Alex Evans bowling
Match Reports

Seconds excel in draw at Lancashire

SECOND XI FRIENDLY | Lancashire CCC v Leicestershire CCC

SCORE | Lancashire CCC 134 and 132 for seven drew with Leicestershire CCC 224 & 204 for eight declared


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

We were greeted by precipitation upon arrival at Northern CC, the rain finally relenting just after 12 noon. After an inspection play eventually getting underway at 1.45pm, with a minimum of 64 overs available to be bowled.

The scheduled start time was initially 1.00pm, as extra time had been added to play in day one and day two. After discussion between the umpires and coaching staff, the minimum amount of overs to be bowled in the day was set at 64. Lunch had been taken prior to the start of play. The tea interval was scheduled for 3.45pm.

A young Leicestershire CCC side turned in a most impressive performance against a far more experienced Lancashire CCC side. Eight of the 12 players on duty for Leicestershire CCC were members of our Academy or Sub Academy.

In contrast Lancashire CCC fielded a side that included three players who have represented England, plus a number of contracted players. Leicestershire CCC came within a whisker of winning the match.

Nick Welch posted a superb 100no in Leicestershire CCC’s second innings, to go with his half-century in the first innings. Alex Evans returned outstanding match bowling figures of eight for 60. Lancashire CCC closing on 132-7, still 164 runs short of their victory target. The match ended in a draw, but Leicestershire calling all the shots, and doing everything but win the encounter.

The players took to the field under cloudy skies, and there were only 30 or so spectators present, a stark contrast to the numbers present on days one and two. Leicestershire CCC resumed from their overnight 158-8 (54), leading by 248 runs, Welch 71* and Ish Sohi 1*.  

Welch was in a hurry to reach another century for the Second XI in just a handful of appearances for The Foxes. He reached three figures adding a further 29 runs to his total from just 15 deliveries he received today.

In those 29 deliveries received, Welch deposited rapid paceman Liam Hurt over long-on for a six, and went to 99 when he clouted seamer George Balderson over mid wicket for a further maximum which took him to 99.

Welch went to a sparkling century when he played seamer George Burrows square for a single. Welch 100 (9x4, plus 1 all-run four, 2x6) from 133 balls. Welch was accompanied by Sohi (16*, 21b) who played a fine supporting role. Leicestershire CCC immediately declared the score on 204-8 (59.3), at 2.21pm when Welch reached his century. No further wicket takers for Lancashire CCC today.

The test match was on television in the bar area where the scorers sit at Northern CC, the commentary providing an informative backdrop for us. Early in the morning’s play at Headingley the camera focused on Jimmy Anderson.

Nasser Hussain, who was on commentary, said: quote ‘Jimmy working his way back to fitness took two wickets for Lancashire Second XI earlier in the week against Leicestershire Second XI somewhere up in Liverpool. Nasser old son, you only need to ask yours truly for the precise location of the game that Jimmy played in. If I can answer questions from Sky TV, and national daily journo hacks, I can find time to put you right.

Lancashire CCC were challenged with making 295 to win from a minimum of 56 overs, an asking rate of 5.26 per over. Lancashire CCC were never in with a chance of reaching their target thanks to a fine performance from the young Leicestershire CCC attack, for whom paceman Alex Evans was in exemplary form again.

Owais Shah and Haseed Hameed opened the innings for the Red Rose county against an opening attack of Evans and Ben Mike. Leicestershire CCC made swift in roads into the Lancashire CCC innings reducing them to 35-4 (16.3) at tea. Shah (7, 22b) went bowled by Evans. Balderson (2, 7b), who had been a thorn in County’s side in the first innings, went caught behind by keeper Sam Bates off Evans.

Hameed was looking ominous, his bat when playing a forward defensive shot resembling a barn door. Textbook play from the ex-England man. Hameed (18, 36b) met his fate when Evans rapped him on the pads, the umpire’s index finger duly pointing skywards. In the final over before tea, Ed Fluck (5, 15b) was superbly caught by Jack Nightingale at thid slip off the bowling off Mike.

Nightingale taking the catch to his left one handed, just above the ground. Great effort as it is a long way down for ‘Big Jack’. Fluck going for a song, caught by Nightingale, but we won’t go there... Lancashire tottered into tea on 35-4. After tea, skipper Nightingale shuffled his bowlers around in an attempt to claim victory.

George Lavelle was holding the Lancashire CCC innings together, blocking everything coming his way, more blocks than someone on Twitter who does not want any followers. Lavelle subsequently ensured that Lancashire did not lose the game. Joking apart Lavelle played a fine innings, just what was required in the situation. Stephen Parry (19, 36b) went caught at second slip by Welch in a second spell from the Electric Evans.

Hurt joined Lavelle, and played an innings tailored to the circumstances of the innings, but in stark contrast to how Hurt normally takes on the bowling. Lavelle and Hurt were still together when the final hour - a minimum of 16 overs to be bowled - commenced at 5.41pm. Nightingale was still rotating his bowlers in an effort to get a breakthrough.

The Lavelle/Hurt alliance came to an end when off spinner Nat Bowley bowled a beauty that completely bamboozled Hurt, and disturbed his woodwork. Hurt (22) 51b, Lancashire 116-6 with a minimum of 12.2 over’s remaining. In his next over Bowley did the trick again when he had Toby Lester (7) 11b caught at short-leg by Ajay Khunti. Lancashire CCC 124-7, a minimum of 10.1 overs remaining.

Lancashire CCC were looking down the barrel, but it was not to be. Four  different bowlers were used in the last 10 over’s, in an effort to gain those all important three wickets needed for a Leicestershire CCC victory. Lavelle took one on the helmet from Andy Jones with 3.5 overs remaining, but still stood firm.

Bowley had bowled an excellent spell picking up 2-12 from 11 overs. The players shook hands on a draw with two balls of the final over remaining. Lancashire closed on 132-7 (55.4 overs). Lavelle (33*, 132b) did a tremendous job for his side to ensure they did not lose. Jack Morley (4*, 29b).

The game finished at 6.40pm, quite late for the final day. Wicket-takers for Leicestershire CCC: Evans 4-28 (12), Bowley 2-12 (11), Mike 1-25 (10). A fine performance from this young Leicestershire CCC side. Coach Tom Smith is no doubt very proud, and rightly so, of the performance over the three days of his young charges.