Hill scores ton on curtailed day

SCORE | Day 3, Second XI Friendly (4 days): Leicestershire Second XI 315-6 v Yorkshire Second XI 401


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

It was a lovely sunny early Autumn morning when we arrived at Kibworth CC for day three of the SEF4 between Leicestershire CCC and Yorkshire CCC. However, there was rain forecast expected to arrive in LE8 around 1.00pm.

In what was a curtailed day’s play due to rain, Leicestershire CCC had another good day with the bat in what amount of play was possible. Lewis Hill progressed from his overnight 81 not out to record a score of 120.

Hill was soundly backed up by Hassan Azad, who was on 74 not out when rain brought play to an end for the day. Leicestershire CCC closing on 315-6, trailing Yorkshire CCC by 86 runs.

The sun was still shining brightly when the players took to the field. The Pavilion balcony accommodated the dozen or so spectators present.

Leicestershire CCC resumed from their overnight 205-3, Hill 81* and Azad 29*, trailing Yorkshire CCC by 196 runs. Hill and Azad brought up their 100 partnership in the eighth over of the morning from 195 balls.

After a few overs of pace from Josh Shaw, and a solitary over of spin from Jack Leaning, Yorkshire employed an all left arm spin attack in the form of James Logan and Karl Carver. Rather splendid to see Carver uncorked so early in the morning, albeit with a little fizz in his bowling.

Breaking News: No sweets delivered today. The Yorkshire CCC players had a very robust and thorough system in place in order to satisfy the liquid intake demands of the scorers. You will be comforted to know that the Foxes matched the White Rose cup for cup in this department.

Aadil was the first cab off the rank this morning, providing refreshment for us before our laptops had warmed up. We even got to the stage where we had to turn requests down to provide us with a warming beverage. A bit like London Buses, once one comes along, etc.

Hill was approaching his century with caution, and played out a maiden from Logan when on 99. The field had all come in to stop the single required by Hill. There is a film called Logan’s Run, but Logan offered no runs to Hill, who had Hill Street Blues being stuck on 99 for the over.

The batsman finally went to his thoroughly deserved century in Logan’s next over when he swept him for four down to fine-leg. Hill’s 100 (150b, 11x4, 1x6) came with Leicestershire CCC on 236-3 from 80.4 overs.

Yorkshire CCC took the new ball after 84 overs, Shaw and Jared Warner sharing it. Warner was giving Hill and Azad plenty of short stuff, but just like yesterday the pair took it in their stride with minimum fuss. Azad supported Hill stoically, and wearing the bowlers down with sublime patience.

My colleague then made a comment, that I consider a compliment to Azad. He said ‘this bloke makes Boycott look like Jos Buttler’. I reckon that is a feather in Azad’s cap as it reinforces that he is frustrating the opposition, and that you have got your work cut out to dislodge him.

Hill and Azad brought up their 150 partnership from 291 balls with the score on 267-3 from 89.5 overs. Azad played out a maiden in the next over when on 49. Azad then went to his 50 (161b, 5x4) 161b when he drove medium pacer Jordan Thompson through the covers for four. A half-century chiseled out of granite from Azad.

The innings of Hill (120, 186b) came to an end when he was trapped in front by seamer Ed Barnes. The Lutterworth Legend and Azad having added 159 for the fourth wicket from 305 deliveries. Tom Taylor joined Azad, and had to negotiate a tricky few overs before lunch.

Leicestershire CCC went into lunch on 284-4 from 95 overs. Azad (59*, 165b) and Taylor (7*, 20b). Shades of international cuisine was on the Kibworth menu at lunchtime, Moroccan Lamb no less, not your usual New Zealand Lamb or Spring Lamb. I took a rather generous sized dollop of it in my stride, travels rather well, I must admit.

In the 10th over after lunch, Taylor (16, 43b) was trapped lbw playing forward to Carver. County 314-5 from 104.5 overs. Umpire Cousins administers a very slow death to the batsman. His finger is presented rather like a wild west Gunslinger getting his revolver out of his holster, but in super slow motion. Don Butchart joined Azad, but only another seven balls were possible before the rain set in.

At 1.52pm the Umpires took the players from the field as rain began to fall. Leicestershire 315-5 from 106 overs, trailing by 86 runs. Azad (74*, 197b) and Butchart (0*, 6b). Steve Pollard, the groundsman, and his band of helpers had been preparing the sheeting and covers around the boundary edge, conscious of the impending rain, in readiness to lovingly assemble them over the square.

The groundstaff were in action on the square before all the players had left the field. Hard work that is very much appreciated and does not go unnoticed. With no sign of the rain abating, tea was taken at 3.02pm. The Umpires carried out a further Inspection at 4pm, but just as they were returning to the Pavilion rain started to fall again, and play was abandoned for the day.

* The final day’s play of the four-day Friendly between Leicestershire CCC and Yorkshire CCC is due to start at 10.30am at Kibworth CC. Admission is free.