WHCC V Highcroft.2013…From Sam Stephens
Highcroft were always tough opponents, with a strong side. After winning the toss, they batted first, and were in a strong position at 128-3. A classy young player by the name of A.Thomason was cruising along on 54 not out, confirming the rumours we had heard, that he was on Warwickshire’s books. Desperate for a breakthrough, Captain David Preece turned to his brother Jonathon (JP) to engage into the battle. The Warwickshire Colt was to last only two more balls, smashing the ball back at JP to what he thought was a certain boundary. He didn’t bank on the cat like reactions of the spin wizard, taking a spectacular caught and bowled to bring about the big wicket. All Thomason could do, was nod in appreciation to the bowler, before he was mobbed by his team mates. Not satisfied with his efforts, JP went on to take 3-28, to wrap up the Highcroft innings to cap a memorable day for the Health legend.
Final analysis…WHCC went on to win the game, chasing down 212 for the loss of only 2 wkts. While after a bit of investigation via the Wisden Almanack, a certain A.Thomason is now a Warwickshire All rounder County Pro, but if you look on his Player Profile on their website, his nickname is “JP’s Bunny”
WHCC v Swynnerton.2013…From JP
My favourite moment was the day i took 6-35 at Swynnerton. Still to this day, my career best figures. Re-paying the faith my brother, and Captain, David had shown in me. WHCC has always been a family club, so another day that sticks in the mind, was the day we beat Lapworth with 3 Preece’s on the same team. Myself, Gareth and David, along with my Dad casting an eagle eye over our performances.
Final analysis…2013 proved to be the breakthrough year with the ball for JP. Ending the season with 19 wkts at an average of 14.1.
WHCC v Highcroft.2011… From Dave Stephens.
That name Highcroft crops up again. After batting first, our miserable record against them seemed to be continuing, as they posted a solid 199-4. With their usual decent bowling attack, another defeat looked on the cards as we collapsed to 130-9 with only 6 overs remaining. As Captain for this game, Dave Stephens hobbled out to bat, after picking up an injury in the field to join Chally at the crease. They decided to just play a few shots, and see what happened. Remarkably, after a few big overs, the Highcroft panic was setting in. From needing 70 off 36 balls, the equation became 10 off the final over. The atmosphere had now built to a crescendo, so after blocking the first ball of the final over, to the huge disapproval of Dave’s son, Sam……DS and CHall just smiled at each other. There was still time. After 79.5 overs of drama, the whole match hinged on the last ball, 4 runs were required. As the bowler ran in, you could hear a pin drop, then the ball thudded into the boundary fence as Dave hit the winning runs to complete a remarkable victory. Asking Dave about this game, he will always call it the best atmosphere he has been involved in, in any game of cricket. Tense, but very enjoyable.
Final analysis…Dave and Chall set a new club record this day, of 70 runs for a last wicket partnership. The Highcroft fielder who desperately tried to save the final boundary, lay on the floor motionless for 10 mins, and was later seen in Sandwell General being treated for shock.
WHCC v Lichfield Nomads 2003…From Nic Slym
A tricky old game for me, after giving Ron Noble out lbw, a few minutes later i heard the words…Nic, can we go for a walk please? 3 laps of the boundary later, Ron had explained to me the finer points of the lbw laws. All this knowledge, except not knowing when he was absolutely plumb. To add insult to injury, earlier in my stint as Chief Officiator, I turned down a massive appeal from a Nomads bowler who was convinced our opener John Davies had nicked off to the keeper. Bearing in mind John was a Reverend at the time, and didnt walk, i thought i would give him the benefit of the doubt.
Final analysis…A tough day at the office for Nic Slym, after coming off the pitch with a non-fer, he was faced with plenty of umpiring controversy. However, he produced one of the all time great quotes of the day….”I didnt hear a nick, and he didn’t walk. So I thought to myself, if a man of the cloth has nicked that, and not walked, then we are all f*ck*d.
WHCC v Swynnerton 2011….From Chris Hall
Swynnerton were always a strong side who we never really had much luck against. However on this day, the result was different, thanks to one of the best innings I have seen for the club. Set a daunting target of 237 to win, it was Sam Stephens who carried us to victory with a brilliant 109 of 91 balls. But the moment i will remember as my favourite, on 94, Sam decided to go for a straight six to bring up his first century for the club. A brave choice, which typified the way Sam had played all day. I distinctly remember pacing up and down, as Sam neared the milestone, as I am not the best watcher. It was just nice to see a talented cricketer who had worked hard on his game realise his potential on this day.
Final analysis…This was the only time we ever beat Swynnerton. It is worth mentioning that it was quite a hot day, so after having second drinks at thirty overs, their Captain, who must have thought they had scored enough, offered to declare their innings. Dave Stephens responded with a swift… No thanks. The rest of the game became a part of club folklore.
WHCC v Astons of Didcot 2005….From Richard Fell
I started playing for the club at the age of 17, firstly as an opening bowler, then as a wkt keeper, then an opening batsman. But on this day, we travelled to Didcot in Oxforshire for my first game as Captain of this great club. This is my favourite memory, because I felt like I had found my role in the team, something I was good at. The game itself, could not have been closer, and a match we never really looked like winning.
Batting first, WHCC slumped to 67-7, on a tricky pitch we had no local knowledge of, unlike our Oxfordshire opponents. Standing on the boundary, the instruction was sent to Chris Hall to dig in. His unlikely partnership with Frank Jacob, took us to 135 all out. Their efforts looked in vain, as Didcot raced to 67-0, and 85-1. The Elf lads kept battling away. Bowling changes kept bringing about wickets, field placings kept paying off with catches. Frank Jacob was asked to bowl a second spell, for the first time in 23 years. So from a forlorn position, Didcot slumped to 131-9, with one over remaining. Deciding to keep it simple, Debut Captain Fell walks up to Chris Hall, who was to bowl the final over, and told him…”Just get him out” Two balls later, the game was won, with Chally calmly dispatching the Didcot No11 to complete a memorable first game as Captain for Fell. One which which he describes as his all-time personal favourite moment.
Final analysis….This was nearly Richard Fell’s first and last game as Captain. After a dramatic game in the sun, the long drive home had clearly worn out designated driver for the day Paul Chamberlain, who fell asleep at the wheel on the M40. Thank goodness the new Captain’s responses to danger were as sharp off the field, as well as on it.
WHCC v Newbold 2013…From Tom Davies.
One of Tom’s first games for WHCC, but what a memorable one. Trying to defend 116, was a tough ask, against a side we had a poor record against. But wkts fell regularly, leaving Newbold on a precarious 69-9. However, a last wkt partnership saw our rivals move to 113-9. Within sight of victory, pressure can do strange things to people, so the two batsmen tried to force a tie, and attempted to run a 3. It looked on, but pressure clearly not affecting JP, who pulled off a brilliant run out, to deny our opponents by a single run. Cue bedlam.
Final analysis…A magical moment in the field for JP, the Newbold batsmen decided to take him on, only to realise they had seriously picked on the wrong fielder.