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.
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).
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.