Battling Seconds lose in Final

SECOND XI CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL | Day 4: Hampshire CCC v Leicestershire CCC

SCORE | Hampshire CCC 343 & 278 beat Leicestershire CCC 187 and 291 by 143 runs

SCORECARD | Available HERE

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

There was a very autumnal feel in the air when we arrived at The Ageas Bowl for the fourth and final day of the SEC Final between Hampshire CCC and Leicestershire CCC. Prior to the start of play I had a good look around The Ageas Bowl and the immediate surrounding area. I had a wander around the practice green and first fairway of the adjoining Boundary Lakes Golf Course.

I then focused my attention on exploring areas of ‘the Bowl’. Beneath the Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie Stand was a timeline, some 30 yards long, going back to 1885, detailing major milestones in the history of Hampshire CCC, along with photographs.

Also, I had a closer look at our friends the floodlights. There are six floodlight pylons around The Ageas Bowl, 54 spotlights on each one, making a total of 324 spotlights in all. Amazing what useless information you can glean when you have time on your hands.  

Leicestershire CCC resumed from their overnight 0-0, requiring 435 runs to win, from a minimum of 96 overs. Nightwatchman Alex Evans (7, 22b) was trapped lbw by left arm paceman Keith Barker in the sixth over of the morning having faced 16 balls.

A few minutes before Evans’ dismissal the floodlights kicked into action, all 324 spotlights slowly bursting into life. All six pylons were no doubt itching to get into the action as they were not required yesterday. Aadil Ali joined Javid, and the pair picked off runs comfortably against a pace attack of Barker, Ryan Stevenson, and James Fuller.

The first ball of the 17th over bowled by Barker, prompted a signal of a no-ball by Umpire Lungley at square leg. Eagle eyed Tom had spotted that there were three fielders behind square. Javid and Aadil posted a 50 partnership from 75 balls when the score reached 86 for two.

Aadil (35, 41b) was caught at first slip by Tom Alsop off the bowling of off spinner Felix Organ, the score 99 for three. A nice little recital by Organ just before lunch. Leicestershire CCC went into lunch at 110 for three (29) with Javid 42no, Harry Dearden 3no.

Javid went to his 50 (95b, 6x4) from the last ball of the third over after lunch when he steered Organ down to the unguarded third man boundary for four. In the sixth over pf the afternoon session, Dearden (5, 28b) was bowled by seamer Ryan Stevenson.

Lewis Hill joined Javid, and as in the first innings took on the Hampshire attack. Hill’s cameo included two reverse sweeps for four off Organ, and in Organ’s next over a boundary by Hill was accompanied by a maximum. Javid meanwhile was playing a staunch role gradually accumulating runs.

Leg-spinner Kameron Khanna was introduced into the attack briefly in an effort to dislodge the pair. Khanna’s action very much depicting a windmill in his delivery stride. Hill (33, 32b) was caught at cover by Harry Came off Fuller, leaving Leicestershire CCC on 165 for five.

It brought Harry Swindells to the crease to join Javid, but The Swindler (9, 9b) went lbw to Fuller. A 50 partnership from 93 balls then ensued between Javid and Callum Parkinson. The 50-run alliance coming up from the penultimate ball before tea with Javid 83no and Parkinson 16no taking County into tea at 226 for six (60).

Leicestershire CCC required requiring a further 209 runs to win from a minimum of 36 overs. As so often happens soon after an interval, a wicket falls, and there was to be no exception here, as Javid was dismissed in the second over after tea.

Javid (86, 186b) was caught in the mid-wicket/mid-on area by Fuller off the bowling of Stevenson. A commendable vigil at the crease from Javid, whose innings commenced at 5.33pm yesterday and ended at 3.36pm today. Leicestershire CCC were now at 231 for seven.

If the match were to finish in a draw, Hampshire CCC would take the title as they led on first innings. As a result, Leicestershire CCC decided to have a go at reaching the unlikely victory target. Ben Mike and Parkinson took the attack to Hampshire after tea with both batsman chancing their arm and scampering through for unlikely singles and twos, interspersed with a boundary or two.

At 3.54pm, rain drove the players from the pitch with Leicestershire CCC at 247 for seven (65.2). A further 188 runs were required to win from a minimum of 30.4 overs. The players returned to the field at 4.15pm, five overs having been lost, pushing the asking rate up to 7.40.

Parkinson and Mike went down with all guns blazing. Parkinson (30, 59b) was caught behind by keeper George Metzger off Stevenson, and Arron Lilley (7, 9b) was a further victim for Metzger off the bowling of Keith Barker.

The innings ended when Mike (37, 46b) was a third successive victim for Metzger, off the bowling of Stevenson. Leicestershire CCC 291 all out from 73.4. Gavin Griffiths 1no. Hampshire CCC winning by 143 runs and duly crowned SEC Champions for 2019.

Wicket-takers for Hampshire CCC: Stevenson 5-65 (19.4), Fuller 2-39 (11), Barker 2-70 (17), Organ 1-57 (14). So ends Leicestershire’s 2019 SEC campaign finishing as runners-up. Although we did not take the title let’s not forget the contribution over the past few months from all of the players that got us to the Final.

For the record, this is the first SEC match Leicestershire have lost this season. A word also for Second XI Coach Tom Smith and his trusted right-hand man Dips Patel. These two blokes have gone the extra mile, and put in countless hours of hard work, effort, commitment, and dedication throughout the season, trust me I have seen it first-hand.

Sincere thanks to Dan ‘Night Owl’ Nice for turning out late into the evening to unlock one of the gates at the FCG to let our coach, of the bus variety, in, and for locking up afterwards. 

Before signing off for the day, I am sure everyone would like to join me in offering their good wishes for the future to our Physio Ellie Frank, who leaves LCCC today for pastures new. Ellie has been assigned to the Second XI for the past two seasons, and has always carried out her work in a thoroughly professional, and efficient manner. All the best Ellie.

IMAGES | Thanks to John Mallett of Outside Off for providing the images throughout the game.

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