v Wellington (A) 04/06/23

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Walsall Health won by 104 runs.

Another sunny afternoon saw Walsall Health travel to Wellington in the beautiful surroundings of Shropshire.  All eyes turned to the coin toss as the Health players were praying that captain Alex Nunns would end his dismal run of lost tosses! Skipper Nunns claimed that he had won the toss and that the Health were batting first, it was later revealed that the coin toss didn’t take place and that the home captain Paul had given Nunns the choice of what they wanted to do!! So with the weather set in glorious sunshine on a hard flat wicket at a truly stunning ground it was all set for great afternoon of batting for the Walsall Health openers…here is how it all developed.

1. Jack Stenson – 43.  A welcome return for Jack after 2 weeks away in Sunny Barcelona and also a return to form with a well-made 43 full of some quick 1’s although not many 2’s!! A quiet afternoon in the field for Jack but he did manage to find a decent spot of shade under the tree as he patrolled the boundary.

2. Dan Dunn – 50*.  The club pro continued his excellent form with the bat with a record breaking 27 ball 50.  Big hand to Dan.  Although he had to retire at 50 I’m sure Dan would have gone on to make a very big score but I’m also sure that big score isn’t too far away.  Not a lot to do in the field this week for Dan but as always he did it professionally as ever.

3. Dan Armstrong – 29 and 1 catch & 2 stumping’s keeping wicket.  An impressive all round performance from Dan this week as volunteered to keep wicket.  Big hand Dan.  A labored 29 with the bat would suggest he struggled to get going but 4 fours and a six might suggest otherwise but it was with the gloves than Dan excelled with a brilliant 1 handed catch and 2 stumping’s off Josh Butler plus they also combined in a run out of the Wellington captain, although unorthodox in his technique Dan did not look out of place and did an brilliant job for his team.

4. Rob Hewlitt – 1 & 3-13 off 3.2 overs.  Season debut for Rob but it didn’t get off to the start that he would have liked as he was run out for 1 in a mix up with Jack (unlucky Rob).  In field Rob brought his usually energy (and sweets) to the field backing everything and everybody up.  In a rare occasion Rob was thrown the ball from the skipper and duly took his opportunity with figures of 3-13 from 3.2 overs at the back end of Wellington’s innings (well bowled Rob) the only slight blip was a missed catch off the bowling of Greg as the ball went up in the air and was lost in the sun and went to ground but it was good to have Rob back in the team and we’ll hopefully be seeing him some more throughout the season.

5. Nathan Reeves – 4 & 1 catch.  Appearance 101 for the Health saw Nathan get off the mark for the season in typical Nathan Reeves fashion with an aggressive 4.  As always Nathan was on the ball in the field with nothing getting past him with some impressive stops including one sliding tackle that Roy Keane would have been proud of.  Nathan also took a catch for the second week running this week’s effort was closer to the bat than last week and didn’t leave any bruising.

6. Alex Nunns – 0.  Skipper Nunns took on the Ben Stokes role this week of not batting or bowling and just standing in the field directing traffic.  Unfortunately the curse of the number six position struck again as this week Nunns suffered his first 0 of the season.

7. Greg Philpott – 29 & 1-16 off 6 overs and 2 catches.  Also on season debut Greg had a very impressive game despite not playing for 12 months with an all-round performance the club pro would have been proud of.  Scoring 29 with the bat Greg was part of a 55 run partnership with Dave Stephens which helped lift the Health from 140-6 to 195-7.   With the ball Greg’s googlys bamboozled the Wellington batters as they struggled to pick him as he finished with impressive figures of 1-16 from 6 overs, Greg also held onto 2 very good catches the first one being the important 5th wicket for Josh Butler as Greg made a difficult catch look very easy.  Again we’re hoping to see more of Greg this season.

8. Dave Stephens – 14 & 0-19 off 8 overs.  Dave also starred with the bat as he made a well-made 14 to help lift the Health out of trouble @ 140-6 when he came to the wicket.  With the ball Dave bowled well with his usually tight lines and gave nothing away but for no reward as he finished his spell of 8 overs with 0-19 hard luck Dave hopefully next week will see a turn in fortunes for DS.

9. Josh Butler – 1 & 5-18 off 8 overs.  Josh got off the mark for the season with his first run which he was relieved about, but it was with the ball that Josh made his mark on this game with a very impressive 5-18 from 8 overs BIG HAND Josh, it was very well deserved for the man who travels far and wide to play cricket for the Health and always gives his all.  Not to done with his 5 wicket haul Josh was also involved in a run out with Dan Armstrong, Josh’s brilliant stop and quick release of the ball enabled Dan to complete the run out.

10. Alan Dunn – 14* & 0-10 off 5 overs.  The 3rd season debutant for the Health, big hand to Nicka for playing and making sure the Health had 11 players.  Not to be outdone by Dan Dunn, Nicka was looking to also make a rapid 50 but had to settle for 14* as he ran out of partners but was the second Dunn to finish not out.  With the ball Nicka reluctantly shared the new ball and bowled with great control and was very unlucky not to pick up a couple of wickets as 2 chances went down off his bowling (unlucky Nicka).

11. Jonathan Preece – 0 & 0-34 off 8 overs.  JP was determined for a DNB or at least a red inker but unfortunately for the wizard he got neither as he became the second 0 of the day for the Health.  Despite this JP was in a chipper mood after his 5 course Tapas dinner for tea served up by Dai, in the field JP was superb with some brilliant stops, with the ball JP started well but couldn’t find any luck as he beat the bat a few times but couldn’t find the edge as he finished with 0-34 from his 8 overs.

Dai watch

It was a tough day for Head Coach Dai as when he arrived at the ground he was told that the bar wouldn’t be open till 1:30pm!! At 1:29 he was waiting at the foot of the stairs leading up to the bar patiently waiting/hoping to hear the shutters go up! As soon as they did go up Dai was a happy man and enjoyed a nice cold crisp pint(s) whilst he enjoyed watching an afternoon’s cricket.  During fines Dai mentioned that he like many of use was dreaming of winning the Euro Millions and explained what he would do if he won.  Firstly he would take all of the Health players and families out to Australia for an all-expenses paid trip (even DS!!) secondly he would re-develop the club house at Rushall to include a balcony overlooking the ground very similar to the one that we were sat at Wellington during fines but unfortunately he forgot to put his numbers on this week!!! (I think a mixture of San Miguel and sun had gone to Dai’s head).

Dai dreaming of that Euro Millions win

Next week we return to Carter Park (minus the balcony) as we welcome our old friends Beaumont, rumour has it that Nicka the Beaumont pro will be back in action and is looking forward to biffing the Health bowlers for a second year running.

Alex Nunns

v Alrewas (A) 28/05/23

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Tim & Andie Oliver Memorial Game 2023

A Century, a 50 and a 4-fer, but the Health falls short

Alrewas CC (273-9) beat Walsall Health CC 121 AO) by 152 runs

After two wins from their first three games of the season, Walsall Health made the short trip to Alrewas to participate in the annual Tim and Andie Oliver Memorial game. After two wins in their first three games of the season, the Health players would have felt in a buoyant mood. Maybe it was the prospect of playing in wall-to-wall sunshine, maybe it was the thought of meeting old friends, but the day promised so much.

ddfdf
Oh to be in England!

A gentleman’s agreement was made that Alrewas would bat first. This was one less thing to worry about for Elf captain Alex Nunns whose record at the toss was 1 from 3 (would have most likely have been 1 from 4). The 40 brought the Health 9 wickets, but more dauntingly at a cost of 273 runs in which there were dropped catches, near misses and players rolling back the years. Before they knew it, the Health began their innings knowing anything was possible.

D. Dunn (20) – After a sterling performance with the ball that brought him figures of 1-34 off 6 (of which he was the only one who didn’t appeal), Dunn set himself for what he hoped would be a long patient innings to give his side a fighting chance of knocking the runs off. After a steady start, just as he was getting into his rhythm, Dan was bowled by Miller. It was later identified that for the third week in a row, Dan suffered from ‘Poor Pre-Match Preparation’. After a strong start to the season, where he has accumulated two 50s, he would be disappointed he didn’t go on and get a big score that has, in the past, cemented his role as ‘Club pro’.  

M. Perager (25) – Once again, a strong performance by Mac behind the stumps stopping everything and anything that came his way. This also included quick reactions behind the stumps that brought a stumping dismissing the Alrewas number 4. This performance behind the stumps carried on when he went out to open (a role he hadn’t experienced in his Elf career before). Like Dan, Mac went with the intention of settling himself at the crease for the long haul. His calm approach was exactly what the Health needed after a flurry of wickets saw him holding the innings together until he was caught off the bowling of Williams for 25, when he tried to go over the top, but didn’t quite catch it. On this performance, maybe Mac would like another opportunity to open the batting if asked.

A. Nunns (21) – After a mixed start to the season ‘Captain Calm’ strolled out to the crease with an air of composure that said everything would be alright. Like both Dan and Mac, Alex, got into his stride and the running between the wickets was constant and anything but nerve jangling. This was up until his number was up as he held out to Burrows on 21 when he was caught by Cousins, once again when it looked as though he would go on and score valuable runs. Once again, Alex showed his importance as the leader of the pack in the way he manoeuvred his troops, especially when it came to the rotation policy. Constantly changing the field to support the bowler and always thinking one step ahead. Once again a great performance that deserved more from the day.

100 Not Out: Great effort Nathan. Here’s to the next 100

N. Reeves (0) – 100 up! Unfortunately for Nathan, this was just the game number, but it wasn’t all in vain. Throwing himself about in the field, stopping everything that his way with as much effort as either the late Freddie Mercury or Meatloaf, when they reached those unimaginable high notes, took a stunning catch that definitely left its mark. As club stalwart Rich Fell said “I have shared the field with him for 70 of those 100 games and that is the best I have ever seen him field. Well Rich, that performance has become the norm in recent years rather than the exception. Here’s to the next 100 Nathan.

P. Bickerton (0) – If there is one thing that is worse than making a golden duck, it’s getting out on a hat-trick ball. But that is exactly what happened to Paul Bickerton. No sooner had Paul gone in; he was heading back after Burrows – on his hat-trick – steamed in to deliver a soul crushing blow. His pace was just too much for Bickerton and despite his best efforts to remain in the middle as long as time would let him; he was eventually on his way back. His performance in the field was one to be pleased with as he used all parts of his grand frame to stop everything that came his way. A top effort Paul and better luck next time.

D. Preece (7) – When you’re in a crisis, you look to certain people to pull you away from oblivion. One of these is former captain David Preece. Already matching the total number of games he played last year and after bowling at the backend of the Alrewas innings with figures of 0-30 off 4 overs, Dave went out to bat in the unfamiliar middle order position with the intention of halting the flow of wickets and replace them with valuable runs. The early moments seemed as though he eye in quickly, but unfortunately, the stay at the crease was shorter than a scheduled tea interval as after some good communication with his partner at the other end, David misjudged one too many balls as he deflected the ball off his bat and onto his stumps. A really unlucky way to get out. Hopefully, next time, David will get the rub-of-the-green and he will show what a good batsman he is.   

W. Lauchlan (6) – For almost a decade, the Aussies had ‘Mr Cricket’ in Michael Hussey. Well nowadays, in Will Lauchlan, Walsall Health has ‘Mr Wicket’. Every time he takes the field, there is an expectation that if he bowls, a wicket will come his way. Today was no different with figures of 1-43 off 6 overs, his flight and guile bamboozled the batsman and got him his reward as he had Cousins caught on the boundary for 7. Another day, he could have had 2 or three more wickets had catches stuck, but it wasn’t to be. His batting on the day also showed evidence of improving with the concentration of an eagle prior to its impending descent to seize its prey.  His careful prodding to keep the ball out with the odd adventurous foray to the outer-field. Will looked assured in the number 7 spot. Despite his message of foreboding, his grit and determination proved important and will have done his confidence no harm. He ended up fall on 6 when Williams (who finished with superb figures of 4-9 off 5 overs) bowled Will after a short stay of cultured shot making.

D. Stephens (15) – Dave Stephens has always been a dependable cog in the Walsall Health machine, with bowling performances that more often than deserve more rewards than he gets. Well, in this performance he got what he deserved. With figures of 4-43 off 8 overs, the opening bowler was by far the standout bowler for the Health. The only regret he might have had was that he didn’t reach the five wicket haul that his bowling deserved. To add to his bowling performance, Dave added 15 to the total which saw a mixture of power hitting, cultured shots and the odd two-run shots. Well played all round Dave. Well deserved match figures. On this evidence, the next 5-fer isn’t too far away.        

J. Preece (2) –  JP’s recent experiences at Alrewas have not  been as he would have liked, having conceded 50+ over the last two years against this opposition without much reward. But this year, despite ending up with 0-43 off 8 overs, JP – with the exception of the last over – seemed to have more control in his delivery and caused the batsmen some trouble. Another day, he could have had a wicket or two, but this season as a whole, when he has bowled for the Health, he has bowled with the control and consistency that has been lacking for a few years. When he came out to bat replacing Will, he got off the mark quickly and his confidence with bat in hand increased immeasurably once he had got his run. However, his wicket was mindboggling.  The final ball of the over came down, with no sound and no cheer to signal a wicket, the leg stump bail had been dislodged to the confusion of all involved. However, JP had to go, which more confusion on the boundary.

R. Jarrams (0) – It was 50 up for the Health President – unfortunately a fifty that Rick Jarrams was not keen on celebrating too much as he reached his 50th duck of his Health career.  After not picking up a bat in 12 months, he strolled out to face the bowler, bat in hand and helmet on, ready to commence battle – for all of two balls, before the helmet was removed.  It seemed to have the desired effect as runs started flowing at a constant pace, first of all with DS and latterly with the evergreen John Nichols.  The cameo appearance ended far too prematurely after he was bowled for 0 by the pick of the bowlers Burrows. However, he showed he still has what it takes to throw himself about in the field and make a telling contribution. Great to see you back on the field Rick and hopefully look another appearance this time next year.

    Health members thought Rick’s achievement deserved a Guard of Honour

    John Nichols (0*) – John Nichols prides himself on being out on his own when it comes to dnb’s.  It is the stuff of folk law. It is a record that is unlikely to be beaten for a very long time. Unfortunately he was not able to add to that tally this time. He and Rick closed out the innings scoring a total of 9 runs, not one of them going to either batsman. That must be some sort of a record. However, he didn’t have the best of days with the ball having gone for figures of 1-73 off 8 overs. However, the mid-innings break to get his ice cream, seemed to cool his frustration and when he re-entered the field of play, he was a different man with a different mentality and he got his wicket after he got A . Walker lbw after reached 73. Unlucky John. Better luck next time.

    R.Fell (DNB) Rich Fell started the game on the side-lines and finished on the side-lines. By his own admission, he shouldn’t have played yesterday having a full 90 minutes of a Charity Football game barely 24 hours earlier. But it shows the sort of man he is that he wanted to play in a game that was a memorial to two men that have been big characters in his Walsall Health career. Something tells me that would do it again. It was in the middle of the innings that he chased a ball and pulled up in front of the anxious onlookers. Although it was short-lived, it was great to share the field with you once again Trigger.

    Dreaming of the day he scored a 100 (in the garden)

      The Coach couldn’t believe it when we told him we were six down. He resigned with immediate effect. His request was rejected.

      All in all the day and game turned out exactly how it should have been. Once again, a wonderful day played in the right spirit that both Tim and Andie Oliver would have approved of. Well done every single person who attended both on and off the field. Already, we can look forward to this fixture next year.       

      Bowling
      Batting

      v Romsley and Hunnington (H) 21/05/23

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      Looking to make up for an unfortunate defeat last week, Walsall Health returned to home comforts at Carter Park for the first game in their history against Romsley and Hunnington. The opposition might have been a new one for the club but old habits were quick to come back to the surface. Regulars to the Elf and these match reports will know about captain Alex Nunns and his particular knack for losing a coin toss and this weekend was no exception with the Elf on the losing end and asked to field first. There were varying degrees of excitement for an afternoon burning in the summer sun, Jack Lester though was raring to go, so much so an ill timed jump off the pavillion wall left the Elf player winded.

      The opening bowlers attempted to replicate Lester’s breathless start with one of their own but ended up frustrated that some fantastic opening bowling didn’t wield more wickets. Stalwarts Dan Armstrong and DS hit a consistent line and length and regularly beat the bat but finished the opening 14 overs with just one wicket for their efforts. Nunns taking a sharp head height catch at first slip of Armstrong, the captain relieved to get hands to this one after a similarly fast moving bowl caught him full on the nose last year.

      Romsley worked to consolidate the loss though and found themselves just that 1 wicket down at drinks. Change bowlers Jonty and Josh Butler, as well as some great ground fielding by all the Elf players kept the batsman from cashing in their wickets in hand though and Butler soon had a couple of big wickets in the second half of the innings. An LBW shout where the only question was how close to the middle of the wickets was the ball hitting and the second a fantastic caught and bowled diving low and far to his left hand side, a heavy landing later and the ball was still in his hands and the catch became the first big contender for the Elf’s catch of the season award.

      With wickets in hand but overs ticking away, the Romsley batters soon started shooting from the hip, aiming for boundaries and began to get some. Which presented a great opportunity for Lauchlan to come on and try and get a few batsman out who were going for the ropes and he soon managed to grab four wickets. The first out cleaned bowled before Mac behind the stumps earned the bowler a second wicket with another fine piece of glovework bringing a sharp stumping, Mac already on two stumpings for the season and should’ve had a third in this game also. Lauchlan took the next catch himself, his first grab for the Elf after a few tricky, and a few not so tricky, chances over the last 2 seasons. The final wicket of the innings was a superb catch, at cow corner from a cross batted slog, by Jack Lester, plucking a ball hit hard out of the sun.

      The late wickets, coupled with strong fielding throughout restricted Romseley to 161-7. The Elf going in for teas (the ones that were remembered) confident that they could chase the figure down with smart batting on an improved wicket and rapid outfield. The confidence was personified by the lower order watching the batting innings in shorts and t shirts and half the batting order (including the captain, pencilled in to bat at 3) having a beer in the sunshine. Well, it is cricket afterall.

      Meanwhile Dan’s Dunn and Armstrong walked out to the crease and the got the Elf off to a solid start, Armstrong bringing up his 2,000th run for the club when he was 4*, a fantastic stat for one of highlights of both the Elf’s batting and bowling in the last few years. He was soon out though for 21 and it turned out to be the only blot on the scorecard for the Elf. Dan Dunn soon had his half century, his second of the season in just 3 games and back to back at home, the club pro already looking in ominous form for the team this season. Nunns also helped the Elf to victory with an unbeaten 50 of his own, the pair rotating the strike well and regularly hitting the boundary.

      The chase was done in just the 29th over, Dunn finishing on 66* and Nunn’s 60 unbeaten  Honourable mentions must also go out to a few players who were unlucky not to get a bat or bowl but played a big part in the win as part of a slick fielding unit Edmunds and Pickerton. A great win, and brilliant team effort all round by the lads.

      With the team now 2 for 2 at home, attention turns to Alrewas away this bank holiday Sunday, always a red letter day in the calendar for both clubs in tribute to Andy and Tim Oliver, two legends of both clubs who are no longer with us. Rather than being a sad day it’s always a lovely celebration and a fantastic day and it would brilliant to see as many people down as possible for a day of cricket, beers, sunshine, good times and hopefully, like last year, an ice cream van.

      William Lauchlan

      v Lapworth (A) 14/05/23

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      Walsall Health 119-9 off 40 lost.

      Driving in past Lotus and Rolls Royce garages, the Walsall Health team knew they were far from Carter Park but still arrived for their first away game, not be rained off this season, against Lapworth in confident mood. Despite the sun being out and the tempreture threatening to be described as ‘short sleeve’ the pitch was still one matching the early season wet and cold, though the outfield was quick and dry. Captain Alex Nunns walked out bullish for the toss and came back sheepish to let the Health know the toss had been lost and they would be batting first. Say what you want about the captain but he’s certinatly not a massive tosser.

      The boundaries square of the wicket were a huge carrot for all batsman, one being incredible close in and the other down a slope on a fast outfield but with the pitch still being green and difficult to judge, it was always going to be a tough wicket to get in on. With that in mind the two openers for the Elf, last week’s batting hero Dan Dunn and new Elf opener Tom Bentley began an unenviable task of adapting to the wicket and setting the Elf up with a strong start. Against tough opening bowling the two dug deep against tight bowling but the pressure soon told, with Lapworth having a superb start with their ground fielding Bentley tried to go over the top and was well held to be out for 6. Jack Stenson playing his first game for the season took up the mantle and tried to get the scoreboard moving, bravely advancing down the wicket to the bowlers but with the ball keeping low, even by Stenson’s standards, good timing carried on being elusive.

      With the Elf advancing to 47-1 off 12, the batsman looked to be getting to grips with the surface but Lapworth bounced back removing the dangerous Dunn and could’ve had Stenson not long after but put down an easy chance in the deep. Mac came to the wicket to replace Dunn and soon dug in with him including timing a 6 beautifully over the short boundary. Lapworth came back again though and the pitch seemed to become even more unsettled with Stenson getting out for 24, one of the star players for the Elf last season their should be plenty more to come from him this season. This bought captain Alex Nunns to the crease, who was later outed as dropping himself to number 5 in the order to prevent an Elf tradition of middle order collapses. However rather buck the trend he started the collapse himself chipping back to the bowler for 3. Not to be outdone by his captain’s quick dismissal Lauchlan walked out next, in the brink of his own collapse trying to master the grounds electronic scorebard, and promptly walked back after a three ball duck.

      The future is now.

      Mac was still chipping away at the other end and with help from Rich Fell, another playing thier first game of the season helped lift the Elf to 119-9 off their 40 overs. The half time huddle for the Elf carried the same message as the week before that while the batsman had missed out on a few runs themselves with good bowling backed up strong fielding, the Elf could be confident with defending a total. Bouyed by their one man Western Terrace of Dai Preece (who’s one man Full Monty tribute at the half way point must be in the running for oddest moment of any season) the Elf got to work and the opening pairing, again like the week before got the team off to a great start. Opening bowler DS and Josh Butler had the Lapworth top 4 out for single figures and the Elf could sense blood in the water. DS in particular finally getting his rewards in the wickets column for consistantly putting the ball in all the right areas, the Elf Mainstay finishing with 3-17 off his 8 overs.

      With how well the opening Elf bowlers always seem to start it’s probably the hardest job in the team to be first change because the batsman know that they have to catch up and soon batsman Tanveer and the Lapworth captain Turner soon put all the pressure right back on the change bowlers Jonty, Fell and John Preece. Playing a shot a ball and with help of the short boundarys square and massive boundaries down the ground the scoreboard soon began ticking. Soon Tanveer was gone though and the Elf had an end to work with.

      The Elf chipped away at the open end but the saying of cricket being an individual team game rang true as the Lapworth team were steered home by Turner almost single handedly, the batsman finishing with a superb 68*, over half of the teams runs. In the end the Elf came up just short against the strength of one batsman having a blinding performance and timing every ball on a tough pitch. A couple of tough chances not taken by the Elf and one batsman ended up being the difference in an exciting contest. Strong contributions came from all bowlers with Fell taking 2 wickets and a wicket a piece for Butler and Jonty.

      The two teams play again at Carter Park later in the season and the Elf will be hoping to make their own home advantage count then. Until then, the Elf are back at home this coming Sunday against a new opponent for the club in Romseley and Hunnington and will hope to make it 2 in 2 at home this season and fortunately without an electronic scoreboard in site.

      William Lauchlan

      v SpringHill (H) 07/05/23

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      Walsall Health Won (134 all out)

      On the coronation bank holiday weekend, months of planning, hard work and dedication came together in one glorious outpouring of joy for all who were there, memories made for a lifetime and all who were there will speak of it for years. We are of course talking about the first game of Walsall Health’s 2023 season  (well the third if we are including the first two that were washed out by the rain without a player making it to the ground let alone a bowl being bowled.)

      There wasn’t quite a seventy something year gap between fixtures for the Health like their was between coronations but the wait felt that long on some of those long winter nights and two frustrating washed out weekends at the start the season. Fortunatly the weather for the Health’s match against Springhill was more than fit for a King. Their might be a new pair of royals on the throne but it was tried and trusted partneships for the Health that made this game for them. After the winning the toss and electing to bat, Dan’s Armstrong and Dunn made their way to a bowler friendly but drying wicket at Carter Park. Timing the ball was tricky against some tight opening bowling on green deck, and an unforgiving outfield mean’t runs were tough to come by for the pair. Back to back boundaries at the end of the ninth by Armstrong gave the innings a shot in the arm and pushed back against stubborn bowling.

      With the pair closing in on a richly deserved 50 partneship Armstrong was bowled for 18 bringing Nunns to the crease who supported Dan Dunn excellently. Dunn’s eye was in after soaking up more early pressure than the outfield had rain the last few weeks and the boundaries were soon flowing for the opener flying past 50 and onto 63 from 75 balls before the Springhill attack bit back and clean bowled him, an excellent innings coming to an end on an afternoon where no other batsman would be make a score over 27.

      From 102-1 Dunn’s wicket sparked a royal collapse on Jubilee weekend and quick as flash the Elf were down to 116-9 with ducks club making up for lost time accumulating no less than 4 new recruits for the 2023 season, bad news for the Reeves, Lester, Perager and Butler (who was particularly unlucky after a superb diving catch in the field. ) There was last wicket resistance from Dave Stephens and JP before a questionable call, and questionable agreement, for another run resulted in a run out, the Elf all out for a score of 135. Not quite where the Elf would’ve wanted to be in an ideal world but every run would prove valuable on a very tricky deck.

      All had to go right for the Elf as they returned to the field to bowl and it was another strong opening partneship, this time from the bowlers Stephens and Armstrong who kept the scorers job simple and took regular wickets to always keep one end open. Fourteen overs from the pair bought seven maidens and the remaining seven overs only going for a run each, a superb effort to make 135 look lightyears away for the visiting side. Stephens finished his eight overs with a wicket, while Armstrong’s six overs bought two and set the mood for the rest of the innings.

      A.Riley was sticking it out well for the visitors but after tearing a muscle on the first run of their innings and seemed to have found some support when Sufyaan arrived to the wicket at seven and started giving some back the Health bowlers in the middle overs. Fantastic fielding throughout the innings though from all in the Health lineup culminated in Sufyaan being run out after great work from D.Preece in the field and a sharp take and bail crashing from wicketkeeper Mac.

      With wickets falling and the target getting further and further away, bad balls needed to be put away and even some good ones. Almost faultless spells by another partnership, the spin kings of JB and Josh Butler made sure there was hardly a bad ball to be punished, both bowlers kept tight lines and lengths, drawing panicked shots from batsmen in need of runs. Buttler finishing with 2 wickets and just 14 runs conceaded while JP finished with 4 wickets for 26 and potentially becoming the first Elf player in history to bowl a no ball on a hattrick delivery.

      If JP’s hattrick ball was an anticlimax, his last ball surely wasn’t, crowning the innings and the game with a superb ball clean bowling the stubborn Riley for 27 and Springhill were all out for 100, a 35 run win for the Elf and richly deserved for some yard hards in the field by all. Carter Park may not quite be Buckingham Palace but the Elf will want to turn it into a fortress going into what plans to be an exciting 2023 season for the club. The next game for the Elf is away at Lapworth and we promise no more royal puns. 

      William Lauchlan

      v Lapworth (H) 04/09/22

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      The English Weather ruins play

      Date: 4th August 2022

      Venue: Carter park

      Walsall Health hosted Lapworth for their final home match of the season. On a cloudy day with the forecast predicting showers later on, captain Dan Dunn won the toss and elected to bat. With the opposition only having 8 a massive hand must be raised to JP and Rich Fell who gallantly offered to help our opposition by fielding until the rest of their team turned up. It was commented by the openers of Stenson and Chuck loudly there would be no quick singles on their arms.

      Anyhow, the innings started off poorly for WHCC as Jack Stenson edged his second ball which dollied up to Choudry who caught it one handed at slip. Welcome to the duck club Jack!

      In came Captain Dunn who set about punishing bad balls with some excellent cut shots, this coincidently would take the ‘Club Pro’ past 1000 runs for the elf. Congratulations to D Dunn and we look forward to more milestones being reached.

      Meanwhile, at the other end I Chuck, fresh from his recent holiday in the savannah, started off in his usual scratchy method, nicking two past slip and keeper as well as gloving one past the keeper, His wagon wheel was once again a lovely example of how to score runs behind square. It was then that the pitch claimed its first wicket of the match, a good length ball that nipped back and kept low struck Dan Dunn in front of the wickets, he did not even look up to be given out before walking back to the hutch with the score at 44-2. In came A Gorton at 4 who, survived 3 excellent Yorkers first up, then set about with Chuck to build an innings.

      It was at this time that Chuck decided to start playing some aggressive shots much to the shock of the opposition and his own team. Even the weather seemed dismayed at this new aggression as it started to drizzle on and off, perhaps a sign that this aggressive mode of Chucks might be a bridge too far. Chuck reached his 50 when Choudry made a cunning bowling change. On came veteran T Fell, who bowled with cunning and guile and was rewarded with his first wicket of Chuck (54) when he tried to sweep a straight ball with WHCC on 91-3.

      J Lester came to the crease and worked with A Gorton to progress the score along past 100 before he fell to F Choudry for 9. Next to bat was WHCC debutant Paul Bickerton. Paul had confessed to not holding a cricket bat for many years but he soon was rewarded when he hit the tight bowling of T Fell for a 4 for his first runs for the club. Sadly, his innings was not to last long as he had a big swipe at another ball from Fell only to lose his balance and be stumped for 4. Welcome to the club Paul, we hope to see more runs from you in the future. Next to the crease was Mac Perager who supported Gorton and rotated the strike well. With the clouds looming ever closer and the drinks being taken, T Fell was keen to complete his quotient of overs, some tight bowling and an inside edge saw the end of A Gorton for 30 and the elf on 133-6. Regrettably, this also saw the end of play as then the heavens opened and not even the covers could stop the outfield becoming flooded. During the rain break, both teams tucked into their packed lunches (and MacDonald’s) and some enjoyed a brew while watching the Brighton vs Leicester football match.

      At about 4pm D Dunn looked out the window at the sodden ground with a flooded outfield and declared “No!” and that was that. No more cricket was played and the match was rained off.

      Big hand to Mac who brought some another exemplary box of Samosas and Pakoras which were ravenously devoured by all those who remained and envied by those who did not. The elf travel to Springhill for the final match of this exciting 2022 season…If this season is anything to go on this last match might be one you would not want to miss!

      By Ian Chuck     

      v Poppyfields (H) 21/08/22

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      Poppyfields beat WHCC by 1 wicket

      WHCC 116 All out….Rob Hewlitt 23 Mac Perager 20 not out Dan Dunn 14 Jack Lester 12

      Poppyfields 117-9….Dan Armstrong 4-24 John Nicholls 2-25 Dave Stephens 2-21 Nicka Dunn 1-19

      A tough day for the lads, losing out to Poppyfields by the narrowest of margins, so lets tap into fines committee ( in batting order) for some insights on the days action.

      Dan Armstrong (2 and 4-24) A mixed day for Dan. It soon became clear that after his brilliant century against Poppyfields earlier in the season, he was targeted as their prize wicket. A rare low score for Dan, but he more than made amends with the ball, taking a brilliant 4-24, advancing his tally beyond 20 wickets for the season, not an easy thing to achieve these days. Well bowled mate.

      Jack Stenson (10 and Did not Bowl) Jack looked in good touch again, scoring 10 runs from the first over, but was unlucky to be bowled around his legs, before adding to his score. A quiet day in the field for Jack. But not so quiet in terms of Bails award contendership (if that’s even a word) Stuffing one of Mac’s samosa’s into his pockets as we were going out to field. Maybe this was why the ball was swinging so much? Don’t worry Jack, its all been noted.

      Dan Dunn Capt (14 and 0-9. One catch) Defending a low total is never easy, but the Club Pro proved it was well within the range of his tactical repertoire, making good decisions aplenty. Keeping his cool as wickets fell, taking us to within touching distance of what would have been a well deserved victory. Stepping up to bowl in that key now or never moment of the match, and trapping the Poppyfields last line of defence for what we all thought was a certain match winning lbw. Sadly, it was not to be, as the umpire decided otherwise. We take these moments on the chin, the skipper, and the whole team could have done no more, in what was one of our best bowling and fielding performances of the season.

      Rob Hewlitt (23 top score and Did not bowl) Rob played the best innings of the day, batting with the trademark Hewlitt positivity, and bleep test style running between the wickets, his 23 was worthy of a 50 on a less challenging track. Rob also made the shrewd observation at tea that despite being bowled out for a low score, we were still well in this game. A verdict which proved to be spot on as the game remained on a knife edge to the very end.

      Mark Reynolds (0 and 0-6) Mark Reynolds picked a good game to make his seasonal debut. Unlucky to be out without scoring, then coming onto bowl at the real business end of the game. Never an easy task, but even more difficult was the challenge given to Mark before a ball had even been bowled. Assigned with the mission of putting Chris Hall’s body back together during the off season. Best of luck with that one Mark. The club’s leading wicket taker has already been prescribed to take a 50mg dose of retirement, once a week, most effective on Sundays.

      Jack Lester (12, Did not bowl. One catch) Jack got back on the scoreboard this week, with a promising 12, any score in double figures was a good score on Sunday. Not the usual post innings despondency this time either. Shame really, because we all find the J.Lester trademark “Walk off” quite amusing. Maybe it was because he knew Macs samosa’s were on their way. A vision to lessen the blow of any dismissal.

      Mac Perager (20 not out and kept brilliantly, no byes) A seriously good day at the office for Mac. A strong red inker, including a big six, followed by a flawless performance with the gloves. The Samosa’s were a lovely treat too, even though Jack Stenson decided on a novel form of extra seasoning by stuffing one in his pocket for an emergency refuel. Big Hand Mac

      Armstrong loving that six!

      Will Lauchlan (1 and Did not Bowl) Big hand to Will, sadly a broken one. But Warrior Will still helped us out bigtime, despite breaking his hand mid week, he was still happy to play through the pain. It was a difficult day for rotating the bowlers, so we still eagerly await what will happen when The Warrior bowls the 4th 5th and 6th balls of his WHCC career…..6 in 6 maybe?

      David Ronald Stephens (5 and 2-21. One catch) New nickname alert….DS became DRS on Sunday, with Nicka deciding Ronald was the suitable option for the middle initial. There was a more low key impersonation of Jack Lester as Dave walked off the pitch looking a bit grumpy, after being given out lbw. Dave soon perked up after a “Hug your Hero” session with Jack Stenson, then proceeded to bowl another strong opening spell, laying the platform for a spirited fightback, even calling one of his deliveries “The Ball of the Century” Dave also took a rare catch. We had the usual “How many catches is that for me now” question….well its been checked and verified, and we can confirm it was Dave’s 15th catch for WHCC since his debut in 2006. (15 catches in 17 seasons)…..Josh Butler would be proud of that strike rate.

      Nicka Dunn….(6 and 1-19) The man who has taken a shine to 50’s this season. Not content with a 50 for Beaumont earlier in the season, Nicka got the job done with the ball, reaching the 50 wicket milestone with a peach of a delivery. Its been an entertaining family rivalry between Nicka and Dan, who have been neck and neck for a few seasons now, as both closed in on victim number 50. There were several rumours floating around all week, plenty of Will he play? Wont he play propaganda. The story of son Dan being locked in Rushall’s toilet broke early on Sunday morning, car keys being hidden in Dan Armstrong’s box, all sorts of skulduggery was on the table. However, when it came to the crunch moment, it was the Senior Club Pro who secured the bragging rights. In a post match interview, Nicka described the moment as “The Greatest of his Cricketing Life” Also confirming he had “Never felt pressure like it” The final joyous postscript to this Clash of the Titans saga, is the news we had all been hoping for…….Drum roll time

      Nicka Dunn “Fifty Shades of Play” The Autobiography, will be in the shops for Christmas. Santa might need a few extra helpers here. All book signing dates to be confirmed. (If we can find a biro that works) Enid Blyton fan, Dai Preece, is already planning to abort his trip to Australia, in order to get his tent pitched up outside the local Waterstones, lets hope he isn’t mistaken for a busker in that Goldfish coat.

      RRP £19:50. (There’s even a 50 in the price)… but the smart call is to hang fire with your purchase, its one of those books that is bound to be in The Works by February for 2 quid.

      Wait for February lads.

      John Nicholls (0 a rare quack and 2-25) No DNB for Jonty, a rare duck though. Based on pro rata rules, this places John right in the frame for the duck trophy….2 innings 1 duck. John pleaded in fines….”Don’t forget I got a 9 not out this season” Somehow, we don’t think this line of defence will stand up under the fierce cross examination and ridicule of a duck trophy speech. On the flip side, it was another quality 8 over stint from the Club Legend, taking 3 key wickets, and 3 maidens, just what the skipper needed. Brilliant bowling yet again….another big hand.

      AOB….Nicka quite rightly was in fine form after the game, and decided to set Dan Armstrong a challenge. Something like….hit a hundred next week, or work on your slower ball you might think? Nowhere near…the quote goes something like this…..”Dan….I want you, just for 10 mins each day to stop eating”

      It was the same Dan A who completed a fine stint of umpiring, but before he strolled back out to the middle for a spot of officiating, two bottles of lager had disappeared in double quick time. An interesting approach to rehydration techniques, or in this case….dehydration technique.

      Coaches Corner…..With Chris Hall the newly appointed first team Head Coach, here is just one pearl of wisdom from the day…Unless you are partial to some treatment of the hairdryer kind, please please don’t ever play a sweep shot on a pitch of such variable bounce.

      Nicka Dunn….The Tale of the Tape

      Appearances 33 Wkts 50 Average 13.88 Economy 2.68 Strike Rate 30.96 Best 6-29.

      And the current Club record holder for eating a full size tube of Pringles in the quickest time…. (9 mins 08 secs) For details on this astonishing feat see our website 2021 match reports v Lichfield Nomads 06/06/21……or wait for the Autobiography to hit the shelves, its all in Chapter 50.

      Nicka going for top bins.

      v Birmingham Unicorns (H) 14/08/22

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      W.H.C.C’s 300th Win

      Walsall Health CC beat Birmingham Unicorns by 4 wkts

      B’ham Unicorns 102 All out D.Stephens 1-17 A.Dunn 1-2 D.Dunn 2-17 S.Stephens 2-7 W.Lauchlan 3-0 (Hat-Trick!!)

      WHCC 103-6 A.Gorton 30 J.Stenson 24 D.Dunn 14 A.Nunns 13*

      Where do you start with a game like this?

      It was a fairly comfortable win against the Unicorns, who have been a really good addition to our fixture list this season, a very friendly bunch, who play the game in the same way as we’ve always done. Possibly the hottest conditions we have played in? Drinks and Calippo Minis (kindly supplied by the Skipper) every 10 overs would suggest it was….so here are the highlights of a memorable day.

      Dunn v Dunn…The race to 50 wkts…. Dan took the the penultimate round of this contest 2-1. Reducing the deficit to just two behind his Dad….. Nicka 49 v Dan 47. With Dan skippering this Sunday, there were strong rumours floating around about playing a time game, where the law states, a bowler can bowl unlimited overs, allowing Dan to bowl 20 from the end of his choice. Nobody has been brave enough to tell Dave Stephens yet, but at least it means he might not have to open the bowling for the first time in 21 seasons. The case continues.

      A.Gorton – Setting the bar

      6,000 runs for Gort…..The bar has been set. No player since our formation in 1987, has ever reached the 6,000 runs milestone. Gort has always been a man who knows how to get over the line, as rock solid as ever, Andy scored the 25 runs he needed, to make more club history. As the moment approached, Chris Hall decided to apply maximum pressure, prowling around the boundary, waiting to film the history making shot. On a sweltering hot day, not a bead of sweat could be seen on Gorts brow, cooly dispatching the historic boundary, with a customary “tickle around the corner” Job Done, bat raised to the appreciative galleries. A just reward for Gort, who played in our inaugural season (1987) and has since been an ever present member of the club. Six thousand runs are just one aspect of many contributions Andy has given to WHCC, both on and off the pitch. The word “Legend” springs to mind……the Biggest Hand you can find applies here.

      Will Lauchlan Hat-Trick….What did John McEnroe used to say? “You cannot be serious?”

      Since 1987, we have only ever seen 2 hat-tricks on Sundays. John Nicholls in 2007 and Nathan Martin in 2019. On a scale of rarity, they compare to JP bowling a maiden or Josh Butler taking a catch….they really are that rare!! But on Sunday, Will Lauchlan joined that select group of rare species. (Or as Nicka put it….”Lucky So and So’s”….that’s the edited version.

      Lets point one thing out here though…..Jonty and Nath had plenty of bowling experience behind them when they took their own 3 in 3. For Will, this was the first time he had ever…ever, bowled a cricket ball in match conditions. With the Unicorns score on 102-7, skipper Alex made the ingenious decision to throw Will the ball. What followed, was a moment that will almost certainly never happen again. Three balls and three wickets later…cue bedlam. In the moments that followed, Will Lauchlan hat trick was trending fiercely on twitter, while Midlands Today tried to call Dave Stephens for a quote, sadly he didn’t pick up because he thought it was another Dai Preece stitch up. This was 100% a JFK moment. Everyone present on this day, will remember where they were, when Will Lauchlan took his hat trick…..(a feat almost as impossible as trying to spell his surname correctly)

      Our 300th win…….

      10/05/87. A.Oliver, S.Fewtrehill, S.Fell, A.Hobster, V.Singh, R.Jarrams, F.Jacob, C.Florkowski, R.Colley, M.Langford, A.Kirby…..the 11 players who posted our first victory all those years ago against a Streetly 3rd XI…. Which included our Club President, Rick Jarrams.

      14/08/22. A.Nunns, D.Dunn, A.Dunn, A.Gorton, J.Stenson, J.Butler, W.Lauchlan, D.Stephens, S.Stephens, R.Hewlitt, G.Philpott….The current 2022 version

      Over 36 years, 585 games, and 236 players later, we reached our 300th win, with a game that showed all the hallmarks of WHCC. A friendly game, played in the right spirit, expertly handled once again, by Alex and Dan. Will’s hat-trick epitomized the spirit of the club, he got it because he was given the opportunity. There were two Father/Son combinations on the pitch, Dave and Sam Stephens, Nicka and Dan Dunn. And how fitting it was, that our President, Rick Jarrams, was in attendance to enjoy the day, and watch this team flourish. The lifeblood of the club for so many years, and one of only two people to have made over 300 appearances, throw in all the hours of work off the pitch, making sure we always got the game on, Fixtures, PU’s, Tours, Trophies, Teas, its all on the Jarrams CV. So we hope you enjoyed this one Rick.

      The Skipper…..Alex Nunns has had a textbook season. Great Captain, plenty of runs and catches, a really nice guy. He’s so nice, he even lets the opposition win the toss every single week. But seriously, its been a flawless season for Alex…..until now (did you honestly think this wouldn’t get mentioned?) Recently, there have been a few comments about Alex’s likeness to Jonny Bairstow. So we were all baffled, as he decided to sprint out to the crease with positivity and purpose. Very much in the style of Joe Root. After the returning Rob Hewlitt was given out, it was time for Alex to reveal his brand new “Walk On” His perfect season was about to implode in the most dramatic of circumstances.

      Nice try Jonny.

      Compare this to a Wimbledon Final…Nunns leads 6-0 6-0 5-0…40-0…..and lost. Not one sound of ROOOOOOOOOOT could be heard, just an explosion of hysterical laughter, as our Skipper broke into the Root sprint, then tripped, taking the mother of all falls as he attempted to reach the middle. A banana skin moment? Maybe that’s what he slipped on? It was more Jeremy Beadle than Joe Root. Just how badly does this guy want to win the Bails Award we all enquired? So for the second time in the space of a few weeks, Alex was back on the deck, sprawled face down, chewing some grass. Thankfully, no nose was potentially broken this time, just a large chunk of pride. Maybe this was just one of those days, where things we had never seen or done before kept happening. Has anyone ever fallen over whilst walking out to bat? Answers on a postcard please. Credit to Alex though, he soon recovered his composure, to finish on 13 not out, which carried us over the line. Did anyone give him any credit for a minor steadying of the ship? Nope, just a barrage of mockery as he walked off the pitch.

      AOB….Its hard to say who enjoyed the day the most. Josh Butler must be near to the top of the list. After giving the Unicorns batsman several headaches with his dazzling repertoire of mystery spin, Josh travelled home with one big smirk on his face. Red hot favourite for the Bails Award since walking out to the middle without his bat, earlier in the season (triple lol)… Josh may have been given a lifeline. If anyone has backed Josh ante post, it may be wise to throw your voucher in the nearest bin, and send Alex Nunns the bill for a refund.

      “If you want any tips Josh, let me know”

      The Club Pro was in a relaxed mood after the game, revealing his new favourite beverage to be a Pina Colada. Can somebody let Andy Ince know?

      We asked the question earlier…just how much does Alex want to win the Bails Award? If there was any doubting the skippers steely determination to get this coveted prize on his mantlepiece, well listen to this…. Just as the sun was setting over the Rushall horizon…he only goes and admits he loves watching Love Island…..enough said. You can only admire a man on a such mission.

      Hat-Trick History…..just so Will realises what he achieved on Sunday, here is the very short list of bowlers to have taken a hat-trick (on Sundays) for WHCC since 1987.

      John Nicholls 2007 v Blackwood (Aldridge bottom pitch) with the 25th 26th and 27th balls of his spell

      Nathan Martin 2019 v Bharat Parivar (Rushall) with the 38th 39th and 40th balls of his spell

      Will Lauchlan 2022 v Birmingham Unicorns with the 1st 2nd and 3rd balls of his WHCC career!!!!!

      Now if anyone asks (and its guaranteed somebody will)…. Has anyone ever took a quicker hat-trick than Will Lauchlan? Maybe enquire about taking a refresher course in GCSE Maths.

      I think we can all safely say, that was a decent day at the office for the Elf. Our very own version of a London 2012 Super Saturday, with the only difference being it all took place on a Sunday. So we roll on back to Rushall this week to play Poppyfields for the second time this season. Dan Dunn is already there…. busy marking his run up…..all it would take is 3 in 3 to reach wicket number 50 Dan, if you need any tips, Will’s your man.

      v Penn CC (H) 07/08/22

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      A Trilogy for the Ages.

      The Godfather. Lord of the Rings. Fury vs Wilder. Walsall Health vs Penn. They all have a ring to them. The latter trilogy might have been over in terms of a best of 3 with Penn having already beaten the Health twice this season but this was by no means a nothing game with the Health hoping to avenge a couple of tight defeats earlier this season and hoping for a change in their luck.

      Some things that never change this summer though are baking temperatures following Walsall Health games and captain Nunns losing the toss on the hottest of days, Penn gleefully batting first.  The Penn openers were rightly cautious early on with the greenest part of the field reserved for the 22 yard stretch between the batsman and opening bowlers Armstong and Stephens. Both bowlers bowled a tight line and length giving hardly anything to the visiting batsman who themselves dug in well to negate the spells of the prolific Health opening bowlers. The two bowlers will still be wondering how they came out of the 16 over spell with only 1 Penn wicket between them, a wiley slower ball from Stephens chopped on by the Penn captain Bywater for 18.

      With the score at 64-1 after 16 overs something had to give after a tense opening exchange and as Clive came in to bowl the Penn batsman made their intentions clear to begin making up for lost time and accelerate the scoring. The next over would be bowled by last minute addition and debutant Bateman who wasted no time writing himself into the Health record books, and gave unofficial club historian Chris Hall hours of fun trawling through the clubs stats, by becoming (potentially) the first person to take a wicket with their debut ball for the Health. The wicket with a fine catch taken by Stenson, himself quickly turning the clubs catch of the year award into his own personal greatest hits reel, this time a superb sprinting catch coming round at cow corner and with it putting the game into the balance.

      The new batsman Ricky and Mangat soon took to the Health bowlers though with some fine footwork and hard hitting to the boundary side of the drinks break, leaving the Health bowlers with some undeserved damage to their figures. With 300+ looking a real possibility the Health called on Butler and Ince to finish the innings off. The change brining a good result as Buttler too took a wicket with his first ball of the game a fine catch in the outfield taken by, yepp, you guessed it, Jack Stenson (one drop and a one caught over the boundary would follow but that’s a problem for the fines committee, not the match report)  Mangat continued the attack and declared on reaching his century. Wicketkeeper Mac then produced a fine stumping from Butler while tight and threatening bowling from Ince somehow didn’t yield a wicket for the returning club pro. The two kept the scoring to 273-4 at the end of 40 overs.

      With a fast start needed, two of the top performers with the bat this season in Armstrong and Stenson went out to open and immediately got the Health up with the required rate of almost 7 an over. The two batsmen looked set and were scoring well against a strong bowling line up. As is the way with the wonderful Rushall bounce though, no batsman is ever truly in on the track and Armstrong was soon walking back for 28 LBW from a low and straight ball, no possible way it could’ve been anything other than out with the umpiring finger of Dave Stephens given a rare raising.

      This wicket bought Nunns to the crease who managed to carry his form with the toss over to this game but couldn’t bring much of the fine batting from this season as well, unfortunate to be out for 9 off a fine delivery, an even finer edge and the ball hitting every part of the opposing keeper before nestling in the gloves. Ince came in next at 4 and wasted no time showing his class, some fine cover drives keeping the Health up with the rate and in with a chance of chasing a tough score, a long partnership seemed inevitable but just as the two batsmen had looked set, Stenson was bowled through the gate for 27. Lauchlan then came to the crease just before the drinks break. With two opposition fielders missing and a set, ex semi pro batsman at the other end all he had to do was bat sensibly and keep Ince on strike, so it was no shock to see him throw the kitchen sink at a few, attempt to run his partner out then get bowled through the gate for a well edged 10 runs.

      Edmunds then followed in at six, the wickets starting to take their toll on the scoring rate, Edmunds too began to try for the big shots and unfortunately top edged one into the sky, if it hadn’t have been such a stiflingly hot day, it would have come down with snow on it a fine and difficult catch ending Edmunds day.

      Wicketkeeper Mac then came to the crease and the job got harder still for the Health as the well set Ince pulled up with a groin injury. Mac took this as a prompt to immediately try for a number of quick singles and at the risk of Ince’s leg snapping and Cheslyn Hay’s finest pub being without their landlord’s left leg a runner was sent for and Nunns returned to the crease. This led to a surreal site of their being 2 less fielders and 1 more batsman out there. The Health soon tried to amend this by taking turns, at running, not running, ball watching and in general trying to remember the ancient art of synchronized running with someone several metres the wrong way.

      Butler doesn’t fancy facing that bowling.

      Mac was then out for 2 bringing Stephens to the crease who looked to support Ince who scoreboard and injury dictated needed to go for boundaries, he was smartly caught going for a big 6 off the pads, a good catch on the second attempt. Ince could walk off with his head held high and bat raised after a fine knock, Nunns maybe not so much, not that this put the captain off. Stephens and Clive followed the boundary bothering lead, taking on the Penn bowlers with Stephens (11) and Clive (22) eventually getting out the end was nigh as usual scorer and Walsall’s Health’s own Fillius Fog Butler, in the middle of his voyage to go around the world in 80 day savers, swapped the pen and bus pass for a somewhat dusty bat and was the last man out for 3. The Health finished up on 203 all out.

      All in all it was a spirited display by the Health against tough conditions, opponents and availability problems in holiday season, like all trilogies the end couldn’t quite live up to the hype for the Health and they look to start a new saga of their season against Birmingham Unicorns at home on Sunday hoping that game is a bit more Return of the King than Godfather 3.

      Best of 7 next year, Penn?

      Bonus photo – Who said men can’t multitask! Scoring, padding up and smashing a Stella.

      v Sportsman CC (H) 31/07/22

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      Sportsman CC beat WHCC by 105 runs

      Sportsman 256-9….Ben Lester 3-22 Nicka Dunn 3-21 D.Stephens 1-38 M.Smith 1-61

      WHCC 151 All out….D.Armstrong 39 D.Dunn (Capt) 26 J.Stenson 18 B.Lester 15

      A tough day at the office for the Elf lads against Sportsman, who are always a difficult opposition….here are a few random reflections of the days action.

      Nicka Dunn, what a spell from our Senior Club Pro, stepping in to play at the last minute, Nicka’s first 24 balls were all dots. Jonty’s club record of 44 consecutive dots looked in serious danger, until a lucky slog by the desperate batsman evaded the field and went for four. A top opening spell of 8 overs 4 maidens 3-21, taking Nicka to 48 wickets (3 in front of son Dan in the race to 50 contest) The Beaumont legend also has the best current Elf bowling average amongst our active players of 13.95….take a bow.

      With the cost of living crisis in full swing, even Dan Armstong’s bowling figures have suddenly become much more expensive. 60 runs conceded from 8 overs…ouch! It was mentioned in fines that Dan’s new nickname (the 276th one this season) should be JP Armstrong. It was certainly a good impersonation of our No1 spinner, a true Bertie Bassett spell that had all allsorts, just less the liquorice. Dan had better fortune with the bat, looking in seriously good touch, timing the ball beautifully, until one stuck in the pitch for a caught and bowled. Dan’s score of 39 was our top score of the day, well batted.

      Ben Lester top performance

      Matt Smith took two stunning catches, both running backwards. Difficulty level 10/10. Both would not look out of place in our new Catch of the Season shortlist. A big hand must go to both Matt and Dave Smith for helping us out yesterday, along with Elliot Stenson (Jack’s brother) All our new players this season, have had a really positive impact on the club. Ben Lester deservedly got the Man of the Match vote, a seasons best performance with both bat (which included a huge six) and ball (3-22) Big Hand Ben. We’ve now had eleven players make their debuts this season, all eleven have been a pleasure to welcome to the club.

      Duck Trophy update….Two more ducks yesterday, taking us up to a phenomenal 18 for the season (just 6 short of the club record) A fuming Jack Lester (he calmed down afterwards) and Nicka, made useful contributions to the quack tally. Nicka’s being a Golden Duck, which according to current Duck Trophy Rules (Golden’s count as double) The rules to this award are quite simple….there aren’t any.

      Milestone Men….Both Dan Armstrong and Dan Dunn are closing in on significant personal milestones.

      Perfect for a DNB

      Dan A….Or rather JP Armstrong is now only 51 runs short of becoming the youngest player to score 2,000 runs. Meanwhile, Dan Dunn, is only 34 runs away from his 1,000th. Double D might just be the youngest player to achieve this, beating Dan Armstrong’s record…its getting complicated now, but date of births will need to be checked before adjudication is completed. Lets throw in another one for good measure….John La La Nicholls only needs 3 more inactive games with the bat, to complete a ridiculous 150 DNB’s

      Fines…..Fines Committee was done during Extra Time of the Euro’s Women’s Final. And the best stitch up of the season so far, came in the guise of Dai Preece (who is in Australia at the moment) deliberately ringing Dave Stephens phone whilst fines was in full swing. Heavy penalty time…. Now who had told Dai to do this, remains a mystery, but the plan worked a treat. DS, who had an eventful day, took it all in good spirit, (he still doesn’t know Dai reversed the charges yet) and produced a masterful display of staff training on the new Rushall Card Reader. Dan Dunn decided it was the perfect day to bolster the PU fund, and with swearing aplenty, took his mate Armstrong to the cleaners for a nice round tenner. Ouch again!! A moment of brutality that even left one of the Lionesses shellshocked (see title photo)

      DS check your phone bill

      This Sunday, we visit Penn CC for the first time, the skipper is back, so if anyone can find a double headed coin, it would be much appreciated.

      Chris Hall