Seconds edged out by MCC YCs in cracker

RESULT | Second XI Trophy (50 overs): Leicestershire Second XI 313 for 9 lost to MCC Young Cricketers 315 for 4 by 2 runs


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Leicestershire took on MCC YC (MCC Young Cricketers) herein afterwards referred to as YCs in a SET game at the home of Lutterworth Town CC, this being the fourth match in the Second XI’s Trophy campaign. Our record prior to the game was won 1, lost 1, and 1 no result due to a washout. Upon arrival at the ground it was good to touch base with former Leicestershire player and past member of our Coaching staff, Ben Smith.

I took my place in the rather confined bowels of the Lutterworth scorebox, needing a shoe horn to get in, and a can opener to get out! My scoring colleague, the amiable Sue Klyne, immediately informed me that Klein, spelt as in Dieter, is the German word for small. Well I never! 

There were a good number of spectators in attendance when play began, all basking in the morning sunshine, whereas the inside of the Scorebox was extremely cold.  I had arrived at Lutterworth in shirt sleeve order, and had to borrow some outer clothing from one of the players to repel the artic conditions within.  

We witnessed an enthralling day’s cricket with YCs winning by two runs, Leicestershire requiring three runs to win off the final ball. Highlights of the day were a magnificent innings of 173 not out by Joe Barrett in a total of 315 for 4. Tom Wells 123 and Harry Swindells 101 forged a wonderful partnership of 177 for the third wicket for Leicestershire, and Klein weighed in with a cameo of 20 from 14 balls towards the end of the innings, but it was not to be. County closed at 313 for 9 from their 50 overs.

Wells spun the coin and YCs skipper Barrett called correctly, and elected to bat. Ben Curran and Barrett opened the innings, and brought up their 50 partnership from 10 overs. Barrett went to his 50 (9x4) from 66 balls, and their 100 alliance came up after 20.2 overs. Curran progressed to his 50 (7x4) also from 66 balls. The 150 partnership came up after 27.4 overs. 

At this juncture my scoring colleague was feeling the cold so much that she wrapped a blanket around herself, and put her gloves on. It seemed quite bizarre to see spectators strolling past the Scorebox in shorts and T shirts, enjoying the sunshine. The Scorebox at Lutterworth is secreted beneath some trees, and does not receive and direct sunlight until the early evening (as we found out). 

The pair had added 172 when the left-handed Curran attempted a reverse-sweep off left arm off-spinner Oli Clarke, and was caught by Richard Jones at short third man. Eliot Callis the new man in. Barrett went to a chanceless 100 (14x4/1x6) from 122 balls when the score reached 206-1 from 39.5 overs. It is a manual scorebox at Lutterworth CC, and yours truly was up and down from his seat more times than the lift at the Empire State Building on a busy day. After pulling all those strings I would be a shoo-in for a role as a campanologist at the nearby church that stands just behind the Scorebox. 

Leicestershire had two young left armers who were making their Second XI debut today. Hishaam Khan a left arm seamer, and the aforementioned Clarke, both young men gave a creditable performance with the ball. Barrett and Callis posted a 50 partnership from 53 balls when the score reached 225-1 from 41.5 overs. 

There was then a couple of wickets in quick succession. Jones, returning from an early season injury, had Callis (36) at a run a ball, caught low down on the mid-wicket boundary by Klein. Fynn Hudson-Prentice (0) went caught behind by Swindells again off Jones. 247-3 from 43.6. Marc Lezar then became one of a number of batsmen during the match to be caught on the deep mid-wicket boundary today when he holed out to Clarke, again off the bowling of Jones. 

Barrett went to his 150 (18x4, 4x6) from 147 balls when the score reached 291-4 from 48.3 overs. He had been joined by Brandon Allen, and the pair rattled up a 50 partnership from 22 balls, Allen’s contribution being 3*. The YC’s innings closed on 315-4, with Barrett undefeated on 173 from 154 balls. It was good to see Jones out on the field again and running in to bowl, the lean mean bowling machine snapping up 3-74 from his 10 overs.

Mark Pettini and Swindells opened the innings for Leicestershire. The pair had added 34 when Pettini was caught at third man by Kiel van Vollenhoven off the bowling of left arm seamer Oli Smithson. Aadil Ali joined Swindells and struck a couple of sweetly timed boundaries, but was bowled for 8 by the very quick left armer Ben Sears. 

Wells joined Swindells and the pair crafted what was close to being a match-winning partnership. At this point I casually mentioned that I had been to Wembley last Sunday for the City match against Tottenham. My colleague Sue’s ears immediately pricked up, responding with ‘you like football then do you?’. 

It turns out that Sue was a former season ticket holder at Wycombe Wanderers, and was at Filbert Street when they infamously beat City in the sixth round of the FA Cup in 2001, she recalled that Roy Essandoh (signed at the time as a following an advert on teletext due to injuries within the Wycombe camp), had scored a late winner for the Chairboys. Our combined football knowledge then recalled many a game, and a sparkling conversation ensued. 

Swindells was punishing the bowling, mainly through the off-side, whilst Wells was finding the ropes regularly with some sumptuously timed shots. The pair posted a 50 partnership from 57 balls with the score on 102-2 from 17.4 overs. Swindells went to his 50 (8x4) from 55 balls with the score on 110-2 from 19 overs. A few overs later Wells also reached his half century (7x4,1x6) from 49 balls. The two homegrown men racked up a century partnership from 99 balls with the score on 150-2 from 25 overs. 

Left arm seamer Manthorpe who played for much of last season for Leicestershire 2s had joined the attack. Swindells was crafting an array of off-side shots intermingled with some forceful leg-side hitting. Wells meanwhile had launched three enormous maximums one off spinner van Vollenhoven, and two off Sears. The box of spare balls was constantly being ferried out to the Umpires due to balls landing in adjacent gardens. 

van Vollenhoven, I was told, is the grandson of the late ex rugby league player Tom van Vollenhoven who was a key member of the St. Helens rugby league side in the 1950s and 1960s. He holds the record of 392 tries in 408 appearances for St Helens. 

Swindells and Wells posted a 150 partnership from 138 balls when the score reached 202-2 from 31.1 overs. 114 required to win from 18.5 overs. Swindells went to his maiden century for the Second XI from 104 balls (14x4, 2x6) when he deposited paceman Smithson down the ground for a maximum. It was a real joy to see Harry make a century, as I recall his debut for the Second XI some years ago. 

I am sure each and every member of the LCCC coaching staff down the years would take great satisfaction from Swindells’ performance, just reward for a player who puts much effort and application into his game both on and off the field. A bit like a gardener planting some seeds in boxes in his greenhouse, then seeing them develop into plants in full bloom. I even stood up to applaud his century myself.  

Next but one ball the swashbuckling Swindells (101) was caught in the deep by Sears off the bowling of Smithson with 89 required to win from 12 overs. Tom Taylor joined Wells, but unfortunately was run out without facing a ball. Wells followed Swindells to a century when he took a single off Smithson posting his 100 from exactly 100 balls (11x4, 4x6). The shot of Wells innings, in my eye, being a maximum that he flicked effortlessly behind square off the rapid Sears. 

Ashish Trusz joined Wells and coped admirably with the pace attack on offer. Trusz (15 from 19 balls) went caught at deep mid-wicket by van Vollenhoven off seamer Ben Brookes. 45 required to win from 5.1 overs. The wondrous Wells’ innings came to a close when on 123 (124b, 14x4, 4x6) when he was yet again another batsman caught at deep mid-wicket, this time off Brookes, van Vollenhoven taking the catch. 

I likened Wells innings to a marathon runner being on the shoulder of the leader all the way, then being beaten in a photo finish as he dipped for the finishing line. A tremendous innings from Wells, the skipper certainly leading from the front. Leicestershire 286 for 6 from 46.3 overs, 30 to win off 3.3 overs. 

Klein was playing a great little cameo, striking four boundaries in quick succession, a brace off Smithson and a brace off Brookes. Not all of them textbook shots, but all ticking the boxes as a result of the task required. Klein (20, 14b) went caught in the deep by Callis off Brookes - 7 to win from 8 balls. 

Jones (4) went in a similar fashion caught by Curran off Smithson - 5 required to win from 5 balls. The batsman crossed on Jones dismissal. Khan took a single, James Dickinson took a single off the third ball. Try as he may, Khan (1) could not force the fourth and fifth balls away. He struck the last delivery skywards but was caught at long-off by Curran off Smithson.

Leicestershire 313 for 9 from their 50 overs, MCC YCs winning by 2 runs. A great game of cricket that captivated everyone’s attention until the very last ball. Leicestershire 0 points, MCC YC 2 points.

A total of 626 runs scored on the day for the loss of 13 wickets in 100 overs, a testing day on the scoreboard. A conservative estimate shows that I rose up and down from my chair some 400 times plus during the day. It does have its advantages though; breaking news is that I have been selected for the England squad for the upcoming World Musical Chairs Championships!

Off on my holibobs next week so will not be rattling any despatches out! Back in situ a week on Tuesday for our final SET game up at Lancashire.

Leicestershire Second XI return to Lutterworth next Monday for a SET match against Nottinghamshire, which is followed by a 3-day SEC game - also against Notts - at Kibworth CC. My sincere thanks to Paul Rogers and Peter Connolly who will be covering for me next week. It does not take two people to cover my job (smiley emoji): Paul will be stepping in for the match at Lutterworth, and Peter for the match at Kibworth.

* Leicestershire CCC next Second XI Trophy match is at Lutterworth CC against Nottinghamshire CCC on Monday, May 21. The match starts at 11.00am and admission is free.