Ellesmere Edge Out Wellington Thirds
Wellington 3rds suffered an agonizing defeat at the hands of Ellesmere on Saturday, falling just nine runs short of victory.
Chasing 150 to win, Steve Pitchford’s men had been cruising along inside the first 15 overs of their reply, reaching 79-1 with little fuss. However, the loss of Bruce Harris for 42 and Ian Murphy for 21 in quick succession, at a point when the pair looked to be carrying the game away from Ellesmere, changed the complexion of the match. When Alex Harris – in at number 4 – was dismissed for 1 to a catch at point, 79-1 had become 81-4.
What had looked like a cakewalk for Wellington became an uphill task after this sudden collapse. Alex Taylor (27) and Corey Kernick (23) both looked like they might ultimately steer the side to victory, but wickets continued to fall around them. In the end, Ellemere’s bowlers blew the Wellington tail away, leaving the home side stranded on 141 and bowled out inside 35 overs.
Earlier in the day a spirited bowling performance from Wellington’s two spinners – David Ross (5-31) and Henry Davies (4-39) – had checked a promising opening from Ellesmere, who collapsed from 85-1 to 110-7. However, a stubborn eighth wicket partnership of 31 took Ellesmere to a par score of 149, before they were finally bowled out on the last ball of the innings.
Wellington’s bowling and fielding display was greatly improved on the opening day’s performance at Condover. Good catches from Pitchy, a one-handed Bruce special and a skier held by Henry were backed up by excellent ground fielding throughout. Alex Taylor – last year’s surprise bowling package – returned behind the stumps and looked like he’d never been away. Nevertheless, some bowling indiscipline contributed to the concession of 26 extras; in the final reckoning this was a telling total. There were 6 extras in the second innings.
Wellington’s defeat in this one was difficult to take and largely preventable. After a strong start in the run-chase the required rate was little over 2 runs per over for most of the innings. In this context, the way in which wickets were surrendered so cheaply was deeply disappointing. Pitchy will be hoping his side can put together a more complete performance next week versus Shifnal 3rds.
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