Taylor strikes twice on curtailed day

SCORE | Day 2, Second XI Friendly (3 days): Sussex Second XI 53-2 v Leicestershire Second XI 417-6 dec


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

We were greeted by another dull and gloomy morning upon arrival at the Blackstone Academy ground of Sussex CCC for day two of the SEF3 between Sussex CCC and Leicestershire CCC.

The tranquility of this cricketing oasis was in stark contrast to the frenetic activity I subjected myself to after close of play yesterday. First up on arrival back in Brighton was a look around the 1st Central County Ground at Hove. This being one of the two first-class county grounds that I had yet to visit.

Our coach (as in bus, not Tom Smith or Dips Patel) was being parked up there overnight, so I went back there with our driver. After a look around the ground it was shanks’s pony back to the hotel. Test Match highlights on TV 7pm until 8pm, then off out into Brighton to find a pub to watch the England v Switzerland International taking place at KPS.

On my walk along the sea front in search of somewhere to watch the football, I came across a bandstand. There were five couples Ballroom Dancing within the Bandstand. I stood and watched for a good 10 minutes. They did a quick step to Valerie by Amy Winehouse, a real foot tapping song, they followed this with a waltz to a Glenn Miller number, Moonlight Serenade.  

It was very enjoyable watching for someone whose dancing shoes made their debut at the Palais de Dance in Leicester back in the mid-1960s. I gave them a round of applause when they had finished, each couple acknowledging my show of appreciation. As a result of watching ‘Brighton’s mini Strictly’ I missed the first 20 minutes of the football. After watching the football it was a walk back to the hotel, the step count on my pedometer going into overdrive. A good night’s sleep ensued.

It was very much a curtailed day’s play on day two as a result of rain, with only 33.3 overs being possible. In what play did take place, Tom Wells and Rob Sayer both posted undefeated half-centuries with Leicestershire declaring at 417 for six. In reply Sussex were 53-2 with Tom Taylor snapping up both wickets.

Leicestershire CCC resumed on their overnight 290-5, Tom Wells 12* and Taylor 24*. The light was far from good when the players took to the field, and there was a solitary spectator present, Dave our coach driver, good old Dave!

Ish Sohi bowled the first over of the morning, right arm seam, from the Woodmancote End, after which the Umpires conferred, and an all-spin attack was introduced to prevent the players leaving the field through bad light. Will Beer and Will Collard bowled in tandem, Beer on tap very early in the morning.

In the third over of the morning, Wells and Taylor brought up their 50 partnership from 70 balls, 302-5 from 74.3 overs. Taylor (35, 60b) went five overs later when he was caught at mid-off by Laurie Evans off the bowling of Collard, Leicestershire CCC now at 313 for six from 79 overs.

Sayer joined Wells, and the pair really got after the Sussex CCC bowling. Spinner Collard was on the receiving end of five maximums in the space of three overs, when he changed from the Woodmancote End to the Pavilion End.

Sayer launched him for a straight six, and in his next over, Wells deposited him over square and out of the ground resulting in a lost ball. An added bonus of these two maximums was seeing Umpire Thomsett signaling a six as if doing the ‘Y’ when dancing YMCA. Both his arms outstretched at 45 degrees. Wells and Sayer posted their 50 partnership from 53 balls with the score at 364-6 from 87.5 overs. In the 88th over Sayer launched Collard for three successive maximums, the first one clearing the pavilion by a country mile, the biggest maximum of the day. The next 2 balls from Collard also went straight for 6. Umpire Thomsett was on fire with his signaling, in my mind I could hear The Village People singing the chorus in the background.

Wells went to his 50 (76b, 4x4, 1x6) with the score at 394-6 from 90.1 overs. The light improved, and Sussex CCC reintroduced seam into their attack after 91 overs in the form of Sohi and Barton. In Barton’s first over, Wells launched him for a maximum.

Sayer went to his 50 (40b, 4x4, 4x6) with County 408-6 from 92 overs. Sayer smote Sohi for a maximum from the last ball of the next over, bringing up a century partnership with Wells from 86 balls. Leicestershire then declared their innings with Wells 59* (86b) and Sayer 58* (43b). it was 11.56am so Sussex had a tricky 39 minutes to bat before lunch.

Richard Jones and Taylor opened the attack for County, with Andrew Umeed and the left-handed Harrison Ward opening up for Sussex CCC. It was good to see Jones and Taylor running in smoothly upon their return from injury, their initial workload, in their early days back from injury, being under the watchful eye of our physiotherapy staff.

Taylor started off with a couple of maidens, and with the last ball of the second of them, claimed Umeed’s wicket. Umeed shouldered arms to one from Taylor and the ball ripped out his off stump. No better sight for a fast bowler, Sussex CCC 11-1 from 4 overs. There was still time to get Beer in before lunch.

Taylor then struck again in his next over. Harrison Ward, who had looked very correct, and accomplished, had a Star Wars moment when he got a leading edge to a ball from Taylor, it spiraled high into the air at speed. Harry Swindells at point ran after the ball, looking over his shoulder, and took a wonderful catch, tumbling to the ground. The agility of The Swindler not going unnoticed on this dull September day, Sussex CCC 18-2 from 5.5 overs.

Laurie Evans joined Beer, Evans apparel and equipment being co-ordination personified. He had orange straps and inner lining on his pads, orange and white batting gloves, and orange flashing on his bat. This arrangement of orange certainly had the desired effect as he peeled Jones for four consecutive boundaries in the seventh over of the morning.

However, the first two balls that Evans received from Jones (are we in Wales or Brighton?) went past the bat, and could easily have found an edge. Cricket is a game of very fine margins, and Jones’ figures do not reflect the effort he put in on his return to the side after a lengthy spell out through injury. Jonesy returned a spell of 4-1-25-0, six boundaries in the 24 runs conceded, a yard either way dot balls. With Beer about my glass is always half full.

In the next over, the final one before lunch, Evans was spilled at second slip off Taylor, albeit a very sharp chance, the ball travelling at rocket propelled speed. Sussex went into lunch on 35-2 from eight overs. Beer 0*, Evans 16*.

Only 4.4 overs were possible after lunch before the players were taken from the field as a result of rain at 1.44pm. Aristides Karvalas and Taylor opened the Leicestershire CCC attack after lunch. In that time, Beer advanced to 14* and Evans to 20* with Sussex CCC 53-2 from 12.4 overs.

Taylor had impressive figures of 6-2-14-2. The rain kept stopping and starting, with no sign of prolonged good weather. At 3.55pm after tea had been taken, and with rain still falling, the Umpires abandoned play for the day.

Sussex were trailing by 368 runs going into the third and final day. The weather forecast is good for day three, so hopefully we should have a full day’s play, on what is to be the Second XI’s final day’s play of the 2018 season.

* This is the final match of the Second XI’s schedule of the 2018 season. The third and final day is scheduled to get underway at 10.30am today.