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Walsall Health CC beat Lapworth by 9 wickets.
We travelled to Lapworth to visit one of our longest serving opponents, always a lovely ground, and a welcoming bunch of lads. The first shock of the day…..no sign of Lapworth club legend Tim Fell. Too busy calculating if he is older than Jonty maybe? We were told he is in good spirits, but Lapworth had 18 players available, so Tim wasn’t selected. Even village cricket can be a tough school.
Our skipper for the day, Dan Dunn, lost the toss, so Lapworth elected to have a bat. Their openers, Dickinson and Ingram started fluently. Both batsmen, hitting the ball hard, nothing aerial either. All four corners of the ground had said hello to the red cherry as early as the 6th over. DS, DC and Ben Lester all bowled tidy spells, but anything that wasn’t quite on the spot got the full treatment. Things were starting to look quite bleak. Talking of bleak, poor old Dave Clive took a fierce blow to the nether regions whilst fielding at short mid off. No need for a blackboard and a piece of chalk to explain this any more graphically. After the ball poleaxed Dave, it was Dan Armstrong who decided to show his caring side, rolling around the pitch in fits of laughter, while his stricken team mate slumped to his knees, semi hunched over, praying for the pain to pass. Admittedly, it was hard not to chuckle, but later in fines, a fully recovered Dave Clive came out with a quote of the day contender….”Its ok lads, I’ve already got three kids” Top man.
Lapworth motored along to 73-0, looking well set for a big total. However, the impressive skipper, making his 50th appearance for WHCC, kept a cool head and a clear mind. The Club Pro’s decision to bring on Chris Hall and Dan Armstrong paid dividends. From the moment Chally bowled the talented young left hander Ingram, the whole game turned on its head. The electronic scoreboard, positioned at the far side of the ground experienced a type of sudden metamorphosis. That pipe and slippers position of 73-0, became 95-9 in the blink of an eye. The combination of a bit of pace at one end, with accuracy and guile at the other was a smart ploy. Armstrong and Hall’s combined figures made quite pleasant reading…..13 overs 3 maidens 9-21, with Danny Arm taking career best figures of 5-10. A crestfallen Lapworth lost their last man to Jack Lester, his first wicket for the club. A final score of 113 all out seemed unthinkable only 45 minutes earlier…..well bowled lads.
Our fielding was good, catches were snaffled, and our Wicket Keeper, Ian Chuck, had his best game behind the stumps so far. The keepers role has become a bit of a pass the parcel job lately, but the Chairman enjoyed a solid day with the gloves on. Although he did enlighten a fellow team mate at drinks with some pearls of wisdom….”Never ever wear Gorts inners, your hands will stink for a week” Thanks for the heads up Chuck.
After a lively tea, we set about chasing down 113. Debutante, Alex Macmillan started promisingly, but perished to another ball that stuck in the pitch. We were now starting to wonder if the track had been rolled overnight by a King Size Pritt Stick. However, any thoughts of a collapse were snuffed out mercilessly by another quality innings from Andy Ince, (65 not out) well supported by the tenacious Dan Dunn. (19 not out) The winning runs were hit by a powerful lofted drive from Andy, which meant a well deserved 100 partnership was completed. A fine effort in tricky conditions. Incey remains unbeaten at this ground, with a cumulative score of 201 not out. We think he might just be available for this one next season. Well batted lads.
A very good day at the office for the Elf, turning a game around in such spectacular fashion is always a satisfying way to win. This Dan Dunn is one cool customer, another very assured performance from the Skipper. Dan Armstrong showed once again, what a mercurial talent he can be with bat or ball. A big hand must also go to Ian Chuck, who seems to be taking on the role of Club Chameleon lately. Wicket keeping in his gardening gloves. (Village) Driving around in other players cars. Now scoring has been added to the Chucksters ever expanding CV. However, Chucky may need to pay a visit to the Josh Butler Scorers Academy in Boston, for an emergency refresher course, because four of the five catches we took were awarded to the wrong players in the book. A catastrophic blunder that will give our statistician Chris Hall sleepless nights for the rest of the month. (Don’t panic, its all been corrected)
AOB…..Alex Macmillan debut
Dan Armstrong…Career best figures 5/10. (The first 5-for since September 2019)
Dan Dunn….50th appearance. Chris Hall…250th appearance
Andy Ince’s current Elf career average….smack on 150. Its a shame we can’t introduce Central Contracts.
Ian Chuck updated his Facebook status to “In a relationship with a Mach 3 Turbo”….RIP the beard
Nathan Martin Update….The Friar Park Express is more like Del Trotter’s three wheel van at the moment, but the early recovery signs are encouraging, keep your chin up Nath…..see you soon.
We are back at Lapworth next Sunday for round two, where we play another new team, Birmingham Unicorns.