Many thanks to Walsall Health legend, ex-captain and ex-pat Steve Fell for another trip down Memory Lane, looking at The Elf’s Midweek Team…
For a number of years WHCC ran a midweek team in the Walsall Advertiser League, Wednesday nights after work, matches consisting of 15 eight-ball overs.
Generally these were quite good fun and enabled us to source a few players for the Sunday team when we were short. We actually got quite good, winning the 2nd Division in 1991 as well as reaching the cup semi-final where we lost narrowly to YMF mainly due to our wicket-keeper getting lost and a certain Frank Jacob running half the team out. As a result we successfully snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Other memorable games include the occasion at Pleck Park when we were 9 for 6 after about four and a bit overs chasing well over 110 to win. It was one of the times when Liggo was a hero (there were other occasions where this was not quite the case). Nattu joined him and Martin said ‘lets play out these two bowlers they may not have much else’. Martin and Nattu did, and the opposition didn’t have anything else and we won the match with a couple of balls to spare losing only Nattu along the way by which time only a few runs were needed.
Another memorable match, for different reasons, was played on a school pitch in Rushall. It was damp, as evidenced by the fresh hoof marks in the pitch, mainly on a length. This lead to some variable and quite dangerous bounce and around 35 runs were scored in the whole match with The Elf just scraping home by a couple of wickets.
It has always been a club policy, and one that continues to this day, to try and ensure everyone gets a game. Usually everything works out but once it nearly ended in disaster. Steve Fell was skipper and with 14 overs bowled the opposition needed a ridiculous number of runs to win. At the time we had a hospital porter playing for us called Eddie, full of enthusiasm but no talent with the bat and we’d never been in a position to see what he could do with the ball. Steve asked him to take the last over as we couldn’t lose. After the first six balls were wides, he started to think he’d made a slight error in judgment, the wides continued to come and the runs required started to reach getable proportions. Eddie did eventually start to put the ball on the pitch and the Health won the match, but he never bowled again.
After winning the 2nd Division the team continued in the 1st Division for a couple of seasons although it got harder to put out competitive teams. In the end the league folded at about the same time we would probably have stopped taking part.