Seconds taste defeat against Worcs

SECOND XI TROPHY | Worcestershire CCC v Leicestershire CCC

RESULT | Worcestershire CCC (two points) won by eight wickets

SCORECARD | Available HERE

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

The Royal Grammar School at Worcester was the venue for the second match of Leicestershire’s SET campaign, for their fixture against Worcestershire. This esteemed seat of learning is a mixed Independent Day School, and Sixth Form College, for 2 to 18 year olds.

The RGS Worcester was founded before 1291, and it is one of the oldest British Independent Day Schools. Its origins can be traced back to the seventh century. It is the sixth oldest school in the world. Amongst its Alumni are former cricketers Imran Khan, Dean Headley, Tim Curtis, and Neil Pinner. Philip Serrell, an Auctioneer, who regularly features on TV programmes Bargain Hunt, and Flog It is also a past pupil.

My Worcestershire scoring colleague was Sue Drinkwater, who is Scorer Education Manager. I better maintain my exemplary professional standards during today’s game! The last time I scored a match with Sue was last season at Rugby School, so there is a scholastic theme developing. I did not seek Sister Suzi’s opinion of her namesake Danny’s transfer from LCFC to Chelsea, as I thought she may be a little out of her comfort zone entering detailed discussion on the Premier League.

Worcestershire recorded a thoroughly comprehensive victory, at the ground of this Independent Day School. Leicestershire posted 237-6 from their allotted 50 overs. Callum Parkinson, Ateeq Javid, and Jack Nightingale all registered half-centuries. The Pears cruised home reaching their target, for the loss of two wickets after 32.4 overs. George Rhodes made an undefeated century and Tom Fell contributed 95.

Aadil Ali skippered Leicestershire, won the toss, and elected to bat. At the RGS the scorers are positioned in the scorebox which is at the top of the pavilion, positioned above the players’ balcony. On this St George’s Day, the flag of St George was proudly flying from the nearby Worcester Cathedral. A warm humid morning greeted the players as they took to the field. There were some 20 spectators present, including a few familiar faces of Foxes faithful. A great effort from this dutiful handful of diehards. Norman Gifford, ex Worcestershire and England, was also in attendance, Norman being a former Pears President.

Harry Swindells and Nightingale opened up for County against an opening pace attack of Adam Finch and Ari Karvelas, the latter having appeared for Leicestershire 2s last season. Swindells was on his way back in the fourth over when a delivery from Karvelas got big on him, and ballooned up into the air for keeper Alex Milton to take a comfortable catch in front of the wicket. The score was 11 for one after 3.3 overs.

Nightingale won the initial ‘Battle of the Birds’ and ‘Face Off of The Feathers’ when recent England Under 19 cap Finch was removed from the attack. Ateeq Javid joined Nightingale, and the pair made solid if somewhat slow progress. The total reached 50-1 after 14.3 overs, and subsequently their 50 partnership came up from 77 balls. They then posted a 100 alliance from 141 balls.

Opener Nightingale went to his maiden 50 (93b, 4x4) for the Second XI when he drilled slow left armer Jacques Banton through the covers for two. Plenty of oil in Nightingale’s lamp thanks to Great Aunt Florence.

Javid reached his 50 (77b, 3x4) two overs later when he turned seamer Zain-Ul-Hassan to square leg for one. The ball only ever going in One Direction. However, there was a bit of Worcester Sauce to follow as an overthrow ensued. Nightingale’s innings came to an end when on 53 he drove Ul-Hassan to Karvelas at mid off. Nightingale falling from his perch after facing 88 balls (4x4) with Leicestershire at 124 for two from 29.3 overs.

Aadil (0, 3b) went caught and bowled by Finch. Javid 59 (90b, 3x4) went expertly caught at cover by Pears skipper Joe Leach, taking the steepling catch running towards the boundary with the ball coming over his shoulder. Parkinson had entered the fray and was taking on the Worcestershire attack with urgency.

His partner Ben Mike (13) 20b  went caught at short extra by Josh Dell off spinner Josh Dickenson, leaving the Foxes precariously placed on 182-5 from 42.4. Don Butchart joined Parkinson, and the pair had a dart at the Worcestershire bowling. The pugnacious Parkinson went to his 50 (61b, 4x4) when he caressed paceman Finch through extra cover for three, Parkinson taking the chance to have a flutter against the bowling of Finch.

The pair posted a 50 partnership from 40 balls, during which Butchart hoisted spinner George Rhodes for a huge maximum. ‘The Don’ contradicting his initials of DNB. The very next ball after their 50 alliance, Parkinson 63 (67b, 6x4) was caught at long-off by Rhodes off Finch.

Sam Bates came in with four balls remaining, Bates received just one delivery taking a single off Finch. Leicestershire CCC closed at 237 for six, Butchart (23*, 21b), Bates (1*, 1b).  Finch returned impressive figures of 2-41 from 10 overs, ably supported by Rhodes 1-39 from 10, Karvelas 1-43 from 10, Ul-Hassan 1-43 from 8, and Dickenson 1-48 from 9.

During the break between innings, and over Lunch I had a chat to Norman Gifford, recalling names of Worcestershire CCC players of my youth from the late 1950s to the mid 1960s. Norman was able to tell me in detail as to whether they were still with us, or had gone to the great cricket ground in the sky. Older readers may recall names such as Flavell, Richardson, Coldwell, Booth, etc.

Olly Westbury and Rhodes opened the innings for the Pears. County had an early success when Westbury (7, 18b) was caught by Butchart at backward point off left arm seamer Adam Barton. Worcestershire 43-1 from 6.1.

Thoughts of it all going ‘pear shaped’ for Worcestershire were soon dispelled as Rhodes and Fell proceeded to guide Worcestershire home at a rapid rate. They posted a 50 partnership from 52 balls, Rhodes went to his 50 (7x4) 53b, the 100 partnership arrived from 102 balls, and Fell reached his 50 from 57 balls (3x4, 2x6).

Their 150 alliance came up from 131 balls with the score on 193 for one from 27.5 overs. County claimed their second wicket when Fell (95, 76b) was superbly caught by Butchart at deep mid-wicket off the bowling of Parkinson – a blinder of a catch.

Don ‘The Fisherman’ Butchart always manages to land a good catch! The Pears on 226-2 from 30.3.  Rhodes went to his 100 (99b, 11x4) when he turned Javid towards square for a single from the second ball of the 33rd over. Dell saw Worcestershire home when he sent a ball from Parkinson to the ropes.

Worcestershire CCC 241-2 from 32.4, winning by 8 wickets. Rhodes (100*, 99b), Dell (8*, 5b). Wicket takers for Leicestershire were Barton with 1-49 (6), and Parkinson with 1-45 off (8.4). Worcestershire 2 points, Leicestershire 0 points.

Finally, I am sure everyone will join me in offering their very best wishes to Second XI Coaching Stalwart Dips Patel, who is running The London Marathon this coming Sunday. Dips is raising money for a most worthy cause, Get Kids Going a charity for disabled children. In cricketing parlance, Go Well Diplodocus!

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