WHCC beat Lapworth by 4 wkts
The final home game of the 2021 season took place in lovely sunny conditions, and it proved to be another great contest with our friends from Lapworth CC. Before we start, a big hand must go to Nicka, and everyone at Rushall for helping us enjoy another great season at Carter Park. Thanks lads, its very much appreciated.
The first landmark moment occured before a ball had even been bowled, as our youngest ever Captain, Dan Dunn, led his team out to field for the first time in his WHCC career. Lapworth started briskly, but the new skipper kept a cool head, making a few early field changes, which proved the catalyst for the first important wicket of the day. Ellis Rose, who was already looking dangerous on 21, hit a skier to Richard Fell who was fielding out in the deep. With everyone aware that if this chance was taken, Fell would join Rick Jarrams in becoming only the second player in the club’s history to take 100 catches. There was plenty of thinking time, but to be honest, like so many of his other 99 catches, it never really looked in doubt. Despite admitting to a few morning nerves, and not wanting “Catch 100” to descend from the sky with snow on the ball, it was still taken with clinical ease for the historic century.
Now as a WHCC bowler, when that red ball goes up in the air, there are certain fielders where you may aswell just trudge back to your mark for the next ball, cursing your luck and muttering a few after the 9 0 clock watershed remarks, unless they ever change the laws of cricket to allow…..caught Green Grass bowled Nicholls/Oliver/Stephens etc as a legal dismissal. But then there have been other fielders like Rich Fell who you just automatically think, yeah he’s got that. And pretty much every single time, you would be proved right. Big hand for all the years of consistency in the most under-rated part of the game.
This memorable first poach proved to be the start of The Elf taking control of the game. The next few wickets fell at regular intervals, with Dave Stephens taking 4-29, including a great yorker to bowl Dickson for 22. Dave said afterwards “He just loves playing Lapworth at Rushall” Not surprising really, when you consider his figures for the last 2 games against them stand at….16 overs 6 mdns 49-10. Well bowled Dave.
Dan Dunn did a good job in rotating his bowlers to keep Lapworth on their toes. Richard Fell, still on a high from his milestone moment, bowled well to despatch Williams for 17. Greg Philpott and Dave Clive picked up one wicket each. We had the annual caught D.Preece bowled J.Preece moment. While John Nicholls had one of those “How did that miss” days. Although Jonty came so close to taking a diving caught and bowled effort, from just the second ball of his spell. Prompting Dave Stephens to go all X-Factor on us, breaking out into a rendition of “There’s a Hole in my Buckets” As all the hilarity died down, we all retired to tea, contemplating a Lapworth total of 174-8.
The Club Pro decided to unleash experienced campaigners, Ian Chuck and David Preece to get us off to a good start. But thanks to a spectacular catch at slip by Tanveer, DP departed for 4. Skipper Dan Dunn, decided to place himself in that key position of No3, and worked hard to get himself in against some decent Lapworth bowling, but was given out lbw for 7. With our score at 53-2, and both Preece and Dunn back in the hutch, the contest was evenly poised.
Andy Carrick walked out to the middle to join Chucky. Now on one of the last occasion’s we saw Andy, it was over at Aldridge’s top pitch against Sportsman. That game was more like an episode of Holby City than a Sunday Friendly. Ambulances and paramedics on the pitch, after a nasty dislocation to the Carrick shoulder. So there was a collective wish amongst the team for Andy to do well. His partnership with Chuck began promisingly. Chuck registered his 24th fifty for WHCC, to move to outright 2nd on the all time list of half century makers, but perished a few balls later for 52. Just 3 runs short of reaching 4,000 runs for the club with just one game remaining in 2021. I think Chucky might just be “available” next Sunday.
Suddenly, from a commanding position of 95-2, Nathan Reeves and Greg Philpott joined Chucky in the pavillion, leaving us wobbling on 108-5. Dave Clive looked in good form, until being caught on the boundary….131-6. This match was fluctuating as much as the current Test series. However, losing a few partners didn’t seem to affect Andy Carrick’s concentration. Andy looked rock solid from the first ball of his innings. Rotating the strike well, and hitting some really nice boundaries, which included a lovely late cut for 4, to take us past 150. Meanwhile, David Preece, decided to show off his multi tasking skills, taking charge of scoring duty, whilst applying for the role of WHCC poet laureate….
“If Andy Carrick stays in. The Elf will win”…..was David’s opinion of the match situation
We now had a storm brewing….it was time for T.Fell (bowler) v R.Fell (batsman). And it proved to be the decisive moment in the game. R.Fell went after T.Fell, hitting four boundaries, there were overthrows too, it all got a bit ragged in the field, as we closed in on the victory target of 175. With Andy Carrick on 48 not out, just 2 more runs were needed to wrap up victory. But sadly, the winning runs were conceded with four byes, robbing Andy of a well deserved maiden 50 for the club. A great comeback game for AC, calm, composed, chanceless. Well batted mate. The unbeaten partnership of 45 with Fell just what the Doctor (or paramedic) ordered, when the game was still in the balance.
Fines Committee was chaired by the man with a 100% win record Dan Dunn, and there were some interesting observations.
Dai Preece expressed his concern about the whereabouts of our Director of Matchday Photography, Lizzie. It seems Lizzie has gone all Eastenders on us, last seen disappearing in the back of a black cab 3 months ago, or in her case, a black Renault Clio. But like most characters, the door has been left open for a comeback. Lizzie’s Key Lime Pie tastes far too nice to be completely written out of the Elf Soap Opera
Now poor old Alex Nunns said to me a while ago, he was disappointed he didn’t win the bails award last season. Well he might just get a second shot at the title. There seemed to be confusion about the selection of a player, who didn’t know he’d been selected, and isn’t even on the Elf Whatsapp group. Now last time i checked, Rushall talisman… Andy Clayton or AC, didn’t look much like Andy Carrick. There were several comments throughout our innings….”Andy Clayton is batting really well today” It confused Dan Armstrong so much, he had to go for another lie down. And if you check Lapworth’s scorebook, Andy Carrick is Andy Caddick according to them. Even I’m puzzled now.
Dave Stephens, happy with a return to the wickets column had a puzzled look on his face, before posing the question. How do we ever lose when we have Josh Butler and Andy Caddick at the club?
Dan Dunn endured that really awkward moment. How much shall i fine my Dad? Sadly, the Club Pro took the standard 2 quid option, after Nicka gave him the stare, then announcing….”Remember who is taking you, and picking you up from the airport next week” Talking about Nicka, our Pringles Champion had a busy afternoon, cutting the football pitch over the far side of the ground. Nicka was still toiling away as the game was about to finish, enabling David Preece to join the contenders for quote of the season…..
“I didn’t realise they made motability scooters that big” (All in good spirit)
Well played everyone.