Azad scores century in Yorkshire draw

RESULT | Day 4, Second XI Friendly (4 days): Leicestershire Second XI 416-9 dec drew with Yorkshire Second XI 401 & 82-1


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

A cool, chilly Autumn morning greeted us upon arrival at Kibworth CC for day four of the SEF4 between Leicestershire CCC and Yorkshire CCC. I was the first time for many weeks that I had not been in shirt sleeve order. In line with Leicester lingo, and making reference to one of the Yorkshire CCC players, you could say it was a bit Coad.

The game finished with honours even. Highlight of the day was Hassan Azad resuming from his overnight 74 not out, and going on to make an undefeated century (115 not out). He became the second centurion of the game for the Foxes alongside Lewis Hill. Leicestershire CCC surpassed Yorkshire CCC’s total of 401, declaring on 416-9. Yorkshire CCC played out the last rites of the game in their second innings, closing on 82-1.

There was a mini huddle of spectators sitting on the Pavilion balcony when the players took to the field. Leicestershire CCC resuming from their overnight 315-5, Azad 74*, Don Butchart 0*.  An experienced pace attack in the form of Ben Coad and Jared Warner opened the bowling for Yorkshire CCC.

In the seventh over of the morning Butchart (4, 25b) went lbw to Coad. Leicestershire CCC on 322-6, trailing by 79 runs. We then had a plethora of left-handers at the crease, County’s 8, 9, 10, and 11 all being southpaws, as was the fixture at the crease, MH Azad.

Yesterday was a barren day on the sweet front for yours truly, but day four yielded a bonanza! A very kind gentleman presented me with a tin, yes a tin of Cadbury’s Roses, the Full Monty! An extremely kind gesture of which I am very much appreciative. You know who you are, very sincere thanks. My colleague John’s jaw nearly hit the desk. He said in his delightful Yorkshire brogue ‘you do all right don’t ya’.

Dominic Manthorpe joined Azad, but the Suffolk Superman was soon on his way, bowled by Coad. I will not rub it in for Dom relaying his score, but if you think of a water based bird, you will have an idea of his score, County 328-7 from 114.4 overs.

Mo Ahmed joined Azad, who had added four to his overnight score, and was on 78 not out. Azad would receive outstanding support from the lower order. As the morning went on, Yorkshire CCC employed ‘the Yorkshire Umbrella’ early in Ahmed’s innings when the pace bowlers were on. That is three fielders all in close proximity, at what can best be described as a deep silly mid-off, a short cover, and a short mid-off. Apparently this is a somewhat regular occurrence for the Yorkies.

Having seen off the pace attack, Ahmed took off-spinner Jack Leaning for two boundaries in the 120th over. Azad had only hit one boundary so far this morning, and was in dot and single mode. The bowlers no doubt feeling as if they were driving down a one-way street, only to find the road blocked.

Ahmed (14, 37b) went lbw to left arm spinner Karl Carver, Leicestershire CCC 357-8 from 128 overs. We had left-handed batsmen at the crease, and slow left armers operating at both ends in the form of Carver and James Logan.

Nat Bowley joined Azad, and demonstrated that he can handle a bat as well as bowl off-spin. Azad went to a patient and solid century when he clipped Logan between mid-wicket and square-leg for a boundary. Azad’s 100 (275b, 9x4) with Leicestershire CCC on 367-8 from 132.3 overs.

Azad had been on 99 for 26 balls, of which he faced nine. Azad not at all showing any nerves when on 99, the fielders all up to save the single. This chap is always in for the long haul, and has bucket loads of confidence in himself.

Bowley was also blossoming, scoring three boundaries - two off Carver and 1 off Logan. Leicestershire CCC went into lunch on 388-8 from 138 with Azad 107* and Bowley 20*. County 13 runs in arrears. In the third over of the afternoon session, Bowley (20, 46b) was bowled by Logan. A fine effort from LCCC Academy member Bowley, who occupied the crease reassuringly to enable Azad to reach his century. I reckon we have found another one from the Loughborough Town production line. Leicestershire CCC 390-9 from 140.4 overs.

Hishaam Khan joined, you’ve guessed it, Azad, and also stepped up to the plate with his batting. Khan confidently taking seamer Ed Barnes for consecutive boundaries. Azad was in a mode where he was taking singles from the first ball of the over, such was his confidence in Khan. County called it a day on their innings declaring at 1.59pm on 416-9, a lead of 15 runs. Azad 115* (310b) and Khan 20* (35b).

It was a wonderful innings of application, concentration, and high ability from Azad. If Duracell are looking for someone to front their future adverts, MH Azad is the man. Khan’s contribution should not go unnoticed, a very impressive effort with the bat from a Number 11.

There were 51 overs remaining in the day, so it was a case of playing out the last rites of the game. First innings centurion James Wharton, and Bilal Anjam opened the batting for Yorkshire against an opening attack of Tom Taylor and Aristides Karvelas.

In the eighth over of the innings, Anjam (5, 25b) went caught at short extra by Taylor off Karvelas. Yorkshire 12-1 from 7.3 overs. At this juncture a somewhat melancholy moment presented itself, my pen ran out. The trusted biro having made its made its debut back in June when we played would you have it, Yorkshire, up at York. Stiff upper lip, and a few words of thanks from myself, before unceremoniously lobbing it in the waste bin. Life’s work well done by a faithful companion. The replacement pen hit the ground running but had big shoes to fill.

Jack Leaning joined Wharton. Leicestershire CCC were now rotating their bowlers regularly as the game was drifting to a draw. Yorkshire went into tea on 44-1 from 15. Wharton 23* and Leaning 7*.

The tea Interval threw up a stern test of my willpower. Later in the day I was attending an Evening Soiree with Mrs J, preceded by a Fish & Chip supper. So that I could give the Fish & Chip supper due attention, and also out of respect to the trawlermen of this sceptered isle, I abstained from tea (Editor’s note: I had to read this at least twice). Twenty minutes can be a long time in life.

The game drifted to its conclusion after tea. Wharton and Leaning brought up their 50 partnership from 90 balls after 22.2 overs. At 4.19pm, Yorkshire declared their innings on 82-1, Wharton (46*), Leaning (22*), and the teams shook hands on a draw. A fine effort from Steve Pollard the Kibworth groundsman, as the pitch he prepared comfortably saw out the four days with only 20 wickets falling. Great work Steve.

This fixture at Kibworth is the final one for the season in which Second XI Physio Ellie Frank will work alongside the team. Ellie began her duties with LCCC at the start of the season and has carried out the role of Second XI Physio throughout the season. Ellie has been a valued member of the backroom team throughout, and I am sure I speak for everyone in saying that she has carried out her duties in a thoroughly professional, competent, and knowledgeable manner.

I know that all of our players and coaches are extremely grateful for all the hard work she has put in to maintain their fitness and get them back to fitness when they have been injured. Ellie is now moving on to work with Leicester Tigers RFC, but will be returning to LCCC at the start of the 2019 season. Be careful in the scrums Ellie!

Before leaving Kibworth I would like to say that yet again we have been looked after wonderfully by everyone connected with the cricket club. Sincere thanks to Steve Pollard, and his crew for all their hard work on the ground, both before, during, and after the game.

Very sincere thanks again also to Jan, Alison, and Ian for all their hard work on the catering side. Thanks also to Kibworth CC Chairman Steve Elwood, for his countless amount of work behind the scenes in order to accommodate us. (Editor’s note: Can I echo those sentiments please, hosting the Second XI for four three/four games this season has taken a huge amount of effort from a lot of people at Kibworth CC, and we thank everyone for their hard work)

* The Second XI's home campaign has now come to an end, and thanks to everybody who hosted fixtures for us in 2018. The last game of the season is against Sussex CCC at Blackstone Academy on Tuesday (10.30am start). The match will take the form of a three-day Friendly.