v Lichfield Nomads (27/7/2014)

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Walsall Health beat Lichfield Nomads by 133 runs.

Dave Preece - a brilliant knock by the returning skipper

Dave Preece – another brilliant knock by the skipper. Suggestions that married life is doing our leader good in terms of his batting.

The return of two Walsall Health legends from different eras helped underpin The Elf’s comprehensive 130 run victory over Lichfield Nomads.

Elf Living Legend Jon Nicholls made his first appearance for over 12 months and seamlessly hit his stride, scoring valuable runs and taking wickets, while Chris ‘Iron Man’ Hall returned after illness and likewise made an impressive impact with both bat and ball.

But it was yet another brilliant performance with the bat by skipper Dave Preece – carving a superb 105 – that was the deciding factor.

Winning the toss and electing to bat on what was an odd track that presented challenges for bowlers and batsmen alike, The Elf set off at a decent rate with Preece and Andy Gorton putting on 25 without loss after four overs.

Jon Nicholls - returning legend had everybody in awe.

Jon Nicholls – returning legend had everybody in awe.

In the sixth over Gorton departed for 11, trapped lbw by Hughes, opening the door for the returning Sam Stephens to smash his way to 27 – with a much larger target looking likely – before he was clean bowled by Lee Westwood in the 11th over leaving The Elf at 65 for 2.

Ian Chuck continued where Sam had left off and appeared in tremendous shape with a series of dynamic shots during a partnership with The Skipper that lasted 14 overs.

With Chuck looking a cert for a long overdue 50, he was perhaps unfortunate to lose his wicket trying to sweep George for 35.

But with The Elf on 160 for 3 after 26 overs, the foundations had been laid for a strong total which needed the remaining batsmen to consolidate.

FOUR! Textbook cover drive by Tom Davies but, alas, he was unable to be The Elf's highest scoring ginger.

FOUR! Textbook cover drive by Tom Davies but, alas, he was unable to be The Elf’s highest scoring ginger.

Mat Danks notched 12 before his wicket was claimed by Blackburn, Neil Antcliffe (making his dayboo for The Elf and appearing in his first game in over a decade) went for a duck and Dave Stephens added four to the total.

Tom Davies - survived a strong lbw shout.

Tom Davies – survived a strong lbw shout thanks to his stare at the umpire.

Enter Jon Nicholls – making his first appearance of the season after recovering from injury – who added another 14 to the total before becoming Blackburn’s third victim.

The closing stand of Tom Davies (who survived a very dubious lbw decision on his way to five) and the returning Chris Hall (who knocked 16 runs off just nine deliveries) provided The Elf with a competitive total of 246.

In truth, Nomads never looked like threatening the total and when Sam Stephens saw off the opening pair of Gardener and Paul Fearon for 23, clean bowling both, the battle was even more uphill for the home side.

Nomads made a good fist of frustrating the attempts of The Elf to finish the resistance.

Neil Antcliffe - dayboo boy.

Neil Antcliffe – dayboo boy.

Dave Stephens saw off George for just one before Westwood racked up nine runs before he was bowled by Davies.

The returning Elf legends of Hall and Nicholls then went about their business – strangling any resistance by Nomads.

Ian Hughes fell to Jonty as he attempted a dirty slog shot for 14, opening up a fiercely resilient partnership of Scott and Dave Rolfe which stubbornly refused to capitulate the game, even with Nomads a long way off the total.

Scott top-scored with 21 before a trademark Hall fizzer finally removed him and his next delivery accounted for Blackburn Jnr for a golden duck before his hat-trick was cruelly denied by a questionable lbw decision.

Chris Hall - the returning Iron Man was, as expected, immense.

Chris Hall – the returning Iron Man was, as expected, immense.

Dave Rolfe and Blackburn Snr ensured Nomads batted out their overs – despite some exceptionally tight and economical bowling from Chuck, Nicholls and Hall – although ultimately the 133 run margin meant a resounding victory for the visitors.

 

Batting Runs
Gorton, A lbw Hughes

11

Preece, D c Scott b Blackburn

105

Stephens, S b Westwood

27

Chuck, I b George

35

Danks, M b Blackburn 12
Antcliffe, N c Rolfe b Fearon 0
Stephens, D b Pickering 4
Nicholls, J b Blackburn 14
Davies, T Not Out 5
Hall, C Not Out 16
Mate of Chuckie’s did not show, the nob
Extras

16

Walsall Health

 246

Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Stephens, S

8

2

18

2

Stephens, D

8

2

16

1

Davies, T

6

1

21

1

Chuck, I

5

2

6

0

Nicholls, J

6

2

10

1

Antcliffe, N

1

0

17

0

Hall, C 6 2 8 2

 

Man of the match: Dave Preece

Top bat: Dave Preece (105 not out)

Top bowler: Chris Hall (two wickets for eight runs off six overs and his first over went for five)

Rachel Hangover Rating: 1/10 very poor. Once the girl gets a full time job we are expecting a marked improvement in performance.

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