Singing In The Rain
Wellington 2nd XI approached Saturday's fixture with league leaders Attock in fine spirits, with five victories in a row and six wins from seven games
Match report by Stewart Black
All week the selected XI players had kept close attention to the weather forecast, as a chance of heavy rain was being predicted for the most of Saturday.
On arriving to the ground, there was a real buzz and spirit about team even though the weather was as predicted…. gloomy. Eager to impress, the Wellington boys went through their normal and precise warm up with plenty quality and class to make a statement to the table toppers Attock.
However eight members of the Attock side arrived around ten past twelve and decided the best warm up was to spark up and have a casual cigarette.
This warm up however should not be snubbed, as it had worked a few weeks ago for fourth team dynamo Naz Aktar who took 8 wickets in a single league match.
For the first time in five weeks Skipper Steve lost toss and with eight men and no umpire, Attock decided to try and put an end to Wellington’s run and bowl first. This was a decision that Attock rarely choose, due to their desire and love for aggressive batting and hatred for fielding. Not to mention having only eight players to start the match!
The game was to be played on the same wicket as the previous week, which towards the end of last weeks match was starting to behave like a naughty teenager with an ASBO. Spitting everywhere.
Wellington’s side was missing three regular top order batsmen with Geordie opening combo Steve Lamb (Ant) and Dan Candlish (Dec), who were away to record their popular weekend TV show Saturday Night Takeaway. Also team favorite Tom Saunders was away due to traffic cone duties.
Down came Sam Lloyd (beep, beep, beep) after pulling out of first team action with what seemed to be a Chinese burn on his leg. Dan Pilkington (Pilks) came back into the side to keep guard behind the pins and Robert Blackie (Blackie?) made his first appearance of the season after a year after returning from university.
Wellington got their innings underway with Sam Lloyd and Dan Vaughan opening the batting. A few nice strokes were played but Wellington found them selves 20 for 1 after Sam Lloyd got one that popped off a length, hit his glove and rolled onto the stumps.
Wellington quickly moved onto 40 for 1 with Nick Mitchell and Dan Vaughan playing some classy strokes. But shortly after reaching 43 for 1, Nick got a short delivery, which zipped off the pitch, was edged and caught brilliantly at first slip.
To the crease came in form hitter Matty Shawcross (Borecross) who looked solid from the outset and very quickly stamped his class on the innings. Matty was scoring nicely until the first rain delay came.
The rain delay was short lived and the players were back out in the middle to do battle. But shortly after returning Wellington lost their second wicket of Dan Vaughan. This left Wellington on 65 for 3 but with only 11 overs gone.
For a team running away with the league title Attock looked ragged in the field and very lose with their bowling. Wellington were cashing in on several wide deliveries and pushed on to 95 for 3 until Stew Black chipped out to mid wicket.
In came Captain Mouler who was to batting for the first time since Shifnal over 4 weeks ago. Mouler grafted well and nudged his way to 11 and put on a tidy partnership and assisted Matty to his 50.
Wellington moved quickly past the 100 mark as Matty punished some very poor bowling on what was a bowler friendly wicket.
Wellington were quickly pegged back when Skipper Steve looking for a maximum, slog swept a delivery straight down deep mid wickets throat. This left Wellington on 130 for 5 and threating to ruin what was building up to a large score on this old and wet wicket.
Gagging for a bat, in came Robbie Clarke and showed that aggressive hitting was the way to go. With some clean strikes he supported Matty Shawcross well and hit a nice maximum straight back over the league’s supposed leading wicket taker.
Eventually Robbie and Matty’s innings came to and end, but it left Wellington with what seemed a huge 223 of 50 overs.
But with the one rain break, Wellingtons total would be reduced to 206 but Attock only had 42 overs in which to get the required runs. On a pitch that was very bowler friendly and a team that are very aggressive at the crease, Wellingtons target looked challenging indeed.
With the weather holding off during the tee interval, the second half got underway and with the usual opening pair of Matt Stinson (Stinto) from the road end and Tim Dean (blonde bombshell) at the Wrekin end.
Deano (7-0-33-0) showed great effort and bowled a good line and length but for no reward. Amir Gohar (31) decided he was going to annoy the Wellington boys by chipping the ball to every unorthodox part of the ground.
Stinto (5-0-29-2) from the road end claimed the first wicket two wickets and put the table toppers on the back foot at 23 for 2.
At this point the Wellington boys were rocking and showing why they mean business for the rest of the campaign.
Eventually Amir Gohar was removed when Skipper Steve decided to bring himself on, replacing Matty Stinson. One slog sweep attempt to many and Big Steve slid in through the gate and made a mess of the skinny wooden pillars.
Captain Moulers spell of 6-2-14-1 was proving to be very valuable as Attock started falling way behind the required run rate, which would be taken into account if there was to be another stoppage for rain.
Replacing Deano, on came Robbie Clarke from the Wrekin end as Skipper Steve used his muscle and captaincy to get his preferred road end. Robbie was slightly worried with the very short boundary on the leg side, as he likes to give it some air and lure the batsman into playing aggressively. But like the skipper himself, Robbie bowled a very controlled spell of 7-0-23-1, which with rain in the air put huge pressure on Attock.
With Attock 87 for 4, Nick Mitchell replaced Captain Mouler from the road. Nick bowled a lose first over and got dispatched to all parts of the ground. But! In Nicks third over, a huge wicket of skipper Mohin Kahn proved to be vital.
With Attock 120 for 5, the heavens opened and the covers where called upon to perform their duties. Great. With Attock well behind the rate, Wellington were in position to win.
The Wellington boys took the time out to reminisce of old notorious clubbing nights out, while both umpires and captains started to work out how much time was being lost.
With the Wellington boys ready to hit the showers, the rain suddenly stopped. “We’ll never go back on, look at it!” were the remarks from the Wellington camp, “Gotta wait 15 mins to dry ant we!”.
In came the Skipper declaring, “We shall be heading out for 1 final over and Attock need 11 to win…. I think?”.
Whilst the Wellington lads removed the covers, Big Al, Big Steve and Big Mohin decided to get out the Birmingham League Survival Guide and double check that the algorithm had been correctly calculated. I’m sure that Mouler phoned Rachel Riley to ensure that Al Colby’s arithmetic was up to scratch but a total was agreed.
Mean while the Wellington boys were very miffed that they would have to return to field and Attock only required 11 from 1 over. With the dangerous Rahid Salim at the crease, this target was easily getable. All the hard work looked like it was about to come crashing down and this great run of 5 wins, was coming to an end.
Suddenly the total, which originally decided as 11 had changed to 13, but then altered again and agreed to be a whopping 24 from 1 remaining over.
Now the Wellington lads were eager to get on the field and finish this, face off style. Captain Mouler with overs to spare, declared William Wallace style, that he would be the one to bowl the final over of the day.
The final over was superbly bowled and restricted Attock to only 6 runs and with 3 balls remaining the Wellington boys were already starting to celebrate. Wellington had continued their great run and beaten top of the league for only the second time this season.
With this win Wellington made it 6 in a row and 7 wins from 8 games.
Back in the changing rooms the spirit was high and the music blaring. Also the winner of this week’s mankini was chosen. Congratulations to Sam Lloyd on becoming the 8th winner of the green smelly skinny beach suit.
With a big bank holiday weekend coming up, this victory was immensely important to Wellingtons push for promotion. With only teams below Wellington left to play, promotion is a real prospect for this terrific bunch of players. Also, Skipper Steve has several selection headaches with three key players returning to this victorious side.
Well done boys and good luck for this Saturday, lets make it 40 points over the bank holiday weekend.