v Alrewas CC (The Andie Oliver Memorial game) 30/05/21

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Walsall Health CC (139-9) def. Alrewas CC (135 all out) by 1 wicket.                                                                                               

After an enforced two-week break thanks to the British weather, Walsall Health returned to the field in a match that meant more than most fixtures to certain members of the Health. It was the first fixture between the two sides since the passing the late Andie Oliver (who was highly respected by both sets of players). They were also trying to keep their unbeaten start to the season going after winning 4 from 4. The weather was superb, as was the atmosphere and that was before the game even began. Plenty of Health representatives turned up (without kit), which showed the number of people whose lives’ Andie touched and wanted to pay their respects. It was mentioned by certain members of the Health that it was the largest crowd they had ever played in front of.

Before the game, both captains came to a gentlemen’s agreement that Alrewas would bat first. Due to the numbers present, the elf were in a fortunate position to have rolling subs (with 14 players available), all of who made a contribution to the team effort.

 So the first Elf XI, was lead out by captain for the day and club stalwart Richard Fell, who was intent on making the day one to remember. The opening bowlers were none other than true legends with a combined 657 wickets between them – Chris Hall and John (Johnty) Nicholls. This was to be J. Nicholls’ first game of the season, but he looked as though he’d never been away. The class and control was there for all to see. Hall’s first 4 overs went for a total of 2 runs (including 3 maidens), the start that any side would dream of and this great start was backed up at the other end by Nicholls who in his first four overs went for 12, but crucially got the breakthrough in the 8th over, trapping opener M. Burns LBW for 6. The Elf were on the board.

The 10th over saw the first set of rolling subs, which saw the introduction of Jonathan Preece, Andy Gorton (who was later to show his abilities in the field) and Rob Humphries. One player who stayed on the pitch was the golden oldie, Nicholls, who quickly picked up his and the Health’s second wicket bowling Moss with his deadly ‘la la’ ball in which the batsman did not read and the ball clattered into the stumps. This threat by the opening bowlers was supported flawlessly by another Health legend; with 210 wickets, 4,415 runs and 125 catches behind the stumps, the one and only ‘Doc’ – Gary Reeves. Once again, a player who hadn’t donned the gloves since the last game of last season (against Alrewas) made it look ever so easy, as though he too had never been away. While Johnty finished with figures 2-35 off his 8 overs, C. Hall finished off his spell, bowling superbly without reaping the rewards that he duely deserved finishing with figures of 8 overs, 3 maidens, 0-11.

The first bowling change saw J. Preece (affectionately known as ‘The King of Spain’) replace Nicholls in the 15th over. His first over brought spectators of the Elf persuasion to cover their eyes with anything they could find, as he leaked 9 runs. Thankfully, for all concerned, this was not to be repeated. His next over saw a marked improvement in which he conceded 2 runs, but importantly, picked up the wicket of opener T. Aston, who had just reached his 50.  JP was to finish with 5 overs 1-21, figures he could have only dreamed of after his first over.

Dan Dunn, the club pro was to replace C. Hall in the 17th over and with the exception of his first ball, Dunn jr definitely lived up to the title bestowed up on him. His first over went for 4 runs but took the vital wicket of D. Stewart, for a well batted 21, caught incredibly well in the slips by Andy Gorton, who it could be argued, was in unfamiliar surrounds, but took the catch as confidently as a shark in water. However, the next wicket was the one Dan really craved for as he took wicket number 39 after Orton fell to the same combination (ct A. Gorton b D.Dunn) as Stewart, but for 12.

Having taken that wicket, the club pro was quaking in his boots, as three overs after drinks saw the introduction of Senior Club pro Alan ‘Nicka’ Dunn. As captain Fell claimed, it was to be “…the battle of the Dunns” (one of 3 father-son involvements for the Elf on the day). At this point Dan had moved on to wicket number 39 for the ‘elf while Nicka was stuck on number 37. However, this was to change soon after as Nicka joined the party, picking up the wicket of O’brien for 10. He’d been threatening it ever since he came on, but kept missing the bat and into the gloves of Reeves. But a straight ball did the trick and O’brien was on his way after his stumps were dislodged. Soon after, Nicka caught up with son – Dan in collecting his 39th wicket of his Health career. It was a wicket he didn’t appeal for, but those behind the stumps did. Unfortunately, the batsman had to go without scoring. The impression was that Dunn senior didn’t want, but ‘they all count. Were either Dunn’s going to reach the magic 40. They tried, but with no more success.

Fell had had enough. He turned to the youngest member of the side who was making his debut, the much talked about George Fell who started on the road of gaining Elf immortality. Although he bowled 2 overs, George kept the batsmen on their toes, where his unique variation made it difficult for the two men at the crease to get the ball off the square. Definitely an Elf legend in the making. To top it off, he was the best performing Fell of the day with ball in hand, going for a miserly 4 runs off two overs with 1 maiden. Super effort George. There will definitely be a few nervous figures in the Elf ranks when future selections are made. 

George was supported at the other end by a novice from the Elf’s bowling academy. This was to be Nathan Reeves. Not known for his bowling exploits, Nathan came on to show what he could do and he didn’t disappoint. He took his first wicket after bowling Walker for 1. Could this be a new beginning for Reeves as a bowler? He didn’t have to wait long for his second wicket where he once again bowled the batsman in the same fashion as the first for 1 again. As the two wickets went down the man with the gloves down the other end could be heard saying, “only another 200+ to go”. By the end of his 4 overs, Nathan had taken 2 wickets for 23 runs. His bowling deserved more than the two wickets he came away with. However, he hadn’t even batted yet.

The final bowling change was to see the captain Fell bringing himself on. With one wicket still to go and with Nathan keeping it tight at the other end, Rich started to weave his magic. Eventually, Rich’s endeavours paid off by getting the final wicket through the quick hands of ‘the Doc’ who stumped N. Turner for a hard fought 20. Fell tossed one up and Turner tried to end the innings with a 6, but only succeeded in connecting with fresh air. Alrewas finished on a competitive total of 135 all out.  

Tea was a delightful affair with everyone getting a chance to catch up with friends (both old and new). This included more Elf legends who had not represented the Health in years, but were always mentioned in stories of bygone days. It was like a who’s who at the ‘All England Tennis Championships’ at Wimbledon, where the camera scours the stands for famous faces. Instead of David Beckham and Trevor Macdonald, the onlookers included celebrities like the meticulous Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester, who was quick to use his experiences as a top bowler (314 Elf wickets) to lecture Dan Dunn in the art of batting, the agile Frank Jacobs and 007 himself, Roger Moore. The attendance of these members saw all surviving members of the 200 club appear at some point during the afternoon/evening.

PlayerWHCC appearances
 
Rick Jarrams324
Chris Hall242
Andy Gorton238
Gary Reeves237
Frank Jacobs236
John Nicholls226
Richard Fell225

With tea over, it was down to the batsmen to attempt to knock the runs off without too much difficulty. Fell thought it a great opportunity to go with club pros Dan Dunn and father Nicka. It was a chance for potentially a good opening partnership. After listening to advice from the I Forrester coaching manual, Dan Dunn strolled out into the middle only to stroll back two balls later without scoring. You wonder what the advice was. It was to be mentioned  later that Nicka had told Dan to “…remain at the crease. It is a great opportunity to get some runs”. He was to be replaced by Health’s man of the season so far, Dan Armstrong, who admitted that he wasn’t in the best state to bat. Despite this confession, he went out and after two dot balls, hit a magnificent 6 on his way to a reasonable 15 off 13 balls, something he has been accustomed to in the early part of this campaign (some suggest he has fewer runs than bottles of beer). The pair seemed to be getting a decent partnership going, but just as things seemed to be going smoothly at 19–1, the 2nd wicket fell. Unfortunately, Armstrong’s time at the crease came to an end when he tried another big hit off the bowling of Walker, but only succeeding in finding Parker. Armstrong was on his way. Next in was Elf’s all time top run scorer Andy Gorton. After taking two exquisite catches in the first innings, the current first-choice wicketkeeper (sorry Gary) was full of confidence and aimed to stay at the crease for a good while. Andy, along with Nicka set about beginning a new partnership. Andy went about his batting with precision. Unfortunately, he did not last long enough to impose himself on the bowlers when on 34-2, he was caught off the bowling of Sherratt for 5 (a catch that drew applause from batting partner Nicka).

New batsman, Rob Humphries, a player that was well known to both Rich Fell and Chris Hall for a long time, entered the crease. He came in with all the enthusiasm of a hyena at feeding time, ready to leave his mark on the game and spend some time at the crease. He batted doggedly to keep the Alrewas attack at bay. While Rob was still adjusting to the conditions, he could only stand and stare as the experienced Nicka Dunn was forced to leave the field after being bowled by Orton for 9.

The next batsman to join Rob at the crease was a sight to behold. Another Elf legend entered the crease, by the name of Rick Jarrams. After a slow start, making sure nothing breached his defences, Jarrams came to life with a fabulous 4 which would have had David Gower awestruck at the precision and timing of Rick’s shot. A raucous cheer erupted from a small section of the Elf contingent. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before another wicket fell when Humphries was caught off the bowling of K. Turner. While he only amassed 1 run, Rob made a valid contribution making the bowlers rethink how they were going to bowl. Without even realising at the time, Humphries had set a foundation for which the incoming batsmen could work from.

If the Elf hadn’t been showing signs of panic yet, at 39-5, it was definitely playing on their minds. At this point, victory seemed a long way off. They needed a calming influence to join Rick at the crease. Enter – Nathan Reeves!!! To bring that stability that was needed. Only a few weeks ago did Nathan shock spectators by adding two new shots to his increasing repertoire; the forward defensive and the leave. Credit to him, the first ball was a leave, the 2nd ended up one bounce over the rope for 4. As Nathan was getting ready to go the aerial route, Rick – playing the more measured game – was bowled by N. Turner for 5. While he only scored 5, he, like Rob, stemmed the flow of wickets and provided morale boosting support not just to Nathan, but to the cause as well. This left Walsall Health at a perilous 60-6. Nathan kept on going and with new batsman Lewis Portsmouth at the crease, the two started to amass a decent partnership. This was Lewis’ first game for the Elf since 2011. He wanted to make up for lost time and he surely did that. With the score at 73-6, Nathan eventually tried one shot too many and was bowled by Rick’s conqueror, N. Turner for a very exciting, but more importantly, significant 24. There was still a further 66 runs to get with only three wickets remaining, but Nathan had occupied the crease well. Cracking batting Nathan. There was hope.     

Joining Lewis at the crease was ‘the ice man’ Chris Hall, who was experiencing batting for the first time this season. Was there to be any rustiness from our opening bowler? Absolutely not! He set out his stall early playing each ball on its merit. He began to build a telepathic understanding with Lewis and very quickly the number of runs needed started to decline at an alarming rate for the home side. A mixture of smart quick running and the occasional foray to the boundary helped the batting side. As the finishing line was in sight, Elf lost their eighth wicket. Lewis Portsmouth, who had played an outstanding innings in the circumstances was bowled LBW by Sherratt for a well earned 25; a match winning innings. After the game Chris stated that Lewis’ 25 was really important and he “…enjoyed batting with him”. While Chris was knocking off the runs, from the comfort of his seat on the boundary, with beverage in hand, Rick claimed that he deserved half of the runs Chris had got stating “…after all, it is my bat”. It was left to Hall and Rich Fell to finish the innings off. At 120-8, next man in ‘Doc’ Reeves was contemplating having to go in and “bat out for the tie”, but unfortunately for him, the two at the crease were dogged and would not throw away their wicket. Great sensible batting by the two safely got Walsall Health over the line with Hall finishing on an impressive 37 n/o and Fell finishing on a more modest (but still invaluable) 3 n/o.

The ‘Ice Man’ C. Hall with the bat that led the Health to victory 

Despite only getting 3 runs, Rich must be commended for his captaincy for the day. It must have been difficult for him to make sure everyone got to play a part whilst only being allowed to have 11 on the field at any one time. A big hand must go to him for the way he managed the occasion. Top stuff Rich! 

It was agreed that at the end of the game 139 years, after the original Ashes had been burnt, a new set were being formed in honour of Andie, where his bat would be cremated and the ashes from it, would be played for each year. A fantastic idea.

While Walsall Health won this tight encounter, it was generally agreed that cricket was the winner and it was a game befitting of the occasion. As several people remarked, both before, during and after the game, Andie would have approved of the whole day, the atmosphere and the fantastic weather. Well done all who took part both on and off the field.

Final photo with Andie.
Batting
Bowling

Andie’s highest score and best bowling figures for WHCC…both against Barry on Tour. Great memories.

Highest score…54 v Barry on tour
5-33….again v Barry on Tour

v Abbots Bromley 09/05/21

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WHCC vs Abbots Bromley-Through the camera lens

Who- Walsall Health vs Abbots Bromley

Where- Carters Park, Rushall

When- Sunday 9th May 2021

What type of match- VILLAGE?!


This Sunday, saw Abbots Bromley visit the Elf at our home ground of Carters park in Rushall. After what can only be described as a typical English Saturday’s weather, 24 hours of non-stop rain, the Elf and Abbots Bromley were both keen to get on the pitch and play some of the real beautiful game. A special notice must be made to the many players from the Elf who were happy to volunteer for Abbots Bromley to play the match and credit to our opponents for getting the game on. After a bit of heavy labour from our more experienced members, the toss was made and Abbots Bromley elected to bowl.

Lusty blows from I.Chuck.

Up first to bat were Andy Gorton and Ian Chuck, could the pair continue to add to their tally of runs for the elf? Unfortunately it was not meant to be. Andy Gorton flicked a few down the leg side , before he was trapped in front by Ian Mitchell for 6. Out walked Andy Ince, well wintered and raring to go. Ian Chuck on the other hand, was steadily accumulating runs hitting a few lusty blows off the opening bowler s, before he succumbed to a full toss smacking it straight down mid-off’s throat. Out walked Alex Nunns who in true Nunns form ‘leant’ from the front . The partnership of Nunns and Ince accumulated runs at a good rate and even gave a few interesting moments when both men skied pulls, off the same bowler in the same over, only to see both fall safely. At 102 runs and approaching the drinks break, Abbots Bromley finally claimed the 3rd wicket when A Nunns pulled a full toss, yes another wicket on a full toss, to the man at square leg who took a catch that will have him raving to his son for many a year, rough luck Alex. With Ince set on 50 and looking dangerous, out walked Rob Hewlitt, who continued his fine form with some excellent shots, punishing full tosses, Chuck and Nunns were vigorously taking notes, and some excellent running between the wickets the score for the health continued to climb. At 153, Ince sadly fell to the bowling for Lowther for a well earned 80, Top knock Andy.

The Shot.

In strolled N Reeves who set about his usual direct approach of punishing any ball bowled at him . Nathan played his shot and sadly picked the fielder out in the deep and departed for 5. In walked D Armstrong, with the 193 still fresh in his mind, he continued his outstanding form quickly, striking any delivery in his zone to the boundary. The score from the elf was now in the 200 with 8 overs left.
A few members wondered whether the elf could break their record of 276 runs in 40 overs. With the score on 227 after 34 overs the record was set to be broken. Sadly the loss of Hewlitt, saw a loss of momentum with only 2 runs coming from the next over 229-6 after 35. In went D Preece who was methodical in his taking of singles in the last few overs of the match kept the scoreboard ticking and Armstrong being well…Armstrong, biffing bad balls away like they were beach balls, the race was on to see if the elf could break the record. The most surprising moment was watching D Armstrong ‘farming the strike’ claiming a single on the last ball in the 36th, 37th, 38th and 39th overs, something his batting partners will be mindful of in the future. That left the score at 262 with one over left. The record was 276. D Armstrong was batting…it could happen. 1,1,1 ok so 11 off 3, less likely but still possible. Another run, record gone! Maybe next time!
Sadly Armstrong had not finished his running yet, optimistically calling a 2 and ending up a few long strides short, he continued his run all the way to the clubhouse. That left R Fell to face 1 ball, with the Duck trophy always happy to claim members in this scenario, Fell made sure he would not be in the running yet allowing the ball to pass his leg side the score ended up on 266-7 after 40 overs.

Tea times are much less of an extravagant affair nowadays with players being encouraged to bring their own teas, a special note must be made to Lizzie Tancred, who baked a sublime Key-lime pie that had many players of the Elf returning for seconds and some thirds.

The Ice Man.

Abbots Bromley came out to bat with Ronson and Lowther opening up. Club pro D.Dunn started up and was successful in his first over claiming Ronson for 0. C Hall had similar success from the other end claiming Lowther for 0 with a sharp catch at mid-on by Nunns. With some good disciplined bowling from the openers, and some excellent fielding notably from R Fell and N Reeves , Abbots Bromley struggled to get going. Eventually, C Hall claimed the wicket of Mitchell after he took a particular liking to the club pro’s bowling. The first change bowler R Fell, bowled well all game to be fair but was not successful in claiming the wicket he sought. Meanwhile at the other end, the right arm slow of Chuck, we can hardly call them spinners at the pace some of those balls came down, set about picking holes on the Abbots Bromley batting, claiming 2 wickets in his first over. He continued to bowl tight, with the exception of when young S Davies began to send the ball disappearing over Chucks head with increasing frequency, many a cries of “toss the ball higher” seemed to fall on the deaf ears of Chuck. After some grumbling, he eventually got Davies when he walked down the wicket and Gorton, who in his usual form of whipping the bails off at every convenience to keep the guillotine sharp, stumped the youngster for a well batted 11. Haywood at the other end was very watchful and pushed the ball into gaps more often as the game progressed provided the visitors with some means of accumulating runs but when Chuck claimed the 4th wicket LBW of Bexon, things looked pretty dire for the visitors. Armstrong removed Haywood for 18 but Abbots Bromley continued to fight with some excellent rear guard action by Kirkland and Cantrill seeing them make their 40 overs with wickets still to spare, despite some tight bowling from Armstrong and Dave Preece. Abbots Bromley finished on 90-9 after their 40 overs.

Overall an enjoyable game on what turned out to be a rather nippy day but great to be playing cricket as always. Great to see some legends of the club popping down to support the team and a huge hand to both sets of supporters for enduring the cold weather. A special mention to Lizzie Tancred who seemed to be taking to her role of director of match day photography, though half the photos of the buzzard may not have been called f or, A big hand for some of the shots claimed today.

The Legends.

Next week sees the Elf visiting Lapworth, any chance R Fell never likes to miss to see his long lost relative in only name T Fell. Good luck fellas!

Ian Chuck

Gallery

v Much Wenlock 02/05/21

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Walsall Health beat Much Wenlock by 12 runs 

The third game of the season for Walsall Health was one that had almost everything; 3 wicketkeepers (for one innings), dogs invading the pitch and a Magical Mystery tour (as the Beatles would say) of Much Wenlock (thanks in part to Google). After winning the toss, the Elf skipper Alex Nunns elected to bat, despite not having the full quota of time to assess the pitch due to turning up at 12:55, for a 1:00 start.

Dan, Nath and Greg. 50 Appearances.

After last week’s centurion in Rob Hewlitt, it was the turn of three more Elf legends to reach milestones, in Nathan Martin, Greg Philpott and Daniel Armstrong (fresh from his magnificent 193, barely 24 hours earlier) to rack up their 50th games for the club. It looked like an inspired decision by the captain, who was looking for his 3rd straight victory since stepping into the job.

Resident opener, Ian Chuck (who was hoping for successive red inkers) and Dan Dunn (stepping in at the last minute-well done Dan), got off to a solid start with the bat. Running between the wickets as freely as treacle through a sieve, they built up a steady lead. The calls were so loud and clear, that the farmer up the road, (who many had met and asked for directions) could keep tabs on the score. Both openers felt secure at the crease and were moving the score along nicely.  Then out of nowhere, with the score at 90-0, Dan Dunn – the club pro – was making his way back to the pavilion after making a well batted 42 after being bowled by Caldicott. So surprised were the Elves on the boundary that nobody could quite believe that Dunn had had his defences breached. No clunk of the wicket, no cheer from the opposition, just a solitary walk back.

Next to enter the crease was none-other than Nathan Reeves, one who would excite the crowds in the IPL or T20 Blast. First ball, Nathan set himself and – to the crowds amazement/shock/disappointment, allowed the ball to go through harmlessly to the keeper.  This happened – not once, but twice. Was this to be the Nathan Reeves that we knew and admired, or was it an imposter? We soon found out. After all; runs win games and Reeves was on a mission. His next six balls went for 9 runs, which included a magnificent 6, sailing over the square leg boundary. Things were going nicely at 112-1.Unfortunately, Reeves went for one-shot too many and clubbed the ball so high that the International Space Station managed to capture a picture of the ball in its accent to infinity and beyond, before gravity pulled it back down into safe hands of square-leg off the bowling of Handley.

Next, it was one Nathan for another, as Nathan Martin (or the Wednesbury Lara, as one coined him) entered the crease. Not renowned for his batting prowess, Martin got down to work with the aim of steadying the innings after two quick wickets. He set his stall out and played an impressive 14 not out off 13 overs. However, as Martin was asserting himself in the middle, I. Chuck’s time at the crease came to an end after a dogged display at the top of the order. Closing in on his 50, which would have been well deserved, Chuck was caught off the bowling of Brown falling agonisingly short on 47. Although he didn’t reach his weekly 50, Chuck could still feel he made an invaluable contribution to the final score. The final Elf batsman to enter the fray was former skipper and centurion, Rob Hewlitt who’s running between the wickets was faultless. Coming in at the start of the 27th over, he batted out the innings for a very handy 58 runs and with Martin the other end, they both added a super 81 runs to the final score of 199 for 4. A total that would be a competitive one, but still achievable, the Elf faithful felt confident, especially with the bowling attack Nunns had at his disposal. But there was still work to be done.

 The Much Wenlock openers came out and looked as though they meant business. However, within a couple of over’s, the two opening bowlers, in Chris Hall and Nathan Martin (with his followers in the background), made the Much Wenlock openers reassess how they were going to play their innings. This was backed up by the man behind the stumps, Dan Armstrong, with the confidence of someone who had kept all his life. Unfortunately, for S. Handley, he succumbed to a beautifully executed slower ball by Martin, dislodging the bails with deadly accuracy. The Elf had got the breakthrough with only 5 runs on the board.  The next batsman was D. Handley, who made his mark as soon as he entered the crease, who’s scoring shot were as follows;   4 6  4 2  4  2  1  1. Eventually; he went for one too many and tried to hit the ‘Ice Man’ C. Hall out of the ground, only succeeding in finding G. Philpott. He left with the score a reasonable 36 for 2.

Captain Nunns had to rethink his tactics. After only 10 overs, JP was brought onto see if he could nullify the batsman. As the old adage goes “1 usually brings 2” and this was evident again. New batsman, new bowler; both unsure how the pitch would play. It only took one ball, but JP had his man for a duck. JP floated the ball up inviting to have a go, but only succeeding finding Nunns in the perfect position to grab it without needing to move his feet. However, this was the only success JP would have in the afternoon.  The following batsman – W. Brown – played a fantastic innings and deservedly ended with 33 not out. In the midst all this, it was one Dan for another as Dan Dunn took the gloves from, who was as equally combatant behind the stumps as his namesake and the invasion of Chally’s new best friend; a passer-by’s dog. 

At 36 for 3, the Elf felt confident, but Brown and the opener Rowlands dug their heels in and occupied the crease superbly. After a good spell from Chris, Nunns decided to take him out of the attack and bring on ‘the Boston Strangler’ Josh Buttler, who with his unique action, he brought a different challenge to the crease. His bowling deserved a wicket and on another day, he would have been duly rewarded. A score of 8 overs for 36 runs was a good return for the bowler and showed that the batsmen at the crease found it incredibly hard to get him away more often. Not only that, but his scoring in the first innings was exemplary and it was very much noted both during and after the game. Top man JB!

From 36 for 3 to 109 for 4, the batsmen played an array of classy shots and resolute defensive shots. Nunns once again had to change something. On came G. Philpott who had some very interesting points on equality in professional sports. The less said the better. He took the vital wicket of Rowlands who reached his 50 and then he found opening bowler Hall to send him on his way. Philpott eventually finished with figurers of 1-55. These figures do not reflect how well Greg actually bowled and deserved more than the one wicket he richly deserved. Could this be the breakthrough the Elf needed? In came M. Brown who smashed a fantastic 65 before he was cleaned bowled by first wicketkeeper of the day Dan Armstrong, by which time the hosts felt they had an opportunity to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The removal of Brown was exactly what was needed, which was soon followed by a run out opportunity in which I Chuck (Health’s third keeper of the innings) had all the time in the world to remove the bails after playing an imaginary immaculate forward defensive,  to leave the hosts 188 for 6.

Despite their super effort, Much Wenlock fell 11 runs short, but it was agreed by all who took part that the game of cricket was truly the winner.   

Although he neither batted nor bowled, the most telling contribution on the pitch was made by skipper Alex Nunns, who through his cool and calm character, helped get the Health over the line with his field placings when it could have all gone horribly wrong. While he was not always in the thick of the action, you always felt that he was always in control of proceedings, possibly 2 or 3 steps ahead of the game. His unselfish leadership so others could have the chance to contribute to the team effort with either bat or ball should be recognised and was appreciated. Top captaining skipper!

Much Wenlock 2021

Finally, it must be said, that despite all the wickets being taken and the runs being scored, the most valuable contribution was that of the Elf’s newly appointed ‘Director of Matchday Photography’, Lizzie, who through her amazing knack of catching the moment, was able to bring the game to life through her photos. Well played Lizzie.   

Batting
Bowling

Written by JP

v Griff and Coton (A) 02/08/20

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Walsall Health 107-3 (18.1overs) beat Griff and Coton 106 all out (37 overs) by 7 wickets

In the third match of the 2020 season, the Elf picked up their second victory in the Warwickshire sunshine this week.

Stand in skipper Alex Nunns lost the toss and the Elf were asked to field. Dave Stephens and Club Pro Dan Dunn bowled some tight lines to the opposition openers Singh and Joshi (the latter who batted like Chris Tavare) but were unable to come up with any wickets. It wasn’t until resident Barman Andy Ince and Ironman Chris Hall came on at first change did the wickets come.
In an opening stand of 63, Joshi was bowled for 7 by Ince and then after two drops from Nunns and Hall, Singh the number three went soon after.
Chris Hall took the third wicket of the day of the dangerous opener Singh for exactly a half century, he stated after he was only 20 wickets behind club legend Tim Oliver with today’s tally.

The wicket was playing particularly slow and skipper Nunns turned to JP to ‘spin it to win it’ and JP came up trumps, bowling Green with a delivery that span square, however this would not be the only delivery to do so in this innings.
JP continued to toil away and managed to get the fifth wicket of the innings when Stevens who was looking dangerous was adjudged leg before wicket and Nunns decided to unleash his secret weapon, Tom Davies – new and improved spin bowler.

The first over was looking more ‘beef and merlot’ than ‘drift and dip’ until Haycock’s eyes lit up to a steak and ale delivery from Davies, except he picked out Chuck right on the boundary to everyone’s amazement…… ‘man with one knee takes wicket’.
It  did not stop there though, Tom managed to find a good probing line outside off stump, confusing the batsman with his right arm offies and then picked up his second wicket with a ‘straight onner’  (or the slider as I believe Mr Warne called it) to bowl Scullion for 9.
JP got the last bit of resistance when Jacob was given out LBW and left it to spin partner Tom Muralitharan to get the last two wickets bowled, the ninth ‘ripped sidewards’ and the last one was a big looping googly leg break to clean up the tail with what some have said was the best spell of spin bowling they have ever seen for the Elf.

The Elf started their response with Dan Armstrong-Bresnan and Dan Dunn. Both got out to Joshi, Dan Armstrong attacked the bowling like he attacked the Chicken Tikka aftwards, scoring 43 which included 7 fours and 2 sixes. Dan Dunn unfortunately played on and was out for seven.
Greg Philpott was out bowled for three but the experienced fourth wicket stand between Gorton and Nunns saw the Elf home with loads of time to spare. Nunns 20* Gorton 16*

Al Fresco fines continued and we found out Dan had grassed his dad up on Friday and Dan Armstrong lost his 8 iron. Andy Ince also lost his phone IN HIS BAG but all in all, a great victory and hopefully the Elf can take their winning mentality to Peopleton next week who they lost their first game of the season to.

Tales from the travelator

Tom Davies took four wickets bowling spin. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?

Tea review

BYOT once again but Greg excelled with some olives.

Written by Tom Davies

Batting

Bowling

v Lichfield Nomads (H) 26/07/20

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Walsall Health (104-1) Beat Lichfield Nomads (103) by 9 wickets

Today saw Walsall Health host Lichfield Nomads in a local match that has been a prominent fixture for many years. The weather was a typical English summer with plenty of clouds present and a fair breeze that had Andy Ince raring to bowl up the travelator. Alex Nunns won the toss and elected to bowl, a wise decision as the Elf had 9 able bodied bowlers present.

As the Elf took the field a comment was heard from the side-lines that raised a few eyebrows comparing Dave Stephens (DS) to West Indian spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, the jury is still out deliberating the reliability of this statement.

 

DS opened the bowling up the travelator and he started off perfectly first ball, trapping Gards in front, a decent appeal, not enough to register on appeal scale but enough to get the raised finger from the umpire. Out trotted Hutton to face the rest of the over. Meanwhile from the other end, club pro Dan Dunn came down the hill, not his preferred end, it has to be noted, and started off with a lovely delivery that caught the left handers edge but sadly wasn’t held. Both opening bowlers bowed well, giving few loose balls to the opposing batsmen. Dan Dunn tried a couple of shorter balls, which our resident South African was quick to pipe up reminding the youngster that “only fast bowlers bowl short”. As the over went by Hutton played a few nice strokes but for no reward due to the excellent fielding of the Health, eventually he was bowled by DS trying to go up and over.

Nomads continued to be put under pressure as DS and Club pro Dan Dunn continued their tight bowling and the runs trickled along slowly as the Elf took their first sanitizer break at 8 overs. Not long after this, Dan Dunn claimed his first wicket of the day when a shot from Terry (6) ballooned up to point where, Mark Reynolds making his debut game for the Elf, took the catch. Mahmood came to the crease and played some nice looking drives that interested the captain and slip cordon. Mahmood went for an extravagant drive, his back and front foot were well out of the crease, Gorts eyes lit up and the guillotine came down to stump Mahmood for 4. Balker and Stanley were watchful and played calmly waiting for bad balls to be put away, but these were few and far between.

After 6 overs each from our opening bowlers, Captain Nunns opted for a change and on came Chris Hall back for his first game after a long winter. He started where he left off last year, bowling his usual tight line and length. DS ended his spell with figures of 8-3-17-3. Replacing DS was Dan Armstrong who bowled with some nice pace and bounce that had the batsmen jumping around. Armstrong got the breakthrough when Stanley played one off his hip inches from the short leg, the ball trickled away and Balker called 2, little did he know that the fielder was none other than Greg Philpott who quickly gathered the ball and returned it to Gort who removed the bails with Stanley barely in the frame and out for 10. Turnbull made his way out to the middle and played a few power strokes off Armstrong that ticked the scoreboard over for Nomads. Armstrong continued to challenge the batsmen with his length and line and eventually claiming the wicket of watchful Balker 14, who left a ball only to realise that Armstrong had bowled his off cutter with the result being his off stump was almost removed.

Out came Rolfe, who in fine form had been winding up all Aston Villa fans before, during and after the match. Nunns was not impressed and opted for the King of Spin, JP, to teach this Baggies fan some manners. JP who bowled with plenty of guile and skill, was unlucky not to claim the wicket of Turnbull who hit one of JP long hops to Dan Dunn and wide long off. Club pro made the yards and got there but sadly couldn’t hold the catch, much to his disappointment to see his father smirking at him from the boundary commenting it was a ‘dolly’. Armstrong was replaced by Chall for his second spell who continued his lines of attrition. C Halls perseverance paid off when he removed Briars with a good catch by Gort behind the stumps for 18. But Chally wasn’t done yet, he then came in and removed Turnbull with some excellent bowling stump to stump, a good lesson for any youngster. 60 dot balls out of a set of 64 plus 2 wkts, in a spell that meant more to him, than any other he’s bowled for the club.

Hughes and Rolfe began to up the tempo taking some extra runs and pushing the Nomads total close to 100. Debutant Mark Reynolds came on to bowl his debut for the club. His spell reached its peak when he got Nomads Rolfe, caught by Greg for 17. With only one wicket remaining Dan Dunn was tossed the ball and he eventually removed Hoddy with a leg stump Yorker to end the Nomads innings on 103.

In response Ince and Chuck strolled out to the middle to begin the task of chasing down 103. There was drama within the first over as Hutton pulled a muscle in his lower back and after braving the final ball had to leave the field. The health would like to wish him a speedy recovery. As in the good spirit of the game, The Elf were happy to lend a fielder to Nomads with debutant Mark Reynolds and JP the willing volunteers, a big hand to them both. Turnbull opened up from the pavilion end and bowled without much luck. Replacing the injured Hutton, Briars came up the travelator and in his first over removed the dangerous looking Ince with a full ball that kept low and beat the left handers defences. Out swaggered Dan Armstrong who quickly set about his dominance in the middle. With a few powerful blows and a little luck from his top edge he quickly got the Health score rolling, while Chuck supported him at the other end nurdling balls around the outfield, mainly behind square, to support his batting partner. The two Rushall batsmen quickly set about chasing down the total of 103 with plenty of boundaries and a few big sixes from Dan Armstrong. Chuck seemed to enjoy the bowling of Mahmood as he hit 20 runs off his over in boundaries including a nick through the slip to take his total scored behind square to over 30 runs. Inevitably it was Armstrong who finished off the run chase with a huge six of Hoddy that nearly went onto Pelsall road. The innings ended with Chuck only outscoring Armstrong by 1 run!

Tales from the Travelator…

Dave Stephens is quickly becoming the master if this much maligned end with his persistent line and length bowling. Chris Hall seems to also profit from this end, where he claimed his wickets for the day.

Tea Update…

Still bring your own lunch though and excellent showing of sandwiches were displayed by members of both teams. Questions into Chucks sanity have been raised with Sushi making its tea breakthrough and a mention to Dan Armstrong who lives only 5 minutes away from the ground, having to pop home to grab his lunch….because he forgot to bring it…..All in all, a very enjoyable game, a good all round effort from everyone. Well played guys.

 

 

In memory of Mary Hall, a much loved Mom who always took a keen interest in her son’s cricket throughout the years at WHCC. God bless.

 

Written by Ian Chuck

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Bowling

v Peopleton (H) 19/07/20

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Walsall Health (148-9 40 overs) lost to Peopleton CC 149-2 (30.3 overs) by 8 wickets

 

The 2020 season has finally arrived! The Elf had their first game of the new decade at home vs Peopleton, a side we have consistently had games against for a number of years.

The weather was a bit Bob Marley (sun is shining) and skipper Rob Hewlitt won the toss and batted first.
Club Pro Dan Dunn and Tim Bresnan look alike Dan Armstrong opened up for the Elf. After a maiden first over, Dan Armstrong added 22 in the second over with a few big sixes off no balls but Dan Dunn was out shortly after, being caught playing a rash shot.
Dan Armstrong carried on batting as if he was on a dating app (swiping at everything) eventually connected but was out caught.
Alex Nunns and David Preece had a solid 68 run partnership for the third wicket which included a lot of patience and maiden overs but Al was out for 45, five short of that half century that would have been deserved.
Greg Phillpott and Rob Hewlitt were both out scored five between them and Dave was out for 26 leaving Gort with the lower order trying to set a decent total for Peopleton to chase.
Gort managed 7 and Dave Stephens 6 before Tom Davies (with Greg Phillpott running for him) had a calamitous run out with all three batsmen at one end. Peopleton withdrew their appeal which was outstanding sportsmanship and the right way the game should be played. Davies was out bowled by the inswing of Tanner in the final over and Nicka belted a boundary to take the score close to 150. Nicka said after the game he was feeling in good touch and felt like he would get his first half century but there just wasn’t enough balls to face to reach it.

The second innings started at 4pm and Peopleton looked steady at the crease. Seasoned bowlers Dave Stephens and Nicka Dunn went for very few runs between them in their 14 overs but only DS got an early wicket when Alex Nunns took a good catch at point.
Phillpott took a standard difficult catch at mid on off Armstrong but the 3rd wicket partnership between the impressive Billington (who finished 68 not out) and Miller (42 not out) saw Peopleton get home with almost 10 whole overs to spare.

 

A big thanks to the Dunns and Dan Armstrong at Rushall who have done wonders to make the site covid secure and the game really wouldn’t have happened without their hard work.

The Elf are at home next week against Lichfield Nomads, another fixture that has been played for as long as the mind can remember. Hopefully see you all next week. No tea or shower club this week due to restrictions although it was nice and village seeing a few of the lads turn up in their whites.

Tom Davies

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v Sportsman CC (H) 01/09/19

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Sportsman CC 243-9 (40 ovs) beat Walsall Health CC 176 (31.1 overs) by 67 runs

The Elf played host to the Sportsman CC lads for the second time this season, who were captained by Jack Wiseman on his final game for the club before moving away. Wiseman won the toss and elected to bat first.

Hemsley and Underwood opened the batting for Sportsman, the latter hitting a few boundaries before Dave Stephens got him LBW. After this though the wheels came off for the Elf in a 10 over period of shoddy fielding. Both Chucks, Greg and Tom dropped dollies and there was some abject fielding to boot as well. It was only youngster Dan Dunn (who had two drops off his bowling) who continued to plug away up the travelator for a well deserved wicket of Hemsley for 40.
Tom Davies got a bit of tap from Soreng and Vijay before Soreng played one shot too many and played on for 63. Davies got Waqas after he smoked a few boundaries and in his last over finally a catch was taken when Dan Armstrong caught Vijay at short cover.

With the match getting away from the Elf a bit, it called for the Ice Man Chris Hall to bowl and his picked up excellent figures of 3-13 off his minimal four overs to keep the run rate late. There was also a standard wicket for spin king Jonny Preece off his five overs. The visiting side posted a daunting 244 for victory.

Brothers Chuck opened to batting in what was becoming a fruitless an opening partnership as Jason Roy and Rory Burns. Ian played round a straight one, Dan Armstrong missed a straight one and was out LBW and Leo chipped a nothing ball for a catch at the Elf were struggling on 17-3.
Rob Hewlitt smashed a few boundaries but Dan Dunn ‘played for the spin….but there wasn’t any’ and was bowled before the score reached 30.
Greg came and went for 6 before Rob got a typical Rushall delivery where the ball just died and he was out 7 short of what would have been an excellent fifty.
Tom Davies was finally out this season giving catching practice to mid on, Jonny Preece got another ‘DNB’ and Rich Fell was out for a hard fought 18 before the partnership of the match took place. Chris Hall and Dave Stephens needed well over 100 runs to win and both gave the runs a good go, hitting plentiful boundaries between them in a partnership that exceeded 50 runs. In the end Dave was out for 37 in what was the 4th LBW and sixth of the day to end the match.

Tea Review

No crisps or olives 😦

Shower club

Chuck was making some weird noises again

Dai Watch

More changes than a one man show this week from the Welsh wonder. Coats and hoods up and almost a vest and shorts by the end of it. Still haven’t seen the fish jacket though…

  The Race

Tom Davies

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v Bharat Parivar (H) 18/08/19

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Walsall Health 166 all out (35.3 overs) lost to Bharat Parivar 215 all out (39.3 overs) by 49 runs.

The first time in what seemed an age the Elf boys were finally back together to play out their decider against the Asian contingent of Bharat Parivar. The series stood at 1-1 before the game began today.

Well, for 28 overs the Elf couldn’t buy a wicket. The skipper Chuck tried everything, even bowling Tom

Stevie Wonder kindly agreed to complete the markings this week.

Davies up the travelator for the first time in ages but it wasn’t to be. So at the end of the 28th over the score stood at 160-0. Stephens, Davies and Dan Dunn had all toiled away to no avail (with a few monkeys thrown in by visiting batsman ‘Satesh’ who whacked his way to a century) before Chris Hall bowled him in the 29th over and the carnage commenced.
Nathan Martin on season debut got a wicket in what was going to be his last over (imagine if Chuck had taken him off at this point?!) and then one again in his sixth over when Greg Phillpott got a steepler of a catch but made no mistakes.

BUT THEN.

In the 36th over of the innings a moment that would go down in Elf folklore happened. With the runs on the board the away batsmen had freedom to play shots but the Friar Parker Martin was having none of it. Two Parviar batsmen swung and missed and saw their stumps demolished. THEN IT HAPPENED….The Elf fielders crowded the new batsman and Martin ran in….the ball cannoned into the new batsman’s front pad and the noise from the lads was deafening. If you were in Pelsall/Aldridge area you may want to check your windows for cracks because I’ve never heard a louder LBW appeal in all my given days. Martin didn’t seem to want to appeal but turned around just in time to see the umpire nod his head, then raise his finger and let me tell you, the next thirty seconds were sheer euphoria. There was a massive pile-on on the square, celebrations galore! A HAT TRICK for an Elf player and it was the first one since club LEGEND Jonty Nicholls got one in 2008. What a moment! Serious pandemonium for the boys. If I could bottle up the emotion of that half a minute and sell it, it would out sell all illegal drugs on the ‘market’ and I’d be writing these reports from Bora Bora because it’s something you can’t describe, rather like the Thai Sweet Chilli Sensations when they touch your taste buds ay Nicka/Gail?

The Elf wrapped up the innings with some excellent fielding from brothers Chuck. Leo off his own bowling for a scooping run out and Ian from mid on with a great direct hit. Tom Davies toiled up the hill in the final over and got two wickets, a catch from Chuck and another LBW for the tally. The visitors were all out for 215.

After the teas were smashed (big hand to Nicka for going and getting some Olives and cakes) the Elf began the tall order of chasing.
Brothers Chuck were in and out for a combined score of 6 before Dan Armstrong scored 37 which included a big six and Rob Hewlitt who was out for 19 put on a good partnership. Armstrong finally run out after Rob made him do a metaphorical bleep test in the middle.
Dan Dunn and Rich Fell went for a boundary a piece but Greg Phillpott came in and played an excellent innings to take the Elf towards a competitive score. Nath Martin got a quack (BUT HE GOT A HAT TRICK) and Chris Hall got 2 but Dave Stephens hit 24 valuable runs in a good partnership with Phillpott before he was bowled. With one wicket to get Phillpott hit the joint highest score of the season with 43 and Tom Davies got another red inker for three.

N Martin receiving the Hat Trick ball from club legend R Fell. “Skipper Chuck was too busy washing the rug”

What a day boys, glad to have been there to have seen a moment of Elf history. Only the third hat trick in 32 years. THAT IS WHY WE PLAY CRICKET.

Tea review

Great sandwiches today but Nicka saved the day going to get mini rolls and OLIVES. Superb.

Shower club

Forgot my towel but we know what the showers are like in Rushall, rather like a retirement home in London, warm and cosy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Davies

 

 

 

 

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Bowling Original

V Bharat Paviar (H) 30/06/19

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Walsall Health CC 137 all out 33.4 overs lost to Bharat Paviar CC 138-8 25.4 overs by 2 wickets

On a day where a few heads from both sides had one eye on an enthralling World Cup encounter at Edgbaston, there was a familiar theme at Rushall CC where the Elf lead the three match series 1-0.

With the first ball bowled closer to ‘Songs of Praise’ rather than ‘Goals on Sunday’ Andy Gorton and Alex Nunns opened the batting for the Elf and thanks to the extras the home side looked to be putting themselves in a decent position until Alex was bowled for 12 by a ball that seemed to not bounce very much at all. Rushall youngster Ryan Scott entered the fray and looked in good touch before he was bowled on debut for 8. With the score approaching 50, the Elf lost a few wickets for just as many runs in what is becoming a repetitive theme throughout this 2019 campaign. Gort was unfortunate to see the ball clip his pads and roll on to the stumps then Nathan Reeves and Andy McClay came and went like Christmas Day being bowled and plumb in front respectively.
Dan Dunn added some much needed impetuous to the frail innings with three exquisite cover drives in quick succession supported by JP who was rotating the strike nicely. JP was bowled and then Dan Dunn was out for 24 and the Elf were seven down before they had made 100 for the second week in a row. Chris Hall was caught cheaply for twelve whilst the last two wickets added 35 runs from Dave Stephens, Tom Davies and Nicka Dunn. The score was 137 all out and now the Rushall outfield has been cut, the score looked at least 30 runs short.

The visitors started as briskly as they always do however wickets fell at regular occasions. Dave Stephens got the first after a sharp catch from Gorton behind the pegs. Dan Dunn opened up the travelator and got two wickets when Ryan Scott took an impressive catch at long on and then Dunn picked up the third wicket for 40, bowled.
Tom Davies came on a bowled a nip backer of a delivery. The away umpire considered all possibilities in his head before raising the finger to a ball that couldn’t have been more plumb.
Then, the shackles came off. With barely 60 runs on the board the game’s two best batsmen Patel and Tejas of the vistors unleashed an array of boundaries to guide them past the 100 mark in quick time.
There was a mini collapse of sorts when Chris Hall and Nicka Dunn picked up two wickets each and the score went from 112-4 to 123-8, however with the impressive Tejas at the crease it was never in doubt. Without the overs to worry about the Bharat number number 10 smacked two boundaries and the visitors got home with two wickets to spare.

Another unfortunate loss for the Elf who will be looking to take their score to level par next week against Sportsman CC after falling to 3 wins and 4 losses this week.

Teas – Olives, albeit purchased by Nicka and not the pub who supply the teas we all know what the rules state….10

Shower club – nice and cosy as ever at Rushall, Nicka brought some lovely Marsh Mellow Imperial Lather shower gel which smelled delightful.

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Written by Tom Davies

 

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Walsall Health
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V Alrewas CC (A) 23/06/19

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Walsall Health CC 139-7 (40 overs) lost to Alrewas CC 141-2 (21.3 overs) by 8 wickets

After a week rained off for monsoon type conditions, the Elf Tsunami made its way up the A38 for a new fixture for the 2019 season at Alrewas on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border, what a lovely place to play cricket it was as well.

Stand in skipper Chuck won the toss and elected to bat first on what looked like a belter of a track. Dan Armstrong opened the batting with Chuck and he was the first to be out for 13 after a couple of solid fours when his off stump was knocked back by Bramall.
Dan Dunn and Chuck put on thirty for the 2nd wicket before Dan was unluckily bowled by Brammall Snr for 20. Rob Hewlitt scored a quick 15 but played all round a straight one and Chuck was batting like Chris Taveré at the non striker’s end, finding fielders rather than gaps.
Nathan ‘the leave’ Reeves entered the fray and was in good touch, HE EVEN LEFT A BALL before he was bowled for 9 off 7 balls. McClay was out cheaply and Dave Stephens got a quack which turned the Elf from 68-2 to 89-6.
Chuck departed for 28 off EIGHTY-EIGHT deliveries which left Chris Hall and Tom Davies the situation of 98-7 with 8.3 overs remaining.
This partnership was probably the partnership of the season so far, even some mystery spin couldn’t dislodge the pair who are usually so good with ball in hand rather than bat. It took Davies 6 balls to get off the mark but he soon upped his run rate by hitting a magnificent four straight over mid-off’s head, Chris Hall was accumulating the runs nicely at the other end just nudging ones and twos to keep the score ticking over. The boys managed to hit their way to a nice 41* partnership of just 51 balls to give themselves something to bowl at with 139-7 posted. Davies reaching his highest score for the Elf of 19* and Chris Hall finished 24*.

TEA WAS CLASS (SEE REVIEW)

Dave Stephens and Nicka Dunn opened the bowling for the Elf, both with hundreds of wickets to their names over the years but even these two wily campaigners couldn’t interrupt Tringham and Scarratt from dispatching the bowling like an Amazon Prime order.

Nicka got Tringham for 17 but Scarratt piled on the runs after being dropped by Davies and Chuck early in his innings. The youngster batted superbly and never looked back until he retired quite abruptly for 52 off just 37 balls.
He was partnered by Broadshead who unluckily made 49 not out in the chase with Pemberton supporting with 7 not out when in the 22nd over, the Elf were brushed aside by this young side who the visitors were no match for.

Teas – Like the finals of Strictly Come Dancing, 10s all round! Superb spread today, sandwiches, sausage rolls, cakes, chips, chicken nuggets, homemade cakes which were sensational. The pick of the lot had to be the Olives. Served in a beautiful glass bowl with Alrewas President and former ‘Elf’ himself Andie Oliver, purring at their selection, making sure they were seen by everyone. Top fodder

Shower Club – decent showers but they were a bit Coronation Street (back to back), lovely and warm though.

AOB – Lots of excellent support once again by faces new and old, it really is appreciated by all those who play to keep the spirits up whilst Chally was getting the monkey treatment from Tringham.

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Written by Tom Davies

 

Batting Runs
Walsall Health
Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets