Saturday, 2 May 2015

Grace Road - Leicestershire CCC

27th April 2015

Leicestershire v Northamptonshire
(day 2)

It is perhaps an indication of the depth of Leicestershire County Cricket Club’s current woes, that even an extremely casual follower of the sport like myself had noted not only that the club had finished bottom of the County Championship second division on each of the last two seasons, but had failed to win even a single match in the process. 

To hopefully arrest this unenviable run the club had appointed former Warwickshire player Wasim Khan as Chief Executive, who had since installed a pair of Aussies in the shape of Andrew Macdonald and Mark Cosgrove as Head Coach and Captain respectively. 

This last named, although clearly a talented individual, has regretfully endured struggles with weight issues throughout his career.  And whilst I believe he has trimmed down from what was once his peak fighting-weight, he still strikes a distinctly un-athletic looking figure on a cricket field. 

Early indications had shown the club may at least be seeing the corner in sight, if not quite on the verge if turning it.  An unbeaten second innings 59 by Cosgrove had helped Leics to a creditable draw at Glamorgan in their opening County Championship match.  Whilst in the first day of this encounter, they had limited Northamptonshire to 251 all out, before going to make a really rather encouraging 102 for 1 at the close of the first day. 

Thus when I pitched up at Grace Road to take in day 2, I fully expected Leics to build upon their promising start.  But regretfully not.  For even before the cucumbers had begun being sliced in preparation for lunch, the home lot had crumbled to 165 for 5; Ned Eckersley, Cosgrove and Neil Pinner all departing rather tamely.
Mark Cosgrove - Leicestershire

This rather awkward looking attempt saw Niall O'Brien caught having scored just 9 runs.

Robert Newton - Northamptonshire

Northamptonshire's Mohammad Azharullah took six
wickets over the course of the match

This rather undignified scramble by Northants' Rob Keogh (I think) prevented a boundary.

Ned Eckersley - Leicestershire

Charlie Shreck - Leicestershire

Ben Raine - Leicestershire

Raine bowling to Northants' Stephen Peters 

I had noted that via the BBC Sport website one could access commentary on the match from BBC Radio Leicester, which I duly did.  But I initially found the experience more than a little perplexing, as the commentary I was hearing appeared to bear no resemblance whatsoever to what was going on in front of me on the pitch.

I pondered if I had succeeded in tuning into the wrong radio station.  But no, this was definitely the correct match – it was just that the commentary made no sense at all.  It gradually dawned upon me that, perhaps because I was listening via my mobile phone, that I was experiencing a minute or so delay in the transmission.  So what I was hearing was actually the commentary for the previous ball to the one I was witnessing.  I persevered with this headache-inducing state of affairs for a quarter of an hour or so, but soon had to give up.

Leics' woes continued after lunch, before an admirably resilient partnership by Raine and McKay allowed the visitors’ first innings total to be painstakingly overtaken.  The homesters’ were finally all out for 305 when Charlie Shreck – one of those bowlers who look as if he requires to be reminded of which end of the bat to hold each time he sets out for the crease – was caught behind for naught.

Northants' second innings began during that odd lethargy-inducing third session where a few stragglers wander in to catch proceedings (presumably getting in either free or cheaply), but at least four times as many folks drift away, and even the players appear to take on a listless, almost going-through-the-motions aspect.

Home bowler Ben Raine persevered manfully, but must have been frustrated to see at least two relatively simple catches dropped by his fielders.  He eventually took care of Richard Levi and, soon after, the aforementioned Shreck had Peters caught behind.   Close of play found Northants on 105 for 2 – a modest lead of 51.

Play was briefly halted due to poor light.  I was a bit surprised at this as, although the clouds overhead had certainly turned from white to grey over the previous hour, the light did not appear particular bad.  But then again, I suppose I was not facing a cricket ball travelling towards me at upwards of 60 mph.
Light looks fine to me !

Grace Road - Leicestershire County Cricket Club.

Weather-vane atop the old scoreboard.

Grace Road - Leicestershire County Cricket Club.

Upstairs in this building is designated The Meet, where I enjoyed a sensibly priced
meal of shepherd's pie and chips washed down with a half-pint of the local brew
served up by quite the friendliest folks I have some across on my journeys for some time.

View of the action from The Meet.

Grace Road - Leicestershire County Cricket Club.

Panorama of Grace Road - Leicestershire County Cricket Club.

Panorama of Grace Road - Leicestershire County Cricket Club.

Panorama of Grace Road - Leicestershire County Cricket Club.

Panorama of Grace Road - Leicestershire County Cricket Club.


Northants went on to make 429 in their second innings, leaving Leics a target of 376 to win.  Leics fell well short being bowled out for 283. 

Northants won the match by 92 runs.



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