Seconds lose out in rain-affected fixture

SECOND XI TROPHY | Leicestershire CCC v Durham CCC

RESULT | Durham CCC (two points) won by six wickets (DLS)

SCORECARD | Available HERE

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Leicestershire CCC faced Durham CCC at the FCG in the third match of their 2019 SET campaign. I felt like a burglar, housebreaker, and squatter all rolled into one as I set up my equipment in Chateaux Rogers, the lair of that doyen of Scorers PJ Rogers Esq. I made a mental note that at the end of the game, to leave Chateaux Rogers in pristine condition, and everything in exactly the same order as I found it. So much for the best laid plans of mice and men!

Durham fielded an experienced side that included nine contracted players, and they recorded a six-wicket (DLS) victory. In contrast the Leicestershire side included four Academy Players, and two triallists.

The game was interrupted by rain three times in the Leicestershire CCC innings. Leicestershire CCC registered 216-8 from 41 overs available to them, Aadil Ali making a fine half-century. Durham CCC reached their revised target of 237 for the loss of four wickets. Ryan Pringle top-scored with 79, and Will Smith weighed in with 52*.

Ateeq Javid skippered County, his opposite number Ned Eckersley called correctly, and opted to field. Good to see Ned back at the FCG. The 2 Umpires both had Leicestershire connections as well: Nick Cook and Jigar Naik. A rare occurrence as well when both Umpires have three initials preceding their surnames. The Jigster is embarking on his Umpiring journey, and I am sure everyone will join with me in wishing him every success in his forays with the finger. It would be wonderful to see him on the first-class circuit in a few years time.

Just before the start of play we had a glitch in Chateaux Rogers, when a power cut or IT malfunction prevented power from reaching the terminal that makes the Electronic Scoreboard function. I was at the coalface, with my fingers ready to dance across the keyboard. After an anxious phone call Dan Nice appeared on his white charger to remedy the situation. However, this malfunction would pale into insignificance against what was to happen in the last two overs of the first innings with regard to the Electronic Scoreboard.

It was a cool blustery morning when the players took to the field, with menacing dark clouds behind the Bennett End. There were some 20 spectators present, artisans each and every one of them.

Harry Swindells and Jack Nightingale opened the innings for Leicestershire. Josh Coughlin and the experienced Chris Rushworth took the new ball. After three overs rain stopped play for 21 minutes. The score was on 10 when Nightingale (4,13b) had his feathers ruffled by a ball from Coughlin, and was caught at mid-off by Triallist Fin Trenouth. A bit of a shark in the field is Millfield School old boy Trenouth.

Ateeq Javid joined Swindells, one of the extremely rare occasions that Swindells is taller than the batsman at the other end. Swindells (15, 40b) got underneath a ball from Academy seamer Ollie Gibson, and Eckersley gleefully scampered from behind the stumps to pouch the skier a few yards in front the wicket, Leicestershire CCC on 42-2 from 13.4 overs.

County’s 50 came up after 15.3. Aadil Ali had joined Javid, and Aadil can really strike a ball with some velocity. Javid was keeping the scoreboard ticking over with singles interspersed with the occasional boundary. Aadil registered, in my humble opinion, the shot of the day, so far, when he drilled left arm spinner George Harding through extra cover to the ropes.

Javid (34, 56b) went caught at mid-off by Gibson off Harding, Leicestershire CCC 78-3 from 21.5 overs. After 25.3 overs rain led to the players leaving the field again. The delay lasted for 48 minutes, and the match was reduced to a 47-over contest. The break between innings was trimmed by 15 minutes to prevent any further loss of overs.

Callum Parkinson had joined Aadil, and the pair brought the 100 up from the last ball of the 27th over. Parkinson took paceman Rushworth for two boundaries in the 29th over. After 31.1 rain interrupted play yet again, 55 minutes being lost, resulting in the game being reduced to 41 overs a side.

From the first ball after the resumption, Aadil and Parkinson brought up their 50 partnership from 57 balls. Aadil went to his half-century when he pulled a short ball from seamer Nathan Rimmington wide of mid-wicket for two (60b, 4x4).

Rimmington introduced a bit of steel to his game, and claimed Aadil’s wicket in his next over when Eckersley took a catch behind diving to his right. Aadil made 51 (62b) with Leicestershire 148-4 from 34.1.

Parkinson meanwhile had been taking on the Durham bowlers with much urgency, especially taking a liking to the seamers. Regimental and precision signalling from Umpire Naik, his ‘business’ arm being gun barrel straight. The Jigster, an Umpiring template.

With the score on 159, Parkinson (38, 40b) left the studio when he was run out attempting to complete a second run, Smith arrowing the ball in. Ben Mike took Coughlin for three successive boundaries, and Don Butchart chipped in as well, The Don playing a scoop shot off seamer Coughlin that flew to the ropes. Mike (27, 14b) was run out attempting a second run, this time Cameron Steel being the fielder to be responsible. Leicestershire 197-6 from 38.5 overs.

I mentioned at the start of this masterpiece that the pre-match ‘IT glitch’ would pale into insignificance when compared to an occurrence later in the innings. Well, upon Mike’s dismissal the electronic scoreboard froze with 2.1 overs remaining. My mobile rang, our Coach telling me the scoreboard was wrong, Dave, working the manual Scoreboard, radioed to say the electronic scoreboard was wrong, also Umpire Cook did likewise.

I have encountered many trials and tribulations during life’s journey, but a man has only one pair of hands, so what do you do when you have voices coming from two different radios whilst you are speaking on the phone? Stiff upper lip called for, although the air was the same colour as the shirts of LCFC with ample usage of my bottomless pit of industrial language coming to the fore.

Luckily, I had a sound ally in Peter Connolly the Durham Scorer, Peter studiously recording events during 2.1 overs of frenetic action. I had visions of having been set up for a clip on Beadles About. Back to the factory floor out on the field. Sam Bates joined Butchart, and with the second ball he faced Bates nonchalantly flicked seamer Rimmington behind square for a maximum. Bates (11, 7b) subsequently taking one for the team, becoming yet another run out victim going for a second run.

Next ball Butchart (17, 16b) was caught by Steel off seamer Weighell. 2.1 overs of frantic action going on whilst trying to remedy the Electric Scoreboard malfunction, and responding to phone calls, and on and off field radios, during this maelstrom of mayhem. Leicestershire closed on 216-8 from 41. Harry Funnell (2*, 1b), Triallist Andrew Rishton (0*, 0b). Sincere thanks, and appreciation of Peter Connolly’s support, and eagle eyes, during the final 2.1 overs of the innings.

Wicket takers for Durham: Harding 1-15 from 3, Gibson 1-22 from 6, Weighell 1-37 from 8, Coughlin 1-43 from 8 and Rimmington 1-57 from 7. With three stoppages for rain the break between innings came at 3.49pm when had the innings gone to the standard time the innings would have ended circa 2.30pm.

Spare a thought for John Stew and his catering team who had to cater for all the players and officials some 80 minutes later than expected. Delighted to report that, as ever, the food was top notch, even though the Scorers had to eat theirs almost on the hoof, as their 30-minute break became 15 minutes, as a result of printing of end of innings statistics and half a dozen copies of the DLS.

Between innings Saint Jack Bradley of LCCC office fame nonchalantly rectified the Electronic Scoreboard problem by re booting the mechanism, deep in the bowels of the FCG, that functions the Electronic Scoreboard. Super Jack IT whizz par excellence.

Pringle and Steel opened up for Durham, Mike and Adam Barton taking the new ball. The pair brought up their 50 alliance after 6.3. Pringle brought up his 50 (44b, 6x4, 1x6). It goes without saying that Pringle was playing some crisp shots, and having a dip at the bowling.

The next ball following Pringle’s 50 resulted in the dismissal of Steel. Steel played a ball from Parkinson out towards the cover boundary, Mike gathered it in, a tremendous flat throw to the keeper, and Steel was short of his ground. Another victim of second run syndrome, Durham CCC 90-1 from 13.4.

Enter Eckersley. Ned was mainly dealing in singles, trademark running, bat held with both hands, presented parallel to the ground. Harry Funnell suffered a painful blow when the third ball of his spell was ferociously driven back at him by Pringle, and hit him full on the shin/ankle area. After on-field treatment, Funnell unfortunately had to return to the harbour of the pavilion, Aadil completing the over.

Pringle (79, 70b) went caught at long-on by Nightingale, swooping to take the catch, off the bowling of Adam Barton, Durham CCC 135-2 from 21.1. Smith joined Eckersley. It was good to see Harry Funnell return to the field after 29 overs. Funnell, to the naked eye, looking in ship shape order again. These Houghton-on-The-Hill types are made of strong stuff.

Eckersley and Smith had added 46 when Eckersley (36, 48b) was expertly caught by Parkinson, off the bowling of Javid. Parkinson running in from the deep mid-wicket boundary, taking the catch diving forward, no doubt having grass burns on his knuckles as they scraped the turf. Durham CCC 181-3 from 29.4.

Trenouth (0, 2b) went in the next over caught and bowled by Mike, Trenouth getting under a delivery that spiralled back to the bowler. Durham knocked off the remaining 26 runs needed with no further alarms. Smith went to his 50 (8x4) from 36 balls, plenty of Hollywood shots in there as well.

Durham CCC reached their target with 5.2 overs remaining, 242-4. Smith (52*, 38b), Weighell (29*, 19b). Durham CCC winning by six wickets (DLS). Wicket-takers for Leicestershire were Barton 1-40 off 6, Javid 1-52 off 7, and Mike 1-56 off 9.

Sincere thanks to the groundstaff for their hard work getting the covers on and off throughout the day, and the catering team for their sterling efforts throughout the day.

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