Seconds draw with Durham

SECOND XI CHAMPIONSHIP | Durham CCC v Leicestershire CCC

SCORE | Durham CCC 333 for eight declared and 40 for none declared drew with Leicestershire CCC 68 for none declared and 242 for eight

SCORECARD | Available HERE

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

We arrived at South Northumberland CC on a bright, sunny, north eastern morning. There had been rain overnight, but the ground was fine for play to commence on time. There was a summit meeting between the two coaches out on the square soon after the players arrived at the ground.

Leicestershire CCC declared on their overnight 68 without loss, trailing Durham CCC by 265 runs. Durham batted in their second innings for just 7.3 overs, torrential rain forcing the players from the field. When play resumed, but not until after lunch, Durham CCC declared their second innings, challenging Leicestershire CCC to get 306 to win from a minimum of 64 overs.

The game produced a very tense and exiting finish, the game going right down to the wire, with Durham CCC pushing for the victory. Leicestershire CCC denied Durham CCC victory thanks mainly to a fine innings from Callum Parkinson (86), ably supported towards the end of the game, for some 23 overs, by Brinder Phagura (27*) and Alex Evans (7*). They ensured that the hard graft and toil was not wasted. Earlier in the innings, Harry Swindells (49) just missed out on a deserved half-century.

There were just a handful of spectators present when play commenced. Ken was in position with correct shutter on his camera! Angus Robson and Cameron Steel opened Durham CCC’s second innings against an opening attack of Ben Kitt and Phagura.

Durham CCC progressed to 40-0 from 7.3 overs when a mini monsoon took the players from the field at 11.29am. Robson 17* (24b), Steel 17* (24b). Although there was no play out in the middle, the TV was on in the Clubhouse so the CWC semi-final between England and Australia beckoned for us to watch. Initially there was even a problem with watching the cricket as the passing storm, accompanied by claps of thunder, had knocked out the satellite signal.

Just after 12 noon, the umpires ruled that lunch would be taken at the appointed time of 1pm as the outfield was very wet, with a view to re-starting at 1.40pm subject to satisfactory ground conditions.

The hosts declared their innings on 40 without loss, Leicestershire CCC requiring 306 to win from a minimum of 64 overs, an asking rate of 4.78 per over. Ateeq Javid and Sam Evans opened up for Leicestershire, Matthew Potts and Luke Doneathy taking the new ball for Durham CCC, who had a great start reducing County to 16-2 after 3.2 overs.

Evans (0, 3b) went caught behind by ‘keeper Stuart Poynter off Doneathy in the second over. Aadil Ali (8, 10b) soon followed when he dragged one on from Doneathy. Swindells joined Javid, and the pair set about repairing the damage.

They posted a 50 partnership after 17.2 overs when the score reached 66 for two. Javid, as in the first innings, was producing some eye-catching cover drives. Swindells was building a somewhat neighbourly knock, as many of his 1s and 2s, came just around the corner between square-leg and long-leg, as he glanced, swept, and paddled the spin of Ryan Pringle and George Harding.

Just three runs after their 50 partnership had been reached, Javid (33, 59b) went caught at cover by Michael Jones off Pringle. Leicestershire CCC 69-3 from 19.4 overs. Enter Parkinson, who subsequently played the major part in denying Durham victory.

Swindells and Parkinson brought up their 50 partnership from 81 balls, the score at 119-3 from 33.1 overs. In the last over before tea, from the fourth ball, Swindells (49, 79b) was caught behind by Poynter off Pringle. A cruel blow as The Swindler very much deserved a half century. On the plus side I thought his dismissal just prior to tea may have put him off his food, and that as a result there would be more for me, no such luck!

Leicestershire CCC went into tea at 131-4 from 34.4 overs. Parkinson 35* (58b). When played resumed after tea, the Foxes required a further 175 to win from a minimum of 29.2 overs. Durham, eyeing victory, needing 6 wickets. Arron Lilley joined Parkinson, but the Lancy Lads did not last long together. Lilley (4, 14b) edged a delivery from seamer Doneathy to first slip where Robson completed the formalities.

Parkinson went to a splendid half century (84b, 4x4, 2x6) when he deposited Pringle over long-on for a maximum. Don Butchart had joined Parkinson after Lilley’s dismissal, but when on 5 (9b) was bowled by Doneathy. Dieter Klein (9, 10b) went stumped by Poynter off Pringle.

If Pringle thought he was the only ‘big cheese’ in the crisp world taking part in this match, he had better think again. The Durham CCC coach (Alan) Walker, and the Leicestershire CCC coach (Tom) Smith also have surnames with a major clout in the world of potato based products.

Leicestershire CCC 175-7 after 46.2 overs, and staring down the barrel as there were 18 minutes to play until the final hour kicked in. Brinder Phagura joined Parkinson, and the pair of them succeeded in putting the game out of Durham CCC’s reach. As salvage operations go this was up there with the 1982 masterpiece of raising the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship, from the sea bed of the Solent.

Parkinson, who had been keeping the scoreboard ticking over, now had to go into his shell and block to see out the game. The final hour arrived with Leicestershire CCC at 179-7 from 52 overs. Parkinson 63* (114b), Phagura 1* (15b). A minimum of 16 overs remained.

Pringle shuffled his bowlers in an attempt to dislodge the pair, but to no avail. When the spinners were on Parkinson and Phagura gave the impression of being a camp fire with 10 fielders circled around them. This became nine fielders when the quicks were employed as one fielder retreated to deep square-leg (two thirds of the way back) should Parkinson or Phagura decide to take on a bouncer.

There were a number of bouncers, Parky always prepared to have a dart at them. Phagura swaying gracefully out of the way. The pair had gone into their shell. If Parkinson took the role of a tortoise, Phagura was one of those giant turtles you see on sun-kissed beaches in certain parts of the world.

Parkinson and Phagura posted a 50 partnership from 95 balls, the score on 225-7 from 61.4 overs, but more importantly for survival a minimum of 6.2 overs were remaining. Parkinson (86, 150b) finally went when he attempted to go over the top off left arm spinner George Harding. Parkinson was brilliantly caught at a somewhat deep mid-on by Scott Steel. Steel leaping skywards, sticking up his right hand, and pouching the catch. Cruel on Parkinson who had kept the good ship Leicestershire afloat for the majority of the innings, and was denied a richly deserved century.

Parkinson was at the crease for 45.3 of the 69 overs bowled in the innings, and registered his highest SEC score to date. Leicestershire CCC 233-8 from 65.1 overs, a minimum of 17 deliveries remaining.

Alex Evans joined Phagura. The left-handed Evans stepped up to the plate, and ensured that Durham CCC were denied victory. They had rattled through their last 16 overs, and there was time for one more as the clock had not yet reached 6.00pm.

Evans played out the final over from Scott Steel, taking a boundary off the last ball. Leicestershire CCC closed on 242 for eight from 69 overs, 64 runs short of their victory target, but still well-placed in the table. Match Drawn. A great effort from Phagura who applied himself diligently to the job that was required. Phagura 27* (70b), Evans 7* (14b). Durham CCC 9 points, Leicestershire CCC 8 points.

Before closing a couple of thank yous are in order. Sincere thanks to Dave our Coach Driver, who has transported us around since last Sunday, he could get a bus through the eye of a needle, big City fan as well, so he ticks all the right boxes.

Also, drumroll please, thanks to Dan (Nice) for turning out at 11.00pm on Thursday night to unlock one of the gates at the FCG so that our bus could get in, and the players, and support staff, get their cars out. Dan also locking up the gate, in the hour leading up to midnight when everyone had left.

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