Seconds held to Worcestershire draw

SECOND XI CHAMPIONSHIP | Worcestershire CCC v Leicestershire CCC

SCORE | Leicestershire CCC 519 for three declared drew with Worcestershire CCC 279 and 346 for five (f/o)

SCORECARD | Available HERE

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Leicestershire CCC commenced day three against Worcestershire CCC at Stourbridge requiring eight wickets to win the match, the Pears needing a further 195 runs to avoid an innings defeat. County had an early success, but only three wickets fell in the day, the Worcestershire CCC batsmen offering stubborn resistance. The game ended in a draw thanks to centurions Alex Milton and Nick Hammond.

A busy day ‘off field’ beckoned today for yours truly. I would have to keep myself fully up to date with goings on at England’s Cricket World Cup game with New Zealand up at the Emirates Riverside. Also, there is the strong possibility of an incoming at the KPS today, in the form of Ayoze Perez from Newcastle United, so I was monitoring that situation closely as the day goes on. I would like to thank a friend of mine, and massive City fan, Geoff Peters (who I know reads these Reports) of Talksport for giving the ‘heads up’ yesterday afternoon on the developing situation with Perez and LCFC.

Prior to the start of play I had a good look around the inside of the Stourbridge FC Clubhouse, it was open, as a firm of Auctioneers were busily setting up for an event later in the day. After looking at all the pictures on the wall it would appear that the greatest day in Stourbridge FC’s history was a third round FA Cup tie at Wycombe Wanderers in January 2017. In the second round Stourbridge had beaten Northampton Town at the War Memorial Ground. A host of framed pictures of the celebrations that followed the final whistle of their victory over Northampton Town were on the wall.

It was a glorious summer day when the players took to the field, one of the best days weather-wise that we have had for some time. Worcestershire resuming from their overnight 45-2. Jack Haynes 14*, Josh Haynes 4*. There were just a handful of hardy spectators present to witness the opening exchanges. England had won the toss up at the Riverside, and were already approaching 50 without loss.

Alex Evans and Gavin Griffiths opened the attack for Leicestershire. In the second over of the morning Griffiths, coming in from the Football Ground End, struck. Left-handed Josh Haynes chased a short ball down the leg-side, only to succeed in giving keeper Harry Swindells a regulation catch. Haynes not adding to his overnight score of 4. I breathed a sigh of relief as there were no longer two batsmen at the crease dressed identically, both with the number 17 on their back. Worcestershire CCC 45-3 from 18.3 overs.

Worcestershire CCC skipper Alex Milton joined Jack Haynes, and the pair began a salvage operation. They posted a 50 partnership from 94 balls when the score reached 95-3 after 34.1 overs. County skipper Tom Taylor was busily shuffling his attack in the hope of making a breakthrough.

Callum Parkinson had been bowling from the Pavilion End, and got a wicket in his eighth over of the day. Haynes (31, 100b) was trapped in front from a ball of fuller length. Worcestershire CCC now 115-4 from 39 overs. Hammond joined Milton, and the pair built a match-saving partnership. Milton went to his 50 (89b, 6x4) when the score reached 130 for four from 45.4 overs.

Worcestershire went into lunch at 139 for four from 50, trailing by 101 runs. Milton 56*, Hammond 5*. On day 1, no wickets had fallen in the morning session, one wicket went down in the morning session on day two, and two wickets fell in the morning session on day three.

After a good start up at the Riverside by England, New Zealand were now coming somewhat back into the game. The Perez situation was moving on at a pace back in Leicester, and the words ‘agreed terms’, and ‘medical’ were being used in connection with the developing story. The afternoon session was what a certain person back at the FCG would call ‘an afternoon in the dirt’ for Leicestershire CCC.

Milton and Hammond forged a match-saving partnership, both batting extremely commendably, ensuring that a wicket did not fall between Lunch and Tea. Skipper Taylor shuffled his bowlers about to no avail. In addition to Evans, Griffiths, and Parkinson, he utilised Uday Modhwadia, Arron Lilley, Aadil Ali, Ateeq Javid and very briefly Harry Dearden.

Milton and Hammond brought up their 50 partnership from 119 balls when the score reached 165 for four from 59.5 overs. Milton went to a superb 100 (157b, 11x4) with the score on 215-4 from 72.5 overs. At the same time their 100 alliance came up from 198 balls. Some six overs later Hammond went to his 50 (130b, 6x4) with the score at 251 for four from 78.1 overs. Worcestershire CCC went into tea at 261 for four from 81 overs, leading by 21 runs. Milton 125* Hammond 54*.

The afternoon session had entailed me receiving numerous calls on the radio from the Umpires asking for the score in England’s game up at Durham CCC. Immediately after tea, Leicestershire CCC took the new ball, Parkinson and Griffiths being the recipients. Milton and Hammond brought up their 150 partnership from 253 balls, the score 265 for four from 81.5 overs.

Their 200 alliance followed 10 overs later from 314 balls, the score 315 for four from 91.5 overs. At 4.48pm County at last got the wicket of Milton. The Worcestershire CCC skipper played down the wrong line to a ball from Alex Evans, and was bowled. Milton (138) 202b. A great effort from the Worcestershire CCC skipper to go with his undefeated 62 in the first innings. I am reliably informed that this was Milton’s highest Second XI score for Worcestershire CCC, eclipsing the 108 that he made against Leicestershire Second XI at Rugby School last season. No doubt Milton will be writing yet another piece of poetry, this time about his grafting and grinding knock.

Up at Durham CCC the game is all but won by England, and there are strong rumours circulating that City are preparing a bid for another forward, no names having been mentioned as yet. Josh Breed joined Hammond, and you got the feeling that all that remained was for Hammond to get his century, and then the players would shake hands on a draw.

Hammond duly went to his 100 (195b, 14x4/1x6), the score 346 for five from 96.2 overs. Hammond in ‘Walter mode’ as opposed to ‘Wally’ mode. The players immediately shook hands on a draw at 5.07pm, Worcestershire holding a lead of 106 runs with a minimum of 16.4 overs left in the day. Hammond (102*) 195b, Breed (14*) 16b However, ‘Hammers’ may have thought the shaking hands a little premature. My trusted 2nd XI Annual showing his highest score in SEC cricket as 105* against Northamptonshire at Kidderminster in 2018. Here he was on 102*.

Gavin Griffiths returned figures of 3-48 from 17 for Leicestershire CCC. Alex Evans got through 19.2 overs and picked up 1-55. A good effort from Evans who bowled very well, and stuck to the task manfully under a hot sun. Callum Parkinson returning figures of 1-82 from 26, Arron Lilley did not get a wicket, but got through 19 overs for 67 runs. Uday Modhwadia bowled 7 overs, 0-22. Other contributions from Javid 0-14 off 4, Aadil 0-26 off 3, not forgetting just one ‘smashing’ over (0-8) from Harry Dearden, remember that window? Worcestershire CCC nine points, Leicestershire CCC 13 points.

Before leaving Stourbridge I must say that all the people associated with Stourbridge CC were a credit to their club and Worcestershire CCC. The groundstaff, who sat alongside the scorebox for the duration of the match, all had interesting stories to tell, and even made time to fetch the scorers the odd cup of tea or coffee. Additionally, all the ladies involved in the catering operation did a super job, and were most helpful, and obliging. Well done to all involved.

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