V Peopleton CC (13/05/18)

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Walsall Health CC 203-4 (37.3 overs) beat Peopleton CC 199-8 (40 overs) by 6 wickets

The Elf made their usual springtime journey down to the village of Peopleton to play away for the first time in the 2018 campaign.

The Elf were fielding first on a warmish day in the countryside with Dan Armstrong and makeshift opener Tom Davies opening up proceedings for the Elf. Tom had a couple of catches go down but it wasn’t until Elf icon Chris Hall replaced Armstrong at the ‘cow end’ that the Elf were on the board.

Davies was replaced by Chuck who toiled away for no reward as Peopleton’s 2nd wicket

Shocked Monkey

JP watching his bowling being dispatched over the fence.

partnership of Deeprose and Blatherz piled on the runs almost getting a 100 run stand but Chucky bowled a corker in his penultimate over to knock back Blatherz’ off peg for an excellent 71. Within the massive partnership, JP took a bit of tap from Blatherz and his three overs went for 44

Dan Armstrong got Deeprose for 30 when Greg Phillpott (or Phil Pot as he was in the oppo’s book…brother of Pol) and the Elf reigned the hosts back in with some tight bowling. Greg came on and took two wickets in his two overs to boost his bowling average with Alex Nunns taking an excellent catch at long off to get Greg his second wicket. With the game evenly poised Rob inserted Tom Davies back into the game and Davies produced a jaffa to get Peopleton skipper Smith out for an excellent 28 which included a couple of lusty blows into the cow field.

In his next over Davies got two wickets in two balls but didn’t manage to deliver on the hat trick ball. Trig and Chall kept things tight until the end but Peopleton would have been disappointed to set 200 for victory after being 128-1 in the 25th over. After Tea and picnics were demolished (see tea/picnic review) the Elf looked to chase down the 200 run target for victory. Two youngsters opened up for Peopleton who kept things relatively tight and the Elf were 48-0 after 10 overs with very few chances to speak of. Gort was going along nicely and Chuck was looking to get some big runs on the board after failing in his first hit of the season. The boys brought up the 100 partnership in the 19th over and the outfield was very quiet until Smith steamed in and trapped Gort LBW for 49. The Elf legend will be disappointed to have not raised his bat today as he batted well very well in tricky conditions to see the Elf to a wonderful start. Alex Nunns came in at three and needed a score after he average of 0.5 so far this season was not giving the man from Wednesbury the confidence with the bat. Al and Chuck saw the visitors past 150 but Chuck having not given a chance all game, spooned a tame shot up to cover when he was on 99 to get out one short of a deserved ton. The Elf nerves were jangling when Nath Reeves was out for a duck and skipper Hewlitt out for 5 but with Al providing good resistance at the other end he looked comfortable to lead the Elf home. Greg Phillpott did just that after hitting two boundaries in his 10 not out to see the Elf to victory with 15 balls remaining. Alex Nunns also finished with 30 not out including a six over fine leg to give him some much needed confidence with the willow. First win of the season boys! Get in there! The lads travel to Lapworth next week to hopefully get their win/loss record at even par going into the second May Bank Holiday.

Tea/picnic review

Much better teas at Peopleton this year, with some wonderful cheese sandwiches and Swiss Roll to boot. HOWEVER. Gail was on chief picnic duties in the sunshine and delivered a spread of champions. Three words – Olives, strawberries, mustard. Eat your heart out Aldridge. Lizzie (Mrs Chuck) who was also on chief photograph duties, provided two superb key lime pies that athletes Rich Fell and Chally tucked into several times (see pic) and also some homemade sausage rolls which I believe did not get the credit they deserved, sensational. 11/10 picnic.

 

Shower club update

Decent showers today but only two of the three could be on before the pressure subsided. Chuck found some ‘Ginger anti-dandruff’ shampoo which Al and Tom denied any knowledge of. This was after Al did his best Torvil and Dean impression on the way for a shower. With Dan Armstrong turning 18 in the week, the boys are already discussing what shower gel he is going to bring on debut next weekend in Lapworth.

Tokyo update

Tom smashed through the 500m barrier in the gym this week posted 1.35.2 to leave Chall metaphorically eating his dust. The Elf ironman declined to comment on such an achievement accept from saying ‘I need to work harder’.

 

Written by Tom Davies

Batting Runs
Walsall Health
Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets

Batting

Bowling

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V Aldridge CC (29/04/18)

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Aldridge CC 185 all out (35.4 overs) defeated Walsall Health CC 108 all out (33.1 overs)

Second game and same story for the Elf this season, a loss.
On the coldest day for cricket in the history of the game the Aldridge skipper won the toss and decided to bat first. The teenage Dans opened up for the Elf and ‘Older Dan’ Armstrong struck the first blow getting Arblaster for 2. Armstrong also got Wilkinson with a catch of the season contender from Iron Man Chris Hall…think Ben Stokes off Stuart Broad in the 2015 Ashes, it was that good.

A strong partnership between Handsaker and Davies for Aldridge saw the Elf lose a bit of momentum and it wasn’t until Tom Davies got Aldridge’s Davies out for 34 (after he’d had a strop).
Chris Hall had toiled away up the ‘mini travelator’ all afternoon and was finally rewarded with a wicket in his last over when Superman Gort caught a slight nick off Chall’s bowling.
After a couple of drops and few hefty blows, Aldridge’s captain was finally out for 42 off Greg’s leg spinners.
The Elf had Aldridge 112-6 when Greg joined the circus and juggled a catch which he finally caught on the third attempt and the Elf were still in the game.
Rogers was suspiciously given not out when he was stood like a flamingo on one leg, he went on to make 36 which was probably the difference between the two sides.
Leo Chuck was fresh from his time serving Queen & Country and bowled with some needed pace picking up Milne and Arblaster in the same over to get his first wickets for the Elf.
JP was summoned and did what he does best – take wickets. JP picked up the dangerous Rogers and Ali in his third over to leave the Elf needing a tough 186 for victory.

The Elf had to bat 10 overs before tea was prepared so the game had a bit of a test match feel to it where the openers were trying to ‘survive until tea’.
Unfortunately Alex Nunns was out bowled by Rogers for one. Nunns the only man to have a lower average that Chuck this season…
In the tenth over Gort was triggered by Greg and the Elf piled in for tea at 22-2 .
Nath Reeves came in and batted well until he was bowled for 4 (still a better average than Chuck).
Dan Armstrong batted at three and did some excellent crease occupation for 15 overs but scored as quick as his over rate and only managed 5 before he was triggered.
Leo Chuck scored the first duck of the innings and the Elf were floundering at 50-5 but a good partnership between skipper Hewlitt and Elf heart throb and chief showerer Greg Phillpott put a bit of respectability on the score, when Greg departed for 16 the Elf were 101-6. Good #digin fellas.
However, as good as the 6th wicket partnership was, the next four wickets fell for seven runs and the game was over. Firstly Rob Hewlitt was triggered by Leo for an excellent 41 a real captain’s knock from Rob today to defy the opposition a massive victory.
Chris Hall was out and then Tom Davies nicked off, the ball flicked the keeper’s pad, ballooned in the air and first slip took a superb diving one handed catch.
Then team hat trick was complete when Dan Dunn chipped Yacob back to himself and the Elf slumped to a 77 run loss.

Not a great start to the season but the solidarity in the boys will see us through, let’s keep going a push for that first victory!

 

Tea review

Late #village

Shower Club

Not many for a shower this week in a rather subdued changing room after another loss however Greg found extra shower gel and questioned if it was ‘out of date’…also #village

Tokyo Update

Tom beat Chall’s 500m time this week to set the record at 1.36.0 but Chall posted the best 200m time at 36.9.
All times and challenges on the first match report.

Chuck-Watch

Resident and regular player Ian Chuck has suspiciously only played 50% of games now there is a  lady on the scene. Today he took her to mini golf instead of playing. Just let that sink in….MINI GOLF instead of playing.
When Chuck did arrive he padded Lizzie up and gave her a net which she probably didn’t ask for or want. Finally when she crashed him back over his head Chuck was heard to shout ‘no you’ve got to block it’…#village

Weather

Colder than a lot of my ex-girlfriends. In other words – practically Siberian.

Written by Tom Davies

Batting Runs
Walsall Health
Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets

Bowling.

Batting.

V Sportsman CC (22/04/18)

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Walsall Health 140 all out (39.2 overs) lost to Sportsman CC 110-4 (26.3 overs) by four wickets via Duckworth Lewis method

The Elf played their first fixture of the season, a direct replica of last season’s opener except they were on the losing side this time.
Rob Hewlitt won the toss and gave the ‘soft signal’ from the square, which was about 150 yards around from the pavilion which left Dai scrambling for his binoculars.
‘Ian’ Chuck (as he is now known) and Andy Gorton opened the batting for the Elf and in true Billy Ocean fashion the going was tough in the first 10 overs , the hosts barely scraping past 2 an over.
The first change brought about two quick wickets for the visitors when Adrish got one to nip back through the gate and ‘Ian’ was out for 2.
Alex Nunns was in at three but was immediately triggered by Dave Stephens for the first Elf quack of the season.
Token Yorkshire man Andy Carrick was in at 4 and a steady partnership with anchorman Gort saw the Elf creep their way towards 50 before Andy chipped a cut shot straight to point for 12 hard fought runs.
Skipper Hewlitt hit three boundaries on his way to 13 to give Abeer his first scalp of many for the day. Rich Fell then came in and dropped a second anchor alongside Gort who was now gradually eking his way towards a first 50 of the season. Two Elf veterans who have over 50 seasons of experience between them certainly put that on display and a fine 55 run partnership saw Gort get his first 50 of the season before being caught off the bowling of Williams and Greg Phillpott following shortly after scoring the same amount of runs as Al.
Rich dealt in singles for his innings of 10 and Dave Stephens joined him for a short cameo of 16 laden in boundaries before both men were out in the last few overs of the game going for runs with the Elf in and around the 130 mark, about 40 runs short of a decent total. Chris Hall, Tom Davies and Jonny Preece or as Chally himself described them ‘nine, ten, jack’ scrambled six runs between them including a fine cover drive from Tom Davies for his first boundary of the season.  A six for including four wickets in four balls for Abeer was mainly the difference between the sides today with the ball.
The Elf posted a meagre 140 in the last over and with one boundary only 35 paces from the wicket it would take some good bowling to limit an always strong Sportsman side to below that.

After tea was demolished The Elf went out to defend their total, Zinger bails in tow. After some really tight bowling in the first 7 overs – which coincidentally went by quicker than Dan Armstrong bowls one over, the wheels came off a little bit.
‘Ian’ Chuck and Dave Stephens had more or less kept Sportsman to a run an over but Dave suffered some real tap by going for 39 in two overs, including 6 sixes in 12 balls from Sportsman slogger ‘Waqas’ who found the very short boundary to his and his bat’s edge’s liking.
in the ninth over of the game play was significantly delayed when Andy Carrick who bravely dived to cut off some runs fell awkwardly and appeared to have dislocated his shoulder.
Good news on that front, after the delay and later update Andy is recovering fine however some of the day’s finest moments came in amongst the delay.
Firstly Dan Armstrong went and waited on the main road with a pint in his hand for the Ambulance crew who came and really took care of Mr Carrick (lots of love for the NHS here) but also a hilarious moment when one of the female paramedics asked Andy ‘if it was okay if she touched it’ which left Tom and Greg scrambling for a suitable innuendo.  Armstrong also was left in charge of the medical kit (see photo, and also see the tight grip on the pint) before Andy was treated.
In all seriousness, everyone at the Elf wishes Andy a speedy recovery and hope he will be back in time for the weekly Love Island Updates when ITV’s show returns in the summer.

Chris Hall and Tom Davies came on in the 11th and 12th overs after the score was revised by 10 overs and 30 runs as the light was fading due the delay which couldn’t be helped.
Chally who claimed he hadn’t bowled since September picked up where he left off, taking wickets.
A catch in the deep from 2017 fielder of the year Greg Phillipott saw the back of Waqas who hit 54 out of the 62 Sportsman had posted at this point including 7 sixes.
Hall quickly dispatched Hembo back to the hutch after Gort snaffled a catch standing up to Chally. Sportsman’s skipper Walder and Maz scored a few runs before Gort was razor sharp once again and got him stumped. Tom Davies toiled away for 5 overs and only went for an economical 6 runs but no real chances of note. Jonny Preece replaced Davies and picked up a wicket off his first ball when Walder’s eyes lit up off a J.Preece beef and merlot pie, Walder swung everything at it and got his bails knocked back and JP was off the mark for the season.
Experienced Sportsman batsman Calvin Williams came in and steered his side home with 3 and a half overs to go without much trouble.

Tea review

Lots of sandwiches on display along with pasta, sausage rolls and the usual Victoria Sponge. There was even some left over for fines, good tea. 8/10

Shower club

An array of wonderful smells emanating coming from the home dressing room this week. However Greg’s ‘Cherry Bakewell’ and Al’s ‘Foamy Banana’ win best shower gel this week. Imperial Leather certainly coming up trumps this week. A slight complaint is that the showers at Aldridge really have slow water flow, the lads are praying for some away games soon so they can take advantage of some good showers.

#Tokyo2020 update

Regular gym goers Chris Hall and Tom Davies have been working hard in their respective gyms this winter trying to get to full fitness for the 2018 campaign. If you are willing to test your cardio with the best there are three challenges to take up:

Challenge 1 – simply 500m in the quickest time you can. Resistance on level 8 on a concept 2 machine. Chally has the current record of 1.36.6 but Tom is only half a second behind on 1.37.1.

Challenge 2- row 200m in under 40 seconds with only a minute break in between. Chall has managed 7 successful 200ms and Tom has reached 6. This challenge is A LOT tougher than it seems.

Challenge 3 – 1000m as quick as you can. This is really the big fish. Tom has set 3.31.4 and Chally is floundering behind around the 3.37 mark.

 

Written by Tom Davies

Batting Runs
Walsall Health
Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets

Batting

Bowling

V Lapworth CC (10/09/17)

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Walsall Health CC 218-3 (38 overs) v.s. Lapworth CC 24-0 (6 overs) MATCH ABANDONED

On  a day that records could have been set and landmarks achieved with both willow and leather in an already record breaking season, it was down to two things: the toss of the coin and skies above.
Fortunately skipper Rob Hewlitt won the toss and Chuck opened up with Al. Chuck was 55 runs short of reaching 1,000 runs in a season, a feat that has never been seen before in 30 years of the Elf.

Al and Chuck were going along nicely but both men gave chances early with the Lapworth fielders looking like they couldn’t have caught a bus, let alone a cricket ball in the opening exchanges.
The wind chill factor was certainly affecting the players and spectators but the opening partnership went nicely past fifty and Nath Martin (who had ‘done a lap’ with Chorley and Dan ‘two plates’ Armstrong) called Tom Davies from the other side of the field who was scoring to ask what Chuck was on, 27 was the reply and the Elf lads watched on nervously for a few more overs.

At drinks break the Elf were 80odd for no wicket, Chuck chugging along nicely on 39 and Al surpassing him slowly to hit another well made fifty just as the Elf went past 100.
Chuck seemed to take an age to get into the forties but when he did, there were muted celebrations when Chuck hit a single to reach fifty, the whole squad knowing he was five away from greatness.
With the very next ball he faced he slapped a four through the covers and it took him two more deliveries to get that elusive single where Chuck ran through, arms aloft screaming ‘yes’. Quite village really, think Kevin Pietersen vs. Australia in that 5th Oval test in 2005.

What an achievement by Chuck, surely going down in Elf folklore for an astonishing achievement. At this point, Chorley eventually could sit down as he’d spent the first half of the game pacing around the boundary in anticipation of the record.

Chuck and Al put the Lapworth boys to the sword in the overs that followed, boundaries galore in a 173 run stand putting that partnership 3rd on the Elf all time list. Good biffing lads. Chuck eventually out for 78, 23 runs over what was required in what’s been a top season with the wood in his hands.

Sam Stephens entered the fray with only required 9 to reach 2,000 runs for the club and Sam brought it up in typical Sam fashion –  a boundary. Unfortunately it didn’t last long and he was out for 11 but again what did he care? A landmark was achieved.

Andy Carrick hit a couple of boundaries on his way to 12 not out but the one thing the Elf wanted to see was Alex Nunns reach his ton but it was not to be, eventually bowled for 94 but still another record set, this was Al’s highest score for the Elf.

As the rain set in, the Elf finished on 218-3 after 38 overs and the two skippers decided on a 38 over game after tea.

With the ‘bowling award’ in sight, Rob Hewlitt asked Nath Martin and Tom Davies to open up in a shoot out for the award.
Nath started in great fashion with a maiden and Tom bowled typically crap when he was biffed for two fours in first over just as the rain set in.
In Nath’s third over the batsmen went for a quick single and Andy Carrick produced some excellent fielding at cover and a precise throw to Trig behind the stumps to put the Elf ahead on Duckworth/Lewis.

It was not to be as at the end of Davies’ third over the rain set in again and after 20 minutes or so of heavy rain both skippers shook hands and the game was abandoned.

What a season it’s been for the Elf, a record setting fourteen wins and records set with the bat with Chuck and then Chris Hall and Tom Davies becoming the first bowling pair since 1993 to both reach over 25 wickets for the season. More of the same next year please.

A final shout out to those at the club who might not play but certainly have a massive impact, Both Rach and Gail for organising and preparing EPIC teas when the fixtures are at Rushall. Dai for his continued support throughout the season and Chorley for keeping all stats up to date. Also to Rob for excellent captaincy and even organising as the season goes on and also to everyone else who turns up and makes Sundays such a joy with the loom of work the next day. Let’s make 2018 better and 2017!

Tea review

That Victoria Sponge is certainly something to look forward to after a long 40 overs in the field. Top cake. 6/10

Shower club update

The showers at Aldridge have gone down recently, low pressure and a spray of water. The bright spot being Elf heartthrob Greg Phillpott having three showers just to find the correct pressure after some PPP the night before.
As it was the last game the lads enjoyed a beer in the showers in plastic cups, which was a nice touch to end the season. 6/10

Tales from the travelator

No travelator on the top pitch but Martin & Davies had to deal with bowling into rain and bowling with a ball that resembled a bar of Cussons’ Pearl soap and having to run in through what could have resembled the field in Passchendaele in 1942 to bowl their overs, muddy to say the least. The lads were glad it was over when the skippers called it off.

Well done lads once again, great season and I’m glad these reports are received so greatly by all those who read them. Many thanks and see you in 2018.

Written by Tom Davies

Batting Runs
 Chuck, I  c Williams b Long  78
Nunns, A b Fell 94
Stephens, S b Williams 11
Carrick, A not out 12
Hewlitt, R not out 9
Fell, R dnb
Phillpott, G dnb
Martin, N dnb
Stephens, D dnb
Hall, C dnb
 Davies, T  dnb
 Extras  14
Walsall Health 218
Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Martin, N  3 1 9 0
Davies, T 3 0 15 0

Bowling

Batting

V Sportsman CC (03/09/17)

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Walsall Health 106 all out (32.5 overs) lost to Sportsman CC 350-5 (40 overs) by 244 runs

The report should really just say this:

On a day where one team turned up with a batsman who is far superior for this level and biffed bowlers who will never be good enough to get him out all around Aldridge, there was only going to be one winner. Fair play to K Ali from Sportsman for scoring the runs, however he really should be trying his hand against much better bowlers and winning games singlehandedly.

Anyway, moan out the way. The Elf succumbed to their heaviest ever defeat this week at the hands of Sportsman who the Elf have beat on the two other occasions the sides have met this campaign.

On a dreary autumn afternoon the opposition won the toss and elected to bat first, the Elf down to ten men after a seriously late drop out took the field with a depleted side and with only ten fielders.
Nathan Martin and Dave Stephens opened up for the Elf but batsmen Jawakoski and Williams put the openers to the sword and Sportsman were 56-0 after 10 overs by the time Elf made a bowling change. Tom Davies came on and got a wicket in his second over, getting Williams caught at mid off by Chris Hall for 32.
Unfortunately, enter Ali. Ali scored a fast 80 against the Elf last year and looked in good nick, hitting his second ball to the boundary but it was his third ball where the game changed. Davies got a genuine edge but part time keeper Ian Chuck couldn’t gather the catch, only agonisingly chipping the ball over Jonty’s head at first slip and the game was over.

Ali went into Ali mode and smashed the Elf lads all over Aldridge. Davies, Hall & Armstrong all had a go but to no avail.
Sportsman were well over 200 when JP came on and got Jawakoski to nick off to Chuck in the 27th over but by this time the game was surely over.
One bright note was the introduction of the ICON that is Jonty Nicholls. Still bowling that incredible line and length at 63 years of age is a joy to behold. Jonty managed to dislodge Ali when he hit a ball to Hall and long off and was out for 153 in a Sunday game. Well played.

Jonty managed to get another wicket, a sharp caught and bowled to get rid of Hussain and in the final over Chris Hall got Khan for 11 but the damage was almost done with Sportsman scoring at nearly nine an over and setting a whopping 351 for victory.

The Elf started their innings knowing they did not have anywhere near the firepower to chase down such a huge total and were banking on Ian Chuck to get the 75 he needs to get past 1,000 runs for the season.
Dan Armstrong his opening partner was out first for 4 and then it was all over for the Elf lads, Chuck was bowled after a contentious LBW shout the ball before to ‘Nasser’ for 28 runs. Looks like the Elf lads have got to pray for decent weather against Lapworth next week and hope Chuck makes a half century to go where no man has ever gone before. (Not Star Trek)

Hopley and Hewlitt made fifteen between them but Tom Davies triggered the skipper on nine and Hopley walked after nicking behind and the already short Elf batting line up was terribly exposed.
The one bright spot was Nathan Martin batting well and hitting some good shots to top score his way to 29 well made runs on a day of cold and wind, it was looking hot off Martin’s bat.

Hall, Davies and Preece were all out for single figure scores and Jonty added his name to the duck trophy list when it was ‘all over red Rover’ in the 33rd over.

The Elf have their last fixture next week against Lapworth, get your prayer mats out and pray for sun and pray for Chuck to cash in for a big score.

Tea Review

The Victoria sponge always the highlight at Aldridge, real top cake. Chocolate fingers and Galaxy Cake Bars made a welcoming first appearance of the season. 6/10

Shower Club

Aldridge showers have gone downhill since the new mood lighting. Flow is low and spray is also a bit erratic, always warm though which was much needed after the chilliness of the September cloud and wind had pinned the Elf lads back all afternoon. 6/10

Tales from the travelator

No travelator at Aldridge but I reckon some of the lads would rather have taken on the ‘Gladiators’ course rather than bowl at a batsman who is far too good for Sunday friendly cricket. Where is John Anderson when you need him?

Demerit points

  1. Martin – 1 (swearing after bowling a rank long hop).

 

Written by Tom Davies

Batting Runs
 Chuck, I  b Nasser  28
Armstrong, D b Nasser 4
Hopley, D c Malik b Wiseman 6
Hewlitt, R lbw Sohail 9
Martin,N c Vijay b Wiseman 29
Hall, C b Wiseman 1
Preece, J b Sohail 1
Davies, T b Reid 7
Nicholls, J b Gam 0
Stephens, D not out 7
 Extras  14
Walsall Health 92
Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Martin, N  5 0 30 0
Stephens, D 8 1 48 0
Davies, T 5 0 43 1
Hall, C 8 0 69 1
Armstrong, D 5 0 52 0
Preece, J 4 0 45 1
Nicholls, J 5 0 45 2

Batting

Bowling

V Rushall (27/08/17) (Tim Oliver Memorial Game)

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Rushall 207-7 off 38.3 overs beat  Walsall Health 206-6 off 40 overs….. by 3wkts

 

Since its inauguration in 2014, the 2017 edition between Rushall and Walsall Health, that is simply known as “Tim’s Game” was arguably the best and most entertaining match so far between the two sides, with some really good, hard fought cricket played throughout the day. For all our more recent players, both Rushall and The Elf, played a big part in Tim’s sporting weekends for many years. A quiet, unassuming, private man, was undoubtedly the backbone of both sides. Not so quiet, once he walked onto the field, especially if he got a bad decision, or got hit for a couple of fours. Then, that fierce competitive streak took charge, seldom did Tim lose a battle…he relished them. 20 over spells, unchanged on a Saturday, warming him up nicely to Captain The Elf on a Sunday. He is still missed by all his team-mates, family and friends who took part in a great game of cricket on Sunday.

The game began, with The Elf batting first on a scorching afternoon. With only 8 batsmen to start the game, we needed some strong partnerships. Like so many times before, our innings was built around Ian Chuck, who hit another 83 priceless runs to take him past the 900 milestone. Outstanding. Early on, the Rushall opening bowlers made life difficult, but unsung hero, Dan Armstrong helped Chuck see off the new ball with a gritty 12, which meant others could cash in, later on. After Andy Carrick got a peach, from Matt Jones, everyone rose to their feet to applaud the return of Dave Stephens. Dave wasted no time in getting back into the groove, smashing 3 fours from the first over he faced.

After Dave departed for a handy 21, we were getting close to the 100 run mark. Enter Dan Hopley, who joined Chuck and played a calm and controlled innings of 26 before being bowled by Foster. Captain Rob Hewlitt knowing we needed 200 runs to bowl at, joined Chuck. But losing our South African Pro for 83 was a setback with the score on 160. However, the Captain has been returning to form in recent weeks, and played a positive 42 not out, backed up by Jonty and CHall, to take us to a good total of 206-6. A big mention here, for Elf and Rushall legend Gary Reeves. Knee surgery, over a year out of the game, but guess what… just one bye conceded, and a sharp catch, showing the fast hands and expert glovework that remain the trademark of Doc’s game…..superb.

After tea was devoured by everyone, (more on that later) Rushall set about the chase. Clayton and Calla, started solidly, punishing any bad balls, a couple of big sixes off Chuck, set the tone. The Elf needed wickets fast. Dave Stephens and Chris Hall took on the Anderson and Broad role for the day. If there are any doubts, let me just confirm….DS IS BACK!! Bowling in tandem with Hall, Rushall, from a position of serenity at 40-0, were suddenly 58-4. DS picking up 2, using subtle changes of pace, while Hall bowled King Junior, and Clayton, spearing one in from wide of the crease to take out leg stump, a moment particularly enjoyed by umpire Andy Oliver….Game on.

Del King is a class player, and arguably the prize wicket. When in the 20’s, Del smashed one high to Chris Hall at long on, but not quite set right to take the crucial grab, the ball didn’t stick. A big moment, it really isn’t advisable to give Del a second chance. Quite rightly, he set about punishing the error, sharing a good partnership with Matt Jones. John Nicholls taking the brunt of some belligerent batting. Hall came back on, eager to make up for his error, and got Jones for 28. However, Rushall had more batting in the hutch, after Warren Foster departed with a Jaffa from Dan Armstrong, that thorn in many a side, G.Reeves came in to hit 21 effortless runs off not many balls, to all but win the game for Rushall. Known to his team mates as The Doc, Reevesy examined the Elf patient, and declared them to be on life support.

It was left to match winner Del King (75 not out) and Jake Edwards to hit the winning runs for Rushall, with 9 balls to spare, to edge a tight game, but deserving winners. It was lovely to see a lot of Tims old team mates out there today, G.Reeves, The Clayton’s, Calla, Nicholls, Fell, Gorton, Hall, Stephens, Hartshorne, King and many more. With Andy Oliver stepping up to officiate proceedings. Some good values were on show from both sides, Rushall helping us out with fielders, Calla getting called back after being wrongly given out lbw, Gort umpiring, despite a broken arm. Hewlitt junior netting for 2 hours in case the youngster was needed to bat. Both sides playing hard but fair, and  playing to win. The perfect tribute to Tim.

Tea update…..

Astonishing. Truly astonishing banquet from Gail. The lads all agreed to christen this tea “Mourinho” because it really was “The Special One.” Carb to cake ratio, spot on. Pork pie (with jelly) Wow!  Hewlitt, Hall, and Carrick almost coming to blows over who ate the last cheese and piccalilli sandwich. Dan 2 plates Armstrong, became 22 plates, declaring this was the best tea of the month, the year, the decade, the century, the millennium, even since the Ice Age. Olives aplenty, so a message for Tom Davies, who was in Barcelonaaaaaaa….such a beautiful horizon was right here on the tables of Rushall’s clubhouse mate. You missed out big time. Swiss Roll of the lemon flavoured variety had the Do Not Disturb signs up around C.Hall as he savoured 5 sumptuous slices. The only criticism came from food critique, John Nicholls, claiming the cherry tomatoes were too round, and kept rolling off his plate. So harsh. Gail fired back with the quote of the day… “You will all get the plum shaped variety next time.”  Rating…A Masterpiece 10/10

Tales from The Travelator…..

Its official, CHall has conquered the unconquerable. Steaming in for 8 overs, fueled by the samosa/swiss role combo, picking up 3-for, to join Sherpa Tenzing and Sir Edmund Hillary as one of the most formidable mountaineering specialists of all time. History is made.

Dave Stephens update……

DS IS BACK!!

Barbecue update…..

The final devastating performance of the day. The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Rich Fell, after keeping for 40 overs, was straight on the money to provide recovery food for the cricketing masses. Still in his whites at 10pm, sacrificing the delights of Shower Club, to selflessly create that pleasing aroma of onions, burgers, and sausages for everyone to enjoy. Dan Armstrong cleaning up the final Fell-Burger at 00:35 am BST, to sum up a great day, with the two clubs joining forces to pay tribute to our friend and team mate…..Tim Oliver.

Written by Chris Hall

Batting Runs
Armstrong, D  lbw b Jones  12
Chuck, I c Reeves b D.King 83
Carrick, A b Jones 0
Stephens, D c Foster b Callaghan 21
Hopley, D b Foster 27
Hewlitt, R not out  42
Hall, C c Sawari b Foster  8
Nicholls, J not out  5
Hewlitt, Jnr dnb
 Extras  8
Walsall Health  206
Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
 Armstrong, D  8 0 36 1
Chuck, I 6 1 30 1
 Hall, C 8 1 31 3
Stephens, D 8 3 25 2
Nicholls, J 5 0 42 0
Carrick, A 3.3 0 21 0

v Highwood Park 20/08/17

Standard

Walsall Health 155-5 off 40 overs v Highwood Park 58-1 off 15 overs.

Game abandoned due to rain.

Before we start the analysis, a big thankyou to Mike Sayers and Neil Van Limbeek for stepping in this week, to help us field a full side. It was really good to see these two back on the field after a spell on the sidelines.

The final game of 2017 between Highwood and The Elf, was a game dominated by an excellent fielding and bowling performance from a well disciplined Highwood side. Eager to get the game started because of a poor forecast later in the day, Captain, Ian Chuck won the toss, and elected to bat. Opening bowler, Nai Duncan was more than happy to accept Chuck’s decison, bowling a brilliant opening spell. Its fair to say, that for the first time this season, The Master Accumulator looked in trouble, against the Highwood openers, repeatedly playing and missing against an opening attack sponsored by McVities.

After Chuck perished with a Jaffa from Turner, the score was a very pedestrian 33-1 off 15 overs. Higwood had taken charge of the game. Turner continued with the tight line tactics, with Stamps assisting with the asphyxiation process from the other end. Neither first change bowlers were in the mood to give out donations, as the run rate continued to plod along at 2.5 an over. At times, our batting resembled a side who were holding out for a draw, so with the score on 81-3 off 30 overs, a well overdue burst of positive intent began to help us post a respectable target. After Gort departed for 28, Mike Sayers at least set the tone, with a classic Sayers biff, that didn’t quite clear the fielder at long on, unlucky.

It was at this point that Captain Chuck made easily one of the most bizzare requests of the season whilst doing a spot of umpiring….requesting the shipping forecast!! So for all our Radio 4 Long wave listeners this match report will continue shortly.

Here is the general synopsis issued by the Met Office on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguards Agency at 19:45 BST…Dogger, Westerly, becoming cyclonic, rain at times…good. Lundy, Fastnet…West/North West becoming variable later….fair…good. Elf…run rate…Southerly falling slowly…moderate or poor…. becoming bad.

Lets get back to the game. The man in form Alex Nunns was the first member of our top order prepared to take a few chances, and played a nice knock of 59 not out, his 5th 50 for the club, plenty of aerial shots, well supported by Dan Armstrong, Greg and Nathan Martin who all embraced the late cameo role. It was Alex who held the innings together, to help us get to 155-5. A good effort after such a slow start, but still 30 to 40 below par. Still, with a very slow outfield, we hoped we could defend that score.

With the rain moving in, we decided to take tea at the end of the game, to try and get a result. The Highwood openers started briskly, with opener Sam Pitt attacking from ball one. Chancing his arm a few times payed dividends, and put The Elf on the back foot. Chris Hall, got an early breakthrough, getting Perks for a blob, thanks to a fine poach from Chuck, while Academy Graduate, Dan Armstrong was unlucky not to pick up a scalp.  With the rain getting heavier, Hall slipped a couple of times when landing his front foot on the crease, and started to lose his rhythm. So enter The Legend. The Icon. The Messiah. The Boss. The Man…..John Nicholls to unleash the dot machine. The eagerly anticipated spell only lasted 6 balls, before conditions became unplayable. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Jonty’s spell was cut short, all i can say is, God must have been jealous of the heir to his throne.

We all trudged off the pitch, with Highwood well in control of the game, Sam Pitt already on 53 not out and the score on 58-1 off 15 overs. Which was well in front of the required run rate. We still had yet to unleash Jonty, Nathan Martin and Dan Hopley, but at the time we stopped, the Highwood boys had been by far the better side from the first ball of the match, batting more positively, and would feel unlucky to be stopped in their tracks by the weather, with the game at their mercy. A shame to end the series this way. Well played to Highwood, and good luck for the rest of the season.

Tea update….No doubting about the quality of the produce. But a bit top heavy in terms of cake to sandwich ratio. If the lads ate here every week we would all need an injection of insulin to stay alive. Greg Philpott was salivating over the mini cheddars selection, and took part in a fierce contest with Chris Hall to see who could eat the most packets in 5 mins, CHall just inching over the line 7-6 on a tie break. While we are still trying to figure out if the Victorious Sponge is home made or not. Rachel Gorton spent 10 mins looking at her Mary Berry app, trying to convince the lads that it was the real deal, due to the light shade of the sponge. After demolishing 7 slices, Dan Armstrong declared he still could not make up his mind. The debate rages on…..Rating 7/10

Neil Van Limbeek update….There were concerned faces aplenty, when NVL kindly took on scoring duties for the day.  Would he break a finger? Strain an eyelash, or even suffer a seizure through lead poisoning.  We had nothing to fear, The Iron Tulip completed the task without breaking sweat, and even had the audacity to produce a Cruyff Turn to stop a ball drilled at him by Sam Pitt early in the innings.

Keeping the ball off the ground for the bowlers update…..Village. Village, and more Village. Another abysmal display, considering the turf was wet. Alex Nunns chief culprit this week, but being lenient with him, because he bought Hall the sawdust. At least 4 times the ball came back to me feeling more slippery than Phelan off Coronation Street. The early finish saved our attack from Gort starting his practice session for his Wednesday evenings bowls match. This usually starts by the 25th over. If we started fining people for this, we could afford to rent out Buckingham Palace for the P.U.  Rating 1/10

Tales from the Travelator….Chris Hall’s hiking boots were left redundant today. But with the rain making the pitch slippy, it was more like an edition of Ski Sunday than Sunday friendly. Being called a Prima Donna for asking for sawdust. Very harsh. Alex Nunns stepped in again, carrying a tonne of the stuff single handedly to help out the stricken bowler. A bit of sawdust wouldn’t have gone amiss on Friday. After listening to Nathan Martin’s Tales from the Test, The Friar Park Express admitted to being sick on the train, sick in the street, and sick in his bed, in some truly appalling scenes, worse than any of the antics ever seen on the Ibiza Weekender. The last time i heard of such heaving was when Nath Reeves hit 64 at Didcot.

Shipping Forecast update….ask Chuck.

Onto Rushall next week, for the Tim Oliver Memorial Game, and our 500th game. See you all there.

Written by Chris Hall

Batting Runs
Gorton, A  c Duncan b Stamps  28
Chuck, I c ? b Baz 15
 Nunns, A not out 59
Sayers, M c Holliday b Turner 0
Armstrong, D run out 17
Phillpott, G c ? b Naulmon  11
Martin, N run out 13
Hopley, D dnb
Hall, C dnb
Nicholls, J dnb
Van Limbeek, N dnb
 Extras  12
Walsall Health  143
Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
 Armstrong, D  7 0 39 0
Hall, C 7 0 19 1
Nicholls, J 1 0 6 0

 

Batting