Flipping Eck that was hard work
An Eck of an innings
By Maters and Comeback Gatt
June 7 2020
As part of our lockdown archive reports we are at Grace Road September 2011 for our promotion deciding game. Masters and Comeback Gatt bring us a joint report on day 1. As well as a detailed report of the cricket, we hear about their travel arrangements, food, text service from other grounds and a teaser about a Donna Summer song.
Not sure about these 10.30am starts!! Anyway, Comebackgatt and I set off nice and early. We had a quick breakfast and I said I knew a short cut to the M1 so I would drive. Classic FM for company. Are we nervous, you bet your sweet bippy we are.
Stop at Watford Gap for a coffee (soya milk served to CBG’s delight) and a comfort break. I worked in Leicester early this year so knew a car park close to the ground that is very reasonable. Makes you realise how we get ripped off in London!! CBG had set up a “keeping up to date with the scores elsewhere rota”. This involved his nephew (Steelbacker and Northants member) at Northampton and one of his other clients Simon, who is Derbyshire fan, who was at The Oval. Texts would flow during the day keeping us all informed. On the walk to the ground we wondered if who ever won the toss would put the other team into bat. CBG said yes but I mused whether Matthew Hoggard would after Lord’s and getting it wrong at Bristol.
Must say well done to Leicestershire CCC for offered free entrance to all Middlesex Members. It is cloudy and very windy (Hurricane Katia) no doubt. As we enter the ground we find out Buck has won the toss and put Leicester into bat. We are unchanged, while the home team have made three changes with Jefferson, Cobb and Hoggard being left out. We find a couple of seats and settle down. Settle down did I say, what an amazing start. First over from Dial M, 3rd ball goes for four, last Boyce edges to Ollie at slip, it’s 4-1. Next over from Colly, a double wicket maiden.th ball Jones (on his CC debut) trapped in front without scoring. Enter Taylor, CBG informs me he has him in his Fantasy side but would not mind he failing. And fail he did 2nd ball, stumps spread-eagled by Colly for 0. 4-3!!! CBG loses 20 pts for Taylor’s duck but does he care?
First two texts come in, start at Hoval delayed because of crowd congestion?? They are ‘aving a laugh ain’t they? Wet outfield at Northampton means delayed start. Up to Smith and Du Toit to steady the buffs for the home team. With Buck having set an attacking field anything that goes through the in- field will be four, and Du Toit quickly hits 5 and Smith 3. At the end of hour one Leics have recovered slightly to 68-3, Du Toit 37, Smith 27. A double change in the bowling see the Iceman and Crooky come on.
Other scores Sorry 50-2, Northants 14-2.
Stand broken, Smith and Du Toit putting on 84 for 4th wicket in good time, before The Iceman get the latter to nick a late mover to Strauss at slip for 4. Enter Ned Eckersey (not a Christian name you see much) CBG informs me he was on our books. He and Smith see the home team through to lunch at 106-4
We break open our tucker bag. We are both awkward beggars to please, CBG a vegan, and me gluten free. We tuck into his home baked vegan sausages roles. Heck they are tasty. After our lunch we had a meander around the ground and then caught up with all the lunch time scores.
And now to see us through to Tea, here is our reporter CBG.
Ta. Things have gone pretty quiet since lunch, with Smith and Eck’ putting on 64 runs from 24 overs. Buck is rotating the bowling looking for the next breakthrough. Texts tell us Northants 102.-4 (Steelbacker in despair) and Sorry 163-4, all helping our cause at the moment. Smith and Eck’ have now put on a hundred for the 5th wicket, Smith just 5 away from his hundred and Ek has 47. We need patience, but turning off the field to slight frustration. Come on boys another wicket before tea. Will hand reporting back to Masters after the interval in the hope she brings us more luck than me. The batsmen reach their milestones Eckersley through to his fifty and then Greg Smith to his hundred from 186 balls including 12x4s. Buck has now used seven bowlers as Malan bowls three before the break.
Tea and the score is 217-4 and we are getting a tad nervous, come on Masters do the trick after tea.
Me again, CBG spends the interval checking his fantasy teams scores, “682 points this week” he says “wonder whether that will be enough to stay 4th?”
Heh, it worked, Smith adding just one to his tea score when Colly got him outside off stump and Simmo did the rest. Smith out for a fine 108, he and Eckersley put on 131 for 5th wicket but it is 219-5. One more wicket will give us two bonus points, and CBG tells me that if Glos don’t score 400 hundred they can’t get as many as us. So it’s Glos to beat Northants then (sorry Steelbacker) but only get about 375 when they bat.
Second bonus point. White after a bright and breezy innings out for 25, caught by Robbo off the bowling of Jamie D (this after being hit for six by White in the same over 250-6 now. Eckersley still there and looking set for maybe his first 100. He and Robert Taylor take the score to 262 when the new ball becomes due. Hope we can break through. Go off for a comfort break but that didn’t work either. Score now 290-6, as CBG feeds me the latest scores. Northants have recovered now 245-6, while Sorry charging along 336 -6 (as hundred for Maynard) don’t mind admitting I’m a bit edgy.
Eckersley goes to his hundred, and a well deserved one at that, and then huzzah two quick wickets, Taylor pinned in front by Dial M for 6 @294-7 and four runs later Naik caught by Ollie off the same bowler and it is 298-8. One more for the third bowling point. Got chatting with a home fan and asked him why Hoggy was not playing. He thought he might be one of a number of players leaving in the winter. Young Taylor likely to be of those. 300 up but finally Eckersley fine knock coming to a close as The Iceman clean bowls him, the score on 308-9, Eckersley making a best score of 108, and maximum bowling points for us. Right on close of play the last home wicket fell as Buck was caught behind by Simmo giving Berg his third wicket. Leicestershire all out 319.
So an interesting days play, Northants and Sorry both going well, so it’s up to the batsmen tomorrow to put a good total on the board.
We are off to find somewhere to have dinner before driving home. I have told CBG that on the way I shall be playing my Donna Summer CD and promised him my raunchy version of “Love to Love you Baby” I get him to blush yet!!!
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Forgot about the great offer for us Middlesex members into the ground for free, that was a fantastic gesture by them.
Dropping us right at the front of hotel.
One of the many highlights of the 4 days there, always enjoy going to Grace Road.