v Lichfield Nomads (15/6/2014)

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Walsall Health beat Lichfield Nomads by three wickets.

A fantastic Father’s Day Fifty by Andy Gorton played a huge part in maintaining The Elf’s remarkable unbeaten start to the season with a three wicket win over Lichfield Nomads.

Nathan Martin - hilariously threw his bat into a tree after getting a golden duck.

Nathan Martin – hilariously threw his bat into a tree after getting a golden duck.

But while previous matches during this campaign have often been dominated by dazzling individual performances, the win over Nomads was characterised by a brilliant all-round showing with every Elf player contributing to an excellent victory.

A tremendous day was capped off by Nathan Martin – who had earlier produced a sumptuous spell of bowling – was bowled for a duck and threw his bat into a tree in a fit of pique.

With The Elf fielding first, the breakthrough did not take long to arrive when Dave Stephens’ delivery to Stanley found the batsman’s glove and looped into the air.

Rich Fell - superb bowling performance by the skipper, who also grabbed the winning runs.

Rich Fell – superb bowling performance by the skipper, who also grabbed the winning runs.

Rich Fell, fielding at close quarters and like a coiled spring, took on gravity in a one on one, leaping forward with every sinew strained and plucked the falling ball from the air before it hit the ground.

Nomads’ woes continued shortly after when Sam Stephens produced an absolute pearler to account for Scott while prolific run scorer Gardner continued to tick along at the other end.

Nathan Martin stepped up and claimed the wicket of Mick, caught and bowled for just eight, and then clean bowled Bebb for a duck.

Nomads fought back with Heslington – who in addition to his unbeaten 46 with the bat also took a brilliant 14/4 with the ball – and Gardner putting on a stubborn resistance.

Mike Sayers - as brilliant in the field as he always was.

Mike Sayers – as brilliant in the field as he always was.

It took a cunningly sly ball by Preece to account for Gardner, clean bowling the danger man for 34.

A nifty catch by Danks at slip saw off Dave Rolfe for 11 from the bowling of Rich Fell (his figures, like those of Dave Stephens, not doing justice to their contribution) and Sam Stephens caught Hughes off the bowling of Preece for just one.

In only his second game, Matt Wright was handed the chance to bowl and grabbed it with both hands.

His four overs went for just 14 runs and he also claimed the scalp of Brannigan who was stumped by Gorton for one.

The total of 127 didn’t look hugely challenging and openers Rob Hewlitt and Gorton didn’t appear to be in the mood to hang around, setting about chasing in lively fashion.

Gorton in particular was brutal in his treatment of the Nomad opening attack while Hewlitt chose a massive six to open his scoring after a long, long, long, long spell of dot balls.

Matt Wright - brilliant first bowling spell and grabbed his first wicket.

Matt Wright – brilliant first bowling spell and grabbed his first wicket.

Hewlitt finally fell to Mick, edging to first slip, which saw Sam Stephens step into the fray.

A typically swashbuckling innings by Stephens saw him pillage a quick-fire 33.

When Gorton finally fell to Branningan for 53, closely followed by Stephens for 33, it appeared The Elf would skip over the finishing line with hardly a care in the world.

But a mini-collapse in the middle order, aided and abetted by Heslington’s devastating spell of bowling, slowed down the inevitable to an almost nail biting level.

Nathan Martin’s brilliant double hurling of his bat (first just in the air in anger) and then into the trees near the pavilion in slightly less anger as he walked from the field after being clean bowled first ball led to a record punishment in the fines committee after the game.

Andy Gorton - man of the match with a fantastic Father's Day 50.

Andy Gorton – man of the match with a fantastic Father’s Day 50.

The collapse left it to old heads Dave Stephens and Rich Fell to steady the ship and grab the runs needed to see The Elf home, ensuring a fourth win on the bounce and meaning the unbeaten streak in 2014 remains intact.

Batting Runs
Gorton, A b Brannigan

53

Hewlitt, R c Gardner b Mick

23

Stephens, S b Heslington

33

Slater, S  b Heslington

0

Sayers, M b Heslington

3

Danks, M b Heslington  0
Stephens, D not out  4
Martin, N b Heslington 0
Fell, R not out 3
Preece, J did not bat
Wright, M did not bat
Extras

9

Walsall Health

 128

Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Stephens, S

5

1

8

1

Stephens, D

8

0

25

1

Preece, J

8

0

38

2

Martin, N

8

3

15

2

Fell, R

7

1

18

1

Wright, M

4

0

14

1

 

Man of the match: Andy Gorton

Top bat: Andy Gorton (53 not out)

Top bowler: Nathan Martin, 15 for 2

Rachel Hangover Rating: 1/10. Very poor. Considering there was an England football game the night before, this was a shocking effort.

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