Young attack works hard against Yorkshire

SCORE | Day 1, Second XI Friendly (4 days): Leicestershire Second XI v Yorkshire Second XI 312-4


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Leicestershire Second XI made their fourth visit of the season to the delightful surroundings of Kibworth CC, this time for a four-day Friendly against Yorkshire. The match will mirror a First XI four-day fixture, with a minimum of 96 overs per day. In view of which there will be no Golden Hour in operation for this Second XI fixture.

Just like to mention a couple of players in Parish Notices before downloading details of today’s play. I am sure I like most other Leicestershire CCC Members, and followers, were extremely sorry to learn that Ben Raine is moving on from the Fischer County Ground to return to Durham. I personally can remember Ben’s first game as a triallist for Leicestershire 2s, which was against Glamorgan at Hinckley Town CC in May 2013. Ben was, and always has been a fighter, giving 110% to the cause.

Determination, toughness, and grit are words that you would regularly hear in the same sentence as Ben Raine’s name. I know that everyone will join me in wishing Ben all the very best as he returns to his native North East. He will always be remembered at the FCG.

I would also like to say how delighted I was to see a regular from the past couple of seasons Second XI, Ben Mike, make his Specsavers County Championship debut for Leicestershire CCC against Sussex CCC at Hove today.

I have seen Ben progress over the last couple of seasons, and it is a testament to all of our coaching staff, along with his hard work, that Ben has been rewarded with a First XI call up. I am sure you will join me in offering sincere good wishes to Ben for a successful progression of his cricketing career. You could not wish to meet a more polite and respectful bloke as well.

Right, back to matters Leicestershire Second XI v Yorkshire Second XI. Yorkshire CCC had the better of Day 1 of this SEF4, racking up 312 for four. Opening batsman James Wharton batted through the day making 155 not out from 307 balls. A fine innings from the 17-year-old on only, what I am told, his second appearance for Yorkshire 2s.

Sam Evans skippered County won the toss, and elected to field. The conditions were dull and overcast with a very autumnal feel to the morning. There were only a dozen or so spectators present when play commenced. Triallist Aristides Karvelas, a right arm pace bowler was making his debut for Leicestershire Second XI.

Wharton and Ben Birkhead opened up for Yorkshire against an opening attack of Dominic Manthorpe and Karvelas. Wharton when on 6* was put down at second slip off the bowling of Manthorpe. Might regret that one as the day goes on!

During the first 30 minutes of play a gentleman brought me a freshly baked sultana and cherry cake, that fresh, in fact, that it was still warm. Up there with the best deliveries of the morning - a splendid gesture Sir! The Commentary Team on Test Match Special may be interested to know that I am available to scoff any excess cakes that their discerning pallets are unable to come to terms with.

Just afterwards another gentleman dropped into Scoring Towers with a bag of Chocolate Eclairs and another full of Licquorice Allsorts. Another most welcome delivery. My Yorkshire CCC scoring colleague John was a little apprehensive and declined taking on the Chocolate Eclairs as he was concerned that they might ‘sort his teeth out’. They held no such threat for the gnashers of yours truly!

Wharton and Birkhead posted a 50 partnership after 18.5 overs. Birkhead (41, 77b) went caught at cover by Lewis Hill off the bowling of Academy left arm seamer Hishaam Khan. Yorkshire CCC 68-1 from 25.2 overs.

Evans was switching his bowlers around. Left arm spinner Mo Ahmed bowled his first, and the final over before Lunch, and with the fifth ball had Tom Loten (3, 19b) caught at short leg by Hassan Azad. Yorkshire CCC went into lunch on 79-2 from 30.5 overs. Wharton (30*, 89b).

Jack Leaning joined Wharton immediately after lunch, and the pair batted through undisturbed until Tea. Wharton went to his 50 (136b, 9x4) with the score on 108-2 from 44.2 overs. The 50 partnership between Wharton and Leaning came up from 146 balls (130-2 from 55).

The Tykes went into tea on 177-2 from 66 overs. Wharton (80*, 206b) and Leaning (46*, 93b). In the fourth over after tea the pair brought up their 100 partnership from 231 balls. Two overs later Leaning went to his 50 (105b, 8x4), the score on 188-2 from 71.2 overs.

County then got a breakthrough two overs later. Leaning (51, 112b) edged off-spinner Don Butchart into the gloves of keeper Harry Swindells, Yorkshire Second XI 193-3 from 72.4 overs. Bilal Anjan joined Wharton, and was out in the next over. Anjan (0, 4b) played a ball from spinner Ahmed into the on-side, it hit the helmet of Azad at short-leg, the ball ballooned into the air, and Aadil Ali took the catch running from first slip, grabbing the ball a couple of yards behind the keeper. Yorkshire CCC 194-4 from 73.4 overs.

That was as good as it got for County as Wharton and Jordan Thompson saw Yorkshire safely into stumps. Wharton went to his 100 (235b, 18x4) when the score reached 209-4 from 75.4. Leicestershire CCC took the new ball after 80 overs, but could not make any further inroads into the Yorkshire batting.

Wharton and Thompson brought up their 50 partnership from 62 balls, with the score at 244-4 from 83.5. The pair posted a run a ball century partnership, and Wharton went to his 150 (24x4) 292b in the next over. Yorkshire CCC closed on 312-4 from 96 overs. Wharton (155*, 307b) and Thompson (49*, 59b).

A wonderful innings of concentration and application by Wharton. He proved harder to shift than a consignment of fridge freezers in the Arctic Circle. A tough day in the field for the Leicestershire CCC attack.

Bowling figures were as follows: Ahmed 2-53 from 16, Khan 1-31 from 9, and Butchart 1-20 from 5. Young off-spinner Nat Bowley returned figures of 0-30 from 18, Aadil 0-27 from 9, Manthorpe 0-59 from 17, and Karvelas 0-64 from 20. It was good to see Tom Taylor bowl a couple of overs towards the end of the day as he makes his way back from injury.

* The second day’s play is due to start at 10.30am at Kibworth CC. Admission is free for all four days.