Seconds complete nine-wicket win
MCC Young Cricketers v Leicestershire, Second XI Championship, Day 3:
REPORT | By Pete Johnson
We arrived at High Wycombe CC for the final day of the SEC encounter between MCC YC and Leicestershire to find that heavy overnight rain had taken its toll on the outfield.
After an Inspection at around 10.45am, the umpires gave the go ahead for play to start at 11.30am, eight overs having being duly deducted from the day’s allocation, meaning that a minimum of 88 overs would be available.
Leicestershire recorded a comprehensive victory, winning by nine wickets after dismissing MCC YC for 328 and having to get 87 runs for victory.
Harry Dearden weighed in with a second innings 42 to go with his first innings score of 141, making it a very successful match with the bat for him. Ben Raine returned a match bowling analysis of 24.4-10-32-4, an astounding economy rate of 1.31.
The players took to the field in sunshine, but with a strong breeze blowing across the ground. There were just three spectators present at the time. My reader may have noticed a musical theme to my match report yesterday. I can confidently confirm that Elvis has now left the building.
MCC YC resumed on their overnight 177-3, Saf Imtiaz 62* Matt Cross 1*, trailing by 65 runs. Raine and Ajmal Shahzad opened the attack for Leicestershire.
Just after play commenced a fourth spectator bid me a hearty good morning! It was none other than that amiable and knowledgeable cricket observer Tim Murray. Tim was a picture of sartorial elegance on this mid-August morning, sharply dressed in suit and tie (of course), carrying a rolled umbrella, and a state of the art plastic carrier bag (by its colour it looked like one of those you get at the checkout at Sainsbury’s, 5p well spent!).
It goes without mention that Tim’s barnet was safely tucked under his regulation brown cap. Tim began his customary wandering around the boundary in Wycombe. When sport followers hear the name Murray the name Andy may spring to mind, but if you are a staunch Foxes follower there is only one Murray, and that’s Tim! #havecapwilltravel.
Back to the cricket. County struck in the fifth over of the morning when Raine, coming in from the Nets End pinned Cross (8) lbw. First innings top scorer Finn Allen joined Imtiaz, and blocked, nudged, and nurdled competently. He looks a very good prospect.
The pair had added 39 for the fifth wicket when Allen (21) flicked a ball from Chappell (who had replaced Shahzad at the Pavilion End), down the leg-side, and Harry Swindells safely took the catch. I am a little surprised that Allen with a Christian name of Finn was not dismissed fishing outside the off stump. MCC YC 229-5, still trailing by 13 runs.
Brandon Allen joined Imtiaz, but was soon a victim to Rob Sayer, who had replaced Raine. Sayer returned a fine spell of bowling in the morning session of 7-2-9-1. His victim being B Allen (1) who went lbw when putting his front leg across his stumps in an attempt to force the ball through the on-side. MCC YC 236-6, from 61.1 still trailing by 6 runs.
County now had the scent of victory in their nostrils, and the majority of fielders were constantly shouting encouragement to the bowlers. From Titchmarsh Towers it sounded like when you walk through Leicester Market and hear all of the stall holders bellowing out their offers at full pelt. Many voices all saying different things with the same meaning.
Luke Jones joined Imtiaz, and the pair took the YCs into lunch on 238-6 from 64, still trailing by 4 runs. Imtiaz 91*, Jones 0*. Soon after lunch Imtiaz went to his 100 (12x4) from 173 balls. Imtiaz and Jones posted a 50 partnership from 97 balls when the score reached 286-6 from 77 overs.
Skipper Raine then introduced Harry Dearden to the attack, at the Nets End, possibly to quickly use up overs running up to the new ball being taken. Rainey knows more than me, but that’s my slant on it. Dearden bowled five overs leading up to the new ball. In his fifth, and last over, the 80th of the innings, he bowled the obstinate Jones (30) from 75 balls. MCC YC on 296-7 from 79.2 overs, leading by 54 runs.
Leicestershire took the new ball immediately 80 overs had been bowled, Raine and Chappell doing the honours. In his second over with the new cherry, Raine struck by bowling Ben Brookes (7). A shrewd piece of work by Raine, who gave Brookes a fearsome short ball and then proceeded to castle him next ball.
Andrew Hazeldine joined Imtiaz, whose patient innings came to an end when on 118 he was lbw to Shahzad. Imtiaz’s innings encompassed 202 balls and contained 14 boundaries. YCs 316-9 leading by 74 runs. Last man Ashley Sivarajah joined Hazeldine.
Last man out was Hazeldine (7) who went to yet another shrewd piece of work by the captain. Raine gave Hazeldine a short ball which clattered into the side of the grill on his helmet, a fearsome blow. After receiving on-field treatment from the Physio, Hazeldine continued his innings. Raine gave him another short one next ball, Hazeldine attempted a ‘tail-enders hook’, but was early on the stroke.
It spiralled up into the air and Will Fazakerley took a splendid running catch on the deep square leg boundary. A few forward rolls the order of the day for Faz as his momentum carried him a further few yards upon completing the catch. Raine taking two wickets with possible the cricket equivalent of a three card trick.
Raine is not just a pretty face (that observation is open to much debate), but he certainly uses the ‘old grey matter’ in abundance when on a cricket field. Great work by the skipper. We were all delighted to see him running in, and bowling like his old self prior to his recent injury. MCC YC all out for 328 from 89.5, leaving County to get 87 runs for victory from a minimum of 39 overs. MCC YC were dismissed at 3.25pm, so tea was taken.
Sam Evans and Dearden opened up for County, and soon posted a 50 partnership from11.5 overs. They both dealt comfortably with a lot of short pitched bowling from the pacey left arm Hazeldine, who may well have been spurred on by the blow he took on his grill earlier. Dearden despatched Hazeldine for 3 boundaries.
Just after the 50 partnership Dearden launched left arm spinner Sivarajah for a maximum, and a powerful reverse sweep for four. Evans meanwhile was doing what it says on the tin. Evans going about his work in an unassuming, but confident, and authoritative manner.
When at the crease Evans always reminds me of a neighbour who you can safely leave your house keys with when you go away on holiday. You know that everything will be treated and looked after properly, and nothing foolish will be done with things you value. Just leave him to get on with it in his own reliable way.
Dearden (42 from 39 balls) perished when he drove F Allen to Joe Barrett at mid off. County on 81-1 from 16.3, needing just a further six runs to win. Raine came in at No. 3, and struck the winning runs when he drove F Allen through the covers.
Evans 38* (from 66 balls, 6x4), Raine 2*. Leicestershire 87-1 from 18.1 overs, winning by nine wickets. The match finished at 4.56pm, so there was no chance of getting back to the FCG for the crucial NatWest T20 Blast game v Derbyshire. MCC YC 5 points, Leicestershire 24 points.