Walsall Health won by 6 wickets
After the previous weeks wash-out Walsall welcomed Beaumont to Carter Park the weather was set perfect for an afternoon of friendly cricket with the sun shining and blue skies all around even Dai turned up in shorts and a t-shirt! Walsall Health skipper agreed to let Beaumont bat first as they only had 7 players at the ground at the toss with 2 or 3 maybe on the way to make up the numbers.
The 2 Dave’s took the new ball for the Elf and both were soon on the money with very tight lines to create the pressure on the Beaumont openers. The pressure soon told as DS forced an error from Clinton to play onto his stumps for 1, from the other Dave Clive who had yet to get his firsts wicket off the season was soon in on the act with an absolute peach of a delivery that came back a mile to bowl opposition captain Grainger for 10 it really was a beauty of a delivery think Simon Jones to Michael Clarke ’05 Ashes at Old Trafford a serious contender for ball of the season, it was that good that Dave admitted later on fines that he had no idea how he did it!!!! Both bowlers continued to apply the pressure and DS was in the wickets again as he had Hall caught behind by Mac, it was a superb catch behind the stumps by Mac diving low to his right grabbing it one handed it was just a shame that his family hadn’t arrived in time to see it. Not to be out done Dave Clive bowled Jandu for 0 in his next over as Beaumont struggled to score runs. With the score on 22-4 DS very unselfishly asked to be taken off to give some of the other Elf bowlers a bowl as he feared the game wouldn’t last very long, BIG HAND DS! DS finished with figures of 2-10 from 5 overs. Replacing DS was Ben Lester who soon found his rhythm from his first over and continued the good started by the 2 Dave’s. JP replaced Dave Clive from the Pavilion end after Dave Clive with figures of 2-24 from 8 overs a top spell from Dave and good to see him back in the wickets. Both Ben and JP aka the Wizard were soon in the wickets also Ben bowled Owen for 6 and JP trapped Jones LBW for 7 leaving Beaumont in big trouble at 34-6 at drinks. Just before drinks Nicka had arrived with his hangover cure (a Big Mac and fries) but he was soon dashing off to get his kit as he had very kindly agreed to play for Beaumont to give them 10 men, Nicka soon had his pads on and was looking forward to dishing out some long handle treatment to the Elf bowlers but before then Beaumont batters Percival and Price began to re-build their innings as they look to take on JP and get the score moving. With a few boundaries and a couple of extras Price & Percival had got the score up into the 80’s before Ben Lester trapped price LBW for 20 this brought Nicka to crease and he soon started to strike the ball to all parts of Carter Park with some clean hitting and accelerated the score onto 100. Jack Lester replaced his brother Ben after Ben finished with 2-22 from 8 overs. Nicka took an instant liking to Jack’s bowling and despatched the ball to boundary with ease as the score started to race along at the other end JP was starting to take some punishment but the Wizard stuck to his task and was rewarded with this 2nd wicket as he accounted for Percival again LBW for a well-made 35. Last man Jandu joined Nicka at the crease with the score now on 130-8. Nicka decided that he needed to up the scoring rate to give Beaumont a chance in the game so he went after the bowling of Lester and JP with 4’s coming regular. JP finished his spell with 2-52 from 8 overs, replacing JP was Dan Armstrong, Nicka was keen to face Dan and soon showed him the Dunny dab down to 3rd for 4, Dan was not impressed! He was even less impressed next bowl when Nicka smacked back over his head for 4 to bring up his every 50 in cricket, it was a fantastic innings from Nicka and well deserved the Beaumont players were very appreciative of Nicka’s efforts as they gave him a BIG HAND!! Dan soon had his revenge as he got Nicka out in his next over LBW for 55 as Beaumont were all out for 168 it was a good recovery after the struggles at the start. It was good effort in the field by all the Elf fielders as they chased everything to the boundary and backed up the bowlers well especially Will and Nath who both charged round the field to save every run.
Dan Armstrong and Jack Stenson opened the innings for Walsall Health and both Elf batters were soon picking up boundaries to get the innings off to a flying start as they looked to chase the target down. The 50 partnership was soon up for the Elf openers as Dan despatched a big 6 into the neighbour’s gardens. With the score now on 62 in the 7th over Dan again went for another big hit but could only find the safe hands of Nicka on the long on boundary off the bowling of Percival for 33. 62-1 soon became 77-4 as Will Lauchlan went for 0, Nath Reeves for 1 and Mac for 0 all to the bowling of Percival as Beaumont turned the screw and put the pressure back onto the Walsall Health batters. Jack Stenson was still at the other end on 30 and looking in touch as he was joined by skipper Alex Nunns to steady the ship. Jack and Alex started to re-build the innings and get the run chase back on track as they ran well and rotated the strike with some quick singles. Beaumont rotated their bowlers as they tried to get the break-through but both batters batted calmly and soon the runs started to flow as Jack went to his first Elf 50 once past 50 Jack started to unleash and found the boundary with ease as the score quickly moved on. Alex at the other end was happy to play second fiddle as picked up the singles to give the strike back to Jack, but as the target got closer Alex soon hit a couple of boundaries to finish the game off including a 6 to win the game for the Elf in a partnership of 92 to lead the team home.
It was another enjoyable game of friendly cricket played in great spirits by both sides and was enjoyed by all the spectators in the afternoon sunshine. Big hand again to Nicka for helping out the opposition despite feeling a little delicate from the night before and truly epitomizing the spirit of Elf.
Also congratulations to Jonathan Preece who moved into the top 10 all-time Elf leading wicket takers.
Next week Walsall Health are back on the road as they travel to Wellington in Shropshire in another new fixture to add to the list.