Walsall Health 140 all out (39.2 overs) lost to Sportsman CC 110-4 (26.3 overs) by four wickets via Duckworth Lewis method
The Elf played their first fixture of the season, a direct replica of last season’s opener except they were on the losing side this time.
Rob Hewlitt won the toss and gave the ‘soft signal’ from the square, which was about 150 yards around from the pavilion which left Dai scrambling for his binoculars.
‘Ian’ Chuck (as he is now known) and Andy Gorton opened the batting for the Elf and in true Billy Ocean fashion the going was tough in the first 10 overs , the hosts barely scraping past 2 an over.
The first change brought about two quick wickets for the visitors when Adrish got one to nip back through the gate and ‘Ian’ was out for 2.
Alex Nunns was in at three but was immediately triggered by Dave Stephens for the first Elf quack of the season.
Token Yorkshire man Andy Carrick was in at 4 and a steady partnership with anchorman Gort saw the Elf creep their way towards 50 before Andy chipped a cut shot straight to point for 12 hard fought runs.
Skipper Hewlitt hit three boundaries on his way to 13 to give Abeer his first scalp of many for the day. Rich Fell then came in and dropped a second anchor alongside Gort who was now gradually eking his way towards a first 50 of the season. Two Elf veterans who have over 50 seasons of experience between them certainly put that on display and a fine 55 run partnership saw Gort get his first 50 of the season before being caught off the bowling of Williams and Greg Phillpott following shortly after scoring the same amount of runs as Al.
Rich dealt in singles for his innings of 10 and Dave Stephens joined him for a short cameo of 16 laden in boundaries before both men were out in the last few overs of the game going for runs with the Elf in and around the 130 mark, about 40 runs short of a decent total. Chris Hall, Tom Davies and Jonny Preece or as Chally himself described them ‘nine, ten, jack’ scrambled six runs between them including a fine cover drive from Tom Davies for his first boundary of the season. A six for including four wickets in four balls for Abeer was mainly the difference between the sides today with the ball.
The Elf posted a meagre 140 in the last over and with one boundary only 35 paces from the wicket it would take some good bowling to limit an always strong Sportsman side to below that.
After tea was demolished The Elf went out to defend their total, Zinger bails in tow. After some really tight bowling in the first 7 overs – which coincidentally went by quicker than Dan Armstrong bowls one over, the wheels came off a little bit.
‘Ian’ Chuck and Dave Stephens had more or less kept Sportsman to a run an over but Dave suffered some real tap by going for 39 in two overs, including 6 sixes in 12 balls from Sportsman slogger ‘Waqas’ who found the very short boundary to his and his bat’s edge’s liking.
in the ninth over of the game play was significantly delayed when Andy Carrick who bravely dived to cut off some runs fell awkwardly and appeared to have dislocated his shoulder.
Good news on that front, after the delay and later update Andy is recovering fine however some of the day’s finest moments came in amongst the delay.
Firstly Dan Armstrong went and waited on the main road with a pint in his hand for the Ambulance crew who came and really took care of Mr Carrick (lots of love for the NHS here) but also a hilarious moment when one of the female paramedics asked Andy ‘if it was okay if she touched it’ which left Tom and Greg scrambling for a suitable innuendo. Armstrong also was left in charge of the medical kit (see photo, and also see the tight grip on the pint) before Andy was treated.
In all seriousness, everyone at the Elf wishes Andy a speedy recovery and hope he will be back in time for the weekly Love Island Updates when ITV’s show returns in the summer.
Chris Hall and Tom Davies came on in the 11th and 12th overs after the score was revised by 10 overs and 30 runs as the light was fading due the delay which couldn’t be helped.
Chally who claimed he hadn’t bowled since September picked up where he left off, taking wickets.
A catch in the deep from 2017 fielder of the year Greg Phillipott saw the back of Waqas who hit 54 out of the 62 Sportsman had posted at this point including 7 sixes.
Hall quickly dispatched Hembo back to the hutch after Gort snaffled a catch standing up to Chally. Sportsman’s skipper Walder and Maz scored a few runs before Gort was razor sharp once again and got him stumped. Tom Davies toiled away for 5 overs and only went for an economical 6 runs but no real chances of note. Jonny Preece replaced Davies and picked up a wicket off his first ball when Walder’s eyes lit up off a J.Preece beef and merlot pie, Walder swung everything at it and got his bails knocked back and JP was off the mark for the season.
Experienced Sportsman batsman Calvin Williams came in and steered his side home with 3 and a half overs to go without much trouble.
Lots of sandwiches on display along with pasta, sausage rolls and the usual Victoria Sponge. There was even some left over for fines, good tea. 8/10
An array of wonderful smells emanating coming from the home dressing room this week. However Greg’s ‘Cherry Bakewell’ and Al’s ‘Foamy Banana’ win best shower gel this week. Imperial Leather certainly coming up trumps this week. A slight complaint is that the showers at Aldridge really have slow water flow, the lads are praying for some away games soon so they can take advantage of some good showers.
Regular gym goers Chris Hall and Tom Davies have been working hard in their respective gyms this winter trying to get to full fitness for the 2018 campaign. If you are willing to test your cardio with the best there are three challenges to take up:
Challenge 1 – simply 500m in the quickest time you can. Resistance on level 8 on a concept 2 machine. Chally has the current record of 1.36.6 but Tom is only half a second behind on 1.37.1.
Challenge 2- row 200m in under 40 seconds with only a minute break in between. Chall has managed 7 successful 200ms and Tom has reached 6. This challenge is A LOT tougher than it seems.
Challenge 3 – 1000m as quick as you can. This is really the big fish. Tom has set 3.31.4 and Chally is floundering behind around the 3.37 mark.
Written by Tom Davies