Good final day ends in draw

SECOND XI FRIENDLY | Leicestershire CCC v Kent CCC

SCORE | Leicestershire CCC 116-4 declared and 201-7 drew with Kent CCC 207 and 177-6 declared

SCORECARD | Available HERE

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

After yesterday’s freezing temperature experienced in the scorebox, I have put on an extra layer today, and have also brought along a number of handkerchiefs to combat the heavy cold that I have developed following my exposure to the elements yesterday. The weather forecast looks reasonable today, so hopefully we will get through without an interruption for rain. The temperature had shot up dramatically so I had to discard my jacket and long sleeve pullover as I was too hot in the scorebox! The best laid plans of mice and men, and all that!

We saw an excellent day’s cricket that ebbed and flowed with one side in the ascendancy, then the other, the game ending in a draw with honours even. A fair reflection on the three days play in my opinion. Leicestershire CCC declared on their overnight 116-4, trailing by 91 runs. Kent posted 177-6 dec, challenging Leicestershire CCC to chase down 269 from a minimum of 64 overs.

While Callum Parkinson and Arron Lilley were at the crease, County were in with a chance of winning. Their dismissals resulted in Gavin Griffiths playing a resolute innings to ensure Leicestershire CCC did not lose the match. Leicestershire CCC closing on 201-7, the players shaking hands with two balls, and possibly another over remaining.

We were in shirt sleeve order when the players took to the field, and the door of the scorebox was open to assist a cooling breeze to pass through it. There were some 7 or 8 spectators present. A tiresome wasp was flying around in the scorebox, and refused to go out despite several attempts to make it do so. A busy morning lay in store for me as in addition to scoring duties there were events at the FCG, and England’s World Cup game at The Oval to keep up with.

Sam Bates was keeping wicket for Leicestershire in Kent’s second innings, with skipper Harry Swindells taking up a fielding role. Calum Goldsack and Joe Gordon opened up for Kent against an opening attack of Griffiths and Uday Modhwadia.

Griffiths choosing to operate from the Field End in the second innings. In the third over County struck when Gordon (4, 10b) flashed and edged one behind to keeper Bates. Bates was certainly not Gordon’s Gopher as he took a good catch diving low down to his right. Kent 7-1 off 2.2 overs.

Louis Kimber joined Goldsack. After 7.2 overs I struck a fearsome blow with an A4 sized booklet, and said tiresome wasp, mentioned earlier, was consigned to the scorebox floor. Reinforcements were on hand though as a swarm of midges were flying around immediately in front of the viewing gallery of the box.

Opener Goldsack and No.3 Kimber had added 39 when Kimber (17, 35b) was caught at cover by Swindells off the bowling of Aaron Lilley. The score soon became 46-3 when Goldsack (25, 36b) got the boot, caught by Lilley, a skier that went to the short third man/fly slip area. Neil Dexter the bowler.

Leicestershire CCC struck again four runs later when Jordan Cox (0, 9b) found himself in troubled waters when he was bowled by Lilley. Three overs later Grant Stewart (7, 7b), who posed problems in the first innings, went caught by Nat Bowley at cover off Neil Dexter. 65-5 then became 85-6 when Isaac Dilkes (20, 21b) was expertly caught by Griffiths, taking a steepler at mid-off from the bowling of Lilley.

Kent CCC were now in a bit of trouble leading by 176 with four wickets remaining, County in with a sniff. Ben Manenti then posted a half-century, as he had done in the first innings, and was assisted in an unbroken partnership of 92 by Marcus O’Riordan.

The pair posted a run-a-ball 50 partnership when the score reached 138-6 from 29.4 overs. Manenti went to his 50 (36b, 7x4, 2x6).  Kent CCC went into Lunch on 177-6 from 32. Manenti (62*, 40b) and O’Riordan (34*, 33b), averting any immediate danger for Kent.

The visitors declared their innings over the luncheon interval, setting Leicestershire CCC a target of 269 to win from a minimum of 64 overs. An asking rate of 4.2 per over. Wicket-takers for Leicestershire CCC were Lilley 3-29 off 8, Dexter 2-24 off 6, and Griffiths 1-25 off 6.

A number of spectators arrived during, and just after the lunch Interval having hot-footed it over to Kibworth from the FCG. A number of familiar faces were back on parade at a Second XI game.

Swindells and Sam Bates opened up for County, but the left-handed Bates (2, 2b) was soon on his way, caught behind by Cox off Stewart. Dexter joined Swindells, and looked in good touch striking eight boundaries, the majority of which rattled across the carpet.

The skipper was dealing mainly in dots and singles. Swindells (8, 37b) went caught behind by keeper Cox, again off Stewart. Leicestershire 45-2 from 11.1. Aadil Ali joined Dexter, the pair having added just 8 when Dexter (38, 46b) received what appeared to be a slower ball that stopped on him, and was caught at mid-on by Frederick Klaassen off the bowling of Justin Watson. Dexter was looking in menacing form, and Kent appeared very relieved to see the back of him. Leicestershire 53-3 from 16.3.

Aadil who was building a patient innings was joined by Parkinson.  It was unfortunate when Aadil (21, 54b) went caught at deep mid-on by Stewart off Manenti in the penultimate over before tea. Lilley joined Parkinson, and the pair took County into tea on 101-4 from 32 overs. Leicestershire CCC requiring 168 to win from a minimum of 32 overs.

Before and after tea, Parkinson was subject to quite a bit of chin music from the very rapid right arm South African paceman Watson. Parky swaying in time with the ‘music’, and avoiding the ball that several times went narrowly over the top of his head. Lilley also had the occasional blast to deal with from Watson as well.

The duo posted a 50 partnership from 61 balls, Leicestershire CCC being on 149-4 from 40.1 overs, needing a further 120 to win from a minimum of 23.5. Leicestershire CCC were getting themselves to the point where they were in with a chance of winning.

Three balls after sharing in a 50 partnership, Parkinson (47, 74b) went caught at point by Marcus O’Riordan off Watson. Leicestershire 149-5 from 40.4. Whilst Lilley was in there was still a chance of victory. In the 44th over, Lilley hit spinner Manenti for three boundaries, two of which were reverse sweeps.

At the end of the 44th, Leicestershire were 162-5 requiring 107 to win from a minimum of 20 overs.  Four overs later Lilley (44, 55b) went caught in the deep mid-off area by Calum Haggett off the bowling of Manenti. Leicestershire CCC 171-6 from 48 overs.

It was now all about saving the game, Griffiths, who had been stoically supporting Lilley, played an absolutely wonderful match saving innings, facing more deliveries than any other batsman in the innings. Griffiths took on speed merchant Watson single handily, shielding his young partners from the demands of Watson at all times.

When Griffiths was at the crease Watson bowled four overs and Griffiths faced every ball of them. If Anthony Joshua’s opponent in the World Heavyweight fight at Madison Square Garden tomorrow night ducks as much as Griffiths did, Joshua will not be able to lay a glove on him. Griffiths also produced enough leaves to close down an entire railway network for 24 hours. I cannot speak highly enough of the job Gavin ‘Brigadier Block’ Griffiths did for the team.

James O’Kelly (6, 16b) was at the other end for part of the time, mostly facing spinner Manenti. Kelly stepping up to the plate well. Griffiths dealing with paceman Stewart whilst Watson was out of the attack. Stewart was putting in some short stuff to Griffiths, one of his greatest hits You Wear It Well came to mind, but Griffiths also knew all the words, swaying around like a drunk at closing time

Kelly went caught at short-leg by Dilkes off the final ball of an over he received from seamer Klaassen. Leicestershire 188-7 from 55, a minimum of nine overs left. Nat Bowley joined Griffiths, and did a good job in frustrating Manenti. You could not have got a shaft of light between Bowley’s bat and front pad. Bowley also played out a maiden from Klaassen.

With two balls of the 64th over remaining the players shook hands on a draw, although Watson may have squeezed another over in, but had he have done so ‘Super Gav’ would have dealt with it admirably I am sure. Griffiths (21*, 76b), Bowley (2*, 27b). Leicestershire closing on 201-7 from 63.4 overs. Wicket takers for Kent were, Stewart 2-17 off 12, Manenti 2-37 off 14.4, Watson 2-47 off 14, and Klaassen 1-43 off 11.

The end of three days cricket at Kibworth where we have been splendidly looked after. Kibworth CC have major development work taking place to the pavilion on their second ground over the close season, and an electronic scoreboard is to be included in the facility.

Very grateful thanks to Phil, who very kindly updated the overs on the scoreboard after every over today, consequently he was up, and down from his nearby seat 96 times. Sincere thanks Phil, I very much appreciated it.

Finally, sincere thanks to Angie, Chrissie, and Liz for the wonderful food they provided. Thanks to Matilda for sorting out tea, coffee, and biscuits prior to the start of play, and for waltzing across to the main Pavilion to give assistance too. Ian for his superb lunches.

Last but not least, to Steve, Simon, and crew for all their work on the ground. PS that scorebox was not as bad as I made it out to be, you need iconic structures like that to make life interesting!

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