Seconds lose out after a close final day

DAY 2 | Durham CCC 359 for nine declared and 327 for three declared beat Leicestershire CCC 335 for eight declared and 323

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REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Here we are then the last day of the cricket season for Leicestershire 2nd X1, the final embers of the season upon us. Summer’s lease hath all too short a stay. I have pinched that quote from Paul ‘Gus’ Geary, the esteemed Groundsman at Rothley Park CC, but please don’t tell any descendents of William Shakespeare.

Prior to the start of play I was given a guided tour of the Media Centre at the Emirates Riverside by Keith the Durham 2nd X1 Scorer. When we were up here last season I was given a guided tour of all the rooms within the expansive Pavilion complex. My specialist subject, if I were on Mastermind could well be Rooms within the Emirates Riverside.

It turned out to be an enthralling day’s cricket, going right down to the wire, with the result in doubt until the final few overs.

Durham declared in the morning session, challenging Leicestershire to make 352 to win from a minimum of 76 over’s, an asking rate of 4.63 per over. Leicestershire came very close to winning the game. Don Butchart (75), Sam Bates (64), and Sam Evans (50), all recording half centuries. Durham winning by 28 runs with 4.5 overs remaining when the final wicket was taken.

Durham commenced the day on 262-1, leading by 266 runs. Graham Clarke 111*, Josh Coughlin 51*. There was just a gentle breeze today when the players took to the field. A sprinkling of spectators were again scattered around, amongst the vast array of seats on offer to them.

Leicestershire bowled 18 overs in the morning before Durham declared at 11.29am. Coughlin (65) 72b was bowled by Lilley. Clark, and Liam Trevaskis posted a 50 partnership from 62 balls, but it was academic really as a declaration was being ‘engineered’ by both sides. Clark (142) 164b was caught at deep mid wicket by Harry Dearden off the bowling of Sam Evans. Seeing Evans bowl is up there with a sighting of the Loch Ness Monster.

Durham declared at 11.29am on 314-3. Trevaskis 37*, Stuart Poynter 1*. Wicket takers for Leicestershire were, Evans 1-9 (2), Aadil 1-32 96), and Lilley 1-56 (16). Leicestershire began their run chase with Sam Evans and Jack Nightingale opening the innings.

Stuart Poynter took over wicket keeping duties from Tom Mackintosh. The Foxes safely went into Lunch on 37-0 (13). In the first over after Lunch Nightingale (15) 42b was caught down the leg side by keeper Poynter off the bowling of James Weighell. LCCC 37-1 (13.5).

Harry Dearden joined Evans. Dearden (9) 17b went caught at first slip by Josh Coughlin off Weighell. LCCC 51-2 (19.6).

Aadil Ali, undefeated centurion from the first innings, joined Evans. The Umpires had a number of discussions about the light some 30 minutes after Evans and Aadil had been together. This resulted in the seamers being taken out of the attack, and replaced by spinners. At 2.26pm, after 33 overs, the floodlights came on. Four balls later Evans and Aadil brought up their 50 partnership from 82 balls when the score was on 101-2 (33.4).

Evans went to his 50 (5x4) 107b, from the final ball of the same over. A solid half century from Evans, who dealt comfortably with both the pace, and spin attack on offer to him. Evans (50) 109b went caught at wide mid on by Rory Hanley off the bowling of left arm spinner Trevaskis. LCCC 107-3 (34.5).

Lewis Hill joined Aadil, tried to force the pace, but when on 12 (16b) was caught at deep backward square leg by Michael Jones off Weighell. LCCC 127-4 (37.6).

Aadil (43) 51b was caught by keeper Poynter, from a steepler in square leg area, Matt Salisbury the bowler. LCCC 135-5 (40.3).

Don Butchart 6* and Ben Mike 2* took County into Tea on 138-5 (43). Leicestershire requiring a further 214 to win from a minimum of 33 overs.

After Tea the floodlights were switched off as the light had improved considerably. Also, Tom Mackintosh returned to wicket keeping duties in place of Stuart Poynter. Mike (3) 16b went lbw to spinner Ben Whitehead in the third over after Tea, LCCC 147-6 (45.1).

Sam Bates joined Butchart, and the pair batted magnificently, putting Leicestershire in with a real chance of winning. Bates powered the pacey Potts for 5 boundaries, the first three being sumptuous cover drives, in the space of two overs early in his innings. We won’t mention breaking Potts.

At this stage Butchart was observing Bates’ pyrotechnics from the non-striker's end, but took the opportunity to take 3 boundaries off Whitehead. Butchart and Bates brought up their 50 partnership from 61 balls, the score on 200-6 (55.2). It was now 152 to win from a minimum of 20.4 over’s. Butchart went to his 50 (9x4) 68b when he pulled Weighell behind square to the boundary.

The last hour was signalled with Leicestershire on 224-6 (60), a further 128 required from a minimum of 16 over’s. Bates then took boundaries off seamers Weighell, and Hanley. Bates went to his 50 (10x4) 48b when he lofted left arm spinner Faz Hussain to long on for two. Hussain having to leave the field through an unfortunate injury in the outfield, after bowling a solitary over.

Butchart had taken 2 boundaries off Weighell, then hoisted the paceman for a maximum, three overs later. Butchart and Bates brought up their 100 partnership (109b) when the score reached 250-6 (63.2).

Immediately after this the floodlights came back on at 4.59pm. In the next over Bates (64) 56b was stumped by Mackintosh off the bowling of Trevaskis. A second half century of the match for Bates. Butchart and Bates adding 113 for the 7th wicket. A telling contribution by the Academy pair. LCCC 260-7 (64.5). 92 required to win from a minimum of 11.1.

Butchart (75) 93b went run out, attempting a second run when Salisbury fired one in to keeper Mackintosh, who dismantled the woodwork. The Don, top scoring in Leicestershire’s second innings, and delivering what was needed with the precision of an Amazon driver. LCCC 296-8 (68.4).

A further 56 to win from a minimum of 7.2. You sense it is never over until it’s over especially when Arron Lilley is at the crease. Lilley took Trevaskis for 2 huge maximums, and the winning post was looming over the horizon. At 5.28pm with 6 overs remaining, rain was falling, and the Umpires took the players from the field. They were only off for 3 minutes, so no overs were lost.

Brinder Phagura (9) 8b was trapped in front by Trevaskis. LCCC 306-9 (70.2).

Last man Nat Bowley joined Lilley, with 46 needed from 5.4. The remaining four balls of the over were rather eventful. Bowley took two from the first ball he received, next ball scampered through for a single, that resulted in four overthrows (five runs scored). Lilley on strike, next ball six, followed by a boundary. LCCC 323-9 (71). 29 to win from 5 overs.

Bowley (7) 3b was bowled by Salisbury from the first ball of the 72nd over. Leicestershire 323 all out, losing by 28 runs. Lilley (31*) 16b. The match finishing at 5.43pm. A great effort by The Foxes, going down with all guns blazing, and coming very close to snatching a victory.

A riveting last day’s play, real edge of the seat stuff. Wicket takers for Durham were, Weighell 3-51 (14), Trevaskis 3-71 (10), Salisbury 2-53 (13.1), Whitehead 1-59 (12), the other wicket being a run out.

Another season for the 2nd XI has drawn to a close, and yours truly Pistol Pete (look what you have started Mr Horton, the moniker has stuck) is now putting away his pencil for six months or so. It has been a grand old journey over the past 5 months. I could write a book, Confessions of a 2nd XI Scorer! The 2nd XI has been in fine hands expertly coached, and mentored by Tom Smith and his trusted Lieutenant Dips Patel. These two blokes have put in a vast amount of work on match days, not to mention all that they do on training days, and behind the scenes as well.

On a personal note I would like to thank each, and every one of the players, and support staff that have given me lifts to our away games during the season. Also thanks to everyone in the Office at the FCG. Lizzie, Louise, Tracey, Jack, Scott, and Steve, have helped me in some way or another during the season. Thanks also to John, and his Catering Team for the magnificent food when we played at HQ.

The last word for the man who sticks all these reports on the website for me, albeit amongst the countless other tasks he carries out, and is accessible 24/7. Dan, sincere thanks, you are a very busy chap, but always find time to give help, and advice whenever it is needed. Change of sports for me now, off to Man Utd with LCFC on Saturday. A man for all seasons!  

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