Paul Horton SCC batting
Match Reports

Horton and Shreck lead way for Seconds

Warwickshire v Leicestershire, Second XI Championship, Day 1


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Warwickshire played host to Leicestershire for a SEC encounter at the Edgbaston Foundation Sports Ground, Portland Road, Birmingham. This being Leicestershire’s first visit to the venue that was officially opened in July 2016 by Ian Bell of Warwickshire and England.

This facility boasts a new cricket pitch, outfield nets, together with existing bowling greens for two bowls clubs. Persimmon built a new £750,000 pavilion on the complex. This was thanks to the charitable arm of Warwickshire CCC in partnership with the Warwickshire CB.

The ground was formerly that of Mitchell & Butlers, who played in the Birmingham League. M&B played here from 1930 until resigning from the Birmingham League in 1993, at which time the cricket square was removed and became part of a football pitch. Jack Bannister recorded Warwickshire’s best first class bowling figures here of 23.3-11-41-10 against Combined Services in 1959. There are a couple of photographs in the pavilion commemorating this.

Right, that’s enough of a historical seminar, let’s get up to date with today’s proceedings where East meets West in Midlands terms!

Leicestershire gave an excellent performance and were in a strong position at the end of day one. Warwickshire were dismissed in mid afternoon for 234, having been 158-3 at lunch. Charlie Shreck weighing in with four wickets. Paul Horton then put County in a commanding position finishing the day undefeated on 117.

Horton was skippering Leicestershire, won the toss, and elected to field. The players took to the field on yet another unseasonable chilly May morning. There were a good number of spectators spread around the boundary, one of whom was ensnared in a bivouac in an attempt to repel the cold wind.

Warwickshire opened up with captain Andrew Umeed and Ian Westwood. The pair brought up their 50 partnership after 14.2 overs. Without addition to the score Shreck, who was the fourth bowler introduced into the attack had Umeed (34), caught at first slip by Horton.

Westwood brought up his 50 (11x4) from 71 balls with the score on 87-1 from 22.3 overs. The score had advanced to 101-1 which signalled the 50 partnership between Westwood and Liam Banks. Opener Westwood was chipping in with a valuable innings, but when the score had reached 130 he was caught at point by James Dickinson off the bowling of left arm seamer Dominic Manthorpe, Westwood returning to the Clubhouse after carding  77.

Matthew Lamb joined Banks but went caught at mid wicket by Manthorpe for 8 off the bowling of seamer Jacob Bailey. The 17-year-old Bailey picking up a wicket with the last ball of his first over. Alex Mellor joined Banks and the pair safely took Warwickshire into lunch on 158-3 from 36, Banks 31* and Mellor 3*.

The luncheon interval gave me an opportunity to eagerly egress from the customised scorebox that had obviously started life as a garden shed. I mentioned earlier that Persimmon had built the pavilion but Heath Robinson had major input to the Scorebox.

After lunch the Warwickshire innings capitulated with them losing 7 wickets for 78 runs in 22 overs. Without addition to the lunchtime score, the writing was on the wall for Banks (31) when he was bowled by Will Fazackerley, the Channel Island Icon operating from the City End. I can only recall two well-known sportsmen from the Channel Islands, Graeme Le Saux and Matt Le Tissier. I wonder if Faz should rebrand himself as Will Le Fazackerley to add some gallic charm to his armoury?

It was all downhill now for Warwickshire, Mellor (25) went caught behind by Harry Swindells off Shreck with the score on 192. Then two wickets fell with the score on 196. Harry Johnson (11) was trapped in front by Fazakerely, and Mark Adair (4) was another victim to the Swindells/Shreck combination. The Bears now on 196-7 from 47.1.

At this juncture two ex-England players sauntered past the scorebox, Dennis Amiss and Ashley Giles. Sukhjit Singh (0) went caught by Fazackerley at mid-off from the bowling of Shreck, and George Panayi (16) went caught behind by Swindells off Manthorpe. The Warwickshire innings came to an end when Henry Brookes (20) was caught and bowled by Academy seamer Ben Mike. Warwickshire all out for 234 from 58 overs.

Leicestershire had 12 over’s to bat until tea, and Horton and Harry Swindells ensured the innings got off to a solid start. They brought up a 50 partnership from 11.3 overs, and took County into tea on 51-0, Horton 31* Swindells 18*.

After tea Horton was playing some delightful shots all around the ground, some exquisite cover drives catching the eye, whilst the industrious Swindells was taking a particular liking for the bowling of seamer Brookes, taking him for four boundaries. Horton went to his half century (8x4) from 52 balls with the score on 86-0 from 27.3.

The pair posted a century partnership from 20.4 overs but Swindells (43 from 64 balls) innings came to an end when he was caught behind by Mellor off Panayi with the score on 118-1 from 23.4 overs. A valuable knock from the diminutive pocket rocket opener.

With Mellor being involved in the action, and me being in a Garden Shed like structure, I surveyed the boundary to see if I could spot a certain Lady Chatterley. No such luck. Matt Cross joined Horton, and provided a perfect foil.

Cross was providing stubborn and patient resistance whilst Horton was cruising towards his century. With the score on 150-1 from 37 overs, 7 remaining in the day, the Umpires took the players off as a result of bad light. Horton 99* and Cross 6*.

After a 25-minute stoppage the players returned to the field and Horton brought up his century (15x4) from 122 balls with the score on 152-1. The Warwickshire bowlers had no answer to Horton, so much so that I expected to see my wife introduced into the attack as she has an answer for everything.

Just before the close Horton and Cross brought up their 50 partnership, with the score on 169-1 from 43.5 overs. Cross being the dormant partner having contributed 6 runs, but having 9 wickets in hand may prove crucial to the outcome of the match. County closed the day on 171-1 from 44 overs, trailing by 63 runs. Warwickshire 2 points, Leicestershire 4 points.