THE 2nd XI season is coming to the boil, and there was one Irishman in action on Monday in the Second Eleven Trophy semi-final at Grace Road.

Andrew Balbirnie made just 2 however as Middlesex struggled to 202-5 in an innings reduced to 30 overs.

Despite the Pembroke man taking a good catch in the first over to dismiss Michael Thorneley, Leicestershire won with three balls to spare and meet Lancashire in the final on 8 September.

Leicesterís 2nd XI won the Second Eleven T20 earlier in the summer and are top of the northern division of the Second Eleven Championship Ė but their firsts are bottom of division two of the County Championship. Perhaps they should switch teams next season.

With a couple of three-day Championship rounds left, the stand-out Irishman in the 2nd XI this season has been Stuart Poynter.

Besides scoring almost 750 runs (including five 50s), he was leading keeper in the one-day trophy (11 dismissals), the T20 cup (11 dismissals) and is joint top of the long-form Championship (26 catches, 4 stumpings).

Poynter and his Durham team-mates didnít get out on the park this week due to serious rainfall, but a couple of Irishmen at either end of their career played in club fixtures.

Ireland U17 batsman Sonny Cott made 38 for Leatherhead against Valley End in the Surrey Premier League, while 15-times capped Strabane wicketkeeper Stephen Ogilby was back playing a couple of games for Chester Boughton Hall, making a best score of 9 against Nantwitch.