v Peopleton (A) 09/08/2020

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Walsall Health 216-7 (40 overs) beat Peopleton CC 199 all out (37.5 overs)

The Elf travelled to Peopleton in good form after two very comfortable recent victories. However, the team were all too aware that this game would provide a far sterner test. Historically, Peopleton have always been tough opponents, a good all round team, aggressive in the batting department, with an accurate bowling attack. As everyone arrived at the picturesque ground, the sun broke through the clouds, cranking the temperature up to what felt like 30 degrees, this wasn’t going to be an easy game.

Returning skipper Rob Hewlitt lost the toss, but was happy to be put into bat. With the fast outfield, a total of 200 is the minimum requirement against these guys, so a good start was what we all hoped for, but the early departure of Gort, lbw for a duck, put the Elf on the back foot. Dan Armstrong looked in good touch as he always does, but was unlucky to play the ball onto his stumps for 25. Chief ship steadier David Preece walked to the crease with the score at 32-2, but was dismissed for the second duck of the day, leaving us in the precarious position of 42-3.

Amongst all this carnage, The wise man, Alex Nunns stayed calm. With the added incentive of starting the day just 75 runs short of his first 1,000 runs for the club. A promising partnership with Greg Philpott began to develop. Greg looking as good as we’ve seen him bat this season, was just starting to look well set before being bowled by Taynton for 14.

Shortly after Greg’s departure, Alex reached a well deserved half century, including six 4’s and a 6. His seventh 50 for the club, leaving him with just 25 runs to go to reach an Elf career 1,000. It was tough to score early on against some handy bowling with the new ball so this 50 deserves extra merit. Well batted Alex.

With the score now at 103-5, the Club Pro Dan Dunn, joined skipper Rob Hewlitt, who was already starting to accelerate the innings. The pair added 27 before Dan was bowled by Haaziq for 10….130-6. Chris Hall walked out to join Rob, with just 8 overs remaining, and it was starting to look like we would struggle to reach the 200 runs needed to be competitive. But Chally was in no mood to hang around, swiftly straight driving the Peopleton quickie, who had returned for a second spell, for 4. After a long spell on the sidelines, Chris confirmed that Rick Jarrams bat still has a fantastic middle. The tone was set for the partnership which put us right back in the contest. Rob Hewlitt smacked the ball to all four corners of the ground, reaching his 7th 50 for the club in quickfire time.

This entertaining stand of 78 off 7 overs finally came to an end when Rob was bowled by Tanner for 64. Leaving Dave Stephens to club 2 more boundaries off the remaining 3 balls, walking down the pitch to pummel the Peopleton Skippers final ball, for 4,…. one of the shots of the day. With Chris Hall left at the other end on 23 not out, the final tally for the Elf…216-7

After tea, Peopleton started their innings fluently, as they usually do. 44 runs were soon on the scoreboard, and the signs were starting to look ominous. Until Club Pro, Dan Dunn bowled Harrold for 14. Now most bowlers after hitting the stumps, will often come up with some sort of waffling analysis, usually old chestnuts like…that one just nipped in a touch, or I bowled that one cross seam. Not our Club Pro though, his response to this crucial breakthrough was simple…..I’m level with my Dad now (34 wkts each for WHCC) Superb stuff.

Peopleton continued to bat well, still scoring at a decent rate, despite some excellent Elf fielding.

JP – 80 wickets and counting.

Chris Hall came on, and tightened things up, getting another important breakthrough, Alex Billington caught behind by Gort for 26…..81-2. The opposition Skipper, Ben Tanner, was still looking dangerous, reaching a well made 50. At 106-2, Peopleton still looked in the driving seat. But then came one of the moments of the match, with the introduction of the King of Spain JP. Tanner hadn’t bargained for the guile and variety of our Premier spin bowler, and miscued his shot, into the hands of JP’s brother Dave. The catch was spectacular, and ensured this historic entry went into our scorebook….Caught D.Preece, Bowled J.Preece.

JP continued to cause problems for the next batsman, poaching his 2nd wkt of the day, caught by the safe hands of Rob. If it was possible for the JP smile to get any wider, it certainly did when informed by Chris Hall that this was his 80th wkt for the club. Well bowled.

Peopleton were now wobbling on 112-4. Now when an innings has stuttered, the last vision you would want to see, is the sight of Club legend John Nicholls warming up to bowl. Guess where his first ball landed? Yep, it was on the spot. Jonty and fellow legend Dave Stephens, who was returning for a second spell, started to turn the screw. Jonty picking up the wickets of Hamid (14) and Taynton (4)  with Dave dismissing Brooks, caught by Dan Armstrong for 11…..Peopleton 168-7

The home side hadn’t given up hope of winning this game, and with the fast outfield, the required run rate still hovering around 6.5 an over, the match still hung in the balance. 20 runs were added quickly, was the contest swinging back Peopleton’s way? Not if Club Pro Dan Dunn had anything to do with it. With the added incentive of overtaking his Dad, Nicka in the wkts column,  Dan steamed in to bowl the dangerous Morris for 24. Dan didn’t allow his concentration to wander, (a true hallmark of a Club Pro) producing a magical piece of fielding, in the 37th over, sprinting round to pick up the hard driven ball, and spearing in a laser throw to the non strikers end to run out Haaziq for 5. Peopleton 195-9.

After such heroics from the whole team, on a sweltering hot day, it was left to Chris Hall to take the final wicket, Michael Taynton, spooning one up in the air to the ever reliable hands of Greg Philpott at mid on, Peopleton 201 all out, for an exceptional WHCC 15 run victory.

Fielding update….You really have to field well on this ground. And there were some exceptional performances, from David Preece, Dan Dunn, Alex Nunns, Greg Philpott, the list goes on, these guys spent all afternoon, sprinting around the ground, saving runs, taking our fielding to a different level, it made all the difference in such a tight game. And what a highlight to see John Nicholls diving full stretch at third man, to save a certain boundary. It was that sort of game.

Dramatic post game scenes.

Wedding Ring update…..It couldn’t go without being mentioned could it? Alex Nunns, after a brilliant diving stop at mid on, soon realised his heroics had come with consequences. His treasured wedding ring was no longer on his finger. Don’t tell the ECB, but we decided to use any sanitiser breaks to look for Alex’s ring instead. It was looking pretty desperate, there was even talk of having to see if Insurance policies were still valid. Step forward Dave Stephens, using all his army experience. A post game search of military precision began. Even the cows in the neighbouring field were asked to join in. Thankfully it was our very own human metal detector, David Preece who found the missing ring to the relief of our Vice Captain. Well spotted Dave.

Dan Dunn, pleased with his days work.

 

The Dunn family update….

A big thank you to Nicka, for travelling over to score today. Well worth the trip as he got to witness a changing of the family Guard…lets make it official.

Dan Dunn      161 overs   30 mdns   35 wkts    18.42 ave

Nicka Dunn   200 overs   47 mdns   34 wkts    15.05 ave

 

 

The Verdict….A superb game of cricket, a hard fought, hard earned win. All 11 players contributed, with the quick rotation of the bowlers by the Captain proving to be extremely effective, in the hot conditions. A win against Peopleton on their home ground doesn’t happen very often, so enjoy this one boys.

Written by Chris Hall

Batting

Bowling

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.

DS limbering up to bowl (apparently)

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…

Dan Armstrong after realising he’d left his tea at home.

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

Batting

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

Batting

Batting

Bowling

 

 

 

W.H.C.C. v Lapworth

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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

 

 

Dave and the Two Dan’s, X-Factor winners 2019.

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?

D.Armstrong's favourite.

D.Armstrong’s favourite.

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

Chris Hall

 

 

 

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

Batting

Bowling

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowle Village v W.H.C.C. 24/08/19

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Well batted Chucky.

W.H.C.C. Beat Knowle by 71 runs. At last, some nice weather to play cricket. Our first visit to Knowle Village since the 2012 season proved to be a memorable game for a certain I.J.Chuck. Batting first on a nice deck, it was Chuck who soon re-discovered the form we have seen over the last few seasons. No more of this across the line rubbish, it was all straight in the V, with several sweetly timed drives through mid off and mid on. The back to basics approach paid dividends, with Chucky compiling a score of 129 not out, out of a total of 210-2. With sixteen 4’s and two 6’s. His 8th century for the club, (a new record) and his own highest score. At one point, Stu Pollitt’s club record score of 144 not out, looked in grave danger. However, it was a pretty hot day, with not much air, so the tiring Chuck’s run rate did slow down a bit towards the end of his innings. Just to bat the full 40 overs in those conditions was an achievement. Well batted Chucky.

Time for tea, and the first mid game shower of the season, taken by an exhausted Chuck, followed by ten pints of water. Meanwhile, brother Leo decided to choose the lager option…Village. With everyone fully rehydrated, we began our defence of 210. Fielding can be overlooked sometimes, but for the first 15 overs, the whole team were exceptional. After Dave Stephens made the first breakthrough, bowling Shough for nought, some sensational catches were taken. The two words sensational and catches seem to marry well together when you mention the name Greg Philpott. Fielding at mid on, Greg took another screamer to get rid of Tamplin for 2. If you want to know exactly what it was like then You tube….Jonty Rhodes catch v England, World Cup 1999. It was on a par with this. Another superb catch to add to the Philpott portfolio. Leo Chuck and David Preece joined the party, with two nice grabs either side of the wicket. Followed by the dependable hands of Rob Hewlitt, diving full stretch forward, just before the ball was about to kiss the turf to take his 51st catch, to begin the second half of his quest for 100 catches. Combine all these top efforts together, and Knowle found themselves gone at 37-5. Effectively ending the game as a contest. It could easily have been a different story, because after checking up on Knowle’s Play Cricket site, their top five batsmen were certainly no mugs with the bat according to their stats. We did tire a little in the conditions, apart from the returning David Preece, who still has that cheetah like speed across the ground, and laser like arm. A big compliment must go to the Knowle No3, 12 years of age, scoring a really nice 73. But wickets still came at regular intervals, including one for “The Icon” John Nicholls. Followed by another brilliant catch at long off, this time, thanks to the works of Leo Chuck, capping a fine day for everyone in the field. So it was left to Dave Stephens to wrap things up, taking the last two wickets in successive balls to leave DS on a Hat-trick….Can it really happen again? Lets hope so, as Dave has been in such good form with the ball this year, picking up his second 4-for of the season.

Ben Stokes update….I couldn’t not mention the man who provided the whole country with one of the all time great sporting moments. Those final few overs of the Test Match ran alongside Chuck’s quest for Stu Pollitt’s record. I’ll leave you to figure out which got more attention.

Multi Tasking update…This has to go to Rob Hewlitt, who showed tremendous skills to score for the full 40 overs, work the electronic scoreboard, and follow the action at Headingley. Not an easy mission, but thanks again to Rob for dropping himself down the order to score.

Merv Hughes update….We seem to have an imposter in the team. Anybody who wasn’t there might just see an encore on Sunday.

Sad Postscript….A sad piece of news to end the report. Mickey Evans of Highwood Park CC passed away this week. Mick played against us many times over the years. He was one of those old school cricketers, good bloke, a very good bowler…. one of those “hard to get away” type bowlers. Mick absolutely loved his cricket, like all of us, and was a loyal servant to HPCC. So from all of us, RIP Mick.

Chris Hall

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

 

 

 

 

Bowling

Bowling

Batting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bowling Original

Peopleton v Walsall Health….15/05/2011

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Peopleton, a lovely village in Worcestershire, where we started to visit back in 2009. Usually a ground where plenty of runs are scored. Many a time, that red leather ball has introduced itself to the cows in the field over the far side of the pitch. But not on this day… The 2011 edition will be remembered for one outstanding bowling performance, from a legendary player, to win us a game we had been behind in from the very first ball.

The side who travelled that day in batting order…Steve Hartshorne. Dave Stephens (still opening the batting in those days) Sam Stephens. Nathan Reeves. Rich Fell (Capt) Tim Oliver. Nic Slym. Dave Atkins. John Nicholls. Chris Hall and John Hinton, arrived to conditions recorded in the scorebook as dull and damp. The home side won the toss, and had no hesitation in taking the new ball.

It soon became apparent, that these were not easy conditions to bat in. Dave, Sam and Nathan Reeves were all out for single figure scores. 12-3 wasn’t the best of starts. So when Captain Rich Fell joined opener Steve Hartshorne, the two men dug in. Plenty of dot balls followed, the two batsmen grinding out runs in the testing conditions. Steve was finally bowled by Holton for 16. An innings that lasted 1 hour 22 mins. But it was important for someone to hold the innings together which Steve was always such a Master of.

When Rich Fell was caught for another gritty 19 in 57 mins, followed by Nic Slym (7) suffering from a bout of vertigo after being asked to bat at the dizzy heights of No7. We found ourselves facing a score below 100. Dave Atkins being run out for 0 added to our tales of woe. The score of 77-7 didn’t exactly feel a lucky one, as Chris Hall walked out to join Tim Oliver, still with 12 overs remaining.

Captain Fell, always thinking, made a smart move to do a stint of umpiring. This gave him the opportunity to chat to the two batsmen at the crease….Get us to 120, its not easy out here, was the message. Tim, with that familiar smile, understood exactly what was needed, having been in this type of situation so many times before, calmly going about his business. Playing straight in the V, finding the gaps, picking up four boundaries to reach 33 not out. With Chris Hall just happy to stay out there with Tim, the two men shared a priceless unbeaten partnership of 46 to get us up to 123-7 off 40 overs. The game felt back on.

After tea was taken, Peopleton seemed intent on chasing down a low score quickly. After a few early boundaries, Chris Hall and Sam Stephens made the breakthrough, reducing the home side to 20-2, effectively 20-3, as they only had 10 players. For the first time in the match, WHCC were in the box seat. A first scent of victory didn’t last long as Peopleton continued to play aggressively. Stickler (47) and Holtom (12) advanced their score to 85-3….Just 39 to win, 7 wkts in hand, and loads of time.

It was at this point in the match where the man who had rescued our batting was thrown the ball. After a couple of calf stretches, and three looseners to the fielder at mid on, Tim Oliver immediately trapped Holtom, lbw for 47. Maybe inspiring the young pretender, Sam Stephens, to pick up two more quick wickets in the final over of his own spell. Always a good reader of a game, Tim now sensed an unlikely victory. His second over proved to be the decisive one…A three wicket maiden….How often do we see one of those? It was one of those classic T.Oliver overs, relentlessly firing the ball into middle and leg stump, the Peopleton lower order had no answer, leaving  WHCC close to a memorable victory. Never a player to blink when he saw the finish line, it took Tim just three more balls to wrap up the Peopleton innings. Finishing with remarkable figures of 3.3 overs 2 maidens 5-1. One of many T.Oliver 5-fors in just 21 balls, to complete another match winning contribution.

The Epilogue…..

It wouldn’t have been noted at the time, but after a few calculations, Tim’s 5th wicket of this match winning spell was also his 350th for the club. In addition to over 5,000 runs, and plenty of catches. Tim also stands alone, with Rick Jarrams as the only two players to reach the milestone of 300 appearances. You can look through all the scorebooks and pick out any number of occasions when the name Tim Oliver appears, producing with either bat or ball to help win his team a game of cricket. I just picked this one out because I was lucky enough to be there. That spell, along with his rearguard innings earlier in the match, was defiant, determined and full of character. You would see a few players give up in that type of situation, or just not fancy the job, but giving up just wasn’t in Tim’s nature……

Great bowler..Yes. Great batsman..Yes. Great competitor..Yes. Great bloke..Yes.

Still missed by everyone…….Most definitely. Yes.

 

 

Swynnerton v WHCC….03/07/2011

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Our first visit to the village of Swynnerton in Staffordshire proved to be a memorable one for a certain young WHCC player, who since making his debut in 2005 had always shown the potential to produce a special performance. It was on this day, that the potential was fulfilled.

The team that travelled up the M6 that day… Richard Fell (Capt) Andy Gorton. Dave Stephens. Sam Stephens. Nathan Reeves. Tim Oliver. Adam Smith. Mike Sayers. Chris Hall. Frank Jacob and John Nicholls arrived at one of the more picturesque grounds we have played in. At first glance, the opposition looked useful. One of those clubs who had four teams on a Saturday, and a strong youth policy. The type of opposition you just quietly thought to yourself…this could be a long day.

With Swynnerton electing to bat first, on a warm sunny day, the early analysis of our opponents proved to be pretty accurate. All our bowlers tried their best, encouraged as ever by Captain Rich Fell, but on a fast outfield and a nice batting track, the runs flowed at a good pace for the home side. Opener Hubbart was particularly dominant, blasting 61 before becoming yet another victim of the Caught Fell…Bowled Hall combination. After Frank, Tim and Sam all picked up a wicket each, we took a second drinks break at the 30 over mark, with Swynnerton going well on 196-4. At this point, a conversation that took place between two opposing players may well have been the turning point of the game.

Just before the last drop of orange squash was consumed, the Swynnerton Captain approached Dave Stephens with the offer of declaring their innings at 196. Maybe a little bit of over-confidence, arrogance, or taking victory for granted, we will never know. But Dave took approximately 0.0001 secs to consider the offer, before responding, “No thanks, we will carry on and bowl our full 40 overs” Swynnerton, who looked well set to post a score in excess of 260 were pegged right back in those final ten overs, only scoring another 39 runs to reach 235-7. Ironically, it was Dave who bowled the Swynnerton Captain for 53, blunting any hopes of posting a bigger total. It was a typical Elf fightback, which gave us renewed hope of an unlikely victory.

After a lovely tea, which included scones, clotted cream and jam, we still believed if someone played a big innings it was possible to chase down 235. Gort (25) and Dave Stephens (1) opened the batting. But the whole match was really all about one innings and one partnership……At 50-2, Mike Sayers joined Sam Stephens who was already threatening to take complete charge of the Swynnerton bowlers. The posh electronic scorebox over the far side of the ground was about to endure a busy afternoon.

This was one of the best partnerships ever seen. Mike Sayers, using the see ball-hit ball technique,

The Slayer

playing the supporting role to Sam, hitting 43 off 41 balls. It is fair to say, that Sayers and Stephens sounds an unlikely combination, but the two men just complimented each other from ball one. It didn’t take very long for Sam to approach that tricky moment in a young cricketers career….the first time in the 90’s. Sam’s innings had been so fluent, with boundaries racing to all four corners of the ground. By now, a lot of nervous pacing up and down from his team mates could be seen, as his score reached 94. Just to add to the tension of the occasion, Dave was umpiring at this time, no doubt, quietly willing his son to reach a well deserved personal milestone. We didn’t have too long to wait.

It took just one more ball for Sam to make his maiden 100. Taking the brave mans route, with a straight six, back over the bowlers head, disappearing well over the sight screen to the delight of all his team mates. A great moment, with Dad…Dave, being the first man to shake Sam’s hand. The only time any WHCC player has gone from 94 to 100 with a six.  It was also the fastest century we had ever seen. After some scorebook examination it looks like it took just 85 balls.  Plus a match winning partnership of 147 with Mike Sayers coming in just 18 overs. Two remarkable performances. Sam finally departed for 109 off 91 balls, but the two men had broken the spirit of Swynnerton, who earlier in the day, didn’t believe we could chase down a big total.

It was left to Tim Oliver and Nathan Reeves to score the remaining runs to close out a memorable victory, which they did with 3 overs to spare. Thank goodness we never took the declaration offer, is all I can say.

Our facebook page had just been created in this year, so here are a few quotes from Sam and Mike’s team mates in the hours that followed….

Andy Gorton…”Sam, awesome today mate. Today you came of age as a cricketer. This is a day you will never forget. Well done mate”

Richard Fell…”Echoed mate. Brilliant from you and Mike”

John Nicholls…”Excellent Sam, awesome knock. And Mike’s most entertaining cameo, resulting in one of WHCC’s famous victories. Long live the Elf!!!”

Chris Hall…”Sam and Mike, you will be required to do interviews with 5 live, Talksport, Sky Sports and Loose Women”

Kerry Gorton…”Haha, Loose Women, they would eat you lot alive”

The Epilogue…

This was to be the only time we ever defeated Swynnerton who we last played in 2015. A strong club with plenty of talent, who simply came up against a WHCC player at the top of his game on that day in 2011. It is worth mentioning that just 2 week earlier, against Lapworth, Sam had been run out by Mo Arshad for 66, when looking well set to get to three figures. I seem to remember a few people giving the dressing room a wide berth in the moments that followed. But just a fortnight later, both Sam and Mike hit their highest individual scores for the club to win us another memorable game of cricket.

Mike Sayers still makes the odd appearance from time to time, and became well known for his whole hearted fielding, charging around the outfield to save precious runs. Mike deservedly won our Fielder of the Year Award in 2012. His approach to batting was always the same…take a big swing, hit the ball as hard as I can, and see what happens. A M.Sayers innings was always entertaining to watch.

Sam and Dave. Club legends.

Sam continued to play regularly for WHCC up until the 2015 season. Chalking up over 2,000 runs, including two 100’s and eleven 50’s. Sam has also taken over 100 wickets, to join his Dad Dave, in completing that rare double of 1,000 runs and 100 wkts. Since moving to Derbyshire, Sam has continued to play to a high standard for both Spondon and Darley Abbey. But I reckon if you ask him when his Graduation Day was at the School of Cricket, he would say…..Swynnerton. July 3rd. 2011.