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Match Reports

Evans makes century against Derbyshire

Leicestershire v Derbyshire, Second XI Championship, Day 1:


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Leicestershire made the short journey across the south of the county from Lutterworth to Kibworth for a Second XI Championship match against Derbyshire. This was to be our third and final visit to Kibworth this season; we had previously been here for a SET20 double-header and a SEC encounter earlier in the season.

Following my exertions of yesterday in the Scorebox at Lutterworth, I decided to take an early morning fitness test before leaving home, to ensure that I was fully fit for today. I spent a good 30 minutes on the settee watching Breakfast TV, to confirm that I was up to the task in hand. I made a point of reaching for the TV remote on several occasions.

Also, my wife the Lady Jilliano temptingly put a plate of biscuits just out of arm’s reach. I stretched to reach the biscuits on numerous occasions; this, coupled with having no adverse reaction to continuous operation of the TV remote control, gave me confidence that I was in peak condition for a day’s scoring. I departed fully lubricated with Deep Heat and Raljex, and did not need a stair lift to get up the steps to the balcony upon arrival at Kibworth CC.

The day was dominated by Sam Evans who made a superb 107 in County’s total of 296 all out. The effervescent Evans, small of stature, but big in heart, played a magnificent innings for County, and held the innings together with rock-like assurance.

Ben Mike chipped in with a good innings, and Harry Dearden, Will Fazakerley, Mosun Hussain and Richard Jones all played good supporting roles to the pocket battleship. The light closed in immediately after Leicestershire were dismissed, and play was abandoned for the day just after 6.45pm with 18 overs still remaining to be bowled.

A dull morning with no breeze greeted the players when they took to the field. The ‘Kibworth Kop’, to the left of the pavilion, was generously sprinkled with many of the usual die hard cricket aficionados. I am sure Bruce Willis will take his seat amongst them one day!

Paul Horton won the toss for Leicestershire and elected to bat. Horton and Dearden opened the innings for County but Horton (4) was pinned lbw in the second over of the morning by left arm paceman Gurjit Sandhu, operating from the Pavilion End.

Dearden was joined by Evans, and the pair steadily increased the score. Dearden found the boundary on four occasions with sweetly timed shots, Tom Milnes and Sandhu feeling the wrath of the ‘Bury Bulldog’, both conceding a brace of boundaries.

The left-hander was bowled for 23 when he played over a full length delivery from left armer Greg Cork, who had replaced Sandhu. Mark Pettini (1) joined Evans, but was soon another lbw victim, this time to paceman Tommy Taylor (memories of a ‘Busby Babe’).

Fazakerley joined Evans, who brought up his 50 (8x4) from 69 balls. Evans was finding the third man boundary on regular occasions (Harry Lime would have been turning in his grave). The Editor (Dastardly Dan) will have to look up Harry Lime, to see who he is! (Editor’s note – I did have to look it up!)

Evans was also caressing the ball through the mid-wicket area on regular occasions, leaning into that particular stroke very gracefully. Evans and Fazakerley  posted their 50 partnership (62 balls) when the score reached 105-3 from 28.2 overs.

Just before lunch, Fazakerley took seamer Alfie Gleadall for boundaries from two consecutive deliveries. Unfortunately Gleadall had to leave the field through injury after having bowled only five balls of his first over.

The pair took County into lunch on 116-3 from 30 overs, Evans 57* and Fazakerley 29*. In the fourth over after lunch, the Guernsey Guru Fazakerley (30) went caught at slip by Cork off Sandhu.

Hussain joined Evans but rain stopped play at 2.48pm with County on 158-4 from 41.4 overs. The players returned to the field after 45 minutes. Evans and Hussain took boundaries regularly from the all-pace attack.

Evans was scampering at an industrious pace between the wickets, looking busy and alert. Hussain took a liking to Taylor, clipping him for four boundaries in the spell after the stoppage. Evans and Hussain brought up their 50 (69 balls) alliance when the score reached 175-4 from 45 overs.

Hussain (29) went lbw to left arm spinner Matthew Sonczak, who has a somewhat unorthodox approach to the wicket. He walks in with the ball in his left hand, lobs it up (similar to a juggler), catches it in his right hand, then transfers it back to his left hand just before his delivery stride. I reckon he could audition for Britain’s Got Talent with his run up.

Opener Evans then went to his 100 (15x4) from 133 balls. A great effort from the obdurate right hander, who grafted hard and showed maturity beyond his years with his steadfast approach. A well deserved century for ‘Sam the Man’. Evans’ innings of 107 came to an end when he was trapped lbw attempting to sweep Sonczak having brushed everything else aside that came in his direction, County on 224-6 from 60.2 overs.

Mike had entered the fray, and after circumspectly having a look at the bowling proceeded to take regular boundaries off paceman Cork, and spinners Sonczak and Charlie Macdonell. Mike hits very powerfully down the ground; when he hits it, it stays hit. County went into tea on 241-6 from 67 overs.

Tea was taken at 5.10pm as a result of 45 minutes being lost to rain earlier (‘Golden Hour’, and all that). After tea, Mike and Jones took their partnership to 48, Jones taking five boundaries, one whereby he produced from his armoury a delicately executed paddle shot.

Mike (43) feathered one to keeper Harvey Hosein off Sonczak and was adjudged caught behind. Jones (30) soon followed when he was caught at long-on by Cork off Sonczak. Although the new ball was due after 80 overs, Derbyshire did not take it as the light was closing in. Richard Bell (5) went bowled by Sonczak, and the last man out was Dominic Butchart (9), lbw to Sonczak.

County all out for 296 from 84 overs at 6.24pm. Derbyshire used three bowlers at the Pavilion End during the innings, all of them being left arm.

Sonczak returned of 19-1-57-6, a tidy spell from the young left arm spinner. Leicestershire had 18 overs left to bat in the day but the umpires considered the light unfit. Play was abandoned for the day at 6.49pm. A minority of the day’s spectators remained at the ground until the Umpires ‘pulled the plug’. The usual suspects, you know who you are! Leicestershire 3 points, Derbyshire 4 points.