Lichfield Nomads beat Walsall Health by 78 runs.
September 13th 2020….The venue, Betley CC. A gentleman by the name of Pete Gardner, opened the batting for the team he has made over 600 appearances for, and scores 72. A pretty standard day at the office for the man we all know as “Gards”….or so you would think. But it was this innings of 72 that took one of our longest serving opponents beyond the milestone of 20,000 runs for his club Lichfield Nomads. Quite simply an amazing achievement.
Since 2003, many Walsall Health players have seen Pete Gardner walk to the crease to face a variety of new ball bowlers. Nicholls, Jacob, Stephens, Hall, Oliver, Slym, Dunn to name but a few. After nearly 20 years, I’m still not sure we have really figured out how to bowl at him. We still hear the standard cliche’s of…. “We need to get this bloke early” or cries from the slip cordon…. “Full and Straight Jonty, Full and straight” All the usual puzzling dialogue us bowlers tend to ignore, when a good batsman takes his guard.
But as a celebration of Pete’s achievement, this archive match report remembers the game in 2012 played at Whittington between Nomads and The Elf. No need to refer to the dictionary for a superlative for this game, because in simple terms, it was a game where Pete Gardner hammered us.
Here is a list of the players for both sides…
Nomads…. P.Gardner. M.Heslington. L.Westwood. D.Moss. M.Pinfield. N.George. I.Hughes. K.Collins. P. Blackburn. G.Blackburn. J.Hoddy.
WHCC….A.Gorton. D.Preece. S.Stephens. K.Stanley. M.Danks. D.Pickering. R.Fell. D.Stephens. D.Atkins. A.Smith. C.Hall
Now some of you Hawk Eyes, will spot the names Stanley and Pickering amongst the Elf line up. Club Captain at that time, Richard Fell would tell you all about this particular era. Most weeks, it was a struggle to get 11 players. For this particular game, following 76 voicemails, and 109 texts, Fell heroically managed to round up 9 by Friday. A Saturday recruitment drive using a Battlebus and a megaphone was planned, until the Nomads kindly offered us 2 of their own players. Reflecting the spirit of Sunday friendly cricket and the collective ethos of both clubs to get the game on.
A spot of early afternoon rain, meant the game was reduced to 35 overs per side. Nomads won the toss and elected to bat, unleashing Pete Gardner into the game nice and early. Now there is no need for a forensic analysis of this innings. Remember those pearls of wisdom about Gardner, and getting him early? Well on this day, we didn’t. Dan Moss 31. Mark Heslington 17 and N.George 28 not out, all played the able deputy role. But the Governor of this game was Gards, who finished on 118 not out. A classic innings, which included many customary late cuts, with anything dropping short getting punished. On this day, P.Gardner was simply too good. 98 runs were scored in the final 8 overs, taking the Nomads total to 240-4. A big target for a 35 over innings.
After a steady start to our reply, Gort 30 (top score) and Dave Preece 18…..we glanced at the scoreboard after 20 overs….75-3. I think its safe to say, we were slightly behind the run rate. One of those situations, where the Captain thinks to himself, the wheels haven’t completely fallen off, but the gearbox, clutch, windscreen wipers and suspension are all buggered.
It was left to Dave Stephens and Richard Fell to take us to a bit of scoreboard respectability. Dave 51 not out and Fell 19 not out, leaving us with a final score of 162-6…….78 runs short of the Nomads total who were well deserving winners. Pete Gardner’s 118 not out was the highlight of the game, and one of many times he posted a three figure score for his team.
The Gardner Factfile v WHCC
Following a browse through our scorebooks, Gards has amassed 754 runs over 25 matches. Including four 50’s and a century at an average of 31.41.
But this is really just the tip of the iceberg…..20,000 runs for the Nomads. Which includes 124….50’s and 21….100’s, a highest individual score of 156 not out, and more club records than a HMV Megastore. No more words are needed after that, except a big Congratulations to Pete from everyone at Walsall Health CC.
Well batted Gards. (See you next season)
Written by Chris Hall.