Walsall Health beat Lapworth by 141 runs.
Our final home game of the 2019 season proved to be a memorable one. A fine all round team effort, more records than a HMV Clearance store, and 3 outstanding individual performances to talk about.
After a close inspection of the pitch by the Chuck brothers, it was decided to leave the heavy roller redundant this week. So we bid farewell to Gorts best friend for a well deserved winter break. Captain Chuck had no hesitation in opting to bat first, but was unfortunate to get a brute of a delivery which feathered his glove to the keeper. As is always the WHCC way, Chucky walked off without waiting for any umpires decision.
So it was left to brother Leo, and Club Pro, Dan Dunn to steady the ship. Leo proved to be the Master of strike rotation, keeping the scoreboard ticking over nicely. While Dan Dunn hit one of the nicest drives you will see all season, through mid off for four. Check any textbook, for an explanation. From 11-1, the two lads shared a useful 59 partnership, before umpire John Nicholls entered pondering mode, finally giving Leo out lbw for 22. Dan Dunn could be seen at the non-strikers end, finishing his copy of War and Peace while Jonty made up his mind. Later in the day, Leo asked me…”Is that the first 22 I’ve ever scored for the club” The stats questions really are getting out of hand boys.
With 16 overs gone, it was time for the Two Dan’s to join forces. Bonfire Night was about to start two months early. Dan Dunn was the first to reach his debut 50 for the club, with another nice straight drive. When Dan was out for 65, which contained ten 4’s, the Club Pro walked off to a deserved round of applause, and a pat on the back from proud Dad Nicka. A Two Dan’s partnership of 122, in quickfire time. I sense the first of many.
With the score at 192-3, the next few overs belonged to Dan Armstrong. Could he achieve his maiden century? After peppering all four corners of the boundary, he had already raced into the 80’s, with this sequence of scoring strokes…6,1,4,4,1,4,4,6,6. In amongst all this carnage, Dan drove the ball back to the bowler, who deflected it onto the stumps to run out the backing up Rob Hewlitt. Very very unlucky Rob. Followed by Rich Fell getting an unplayable low shooter. Very very unlucky Rich.
Mr Not Out, Tom Davies joined Dan, who was now in the 90’s. In true Armstrong style, Dan moved from 96 to 100 with a trademark boundary to long on. The two men hugged it out, while the applause lasted nearly as long as it took Jonty to give that lbw. The fireworks continued as Dan blasted 3 more sixes to move to 118 before finally being bowled. A superb knock that was appreciated by everyone. Our Centurion also moved past the 300 runs mark for the season. And even passed his driving test first time, earlier in the week.
Dan Armstrong’s work had given us an outside chance of breaking a club record that has stood for 21 years, The highest team score of 276-1 was looking vulnerable. With the score on 261-8 with 6 balls remaining, Tom Davies and Chris Hall decided to go all out to make history. Sadly, it was not to be. As Chally going for a big heave was bowled, which brought about an interesting development. JP strolled out to the crease and played like he had been transported to Old Trafford to bat with Jack Leach. JP played one of the best rearguard innings you will ever see. Why play like this you may ask? Look up these two words in the dictionary….Duck Avoidance…Its all been noted JP…Innings closed at 261-8.
Chasing down such a big score was a big ask for Lapworth. But they did come out with the right intent, hitting a few early boundaries. However, it was now time for the spotlight to shine on Dave Stephens. Three quick wickets tumbled, all to Dave. That elusive five-for was starting to look on. With the Lapworth score at 44-3, and Dave in his 7th over, time was starting to run out. DS kept dropping it on the spot, like he has done all season, and got his reward, taking 3 more wickets in 6 balls, to finish with figures of 8 overs 4 maidens 6-20…Career best figures, for the Chairman of the Bowlers Union, and yet another highlight of a great game. Bowling Dave.
Lapworth were now out of the game at 65-7, so it was left to the finishers, JP, Jonty and Tom Davies. JP picking up two wickets up the travelator with some flight and guile, as Tom Davies steamed in down the hill, desperate for an opportunity to unleash a Stuart Broad style lbw appeal. Tom’s 4 overs only conceded 2 runs, stinging the gloves of Rich Fell a few times. Those battle ropes in the gym helping to crank up the Davies mph. But it was left to The Icon, John Nicholls, to wrap the game up. Check these figures out….5 overs 3 maidens 2-16. Classical J.Nicholls figures, still going strong after 30 plus years at the club…..Lapworth 120 all out.
Fielding update….Did you really think I would forget our fielding? Outstanding work today, Dan Dunn, ice cool, setting the tone, taking a steepler. Chris Hall and Tom Davies taking one each, Rich Fell taking a sharp chance with the gloves that we all enjoyed, and Rob Hewlitt taking another beauty to add to the collection. Add in the works of Leo Chuck, throwing himself around to save runs, and its a 10/10 performance
D.Armstrong v S.Stephens fastest century update….
A tricky one to judge, but a few pieces of evidence suggest Dan has taken the record, hitting eleven 4’s and eight 6’s. (Eight 6’s in one innings is most definitely a first.) Only 39 scoring strokes just shows what a brutal innings this was.
Overs spent at the crease…Dan 22.4 Sam…33 overs. It looks like its yours Dan.
Travelator update…..8-2 to the Travelator this week. Maybe not such a bad end after all?
Fines update….The wheels came off in fines, with expletives flying around everywhere. It felt more like a scene from a Gordon Ramsey kitchen than a WHCC fines committee. We really should have waited for the 9 O’Clock watershed. At least the PU Kitty got a cash injection.
Stats questions update….You just wouldn’t believe some of the enquiries I’m hearing.
How many maidens has Jonty bowled? How many ducks have I had this season? When was the last time i scored 9? Has anyone ever taken a wicket at 4:17pm? How many cheese cobs did I eat at Lapworth in 2013? What colour bat handle did I have in 1993? How many games have we played when the temperature was 21 degrees? But the best genuine poser came from Dan Armstrong, who politely asked….What did my Wagon Wheel look like? Did he mean the chocolate biscuit?
The Verdict….Our final home game of the season turned out to be one of the best. A superb victory, well Captained by I.J.Chuck, with some outstanding career best performances. A great way to end our first season at Rushall CC. A big thankyou has to go to Nicka, who has played a big part in preparing the pitches through the season, its a lot of extra work behind the scenes. Without this sort of help, none of all this would be possible. He even came to the rescue last week, delivering an emergency supply of Sensations for everyone to demolish in fines. Top man…. Another 10/10