Another nail biter in the heat


Walsall Health C C vs Bayshill C C

Bayshill won by 4 runs.

Bayshill 238-4 from 35 overs, Walsall Health 234-6 from 35 overs.

Walsall Health travelled to Bayshill C C this week, based in the beautiful village of Winchcombe in the Cotswold.  With the temperature forecasted to reach record highs many questions were raised before a ball was even bowled, such as will it be too hot to play??, can we have a reduced overs game??, how many drinks breaks will there be??, will Alex ever win a toss on a hot day??, will Dan Armstrong ever be on time?? etc. etc. all of these questions were soon to be answered as both captains made their way out to the middle for the toss, a toss that nearly didn’t take place as neither captain had a coin to use, fortunately Dai was on hand to lend the Bayshill captain a £2 coin, he soon asked for it back once the toss had taken place and we all thought Dai was a Welshman not a Yorkshireman!! Amazingly Alex won the toss! But with the forecast set to get hotter and hotter later in the day he decided to bowl first while there was a nice breeze blowing through.  It was also decided at the toss that we would play a 35 over a side game, with drinks at every 12 overs and for those wondering Dan Armstrong was late!!

So with both teams all set, they made their way out to the middle for what turned out to be another thrilling game of friendly cricket in stunning surroundings.

Here’s how we got on in batting order.

No 1 – Andy Ince (27) – The classy left hander returned to the top of Elf order for his 3rd outing of the season.  Andy batted well but found run scoring difficult on a wicket that was up & down and sometimes 2 paced but still scored at a good rate in an opening partnership of 70 with Jack Stenson.  Andy wasn’t required to bowl but was involved in a couple half chances at slip one of which palmed up of Mac’s wicket keeping gloves but didn’t stick in Andy’s out stretched hand, Andy was also involved in a slightly controversial incident at the end of Bayshill innings whilst fielding at deep square leg Andy attempted to take a catch but was adjudged to have been over the boundary when in control of the ball and 6 runs we’re given, it was a tough call but one that was to prove critical in the run chase.

No 2 – Jack Stenson (42) – Jack continued his good form for the Elf with another classy innings of 42 in an opening partnership of 70 with Andy, he looked set for a big score before being caught behind off the bowling of Saunders.  As ever in the field Jack was reliable and throwing himself around to try and save as many runs as possible, he had a couple of unfortunate bobbles that he couldn’t have done anything about but Jack did take a brilliant running catch on the boundary off JP to remove the dangerous Alex Van Dyke for 53.

No 3 – Dan Armstrong (28 & 0-14 from 5 overs) – A rare wicket-less day for Dan but his spell of 0-14 from 5 overs was one of his best in what is turning into a very good season with the ball for the Elf all-rounder the Bayshill batsmen had no answer to him as they struggled to lay a bat on it.  With the bat Dan came out all guns blazing as he looked to keep the Elf up with the run rate but unfortunate Dan couldn’t keep it going as he was caught & bowled by Bayshill skipper Pierce for a quick fire 28, an innings that gave the Walsall Health innings some momentum.

No 4 – Mac (42 & 1 catch behind) – The day started well for Mac as he took a catch of DS from the first ball of the game, it was a tough day behind the stumps for Mac as he could have had a couple more catches of DS as he stood up the stumps but unfortunately they didn’t stick in his gloves but never the less his head didn’t drop as he continued his impressive debut season for Elf.  Mac came out to bat with Walsall Health under pressure and helped steady the ship with an impressive innings of 42, his top score this season, an innings that included six 4’s and a very flat 6 into the next field.  (well batted Mac).

No 5 – Jack Lester (4) – The younger of the Lester brothers was in at number 5 this week and started well with a beautiful straight drive for 4 off the bowling of Pierce but unfortunately that was all Jack could manage with the bat as he became another victim for Pierce as he was caught behind a few balls later going for another big shot (unlucky Jack).  In the field Jack chased down everything that he could and gave his all to back up the Elf bowlers, it was a great effort especially in the heat.  Big hand Jack.

No 6 – Alex Nunns (46*) – For the second week in a row Elf skipper Nunns found himself in the middle for the crucial stage of the run chase but frustratingly he couldn’t see his side home as Walsall Health fell just short again.  Nunns was in good form again as he scored 46* that included six 4’s and plenty of ones and twos.  In the field Nunns didn’t really have a lot to do but did own up to getting a finger to chance off the bowling of JP, so it goes down as a drop (Elf rules).

No 7 – Ben Lester (0 & 0-34 from 5 overs) – Ben opened the bowling for the first time in his Elf career and settled in well with the new ball but unfortunately he couldn’t make the break-through that the Elf required, he created a couple of half chances but it didn’t go Ben’s way on another day he could have ended with a couple of wickets to his name.  With the bat Ben came to the crease with the score 172-5 with the run rate creeping up and the pressure on, unfortunately Ben was run out for 0 as he attempted a quick run (unlucky Ben).

No 8 – Dave Stephens (23* & 1-33 from 7 overs) – DS was soon into the action as he took a wicket with the first ball of the game, it’s not the first time Dave has done this and I’m sure it won’t be the last either.  But despite the early wicket DS couldn’t add to his tally for the day as he had a couple of nicks behind that didn’t stick and some that just fell short of the fielders none the less DS finished with figures of 1-33 from 7 overs it was a top effort in the heat, DS also continued his good form with the bat has he scored another quick fire 23* in the run chase and added 60 with Nunns for the 7th wicket as the pair nearly led the Elf to victory for the second week running.

No 9 – Dave Clive (DNB & 1-45 from 7 overs) – Dave was nearly back to his best with a good spell of bowling as he took a wicket with his first ball also, it wasn’t the best ball that Dave will have bowled but they all count as DC claimed in fines.  Dave’s spell was full of a mixture of deliveries that included some leg cutters that nearly bowled a couple of batsmen around their legs like Shane Warne used to do in his prime.  Dave finished his spell for 1-45 from 7 overs again it was another top effort in the hot conditions.

No 10 – Jonathan Preece (DNB & 1-48 from 4 overs) – JP added to his tally of DNB’s as he sets his sights on catching Jonty with the most DNB’s in the club (he has a long way to go though). Unlike the previous week JP struggled to find his length as the Bayshill batsmen took advantage of the short boundaries and despatched JP’s first over for 24! But to his credit JP kept his head up and fought back well to finish with 1-48 from 4 overs that included the wicket of Alex Van Dyke.  JP’s thoughts may have been elsewhere as he took a call from his mother Mrs Preece early in the Elf innings regarding his packing for his upcoming holiday, we’ll spare the details but he’s nearly ready to go.

No 11 – Josh Butler (DNB & 1-60 from 7 overs) – Another member of the DNB club for the man from Boston.  Josh was eager to get into the game after seeing a very dry and crumbly wicket to operate on, his left arm spin was used to effect as he found some nice bounce and spin from the start of his spell and started to tie down the Bayshill batsmen as he kept things tight from his end.  His figures of 1-60 from 7 overs didn’t really do him justice as he bowled better than they suggest.  Again Josh was another of the Elf bowlers that on another day he could have easily picked up 2 or 3 wickets but it was still a good spell.  Well bowled Josh.

As the sun blazed away all day and temperature continued to rise the game ended with a nail biter as Walsall Health finished just short of the target of 239 but it was another great game to be involved in as both sides played it in great spirits and shared a beer or 2 after the game and to also arrange the fixture again for next year.

This coming Sunday Walsall Health travel locally to face old friends Lichfield Nomads at Gorway in Walsall in what will be another good game of cricket between the 2 sides.  We hope to see as many people there as possible.

Alex Nunns


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