Leicestershire 2nd XI v Nottinghamshire 2nd XI, Market Harborough, 21st July
(Disclaimer – This post contains fanciful speculation about the thought processes of some of the characters involved. I really have no idea what they’re thinking.)
On Wednesday the whirligig world of Leicestershire 2nd XI cricket turned to Market Harborough and the familiar territory of Fairfield Road.
I think most of us enjoyed ourselves. The Last Gnomes were out in force, the Committee were pleased, I was happy as Larry and the Excellent Women who normally provide the teas had a chance to demonstrate their range with a delicious (I imagine – I didn’t get any of it) shepherd’s pie for lunch.
The nice lady physio we last encountered at Oakham certainly seemed to appreciate the shepherd’s pie, and spent the after-lunch period basking in the grass on the long leg boundary, her first aid kit at the ready in case she was needed (which, happily, she wasn’t). She also had the chance to make use of an al fresco treatment table (pictured).
Greg Smith must have been happy, proving that he could make his way patiently to a large total, in the face of the loss of early wickets and against a decent attack, watched by the coaching staff (who were also had the chance to return to their roots, by retrieving balls from the hedge that borders Fairfield Road). Shiv Thakor must have been happy, until he was out LBW attempting an ill-advised and unnecessary reverse sweep when well-set.
The young trialists must have been, if not happy exactly, then excited, looking for signs that the wicket was taking spin, hoping to impress when their turn came to bowl. Bilal Shafayat, the famous 12th man, seemed in a jovial mood, bantering with a teenage teammate about how old he was.
I’m not sure that everyone was quite as pleased to be there though. Charlie Shreck (32), and, not so long ago, in with a distant shout of an England cap, wasn’t pleased when, in mid-afternoon Smith (or Thakor) whipped his bouncer off his nose for four. He threatened the non-striker with being run out for backing up too far, then followed up the next few deliveries to within a few feet of the batsman and had a few words with him, perhaps a few words of advice about the vicissitudes of a professional cricketer’s life, and the need to prepare for a career after retirement.
Someone else who seemed immune to the charms of Market Harborough and its shepherd’s pie was Leicestershire’s captain for the day. He joined Leicester in the middle of last season, knowing that he wasn’t going to be offered another contract by Surrey, and must have had good hopes of a regular first team place. He spent the first half of the season injured, but played all fourteen 20/20s. If he couldn’t have been down in Glamorgan with the First XI, he might have preferred to be at home with his feet up.
He played a brief innings, not quite timing it and holing out, sat saturnine in front of the pavilion, popping out to his car from time to time, perhaps to make a few ‘phone calls. And what was he thinking of? How his teammates were doing against Glamorgan? The great day, not so long ago, when he put on an opening stand of 296 (with an old school fellow) in a one day match in front of a packed and jubilant Oval crowd, and where he might have thought that would lead him? Delhi, perhaps, with an IPL contract in his pocket, rather than Market Harborough with a plate of shepherd’s pie, however delicious.
Some interesting cloud conditions today, like so.
Reminded me of this –