Hughes takes four for Seconds

SCORE | Day 2, Second XI Friendly (3 days): Leicestershire Second XI 327 all out v Kent Second XI 563 for 6


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

We arrived at the Park Road home of Loughborough Town CC for day two of the SEF v Kent. Whilst the players were busily engaged in their strenuous pre-match warm-up routines, I took solace in the confines of the Clubhouse, and had a good chat to Paul the Groundsman. We covered the local cricket scene from bygone days, and had an interesting discussion about Paul’s time spent in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), in his formative years. A pleasant backdrop whilst indulging in an early morning coffee, accompanied by copious amounts of biscuits of course. After this I had a brief reconnoiter around the streets in the immediate vicinity of the ground.

There were a limited number of spectators present, diehards one and all, when the players took to the field under a cloudy sky. This being in stark contrast to the sunshine that had been present when the player’s warm up routines took place earlier in the morning. The big yellow fella in the sky had gone AWOL.

Leicestershire had a tough day in the field with Kent progressing their first innings total to a formidable 563-6 from the 104 overs available to them in the day. There were 2twocenturions Harry Came 185 and Kashif Ali 140*, with Oliver Robinson and Grant Stewart weighing in with half-centuries. Chesney Hughes was Leicestershire’s most successful bowler with 4-51. Kent holding a lead of 236 at close of play.

Kent resumed on their overnight 51-0. Don Manuwelge 26* Harry Came 24*. Please note that that Manuwelge was the not out batsman overnight, not Mosun Hussain as stated in yesterday’s report. The pair had added 20 runs in the morning session when Manuwelge (32) went caught just in front of square by Jacob Bailey off the bowling of Harry Funnell. Funnell all ship shape before the hands of the clock had reached 12 noon. Kent 71-1 from 24.3 overs.

The incoming batsman, Mosun Hussain (12), was expertly, and nonchalantly caught at second slip by Hughes of the bowling of Bailey. Hussain getting an edge, the ball flying like a rocket just above shoulder height, Hughes taking the catch in a matter of fact manner two-handed to his right. Kent 92-2 from 30.3. Jacob’s first red-ball wicket of the season for the 2s. Keen gardeners amongst you will be pleased to see him on the ladder.

The Scorers, Andy and I were then visited by a regular Second XI spectator, John, who graciously asked if we required a cup of tea or coffee. The answer was of course in the affirmative, and John duly delivered. Oliver Robinson, who racked up a big hundred in the 50-over game on Monday joined his opening partner of that day Came, and the pair forged a partnership of 184 for the third wicket.

Came went to his 50 (9x4) from 93 balls when the score reached 107-2 from 34.5 overs. Their 50 partnership came up after 39.2 overs with the score on 142-2. Robinson when on 23 had edged leg-spinner James Dickinson through the slips, the ball going to the boundary. Robinson went to his 50 (7x4,1x6) from 40 balls with the score on 168-2 from 43.2 overs. Their 100 alliance came up 24 runs later after 49.3 overs. The pair took Kent into lunch on 197-2 from 52. Came 79* Robinson 64*.

You may recall that yesterday we had a visit from the two FCG Media Moguls Dan & Harry. Editor, please note no inverted commas around Media Moguls, I know which side my bread is buttered. (Editor's note: point well made, and taken)

Well today just before lunch a big cheese from the office regally swept into the ground. No, not Ricky Gervais, but Jen! Unlike Dan and Harry, Jen gave the wonderful food on offer a wide berth, and eagerly beavered away getting various tasks sorted.

Just after I had consumed an industrial sized plate full of chilli - saves going back for seconds, Jen politely and respectfully asked if she could have an audience with me. My time was limited in view of the multitude of tasks (Editor’s note: does eating and drinking count as two tasks?) I have to address during intervals. Consequently Jen’s chat was on the hoof as I returned to my tranquil oasis. Comforting to know that Jen and I both have the ability to think on our feet. (Editor’s note: impressive multi-tasking from our scorer: walking, talking, eating, and holding a coffee mug!)

The 40 minutes had flown past in the blink of an eye so back to the cricket. Aadil was shuffling his bowlers trying to dislodge Came and Robinson. Hughes, the eighth bowler used, was delivering a tidy spell from the Shelthorpe End. When the score had reached 226, Robinson (83) got underneath one from Hughes, and skied the ball, the bowler taking the catch some three yards behind the Umpire at the bowler’s end.

Came was put down at short cover when on 93 off the bowling of Hughes. Came went to his 100 (13x4) from 196 balls when the score reached 250-3 from 68.1 overs. Kashif Ali joined Came, and the pair posted a partnership of 174. The 50-partnership between Came and Ali came up after 72.1 with the score on 276-3.

In mid-afternoon the splendid fellow that is John meandered up to Scoring HQ to enquire as to whether we wanted refreshment. John has got outstanding untapped potential in the world of beverage deployment, and his face will be like a Beacon of Hope at future Second XI games. Ali was put down off Dickinson when on 45.

County took the new ball after 84 overs, it was entrusted to Funnell and Bailey. Ali went to his 50 (6x4,1x6) from 66 balls with the score on 370-3 from 86.1 overs. Five balls later the 150 partnership came up between Came and Ali. Kent went into Tea on 387-3 from 89. Came 182* Ali 59*. In the first over after tea, Tom Wells had two confident lbw shouts turned down. Came’s fine innings came to an end when he was on 185. He was caught at short extra by Wells off the bowling of Hughes. Kent 407-4 from 94.1 overs.

County then claimed two wickets in quick succession. Adam Khan (2) went caught at first slip by Aadil off Hughes, and Will MacVicar (4) went caught by Bailey at backward point again off Hughes. Kent 417-6 from 99 overs but the temperature was about to rise. Hope that little nugget has not gone under anyone’s radar. Ali and the incoming Grant Stewart added 146 runs in the 20 overs that remained in the day.

They were throwing the bat at everything seeking to have as big a lead as possible before close of play. The only glimmer of hope County having was when Stewart was put down when on 42 off the bowling of Ben Mike. The 50 partnership between Ali and Stewart came up after 108.5 overs, the score 469 for 6. Ali went to his 100 (11x4, 1x6) from 136 balls. Stewart went to his 50 (5x4, 2x6) from 51 balls, and the pair posted their 100 partnership from 94 balls.

A number of times people were searching for balls in the shrubbery around the ground during this late in the day brisk partnership. I don’t know why but I had a picture in my mind of Dan Nice on a golf course when I looked at people ferreting away in the undergrowth. (Editor's note: fair comment)

Kent closed on 563-6 from 119 overs, Ali 140*, Stewart 84*. A lead of 236 going into the final day. A very challenging day in the field for Leicestershire’s, in the majority, very young bowling attack. Days like this happen to all bowling attacks, young or not so young, in all levels of cricket, but nothing beats the hands on experience of being involved.

* We visit Loughborough Town CC again for the third and final day of the Friendly, admission is free and the bar will be open.