Paul Horton T20 portrait
Match Reports

One win apiece at Kibworth

Leicestershire v MCC Young Cricketers, Second XI T20



REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Leicestershire took on MCC YCs in a SET20 at Kibworth CC on Thursday, April 20. As is the format for SET20, two games are played on the day, with teams being able to change players between the games.

Honours ended even with Leicestershire winning game one in a dramatic and exciting finish by two runs, Paul Horton carrying his bat for 56* from 51 balls. MCC YCs comfortably won Game 2 by 51 runs.

Tom Wells won the toss for County in the first game and elected to bat. Another dull, cloudy, and somewhat chilly morning greeted the players as they took to the field.

Harry Dearden and Paul Horton opened up for County but Dearden (0) was on his way in the first over, lbw to spinner Tom Smith. In the next over Neil Dexter (1) dragged one on from seamer Gavin Main, County at 1-2 off 1.3 overs.

Lewis Hill joined Horton, and was taking the brunt of the bowling. Hill finding the ropes on five occasions in the space of 8 deliveries, one boundary being an audacious scoop shot off seamer Oli Smithson.

Hill (21) went caught behind by Matt Cross off Liam Hurt for 21 from 14 deliveries. An ex Leicestershire combination there as both Cross and Hurt have appeared for our 2nd XI previously. County now at 30-3 off 5.5 overs.

Opener Horton was standing firm, keeping the scoreboard ticking over with the precision of a Swiss watchmaker. He was accumulating more singles than you would find at a Speed Dating Evening.

Skipper Wells (9) went caught behind by Cross off seamer Ben Brookes, 49-4 off 9 overs. Aadil Ali (12 from 11 balls) which included an effortless maximum behind square off Brookes, went caught at long-off by Finn Allen off spinner Ash Sivarajah, 79-5 off 13.3.

Rob Sayer (10) went caught in the deep by Hurt off Sivarajah, 94-6 off 15.5. Callum Parkinson joined Horton, and the pair added 25 for the 7th wicket. Parkinson (17) playing a delightful little cameo off six balls. Word up is he took Main for a boundary followed next ball by a maximum. The first ball of this over had been dispatched by Horton for a huge six over mid-wicket.

The Parkinson show came to an end when he was bowled by Smithson, 119-7 off 17.3. That became 122-8 when Will Fazakerley (1) was caught behind by Cross off Hurt, 122-8 off 18.1.

The durable Horton was still at the crease and brought up a chanceless half-century (2x4,1x6) from 49 balls with the score on 137-8 from 19.4. Horton smashed the final ball of the innings for a boundary, finishing undefeated on 56 from 51 balls.

Horton held the innings together admirably and James Sykes ended on a useful 11* from only six balls, County closing on 143-8 from their 20 overs.

MCC YCs got off to a solid - and what looked like a matchwinning start - going to 37 before losing their first wicket after 4.4 overs. Skipper Joe Barrett (24) going caught in the deep by that man Horton off Wells.

MCC YCs then appeared to have the game all but won, opener Cross and Ben Curran taking the score to 120 from 16.2 overs. Cross moved to his 50 (4x4, 2x6) from 46 balls with the score on 104-1 from 14.1 overs.

The game moved on, and 24 were needed to win from 3.4 overs with 9 wickets in hand. These last 3.4 overs being bowled by Wells, leading from the front, and Parkinson. Cross (64 from 56 balls) was caught at deep mid-wicket by Dearden, who ran in well to take the catch.

Next ball Curran (25) was run out from a smart piece of fielding by Ali, at mid off, who arrowed the ball into keeper Hill, who did the demolition work. With the last ball of the 18th over Smith (2) was caught on the deep mid-wicket boundary by Dearden off Wells, the visitors now 124-4 off 18 overs.

MCC YCs now needed 20 to win from 2 overs with 6 wickets in hand. The WASP was getting itself into a frenzy, unable to predict the unpredictable. Parkinson bowled the penultimate over which went for 9 but included Ben Brookes (0) being run out by Hill.

So 11 were required to win off the last over bowled by Wells. The over went dot, one, four, two, one, meaning three were required off the last ball. The unflappable Wells chugged in, and gleefully rattled it into the stumps of Hurt (2). MCC YCs finishing on 141-6, losing by two runs, with Allen 17*.

Credit has to also go to Leicestershire’s spin trio of Sykes, Parkinson and Sayer, who took 2-76 from their combined 12 overs. Leicestershire 2 points, MCC YCs 0 points.

When one is incarcerated in a confined space, whereupon Scorers generally are, one has ample opportunity to chat to one’s scoring colleague. The gentleman on duty for MCC YCs today informed me that away from scoring he was a Bio Medical Scientist (yes really, I am not making this up). His role, he told me, was to analyse blood, and he travels around quite a bit in doing so, even as far as the Falkland Islands. I must admit that during the days play I made several attempts to get the telephone number of a certain Count Dracula, but to no avail. If you read this Neil you are a top bloke. I don’t want any blood on my hands…

In Game 2 MCC YCs won the toss, and elected to bat. County made a host of changes bringing in several young players from the Academy/Leicestershire Young Cricketers, Ash Trusz, Ben Mike, Harry Swindells, Don Butchart, Jack Nightingale, Harry Funnell, and James Graham. This made the other four members of the side, Ali, Sykes, Parkinson and Fazakerley appear as somewhat father figures.

Ali skippered County, and MCC YCs posted 164-3 from their 20 overs. Cross made another half-century (4x4/2x6) from 42 balls. His opening partner Barrett (13) went bowled by seamer Funnell, with the score on 16 after 2.5 overs.

Curran knocked up a half century also (8x4,1x6) from 34 balls. Butchart will remember his first ball in 2nd XI cricket, as with it the right arm spinner bowled Curran (51). Allen (21) was caught by Butchart in the deep off Fazakerley. MCC YCs closing on 164-3, Cross 67* from 51 balls, and Tom Smith 8* from 6 balls.

It was a steep learning curve for County’s fledgling side with only Ali (21), Fazakerley (40), Swindells (10) making it into double figures. Ali made 21 from 22 balls, adding 26 with Trusz for the first wicket.

Once Ali had gone the required total became very distant. Fazakerley made a mid-innings 40 from 28 balls, including three fours and two maximums. The Guernsey Guru doing so much sweeping that an audition for Mary Poppins beckons; eat your heart out Dick van Dyke!

County closed on 113-8 falling short by 51 runs. Well done to all the young players who made up the side. It is very easy for me to comment on things from the boundary’s edge, but it is a totally different kettle of fish when you are out in the middle. I am sure the experience will stand you in good stead for the future. Leicestershire 0 points, MCC YC 2 points.

Once again thanks to Kibworth CC for their excellent hospitality, and all the hard work they put in hosting this fixture. Special mention to Steve and John for their work on the ground, and to Jan and Alison for tickling our taste buds. Finally sincere thanks to Kevin for sorting out the ‘glitches’ on the Scoreboard.