Club legend and ex-captain Steve Fell digs deep into the recesses of his memory to recall some of the notable moments in the club’s illustrious and chequered history….
….starting with one of the best bowling spells in the club history. Frank Jacob at Queen Marys (one of the club’s many home grounds before it settled in Aldridge) where he once took a hat-trick. Whilst waiting for their next bat to come out,he was not padded up, someone said to Frank ‘Have you done this before Frank or is this your first hat-trick?’. Frank replied ‘Yes I have, and the last time I took 4 in 4 too!’ This was far from an idle boast as very next ball he put the bat back in the hutch for 4 in 4!
Of course then there was the time Liggo has a pap and spent most of the afternoon sitting under a tree.
In a fixture against Halesowen Thirds played at Earls High School both teams scored over 200 apiece, not a common occurrence, and the game was about to end in a draw. The last ball was about to be bowled and skipper Liggo calls everyone round the bat. Everybody was walking up to within a couple of yards when Liggo suddenly shouts to Anurag “Not you, I want you down at deep mid-on”. Poor lad duly trots off to his required position without a word, last ball is bowled and off everyone traipses leaving Anurag as far from the dressing room as it was possible to get.
One sunny Sunday (they were always sunny in the old days), Liggo had a pap and spent most of the afternoon sitting on a fence.
City Gas on a hot summers day, Jonty Nicholls batting. Playing yet another French cricket stroke in front of the wicket and gets a chopped inside edge that flies to the boundary. The Elf cognoscenti erupt with guffaws of laughter and generous applause. With that a female observer who had been having a few scoops ran onto the pitch and, running towards Jonty, removes her top and bra. Jonty didn’t move inch he just stayed where he was and enjoyed the scenery.
Everyone can remember the afternoon Liggo threw a pap and spent most of the time sitting on the far side of the boundary.
Back at City Gas (different game, same venue) a City Gas bat was not the nicest guy. Ian (Tiger) Woods could see this and in his own inimitable way was constantly talking, loudly, after every ball he bowled. The disgruntled bat, after another loud comment by Tiger, marched down the pitch. ‘Look mate,’ he said, ‘Have you got a problem?’. ‘I had a bad back once but it’s gone now, but thanks for asking!’ replied Tiger. Cue silence from the batsman and his partner and sniggers all around from the Elf in earshot.
On one occasion someone upset Liggo who had a pap and spent most of the afternoon sitting by his car.
Early in the clubs’ history we had regular fixtures against Newton Regis (outside Tamworth.). We always got stuffed but they were always good fun. Amongst the more memorable matches there was the one where play had to suspended due to a hay shower. Out of nowhere, bits of hay started falling on the pitch for a good five minutes leaving all and sundry awestruck and amused in equal measures. At another Newton Regis game a young Richard Fell (later to become club captain) successfully managed to lock the keys to his father’s car (then club captain) in the boot of said car. Fortunately the window was open a bit and Dr Reeves applied his dark arts to open the door, the back seat was removed (they didn’t fold in those days) and young Fell was sent through into the boot to retrieve the keys. A lesson learnt: always make sure you have a small child with you for emergencies.
Newton Regis was not a place Liggo had a pap, mainly because he never played there.
Talking of Liggo, he tried to rustle some sheep. He was fielding in the covers, heaven knows why, when the ball is hit to the boundary and travels into the next field. There is a low wooden fence backed by some sheep wire behind. To vault the wire it was necessary for him to use the fence as an aid. First foot on the fence, no problem. Second foot is placed on the fence, and the whole lot comes tumbling down. Sheep are running off in all directions and Martin is in a heap on the floor surrounded by bits of wooden fence and the rest of the Elf, as one rolling around on the floor. Cue a Liggo mega-pap.
The club plays about half its matches away from home, so it stands a fair chance that occasionally things go awry. For example, going to Alvechurch with John Nicholls leading the convoy (he was never to do it again). We went around this island just off the M42, not once, not twice but thrice. With another three cars doing exactly the same thing.
Off to Newton Regis one week and again another convoy with John in the lead car with Rick. All proceeds well until Rick and John take the convoy into someone’s drive as he was cutting his lawn, four cars, one after the other pulling in and reversing out again!