All Change For Pitchy
Steve Pitchford rang the changes in a lacklustre end of season encounter; but for his 3rd XI, it was an all-too-familiar result against Grove.
Match report by David Ross
Basement boys Grove were relegated last week after they were deducted points for fielding an ineligible player in a fixture against Ellesmere. (As it happened, that player was Wellington-registered Scott De Weymarn, who racked up a century under the pseudonym “A. Stott”.)
Neither side therefore had much riding on this match. The Wellington players hoped that Grove might field another ringer (perhaps an ex-international?) to at least add some extra spice to the fixture, but not even the elusive Stott made an appearance amongst the opposition’s 10 men.
Pitchy’s men bowled first having lost the toss. Leading wicket-taker Ben Pilkington looked out of sorts in the early stages; he was clearly showing the ill-effects of attending Tim Dean’s 18th birthday the night before. Pitchy pulled him off (Oi, Oi!) in the wake of a 10-ball over; but not before he had conspired to remove the Grove opener to a great catch from full-size, Warwick Davis-lookalike Duncan Taylor.
Youngster Jack Fishman shared the new ball with Pilks and did an excellent job, bowling 6 overs for just 14 runs. Only the butter fingers of Smasher at gully denied him a first 3rd team wicket, as he dropped a chance he could have quite literally swallowed.
In a match that lacked any kind of competitive atmosphere, both sides seemed intent on simply fulfilling the fixture and enjoying themselves. As such, nobody among the Wellington ranks seemed to mind too much when Smasher shelled a second catch at gully. Thankfully, he was denied the chance of an unwanted hat-trick by Pitchy’s good grace, who moved him to mid-wicket.
Unfortunately, there was no reciprocal sympathy for the Captain when he dived to take a sky-er at mid-on (he started at mid-off) and put his shoulder out. Instead, his teammates simply pointed out that he’d lost a yard of pace during the season; and suggested he might need to put in ‘some hard hours on his unicycle’ over the winter. Who'd be a WCC captain, eh?
For the record, Wellington shared the wickets about during the first innings: two for Rosco; two for Shep, who was given the rare chance to turn his arm over; and two in Pilko’s much-improved second spell. There was also a run out from Sam Topper, who for once managed to rein his monster arm in sufficiently to allow Matt Dickenson to remove the bails. Grove reached 123-8 off their 40 overs.
Former Wellington 2nd team bowler ‘Dangerous’ Dave Shaw got Mark O’Connor and Alex Harris early on (in a much-changed batting line-up), as the run-chase began with a wobble.
Opening up with Smasher was last week’s number 11, Sam Topper, who demonstrated just how wrong Pitchy’s batting orders can be by anchoring the Wellington innings beautifully with 36. There will be plenty more to follow next season on this showing.
Meanwhile, there were also good contributions from youngsters Fishman (12) and Pilkington (13*) and vet' Duncs (18) as Wellington progressed slowly to the target, which was reached in the 35th over for the loss of 8 wickets. However, with the batting line-up inverted, and Chris Sheperd and David Ross not required, the victory was perhaps more comfortable than that.
It's been an excellent season for the 3rd XI, who registered 13 victories in their 22 games; finishing a comfortable third in the league, 31 points behind Market Drayton (but 50 ahead of Beacon in fourth).
As for Captain Pitchy, there was little time to reflect on a great campaign. In a well-orchestrated practical joke, his entire side had organised to pay their match fees in spare change. He was still tallying up on Monday morning.