V Sportsman CC (26/04/15)

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26th April 2015

Walsall Health CC v Sportsman CC

Walsall Health beat Sportsman CC by 3 wickets.

The eagerly awaited first game of the season was ON; after the office of Mr Andrew Gorton Esq had predicted monsoon conditions. However, the weather gods provided Sunny yet brisk conditions, as ‘The Elf’ were put in the field after losing the toss.

Sam & Dave Stephens opened the bowling. The father / son combo controlled the scoreboard from the off. The blistering pace of a not fully fit Sam was too much for the opening pair. An early opportunity for
A chance of a catch rocketed to the dynamic Lyndon Billingham on his ‘dayboo’ from the the bowling of DS! Saving a certain four runs the ball did not quite stick. And that would set the tone of valiant efforts with Nathan Martin diving high and to his right, Sam Stephens with a difficult effort diving backwards, John Preece dropping a sharp chance off his own bowling and the skipper Dave Preece lunging heroically and taking two bites of the cherry before the ball was grounded.

6 time fielder of the year Richard Fell was watching from the side lines no doubt thinking they were all easy takes!

Good energy in the field as always, but Stuart Slater & Lyndon Billingham arguably the star men. Stuart with a couple of diving efforts to save certain boundaries and one improvised football skill again to save 4 runs. While Lyndon proved to be ‘Johnny on the spot’ mopping up ball after ball.

Wickets needed to fall and it was Sam Stephens with the break through. With pace an precision as he skittled over the first wicket of the day. Nathan Martin bowled a tight line and length with arguably one of his best spells for the club and deserved to get a wicket.

Enter 2014 player of the year Ian Chuck; who with his first over of this campaign delivered the good with a Wicket Maiden. The excellent all rounder proving his worth once again. JP showed signs of having a formidable year as ‘The Elfs’ own ‘King of Spain’ was teasing and tempting his opponents with some height and flight on with a selection of bamboozling left arm deliveries!

‘The Don’ Lyndon Billingham now made his bowling ‘dayboo’ amongst his efforts were a couple of teasing deliveries and one that was edged tantalisingly slightly out the reach of Super Andy Gorton.

Not bowling a single ball during 2014, The reigning Batsman of the year and our daring skipper Dave Preece turned is arm over with a useful spell taking 2 key wickets and proving that he leads by example whether it’s with the bat, the ball or in the field!

Birthday Boy Matt Wright celebrated the start of a new season with 3 wickets in 3 overs. Greatly aided by the magnificent Gort behind the stumps whipping off the bails for 2x stumpings.

The innings drew to a close with 178 the target set. D Bhopal top scoring for the visiting team with a very well played knock of 65 runs!

With 179 needed to win, Gort and Chuck took the field. And it was Chucky who was again proving his player of the year credentials top scoring with a patient and critical 75.

Sam Stephens looked set for a big score from number 3. However, despite a solid start, was undone by a viciously turning ball.

2014 Fielder of the Year – Rob Hewlitt made a quick fire 19 runs off 16 balls that gave the charge to the line some momentum.

Dave Stephens and Lyndon Billingham both opened their accounts to stake a claim on this seasons duck trophy.

Dave Preece, unusually in a middle order birth, steadied the ship. Nathan Martin with brave running throwing his bat in a way other than into a tree, falling over but picking himself up to make it into the crease.

Dynamic running, grit, guts and an iron nerve saw us get over the line with three balls to spare.

Walsall Health open the season with a hard fought victory hopefully the first of many.

Batting Runs
Gorton, A c b Nasser

3

Chuck, I b Wiseman

75

Stephens, S b Hallam 24
Slater, S b Hallam  2
Hewlitt, R  lbw Hallam 19
Preece, D not out 25
Stephens, D lbw Nasser 0
Billingham, L c Nasser 0
Martin, N not out 9
Wright, M DNB
Preece, J DNB
Extras

18

Walsall Health

 180

Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Stephens, S

7

2

15

1

Stephen, D

8

0

29

0

Martin, N

8

3

32

0

Chuck, I

3

0

8

1

Preece, J

5

0

23

0

Billingham, L

2

0

30

0

Preece, D 4 0 13 2
Wright, M 3 0 24 3

RACHEL GORTON’S – POP SCENE
With two jugs leaving last seasons student life behind Sunday hang overs are a thing of the past. So this season we look at ‘The Elf’ refreshment technician or ‘Pop Girls’ match day fashion sense.This week saw skinny jeans with a converse foot ware option. A layered approach with a cammy top, cricket sweater and denim look oversized shirt.

DAI WATCH
The Welsh wonder was frozen on the sidelines as the afternoon temperature plummeted on the sidelines. The Bronx hat donned by Dai was more Compo-esque last of the summer wine tribute.

A.O.B
The hottest thing of the day proved to be Rob Hewlitt lulling people into trying a chilli scratching that were hotter than Dai in his speedo’s during the 1970’s.Rachel (x3) & Andy G both fell down a pot hole by the benches to comedy effect!Music in the changing rooms this season was well received. And shower club is back!

MAN OF THE MATCH & BEST BAT
Ian Chuck
A wicket maiden and top scoring with the bat 75 runs.

BEST BOWLER

Take your pick between the skipper Dave Preece who got two crucial wickets of high order batsmen, Sam Stephen tight spell while injured or Nathan Martin with arguably his most controlled spell of bowling for the club.

BEST FIELDER
Stuart Slater or Lyndon Billingham both put their bodies on the line for the cause.

Written by Mathew Wright

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