Walsall Health v Old Moseley Fitmen…Match Tied.
On yet another scorching hot day, WHCC played hosts to opponents of many a year, Old Moseley Fitmen. With no heavy roller to make batting conditions even easier, we got underway on time at 14:30 BST. Historically, Fitmen always bring a strong XI. Today was no different. Two classy openers, Tom Caesar and Jawad, piled on some early misery and raced to 55 before Dan Dunn took a good caught and bowled to dismiss Jawad. With Dave Stephens toiling away at the other end, our regular nemesis “Mo” ambled out to begin his innings. Mo would lose his first partner, Caesar thanks to a cool catch by Dan Armstrong off the bowling of Chuck. Chuck then pilfered his second wkt of the day, thanks to a stunning reflex catch by JP. A strong contender for catch of the season. It was so good, Mo immediately paid his homage at the none strikers end with a nod of respect.
Chucky and Chally had applied the brakes with some tight bowling to peg Fitmen back to 111-3. However, Mo (87 off 78 balls) and Harris (46 off 36 balls) then cut loose, to wrestle back the momentum, and pass 200, with 8 more overs left in the bank. Despite several tough passages of play, heads didn’t drop this week, we kept battling away which was good to see. Nathan Reeves, once again setting the standard in the field, attacking the ball like a caged lion. Such good standards paid off, with Dan Dunn returning to pick up two more wkts, Chris Hall and Dan Armstrong snaffled one each at the death, with Fitmen finishing on 246-7. A tremendous collective effort here, several times Fitmen threatened to post around 280-300, but our application for the full 40 overs, meant we had a chance of chasing this down.
The chase began with an unlucky dismissal for Gort, ball onto boot, onto stumps. Maybe a hint of bat into a tree, the sequel here, the Gort willow was certainly hurled a few yards in disgust anyway. Enter the Chuck brothers, and this partnership was definitely not suitable for Kids TV. Some aggressive batting, with Leo punching the ball through the covers for fun, and Ian bludgeoning the ball to all corners, saw the Elf race to 100-1 off just 14 overs. Great to see Leo bat so well, falling just short of a deserved quickfire fifty. The momentum was all ours at this stage. Dan Armstrong joined Chuck, and continued to dominate the Fitmen bowlers. When Chuck departed for a brilliant 89, we appeared comfortable on 190-3….57 required off 96 balls.
A lot of credit has to be given to Fitmen, from a tough position, they gradually eased their way back into the game, with some tight bowling from Mo (4-17 off 8 overs) and Harris. Scoring became more difficult, as Nath, Rob and Greg went cheaply. With the score at 236-7, Dan Armstrong was still at the crease, after reaching a second consecutive 50. Another excellent knock from Dan, who is really starting to deliver with the bat. Time was running out, so when Dan was caught going for a big shot to ease the pressure, the game remained in the balance. Dave Stephens hit a priceless 4, then was out to another good catch from a Fitmen fielder, they really did catch very well in the key moments. After 79 overs it came down to the final over, with the Elf needing 6 to win. Dan Dunn fell to the first ball, leaving us on the brink. JP joined Chally, and managed to sneak a single, leaving Chris to get 5 off the final two balls. The first of which was despatched to the square leg boundary for 4, to tie the game up after 79.5 overs. With all fielders brought into the ring, Chally couldn’t quite connect to pierce the field, leaving JP valiantly falling inches short of making his ground to complete a dramatic victory. What a game! Nearly 500 runs in a match that came down to the final ball, finishing at 20:55 BST….Match Tied.
All 22 players agreed it had been a superb match, which ebbed and flowed all day. Everyone contributing, and trying their best, is all any team can ask for. A bit like the John Isner v Kevin Anderson match at Wimbledon last Friday, that would have been a tough game to lose for either team.
Tea update….RIP Victoria Sponge.
Thankyou’s update….Some big efforts yesterday. Rich Fell umpiring for the full 40 overs, allowed a lot of the players to take a rest after a long innings in the field. Nice to see Dan Dunn, Dave Stephens and Leo back in the team, all making excellent contributions. Great support too, from Gail, Fitzy, Nikka, Dai and Roger Moore, with Alex and Rachel sensing a knife edge finish arriving just in time to see the drama unfold.
Novak Update….The great man is back to his brilliant best, Wimbledon Champion 2018.
Stats Update….Ian Chuck’s 89, moves him up to fourth place on the all time run scorers list.
The Verdict….Wonderful contest. Exactly what all sports should be…A contest. I would happily play in a game like this one every single week. In a game so close, everyone may be thinking of the “If only I’d done this or that moment” which is understandable. But sport is mostly all about split second decisions, all of which a game can be decided on. We should all just focus on being fortunate enough to take part in a memorable game of cricket, on a nice summer afternoon, and celebrate the match for what it was. We won’t play in many games better than this one.
Written by Chris Hall
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