Evans bowls beautifully at Lancashire

SECOND XI FRIENDLY | Lancashire CCC v Leicestershire CCC

SCORE | Lancashire CCC 65 for five v Leicestershire CCC 224

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REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Alex Evans bowled superbly on a day where England seamer Jimmy Anderson made his comeback from injury.

Lancashire CCC hosted Leicestershire CCC in a three-day SEF at Northern Cricket Club, Crosby. Northern CC is some seven miles north of Liverpool. This fixture following hot on the heels of last week’s SEC game at Kibworth, which culminated in Leicestershire CCC getting the result they required to reach the SEC Final.

The Foxes will play Hampshire in the four-day final which is from September 3rd to 6th, the venue for which is still to be confirmed.

Anderson was included in the Lancashire Second XI for this match as part of his rehabilitation following a calf injury, in the hope that he can feature in the England Ashes squad next month.

Yours truly now firmly back in his natural habitat of out ground opulence following his recent gig of being one of the Official Scorers for the second Ashes Test at Lords (Editor’s note: Jofra Archer may have got the headlines Pete, but your debut didn’t go unnoticed here).

Leicestershire had a good day against a Lancashire side that included two players, in addition to Anderson, who have represented England Haseeb Hameed, and Stephen Parry. Triallist Ish Sohi, a right arm seamer, was making his debut for Leicestershire Second XI

Leicestershire CCC were dismissed for 224, triallist Nick Welch (64) top-scoring. Seamer George Burrows for Lancashire picking up 6-22. Anderson returned figures of 2-23 from nine overs. In reply Lancashire were reduced to 65-5 following a most impressive spell from Academy seamer Evans taking 4-22 from 10.

The day’s play took the format of a timed game 10.30am until 7.00pm, no minimum number of overs being required to be bowled. An extra hour has been added to days one and two, with play not starting until 1.00pm on day three.

On a cool, blustery morning, Lancashire CCC were skippered by Haseeb Hameed won the toss, and chose to field. Jack Nightingale, for the first time, captained the Second XI. There was a good crowd, by Second XI standards, present when the players took to the field. Also, Sky TV cameras, and a number of sporting journalists were in attendance due to the presence on the field of one James Anderson… (Editor’s note: I reckon they were there for you Pete, make sure your interview opportunities are before and after play to avoid missing any meals!)

Nick Green and Sam Bates, both left-handed, opened the innings for Leicestershire CCC against an opening attack of Liam Hurt and left arm Toby Lester. The pair looked comfortable with Bates taking the majority of the strike.

Anderson replaced Hurt at the field end after 10 overs. Bates clipped Anderson’s second delivery through the covers for three. In Anderson’s second over he had Bates (18, 49b) caught behind by keeper George Lavell, the score 27-1 from 12.5 overs. Bates being able to ‘dine out’ in years to come, upon relating the tale of facing a bowler who has taken 575 Test wickets to date.

Nightingale joined Green, and the pair repelled Anderson and George Balderson who had replaced Lester at the Pavilion End. Green driving Anderson delightfully through the covers for a boundary. Anderson came out of the attack after he had bowled five overs being replaced by seamer Chris Sanders.

At this juncture the northern cricket correspondent of the Times came into the Scorers domain asking for details of Anderson’s figures. The amiable hack also asked me for a bit of background information on Sam Bates. Sam could possibly soon be in the England selectors minds with the glowing, and completely unbiased report of his ability that I gave. I will send you my Invoice later Samuel! (Editor’s note: told you you’d be in demand Pete before reading down this far!)

Nightingale took three boundaries of ‘the Colonel’ Sanders as he is affectionately referred to by his Lancashire colleagues. (Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) connection I am told). Green and Nightingale posted a 50 partnership from 84 balls, the score on 78-1 from 26.4 overs.

Burrows came on at the Pavilion End, and with the last ball of his first over had Nightingale (28, 59b) caught in the mid-on area by Hameed off Burrows. A solid innings by Nightingale who looked ready to take off, but unfortunately had his wings clipped. County 86-2 from 32 overs.

In Burrows’ next over Green (34, 88b) was bowled. A good foundation to the innings built by the Grantham Grinder. Don Butchart (1, 5b) was bowled from the fourth delivery of the same over.

Ben Mike had come to the crease upon Green’s dismissal, and was joined by Nick Welch. The pair took Leicestershire CCC into lunch on 97-4 from 37 overs. Forty minutes after lunch, Anderson returned at the Field End to bowl the 51st over.

Mike took two boundaries from the second and fourth balls of Anderson’s third over of his spell. One of which was a beautiful clip through mid-wicket. However, with the last ball of the over Mike (19, 59b) was pinned in front by the King of Swing.

Young left-hander Ajay Khunti joined Welch. Khunti faced a couple of balls from Anderson that will look impressive on his CV. Khunti (7, 15b) went lbw to seamer Balderson.

Brinder Phagura joined Welch and the pair forged a superb partnership. Welch smote spinner Jack Morley for a huge maximum, and soon afterwards went to his 50 (107b, 4x4, 1x6), the score on 191-6.

Phagura was pushing singles to rotateg the strike. Welch picked up another maximum off Morley. Their 50 alliance came up from 71 balls when the score reached 204-6 (71.2).

In the final over before Tea, Welch (64) 131b was caught behind by Lavelle off Burrows, and two balls later Nat Bowley (0) 2b was also a victim of the Lavelle/Burrows combination. Leicestershire into Tea on 221-8 (77.5) with Phagura 30no.

In the second over after tea, Phagura (31, 69b) was caught by Hurt at second slip off Burrows. A good knock in the lower middle order from Phagura. Lancashire took the new ball immediately it was available with numbers 10 and 11, Evans and Sohi, at the crease.

The pair staved off Hurt and Burrows for 4.3 overs until Evans (0, 16b) was caught by keeper Lavelle off Hurt. Sohi 2* (21b). Leicestershire CCC 224 all out from 84.3 at 4.55pm. Wicket-takers for Lancashire: Burrows 6-22 (13), Anderson 2-23 (9), Balderson 1-32 (11) and Hurt 1-35 (13.3).

There is always someone at a cricket club that everything seems to revolve around. There was a gentleman present who was overseeing catering, the bar, and who also provided the scorers with liquid refreshment. Between innings this same gentleman was seen pushing the light roller up and down the wicket, whilst all suited and booted. Not the normal shorts, and/or tracksuit attire. The most well turned out member of any groundstaff I have ever seen.

Owais Shah and Haseeb Hameed opened up for Lancashire against an opening attack of Evans and Sohi. Lancashire CCC progressed smoothly to 47-0 from 14, but this soon dramatically became 49-5 from 17 thanks to an inspired spell at the Pavilion End by Evans.

Hameed (29, 44b) went caught just forward of square by Butchart. Two balls later, Shah (16 43b) was run out by a direct hit when running towards the bowler’s end. Phagura swooped on the ball at mid-off and threw the stumps down.

Phagura then bowled a maiden from the Field End, followed by a triple wicket maiden from Evans, the 17th over. First ball of the over Lavelle (0, 3b) caught behind by keeper Bates. Next ball Ed Fluck caught at second slip by Welch, then three dot balls, last ball of the over Parry (0, 4b) comprehensively bowled, his off stump sent cartwheeling.

Only another five overs were possible before the umpires took the players from the field at 6.48pm as a result of bad light, ending play for the day, the scheduled finish being just 12 minutes away.

Lancashire CCC were 65 for five, Balderson and Hurt both 8no, trailing by 159 runs. The solitary wicket-taker for Leicestershire CCC being the outstanding Evans 4-22 (10), the other wicket being a run out.

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