SEC defeat at York despite Mike contribution

SCORE | Day 3, Second XI Championship (3 days): Yorkshire Second XI 253 and 293 for 4 beat Leicestershire Second XI 375 for 9 dec & 170 by 6 wickets


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

We arrived at York Sports Club for the final day of the SEC between Yorkshire CCC and Leicestershire CCC. No problems finding a parking space this morning as the facility was hot hosting any courses/seminars today.

After the game being finely balanced at the end of day two, Yorkshire CCC ultimately registered a comfortably victory, getting home by six wickets with a minimum of 21.4 overs of the day remaining.

Leicestershire CCC added a further 61 runs to their overnight total, using up 16.1 overs in the process. Ben Mike, James Dickinson, and Moh Ahmed battled hard to post a challenging total, but it was not to be.

Yorkshire CCC were asked to get 293 to win from a minimum of 77 overs. Azeem Rafiq, and Saf Imtiaz were the thorns in County’s side making a run a ball 90, and 93, respectively. Matthew Waite weighed in with 50 not out. Mike was the pick of the Leicestershire CCC attack with 2-47.

Leicestershire CCC resumed on their overnight 109-7, holding a lead of 231 runs. Mike 5*, Dickinson 2*. A hot, sunny day greeted the players as they took to the field, yet another El Scorchio day temperature wise on the agenda for those on the field of play, as I faithfully observe proceedings from an air conditioned haven.

Seamer Josh Shaw and spinner Karl Carver opened the attack for Yorkshire. Mike and Dickinson took control for the first ten overs of the morning. Mike posted four fluent boundaries, and Dickinson executing a paddle shot, the ball going to the ropes. They had added 44 for the eighth wicket when Dickinson (14, 46b) was bowled by seamer Ed Barnes, who had replaced Shaw at the Scorebox End.

During their partnership John Sadler of the First XI Coaching staff appeared on the boundary edge. The irony of the situation was that just as he appeared my colleague John asked me what I had got planned for tomorrow. I replied that at 9.00am on the dot, I was going for a haircut! However Sads, as you well know, you don’t see much grass growing on a busy road!

Then, disaster struck, I lost a long and trusted companion, my pen ran out. I had grown quite attached to it having rescued it from a hotel room in Bromley last July, during the Second XI game against Kent CCC at Beckenham. It had served me well at countless games, and had survived a harsh winter. I ceremoniously placed it in the litter bin in the Scorebox, where it lay at rest with paper cups, paper plates, and a number of banana skins. Goodbye old friend, you will be missed. I plucked an unsuspecting replacement from my bag, and was able to run it in over the remainder of the day. It is still serving its apprenticeship, its prospects look good, but it is early days as yet.

Ahmed joined Mike, and took boundaries off both Carver and Barnes. Mike’s innings came to an end when he was on 36 (67b), he got a leading edge to a delivery from Carver skied it towards cover where Imtiaz took the catch. Incoming batsman Jacob Bailey (0) was castled first ball by Barnes. Ahmed 16 not out (27b). Leicestershire all out 170 from 46.1 overs. Yorkshire requiring 293 to win from a minimum of 77 overs, a rate of 3.80 an over.

Yorkshire commenced their innings at 12.12pm. Mike and Bailey opening the attack. Andrew Hodd took Mike for successive boundaries from the first two balls of the innings, but survived a huge lbw appeal three balls later. Wells replaced Bailey after just two overs. Hodd (33) went expertly caught, low down to his right, by Wells at second slip off Mike with the score on 46 for 1 from seven overs. Rafiq and Imtiaz took Yorkshire into lunch on 69-1 from 11.

Just before the luncheon Interval, a gentleman who I had heard much about from John the Yorkie Scorer, entered the ground. The gentleman in question is affectionately known around these the Yorkshire circuit as ‘The Cheeseman’. In fact as the local Umpire made his way from square leg towards the bowlers end, he radioed us on his walkie talkie with the immortal words, in a fine Yorkshire brogue: ‘Cheeseman has just come in t’ground’.

Apparently he has acquired the moniker Cheeseman for his intriguing ability to devour complete wedges of cheese at one sitting. His legendary skills of tackling the dairy based products have been finely honed over many years. I had the honour of briefly being in the company of said Cheeseman on my way to lunch, as he had perched himself on a seat in front of the Scorebox. Regrettably, no wheel of cheese in sight, as I was looking forward to seeing him in action.

An esteemed disciple of the LCCC website, whose company name appears on the back of the First XI Championship shirts, may be in awe of the Cheeseman, as I was with him when he demolished an industrial sized wedge of cheese at Stratford Races. He consumed it in the manner that a thirsty dog would address a bowl of water. Back to the cricket, no cheese on the luncheon menu today.

Wells was shuffling his bowlers around, but County were unable to make a breakthrough. Rafiq and Imtiaz posted a 50 partnership from 85 balls, and Rafiq went to his 50 (62b, 8x4). They subsequently posted a 100 partnership from 136 balls. Rafiq (90, 90b) was finally dismissed caught at deep square-leg by Harry Funnell off Ben Mike.

The afternoon World Cup games had now kicked off, so multitasking was back on my agenda. Imtiaz went to his 50 (93b, 8x4) in the 37th over. Yorkshire were comfortably chasing down the total, and went into tea on 225-2 from 45 overs, 68 runs needed for victory from a minimum 32 overs. County picked up two wickets in six balls just after the tea interval.

Imtiaz (93, 129b) went bowled by Mo Ahmed, and Tom Loten (4, 3b) was pinned lbw by Ateeq Javid. Yorkshire 265-4 from 50.5 overs, just 28 needed to win. Poland and Columbia having both scored in their respective games, wickets falling, goals being scored, Cheeseman on the prowl, it’s all happening at Clifton Park.

Waite struck the winning runs, and also posted his 50 off the same ball. Waite’s innings stats: (69b, 6x4). Jordan Thompson 16 not out. Yorkshire 293-4 from 55.2 overs. The game finished at 4.42pm.

Yorkshire winning by six wickets. Yorkshire 23 points, Leicestershire 8 points. A game of two halves really. Leicestershire having the upper hand in the first four sessions of the match, then the pendulum swinging towards Yorkshire from lunch on day two. Yorkshire taking the honours in the following five sessions.

Finally, an absolute pleasure to spend three days with John Virr, Yorkshire scorer, and massive Leeds United fan, season ticket holder, of course. Much discussion has taken place about The Whites and The Foxes over the past three days. At least we were ‘Marching On Together’ to and from lunch & tea, John. The Motorway beckons, the car radio will be called into action, yet again, for the England game against Belgium.

* 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.