1990….The year Phil Taylor won his first World Darts Title. Gazza cried his eyes out at the World Cup. Del Boy, Rodney, Uncle Albert and co pulled in audiences of over 20 million, and the Berlin Wall came down. This historic event in Germany was mirrored by a game we played against Essington in 1990, where one W.H.C.C. legendary all rounder demolished the opposition almost single handed to set a bowling record that still stands today.
The XI players who took part in this game were as follows…Bob Heath, Steve Fewtrehill, Martin Liggins, Steve Fell, Rick Jarrams, Dave Williams, Narain Moorjani, Ian Forrester, Gary Reeves, Frank Jacob and John Nicholls.
The game began quietly enough, with Essington starting steadily to reach 14-0. The guile and accuracy of Frank Jacob conceding just 4 runs from his first 5 overs, proved to be the perfect foil on this occasion for Gary Reeves who its fair to say was “Quite sharp” when he wanted to be. After Frank trapped Opener Murphy lbw, the time had come for the Essington Wall to come crashing down. In no time at all, from 14-1, Essington were blown away for just 52. Gary Reeves clean bowling all 8 of his victims, for figures of 12.4 overs 6 maidens 8-22. Frank picked up the other wicket for figures of 2-11, but the contest was really only about one man. A player who was no stranger to these type of spells throughout his time at W.H.C.C.
Against St Matthews in 1988, Gary, who is also known as “The Doc” recorded figures of 8 overs 5 maidens 7-7. Followed by 3 overs 1 maiden 3-6 against Royal Oak in 1989. Speaking with the man himself last week, Gary told me about his partnership with Frank Jacob. Most weeks, it was Frank who would take all the wickets, while Gary just frightened the life out of the batsmen at the other end.
This particular game against Essington ended with a W.H.C.C. win by 5 wkts. Steve Fell top scoring with a quickfire 18. While John Nicholls had one of his 4,567 DNB’s. But with no doubt, on this day, W.H.C.C. had its very own Jim Laker type moment. No bowler since, has managed to capture 8 wkts in one game.
The Epilogue…..Remarkably, with figures of 8-22, Gary Reeves was awarded Batsman of the Year in 1990. Yes, I said batsman. His opening bowling partner, Frank Jacob picking up the bowling award. Doc was one of those rare players, who could bat, bowl or keep to a very high standard, but was always happy to do whichever role the Captain needed him to. With over 4,000 runs, 200 wkts, and over 100 catches to his name, Gary reduced his appearances for WHCC in the mid 2000’s, but continued to play League cricket for Rushall on Saturday’s. His son, Nathan, has carried on the family tradition. Hitting one of the quickest 50’s for the club, at Didcot in 2010. And continues to be one of the quickest, run saving fielders we have ever seen.