Walsall Health beat Bharat Parivar by 3 wkts.
On a scorching hot day, at Rushall, The Health welcomed back Bharat Parivar for the second time this season. Early village moment of the day…by 2:20 pm BST, only one member of the opposition had arrived. A huge bonus for Gort, as it gave him even more time to continue his blossoming relationship with the heavy roller. So after plenty of faffing about, the game started at 2:55 BST on a pitch that resembled the landscape of the Somerset Levels.
Parivar adopted the same tactics as a few weeks ago, aggressive. Dan Armstrong got an early breakthrough, thanks to a brilliant reflex catch, by skipper for the day Ian Chuck. However, a couple of dropped catches saw Parivar accelerate even more. The new ball, kindly donated by Nikka, disappeared into oblivion after 4 overs, never to be seen again. Ian Chuck, opening the bowling, (Yes, this isn’t a mis-print) got an iffy decision, and that is being polite. A big snick, louder than a Tom Davies appeal, was snaffled by Gort. The batsman appeared to be trudging off back to the pavillion, only to decide he fancied batting a bit longer. I must brush up on the laws of the game this week. The game continued.
With Parivar passing the 50 mark in quick time, wickets were needed to slow things down. Prabhar was the first to chance his arm one too many times, trying to heave Ian Chuck for another six, he perished to a brilliant running catch from Greg. This was a big wicket, as Prabhar looked a very dangerous batsman. Josh Butler joined the party, thanks to a solid catch from Nikka. Then returning legend, Sam Stephens, trapped Pandiylan plumb in front. We were back on top, at 70-4 off 15 overs. The opposition consolidated in their own style, by continuing to attack with a good partnership between Tewaji and Nais, taking them to 140-4. In the humid weather, and with plenty of overs remaining, it looked like this was going to be a tough afternoon.
After a second drinks break was taken, Chris Hall, still seething from some rough decisions a few weeks ago, came into the attack. Immediately yelling at Captain Chuck to get the field right (Apologies Chuck) then standing at his mark, offered Chuck some advice, in a stern and measured tone…”Do not take me off until they are all back in the pavillion” The aggression worked, as Hall broke the partnership, thanks to another great catch from Chuck, then skittled three more Parivar batsman. Their momentum had been checked, with Chuck picking up the remainder, 140-4 became 185 all out. A very good fightback, with the highlight in the field being a spectacular diving stop by JP, to save a certain boundary. We fancied chasing this down on a rapid out-field.
After a sumptuous tea, more about that later. We began the chase. Extras started really well, scoring 15 of the first 22 runs. Chuck was first to go, on a pitch starting to show some demons, getting a low shooter for 2. Very unlucky. Enter Sam Stephens, who looked to be positive, hitting four 4’s and looking well set, only to fall to another unplayable one. Where is that heavy roller when you need it? The score was 57-2. Alex Nunns was next to go for 21, which again include five 4’s. Dan Armstrong came in to join the 4’s club, getting off the mark with a beautiful on drive, only to perish for 9. But with Gort at the other end, steadily accumulating runs, the match was in the balance at 108-4. With a pumped up Nathan Reeves hitting 10, followed by 8 from Greg Philpott, the score moved on to 145-6. Then the loss of Gort, who departed for 49 left the Elf wobbling on 150-7 on a deteriorating pitch.
The equation was simple when Josh Butler joined Chris Hall at the crease. 35 to win off 9 overs. Loads of time, it was all about temperament. Parivar produced some excellent death bowling, but after Chally hit three 4’s to ease the tension a bit, the rate was now 12 to win off 9 balls. To be fair, it looked like Parivar had used up their two best bowlers. So after a penultimate mid over chat, super cool Josh Butler and Chall agreed that we could win this game right now. JB calmly walked back to his crease to plunder three successive 4’s to the despair of the Parivar fielders. A real pleasure to see this, as Josh had dug in against the better bowlers, to get his reward. A partnership of 37 for the 8th wkt to take us over the line. Amongst the celebrations, Nathan Reeves did a great impression of Jose Mourinho, (youtube him running down the touchline when Porto knocked out Man Utd in the Champions League 2004) Parivar were gracious in defeat, in a good close game of cricket, that was well supported on the day.
Tales from the Travelator.
Sam and Chucky experienced the delights of this cursed end this week. Chuck getting a big snick, and another Pelsall Common stumping, only to be told not out both times. Sam joined in, with what appeared to be a hitting all three lbw appeal, again to no avail.
Tea Update. Rating 10/10
Tremendous. Especially as it was prepared at such short notice. Big thankyou to Alex and Rachel. Plum tomato’s, not a single one rolled off anybody’s plate, smart purchase. Loads of oranges for Vitamin C…Clever choice. Good sandwich variety, to carb load…Much needed. And a variey of Samosa’s, Sausage Rolls, Cheese and Onion Rolls, Pizza and salads. Plenty of leftovers too, which were devoured after the game. Aldridge, take note.
Dessert update. Rating 10/10
Star Baker for this week….Lizzie. Delivering a plethora of sponge delights. Already producing a masterful Key Lime Pie at Peopleton, Lizzie produced a high class display of Perfect Pattiserie. A lovely Victorious Sponge, backed up by Banana Loaf, and Dan Armstrong’s personal favourite the Chocolate Brownie. Really nice. Once again, all made at short notice which was very much appreciated.
One More Thankyou update…
A big thankyou to Nikka, who stepped up to play at short notice. Having the extra man in such hot conditions made all the difference yesterday. Thanks again mate.
This was our 6th consecutive victory of the season. Certainly a new club record since the 40 over format began. A fantastic achievement, with different players stepping up every week to make match winning contributions. Lets keep it going against Oak n Ash this week.
Written by Chris Hall