers arrived.

Mission accomplished, I went on a reconnoiter exploring the outer perimeters of the York Sports Club, taking in two other cricket fields, tennis courts, and York RUFC. The small terracing in the stand of York RUFC still being littered with empty beer cans, presumably from their last home match of the season. I was also informed that the Clubhouse on pitch two is a venue for regular Stag & Hen parties. Oh my goodness! (startled looking emoji).

It was a compelling day’s cricket at York today, the game being initially in favour of Leicestershire CCC, but being firmly in the balance at close of play. Yorkshire were dismissed for 253, thanks in the main to the tail wagging profusely. Mo Ahmed being the leading wicket taker with 3-37. In the 30 overs remaining in the day, County were reduced to 109-7. A lead of 231 runs. Harry Swindells ‘Little H’ weighing in with 46. Leicestershire holding a lead of 231 runs going into the final day.

Yorkshire resumed on their overnight 11-2, Saf Imtiaz 1*, the incoming batsman was Matthew Waite. Harry Funnell having three balls remaining in his unfinished over from last night. Unfortunately ‘Big H’ was unable to take the field due to injury. Tom Wells bowled three balls to complete Funnell’s unfinished over.  

Imtiaz (7) went caught behind by Swindells off Ben Mike in the seventh over of the morning. In the next over Ben Birkhead (7) went caught by Ateeq Javid at second slip off Wells. Yorkshire 27 for 4 off 13.4 overs.

Tom Loten joined Waite, and proved difficult to dislodge. Mike was bowling an excellent spell from the Pavilion End, passing the bat on many occasions, and proving difficult to score off. Purely a personal point of view, but Mike always looks a very good prospect to me, and I do hope that his efforts get their just rewards.

Midway through the morning session the 50 or so people on the course being held at the ground appeared on the Pavilion balcony, taking their morning break. I have never seen so many people standing together at a cricket match with not an alcoholic drink to be seen. They would reappear several times throughout the day on the balcony.

Waite & Loten posted a 50 partnership from 84 balls when the score reached 77 for 4 from 27.3 overs. In the next over Waite (26) was caught by Aadil at slip off Wells. Just reward for Wells who earlier in the morning had three extremely confident lbw shouts, fully supported by the ‘keeper and slip cordon, turned down.

Loten went to his 50 (79b, 9x4) in what was to be the last over before lunch, as two balls later Jordan Thomson (10) was caught by Aadil at slip off left arm spinner Mo Ahmed. Yorkshire going into lunch on 120 for 6 from 38.4 overs.

In the second over after lunch, Loten (54) went caught down the legside by ‘keeper Swindells off Mike. Yorkshire 120-7 off 39.2 overs. Then the Yorkshire tail began to wag. Josh Shaw (10) went caught at mid-on by Wells off Ahmed, leaving the White Rose men on 150-8 off 48.4 overs. A frustrating partnership then developed between James Wainman and Ed Barnes, they added 59 for the ninth wicket, their 50 alliance coming from 111 balls.

The partnership was finally broken when Wainman (49) edged left arm seamer James Graham to keeper Swindells. A deserved wicket for Graham, who in his earlier spell found the edge, but the ball dissected the slips. Graham also saw two boundaries rattle through the unprotected third man area in his earlier spell.

The afternoon sun was now very hot, and there were a good number of bare torsos on display around the boundary that made it feel like the York equivalent of Love Island. Last man Karl Carver joined Barnes, and the pair had added 44 for the last wicket when Barnes (38) was caught behind by Swindells off Ahmed, Yorkshire all out for 253 from 79.2 overs.  

Ahmed the leading wicket taker with 3-37 from 12.2, Mike 2-22 from 11, Wells 2-44 from 18.3, Graham 1-39 from 11, and not forgetting Funnell 2-8 from 2.3 on day one. Tea was then taken with Leicestershire holding a lead of 122 runs. Not wishing to state the obvious but all ten of the Yorkshire wickets to fall went to catches. Yet another statistical nugget from the ‘Johnson Mine’ of useless information.

With only 20 minutes allowed for tea, and a half-marathon to complete to reach our feeding station, and return to our isolated facilities, time was at a premium. However, as I was walking back to the Scorebox, with plate of tea and regulation liquid refreshment in hand, plus an array of indigestion tablets, I engaged in conversation with none other than Leicester Tigers legend John Wells, now of Newcastle Falcons RFC.

I must admit that I did not recognize John at first in his cool shades, and a sun hat that the Antiques Roadshow may have found of interest. He looked in the peak of condition. Great to have a chat with John, and if you are reading this John, I have given Chris Cary your regards, not to mention that man of abstinence, Jacko! Nice to meet you John, as always, a perfect gent. (That should see me right if ever I want a couple of tickets anytime).

Leicestershire CCC had 30 overs to negotiate before close of play, but it was Yorkshire who had the better of the final session leaving the game delicately poised. The confines of the scorebox was like a sporting nerve centre, Germany on the point of going out of the World Cup, Sweden walloping Mexico, Leicestershire First XI chasing down 133 to win their match at Derby, and my Yorkshire scoring ‘oppo keeping up with events in Yorkshire’s First XI game against Surrey at Scarborough. In addition a game of cricket to score as well!

Harry Swindells and Charlie Lowen opened up for County. Swindells played out a maiden for the first over then Lowen (0) went trapped in front first ball by Wainman. Aadil (12) was another lbw victim, this time to Matthew Taylor, Foxes 38-2 from 9.2 overs. Aadil again had a number of short balls to contend with. He deals with them in a very accomplished manner, just swaying his head towards the leg-side. I likened it to a Matador pulling his cape out of the way of a bull at the last minute.

Swindells, meanwhile was taking the attack to Yorkshire CCC clipping boundaries through cover, third man, and straight. The miniature juggernaut had made 46 from 63 balls when he was bowled by left arm spinner Karl Carver. I expect Carver wishes he could bottle that delivery. County 91-3 from 17.4 overs.

Ateeq Javid (25, 24b) went lbw to seamer Barnes, and shortly afterwards Wells (7) was caught at mid-wicket by Taylor off a Barnes bouncer. A ‘bouncing bomb’ from Barnes, storming in from the Scorebox End. I hope that did not go under the radar of anyone who knows The Dam Busters history. Leicestershire 102-5 from 20.2 overs.

Zak Chappell (4) was bowled by Carver, and Harry Funnell (0) was yet another lbw victim, this time to Azeem Rafiq. Four batsman trapped in front in Leicestershire’s second innings. I am sure that the late Colonel Abrams is giving a knowing nod of approval in that great Recording Studio up in the sky. My readers will no doubt take notice that my musical knowledge spans a multitude of decades.

County 106-7 with 5.2 overs of the day remaining. Ben Mike (5*) 25b and James Dickinson (2*) 19b saw off four maidens in the final four overs of the day. In my youth I was able to see maidens off at a similar rate of knots!

Leicestershire closing on 109-7 from 30 overs a lead of 231 runs. An intriguing day’s play beckons tomorrow with a minimum of 96 overs available. Yorkshire 8 points, Leicestershire 8 points.

* Leicestershire Second XI is next in action at home on Monday (July 2) with two T20 games against Worcestershire Second XI at the Fischer County Ground. Admission is free and the first game gets underway at 11.30am.