Seconds land T20 double at Merchant Taylors' School

RESULT | Second XI T20 v MCC Young Cricketers at Merchant Taylors' School

Game 1: Leicestershire Second XI (2 points) beat MCC Young Cricketers by 31 runs

Game 2: Leicestershire Second XI (2 points) beat MCC Young Cricketers by 6 wickets



REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Leicestershire took on MCC Young Cricketers in the first of their SET20 games of the 2018 season. The format for SET20 is that two games are played on the same day. Teams have the opportunity to change their players between games if they so wish. Each team plays 12 games (6 fixtures, two per day), with two points being awarded for a win, and the first and second placed teams in the Northern & Southern groups go through to Finals Day. Leicestershire Second XI won the SET20 in 2014.

Today’s matches against MCC YCs took place at Merchant Taylors’ School, and Independent Private School for boys. Originally located in the City of London, Merchant Taylors’ School has been located at Sandy Lodge in the Three Rivers District (Northwood) of Hertfordshire since 1993. The school was founded in 1561 by Sir Thomas White.

Old Boys of the school include Boris Karloff, a famous actor who appeared in many horror films in the 1930s. (Boris Karloff was also a pupil at Uppingham School prior to attending Merchant Taylors’ School). Reginald Maudling, Chancellor of the Exchequer from July 1962 until October 1964, and subsequently Home Secretary from June 1970 until July 1972.

In more recent times Michael McInytyre, a well-known stand-up comedian (Editor’s note, a bit like yourself, Pete), did his studies at Merchant Taylors’ School. In my younger days I too was an aspiring academic, in fact I was very close to getting a Blue at Oxford, but unfortunately I went in off the cushion.

The Scorers at MTS are located in the Scorebox, which is to the immediate right of the pavilion veranda when watching from said position. The vast expanse of the many excellently presented cricket grounds around MTS is quite mindboggling. I was told that MTS employ nine groundstaff.

Leicestershire recorded comprehensive victories in both games, winning game one by 31 runs and game two by six wickets. Tom Wells skippered County in both games, and his opposite number for MCC YCs was Joe Barrett. A bright, warm June day with a slight breeze was in order throughout the day.

Game 1

Leicestershire won the toss and elected to bat. The top-scorer for County was Wells (36, 29b) ably supported by Aadil Ali (34, 25b), and Charlie Lowen (20, 17b). Wells, Ali and Lowen all sprinkling their knocks with a number of well executed T20 shots. The Foxes totalled 134-7 from their 20 overs.

MCC YCs were put on the back foot in the sixth over of their reply when Ben Mike bowled a double wicket maiden. The first victim being opener Ben Curran (22) who had his stumps spectacularly rearranged by Mike. The off stump spiraling out of the ground, and the middle stump remaining in place, but at a very jaunty angle. The Umpire considered asking Mike and (his) The Mechanics to reset the woodwork.

In the same over Mike had the dangerous Barrett (5) excellently caught by Wells in the wide mid-on area. Mike bowling the only maiden over of the day. Leicestershire took a stranglehold on the game from then on, Mike returning figures of 2 for 8 from three overs.

Left arm leg spinner Mo Ahmed bowled an excellent spell taking 3-19 from his allocation, and Chesney Hughes captured 3-20 from four overs with his slow left arm. Wells also claimed a commendable 2-14 from 2.5 overs.

In addition to the catch by Wells, there were good catches in the deep by Aadil (x2), Mike, Ahmed, and Hughes. MCC YC all out for 103 from 18.5 overs. Leicestershire winning by 31 runs. MCC YC 0 points, Leicestershire 2 points. Unfortunately left arm spinner, and triallist Oli Clarke had to leave the field, when he turned his ankle, having only bowled one over.

Game 2

MCC YC won the toss, and elected to bat. Jacob Bailey came into the Leicestershire side for Clarke. MCC YC made 139-4 from their 20 overs. Their innings included 2 half centuries. Opener Saf Imtiaz (52) from 47 balls (2x4, 1x6), and skipper Joe Barrett (54) from 50 balls (2x4, 1x6). Aadil Ali had to leave the field after 8.4 overs as a precautionary measure after a head injury sustained in the outfield.

Steve Kirby, the MCC YC Coach and ex-LCCC player, delivered a rather splendid glass of orange squash to yours truly. Good old Kirbs! Just put that in your memory bank Smudger next time you are patrolling the boundary watching your charges in action. The standard has been set!

At this juncture circa 4pm, a number of Junior pupils of MTS appeared for their after school games lessons split between athletics and cricket. Opener Curran (21), for the second time in the match, got his furniture rearranged by Mike. Imtiaz (52) was dismissed by a breathtaking caught and bowled by Funnell. A superb one-handed reaction catch, Curran hitting the ball right off the middle of the bat, Funnell sticking out his arm to take the catch with the ball travelling at a fair rate of knots.

Leg-spinner James Dickinson took the other two wickets to fall in the innings, bowling Fynn Hudson-Prentice (6), and having Marc Lezar (0) stumped by Harry Swindells. MCC YC closing on 139-4. Barrett 54 not out. Dickinson 2-20 from 4 over’s, Mike 1-14 from 2, and Funnell 1-29 from 3.

Leicestershire were always in the box seat in their reply mainly thanks to Lowen. Batting in the middle order in game 1, Lowen was orienteered up to No.3 in game 2. Hughes and Swindells had put on 33 from 5.2 overs when Swindells (22, 21b), an aggressive innings, was bowled by left arm seamer Dominic Manthorpe. It’s always good to see Dom, as he featured in many Leicestershire 2s games last season. Hughes (30, 25b) played a brisk knock.

Lowen again went through his full repertoire of T20 shots, including three towering maximums. Lowen’s 50 arrived from just 30 balls (3x4,3x6).  Lowen (51) departed the action after 17 overs, bowled by paceman Ben Sears.

Wells (18) was run out at the bowler’s end, after a ‘yes/no, after you’ interlude. It was left to Don Butchart (7*), and Ben Mike (5*) to see County home, reaching the target with seven balls remaining. Leicestershire 140-4 off 18.5 overs. MCC YC 0 points, Leicestershire 2 points.

A first for me was seeing a SET20 game being played on an outground (2 matches) being played, and no balls being lost, such is the vast area of mown grassland that was around the main cricket pitch. The only chance of losing a ball would be if those two world-class demons of buffet bowling Dan Nice, and Harry Josephs were operating in tandem! Will have to wait and see if that one goes under the Editor’s radar… (Editor’s note, we’ll let this one through, like you whenever keeping wicket!)

On a final note, while the remainder of the Leicestershire side were travelling up the M1, Dips Patel and Ellie Frank, our physio, remained at MTS to sort out the logistics of getting Oli back home as he was considered unable to drive. Much unseen work behind the scenes from Dips, Ellie and Tom. I know as I was a passenger in Dips car! What football match? Ah well there is always the radio………

* Leicestershire CCC Second XI is next in action at home at the Fischer County Ground for two T20 games against Warwickshire on Monday, July 2. Admission is free and the first game starts at 11.30am.