v Highwood Park (17/9/2014)

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Walsall Health beat Highwood Park by 10 wickets.

The Elf clinched the decider in their three-match series with Highwood Park with a ten-wicket victory spurred on by brilliant performances the flatmate combo of Ian Chuck and debutant Josh Butler.

Ian Chuck - man of the match thanks to brilliant bowling and back-to-back 50s

Ian Chuck – man of the match thanks to brilliant bowling and back-to-back 50s

The win means The Elf take the series by the odd win in three after the defeat in June followed by the series levelling win the following week.

Butler was one of two players making their dayboo for The Elf – along with Shane O’Callaghan – while Dutch import Neil Van Limbeek was making his first appearance in over a year, after he injured his shoulder playing darts.

Winning the toss on a cloudy day which offered up a handful of rainy interruptions, skipper Dave Preece put Highwood Park into bat.

Initially it looked like a decision that would suit the visitors with Park’s dangerman Shaun Allsopp doing what he does best on his way to being the top-scorer in the game with 53.

A string of frustrating dropped catches, edgy appeals and misfields during the opening phases did little to settle The Elf down as Allsopp and fellow opener Owen proved mulish in their opening stand.

Josh Butler - three wickets on dayboo.

Josh Butler – three wickets on dayboo.

The ultra-economical bowling of Chris Hall – now (as if there were any doubt at all) back to the full extent of his extensive powers – Tom Davies and John Nicholls stemmed the flow of runs on what was an awkward track for batsmen. Hall opened his account with four successive maidens followed by two successive overs for one in each, meaning his first six overs went for just two runs. Davies meanwhile was equally frustrating for the Park openers, his opening spell of five overs going for just eight and Nicholls’ six overs included four maidens for just seven runs.

At the 17 over stage, Park had notched up 44 runs without loss before Chucky’s Super Over effectively turned the match on its head.

First, the South African spin merchant clean bowled Owen for an unlucky 13 before continuing his hoodoo over Park hitter Stephen Beattie, luring him into holing out to Preece at mid-off for a second-ball duck.

Andy Gorton - two stumpings and a half century for the main man.

Andy Gorton – two stumpings and a half century for the main man.

Even then, Highwood Park held firm and it took another ten overs and a 36 run partnership (during which time Allsopp continued to carve himself an excellent innings) before The Elf made another breakthrough, Nathan Martin grabbing the wicket of Allsop leg before wicket.

With the run-scoring threat of Allsopp back in the pavilion, Park crumpled slightly with Tallis stumped by Andy Gorton for nine off the bowling of Butler followed by a brilliant run-out of Cox by Preece for four. Debutants Butler and O’Callaghan combined to dismiss Lapper for nought thanks and Butler then claimed his third wicket – again thanks to a stumping.

And Hall and Davies got the wickets their early spells deserved – Davies first taking Olly Holliday clean for five and then Hall skittling Ralph for two.

Shane O'Callaghan - great catch on dayboo.

Shane O’Callaghan – great catch on dayboo.

The Elf’s pursuit of the 118 needed to win the match and series only looked in threat when the brooding clouds over Aldridge had a tantrum early during the home side’s innings.

But the weather failed to disrupt the tempo too much and openers Chuck and Gorton set about steadily building the response.

For the second successive game, Chuck engineered himself a half-century (albeit thanks to hitting a boundary through mid-wicket for the winning runs, interestingly off the bowling of Beattie) while Gorton added yet another half-ton to his list of achievements.

Gorton’s 51 not out came off just 63 balls (a particularly amazing achievement given the challenging surface) while Chuck’s was a slightly more circumspect, taking 88 balls as the total was reached in the 24th over meaning The Elf could celebrate the series win with ten wickets and sixteen overs to spare.

The Elf’s next outing is in Tim Oliver’s memorial match next Sunday at Rushall Cricket Club.

Batting Runs
Gorton, A not out

51

Chuck, I not out

51

O’Callaghan, S DNB
Hall, C DNB
Martin, N DNB
Nicholls, J DNB
Van Limbeek, Neil DNB
Preece, D DNB
Fitzpatrick, G DNB
Davies, T DNB
Wright, M DNB
Extras

19

Walsall Health

 121

Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Martin, N

7

1

33

1

Davies, T

7

3

11

1

Hall, C

8

5

10

1

Chuck, I

4

0

11

2

Nicholls, J

6

4

7

0

Wright, M

3

0

15

1

Butler, J 3 0 11 3
O’Callaghan 1 0 1 0

Man of the match: Ian Chuck

Top bat: Ian Chuck and Andy Gorton (51 not out – tie)

Top bowler: Another tough one – but Chris Hall’s figures against the opening attack were impressive.

Rachel Hangover Rating: 8/10 – although she is claiming a migraine was to blame. Until we see some medical evidence, we’re raising an eyebrow to that one.

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3 thoughts on “v Highwood Park (17/9/2014)

  1. Anonymous

    Well done lads! What a team! Good to see Gort back in the runs. Where did this I. Chuck get his new bat?
    It seems that in this team, everybody can bat and bowl!

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