Paul Horton SCC batting 2
Match Reports

Horton's heroic effort boosts Seconds

Warwickshire v Leicestershire, Second XI Championship, Day 2


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

We arrived for day two of the SEC encounter between Warwickshire and Leicestershire on Star Wars day (May the fourth be with you). With it being Election Day for certain local councils, I did not have the opportunity to exercise my franchise in person today, but my postal vote was winging its way to my Council HQ.

The Leicestershire side for this fixture includes a number of Academy players so I had to weave my way around a number of Porsches*, when ambling from the car park to my abode, that gardener’s Eldorado discreetly nestled on the boundary edge.

*If you don’t know where I am coming from on this one you need to get up to speed on the LCCC website!

The day belonged to Paul Horton who racked up a superlative 277 not out in County’s total of 495-9 declared. Horton’s score was the highest individual score for a Leicestershire player in the 2nd XI Championship since its inception in 1959.

It equalled the eighth highest ever score in the competition, the biggest being 322 by Marcus Trescothick for Somerset against Warwickshire at Taunton in 1997. A somewhat magnanimous decision by the skipper to declare with the record in sight, (if only I had told him). Warwickshire closed on 109-0, trailing by 152 runs at the close of play.

Leicestershire resumed on their overnight 171-1, 63 runs in arrears, with Horton on 117 and Matt Cross on 6. Cross, who had scored 6 runs off 60 balls yesterday evening, proved he was a morning person by taking four runs from the first four balls he received from seamer Mark Adair. Cross (12) was subsequently dismissed in the fifth over of the morning, adjudged lbw to Adair.

Horton was joined by Callum Parkinson and the pair built a solid partnership, although having to face up to a fair amount of short pitched bowling. Horton was particularly brutal square, and behind square, on the off-side. The pair brought up their 50 partnership from 112 balls with the score on 235-2 from 67.2, meaning County were one run ahead.

Horton went to his 150 a couple of overs later (21x4) from 214 balls, with the score on 242-2. Meanwhile the gritty and dogged Parkinson was standing firm against the Warwickshire pace attack. The Bolton Buccaneer was certainly not wandering about in the crease but getting behind everything.

County went into lunch on 288-2, off 80 overs, Horton 175*, Parkinson 44*. Warwickshire took the new ball with the fourth ball of the first over after lunch and seamer Matt Lamb gave County a mini roasting. First Parkinson (46) went caught behind by keeper Alex Mellor. Then Chris Laker (11), after taking Lamb for two boundaries in three balls, went caught at slip by Sonny Singh, County on 323-4 from 91 overs.

Will Fazackerley joined ‘Marathon Man’ Horton and offered excellent support. Horton went to his double century (26x4) from 296 balls with the score on 345-4 from 99.5. Horton was proving an EU correspondent’s nightmare, offering textbook leaves to anything off channel, whilst steadfastly display commitment to remain at the crease.

Horton unleashed a cluster of serene cover drives that arrowed their way to the rope. Horton and Fazackerley brought up their 50 partnership with the score on 373-4 from 102.3 overs. Just before and after the 50 alliance had been achieved Fazackerley took seamer Khan and spinner Singh for two huge maximums. Fazackerley (36) went bowled, round his legs, by Singh.

Ben Mike joined Horton, and dug in against, at times, some quite hostile bowling, Mike taking paceman Henry Brookes for three delightful boundaries. County went into tea on 420-5 from 116 overs, Horton 231*, Mike 17*.  

In the first over after tea, Mike (17) went caught at mid-wicket by Ian Westwood off spinner Singh, County on 421-6 from 116.4. Charlie Shreck joined Horton, and the Cornish Colossus proved a perfect foil. Shreck blocked a few then dispatched Singh for an enormous maximum. Then in Singh’s next over he gave him the treatment again, two boundaries and a maximum.

In the next over Horton brought up his 250 (33x4) from 349 balls with the score on 463-6 from 122.1, a sumptuous knock from Horton. His Wagon Wheel was requiring remoulds on all four wheels, and the window cleaner on his Manhattan was suffering from exhaustion.

Horton has surpassed the previous highest score by a Leicestershire player in this competition: 208 not out by Josh Cobb in 2011 and 208 by Ben Raine in 2014. I had my Second XI First Class Counties Annual to hand, and Horton was going up the charts faster than Beatles singles in the 60s and quicker than Ed Sheeran albums in the present day. Names he overtook were Jonathon Trott and David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd, to name but two.

Matt Spencer finally made his mark on proceedings when he had Shreck (24 from just 24 deliveries), caught by Singh. Dominic Manthorpe (1) went bowled by Andrew Umeed. James Dickinson joined Horton, and observed a mini-masterclass from his skipper as Horton rattled off boundaries from Spencer and Ameed.

When Dickinson (4) went lbw to Ameed, Horton declared the County innings on 495-9. The skipper returning to the pavilion with a spritely stride having made 277 not out from 368 balls, with 37 boundaries. It was a pleasure to behold and record every ball along the way. I reckon that individual total will not be beaten by a County player for many years to come, but who knows?

Leicestershire held a first innings lead of 261 and Warwickshire had 18 overs left in the day to bat. They reached 109-0 in that time.

Andrew Umeed and Ian Westwood put on 50 runs from 8.3 overs. Their 100 partnership came up from 14.3 overs, at the same time Westwood went to his 50 (11x4) from 40 balls. Umeed finishing the day on 47* and Westwood 54*, Warwickshire trailing by 152 runs. Warwickshire 3 points, Leicestershire 8 points.