The Perfect Storm
Wellington’s 3rd XI saw their hopes of victory against Beacon dashed by an intense and untimely thunderstorm at Frankwell.
Match report by David Ross
Just four of the heroes of last week’s victory over Willey remained for this clash, with several players away for holidays, social engagements and the observance of religious festivals. In came Gary Davies and Ben Keeble from the 4th XI; whilst Matt Earley, Kumar Singh and Simon Topper were fast-tracked up from the 5ths. There was also a rare appearance from ex-skipper Duncan Taylor; and youngster Sam Topper came in to bolster the captain’s bowling options.
Pitchy won the toss and decided to bowl first in a match reduced to 40-overs-a-side with showers forecast for late afternoon. With misogynistic pig Ben Pilkington and femme fatale Rachael Howells both running out for the 2nd XI, Wellington fielded a new-look new-ball pairing of Ben Keeble and Kumar Singh. Pressure was applied to the Beacon openers with economical bowling in the first 10 overs, but few wicket-taking chances were created. Nevertheless, the batsmen conspired to gift Wellington a breakthrough: after nearly running themselves out on several occasions, both men somehow found themselves at the same end, giving Si Topper the easy job of dismissing one of them – although which one, nobody was quite sure.
Pitchy brought in-form tweaker David Ross into the attack shortly before drinks. However, after just a couple of overs, he swooped to gather the ball in the field and – ‘Ping!’ – pulled his hamstring. Struggling through the pain, the bowler reluctantly gestured to the skipper that he needed to be replaced at the end of the over. Although as it happened, Ross’s very next delivery yielded the priceless wicket of the big-hitting Reynolds – and a sudden change of heart. “I think I’ll be able to carry on now Steve…the Deep Heat is kicking in…”
It was this moment that provided the game’s only flashpoint. Prowling the boundary at long off, Pitchy had watched as Reynolds smashed the ball down the ground like a laser-guided missile. The skipper ran sharply to his right, hurled himself ungraciously and held a staggering catch - the best of his career, he later confessed. Or was it? Beacon’s 2nd XI, gathered near the adjacent pitch, were adamant that the fielder had touched the rope. Pitchy protested: “I’m no cheat, dudes.” After some deliberation, the fielder’s word was taken and the game resumed.
From this point, Wellington took regular wickets to keep the Beacon scoring in check. The one-legged Ross completed a 12-over spell, claiming 4 wickets. There was also a victim apiece for Sam Topper and Ben Keeble, returning for his second spell. Beacon eventually made what seemed like a par score of 201-7, eminently chase-able.
Wellington opened up with Shropshire cricketing Judas Chris Sheperd and the experienced stalwart Duncan Taylor. Shep hit some nice boundaries to get the chase underway before he was undone by a one-handed grab at cover for 18. Gary Davies joined Big Duncs in the middle and the pair began to lay the foundations for the side’s run-chase.
Whilst the gripping tussle between bat and ball kept those watching enthralled, the dark clouds slowly began to build up behind Theatre Severn. As the thunder began to rumble, Duncan called for a cap, fearing his metal helmet may invite a deadly lightening strike.
And then the heavens opened. Driven from the field in 16th over, the game was delicately poised with Wellington on 49-1. However, the barrage of rain that fell extinguished any hope of a result in a matter of minutes (see picture above).