Test legend Courtney Walsh was in town last Wednesday as Belvoir Cricket and Countryside Trust celebrated its ties with the MCC in style through their annual feature match.
Having chosen to bat, the Duchess of Rutland’s XI started badly as the MCC opened up with West Indies paceman Walsh, the first man in history to take 500 Test wickets.
Brady did manage to hit Walsh for three classy boundaries before he lost his off bail.
Neville then joined Hicks (34) in a consolidating stand of 46 before MCC’s Smith took the first of his three wickets.
Almost immediately Reingold, at square leg, hit the stumps with a direct throw to turn the tide in the MCC’s favour again.
However, Neville was in his groove and rotating the strike with skipper and Trust director Darren Bicknell with ease.
The acceleration was, at first, subtle, but encouraged by the adventurous batting at the other end from Lewis (27), Neville started to take the long handle to the bowling.
Finally, he was brilliantly caught by Read in the deep, two short of his ton before Read mopped up the tail to finish with 2 for 41 as the Duchess XI posted 229. The MCC’s top four contributed 17 runs between them, all falling to Boswell (4 for 15) in a thunder and lightning spell which nearly dashed MCC hopes of a successful chase.
His stunning caught and bowled of Taylor for a first-ball duck was an inspiration and the Duchess’ fielding was of the highest quality throughout, as all 10 wickets eventually fell to catches.
For the MCC, Smith (35) and Claypole (22) added 55 in 45 balls for the fifth wicket before Hindson removed both with his tricky variations.
Standing firm in this destruction was wicket-keeper Kennedy.
In an innings of 64 not out he always gave the impression the target was still within reach, and even when the ninth wicket fell and 90 runs were still needed, he refused to capitulate.
Kennedy and number 11 Walsh added 49 runs at a canter until Hindson finally had Walsh caught to complete a three-wicket haul and dismiss the MCC for 188.
The Imogen Skirving Trophy was retained by the home side for a third year running, while Scott Boswell was awarded the Vic Heppenstall Spirit of Cricket Award for his match-winning spell.
The Duchess of Rutland XI now lead the series 6-4.
After the game the MCC held a dinner for about 80 members and guests in the State Dining Room at Belvoir Castle, and presented the Belvoir Cricket and Countryside Trust with a cheque towards its work with primary school children and special needs youngsters.