Murphy Cracks As Wellington Melt At Tibbo
After securing league and cup victories against Shifnal in the space of just a few days, the Thirds went into their fixture at Tibberton in some form.
Wellington’s young guns were understandably disappointed at not being led into Saturday’s match by regular skipper Steve Pitchford, who went under the surgeon’s knife this week. Pitchy is popular amongst the younger members of the team for his relaxed approach to the captaincy; in fact, he regularly lightens the mood during team-talks by spontaneously breaking into tricks, juggling and the occasional unicycle routine. However, with Steve out of action, the kids had no choice but to put up with the dour, supply-teacher vibe of stand-in captain David Ross.
Nevertheless, the glorious weather on Saturday did help to lighten the mood of the Wellington boys, at least to some extent. This was after all a welcome relief after the positively freezing conditions endured during the game against Shifnal the previous weekend. Jack Fishman looked particularly delighted at the seasonal shift, pitching up to the meet in his sunnies and beach clobber, and carrying his bucket and spade.
Ross called upon the experience of ex-skipper Duncan Taylor to assist him in this tricky looking fixture against a strong Tibberton outfit. He was only too pleased to make himself available for the game and rekindle his long-standing rivalry with his sparring partner “Chicken”. Much to his disappointment, the latter no longer plays for Tibberton, so Duncs spent the rest of the afternoon figuring out if he could wind up anyone else in the opposition’s line-up - with some success.
Otherwise the team arrived in varied levels of preparedness ahead of the match: Ian Murphy, for example, had bashed out a 10k mud run in the morning as his warm-up; whereas Alex Taylor’s final night at university – which involved Jaeger Bombs, up-skirt Snapchatting, an early train home, and no sleep – had left him in questionable shape.
Rosco lost the toss and Wellington faced the prospect of fielding first in the scorching sunshine. This was the cue for pasty-faced gloveman Alex Taylor to paint himself in Factor 40 Piz Buin as he tends to in such conditions. If the summer gets any hotter he’ll be keeping wicket in a burka come July.
The Wellington players were delighted to pinch the wicket of the dangerous Ryan Peart in the fourth over when he sliced a rank delivery from Alex Harris straight up in the air. However, our young seamer’s controlled spell pinned the Tibberton batsmen down, and this pressure contributed to a run out soon after – a mix-up that upset the victim so much he stormed home to cool off.
Tight bowling from Rosco and Jack Fishman helped to contain the Tibberton batsmen and bring about six cheap middle-order wickets in a good spell for the visitors. Firstly, opener and skipper Barge (17) took on the spinner and found only Jonny Black at mid-on, who brought the ball down beautifully on his chest – like Cantona in his prime – before snaffling the catch on the rebound. In the next over, another Tibbo batter was embarrassed by a Rosco pea-roller, before wicketkeeper Pooler again found Black, who held on, this time without the aid of his sternum.
At the other end, Fishy managed to get his mind off his upcoming holidays and applied himself to the task in hand, earning two LBWs and a converted snick for his six overs of toil. It was a fantastic performance from the youngster, whose 3-8 came bowling uphill from the end with the very short boundary. What is more, six of those eight runs came from just a single blow from Tibberton’s Cartwright in his final over.
It was Wellington’s inability to remove Cartwright, who hit 78 batting at number four, that saw them fail to fully capitalize on their position of 112-8. Tibbo’s ninth wicket added a costly 34 runs, before Lewis Gough got the prized wicket. From there, our opposition was eventually dismissed for 155 in the 42nd over.
Wellington’s reply faltered from the off. Openers Duncan Taylor and Bruce Harris both got inside edges on deliveries that bowled them for 4 and 7 respectively. However, Ian Murphy looked to be in ominous form despite his morning’s exertions. He dispatched a sumptuous six into the cornfield and in the process lost the ball, burying it in the undergrowth to such an extent that every player on the pitch was drafted in to help find it.
Murph seemed unimpressed with the amount of verbals the opposition were sending his way as he accumulated his 28 runs. So much so that when he feathered one to first slip and received a send-off from one or two of the Tibberton players, the usually laid-back and mild-mannered Wellington man flipped. “If any of us were any good at cricket we wouldn’t be playing at a school, would we?” he raged as he left the field. And so it continued for several minutes. His teammates were naturally unsympathetic; rather, Ian’s angry alter ego was so unexpected and downright hilarious that the whole team descended into hysterics at his expense. This Ned Flanders’ style outburst was the highlight of the day; we can only hope he gets sledged next week as well, just so we can be treated to a repeat performance.
Whilst Murph fought to regain his composure and win back the respect of his friends on the sidelines, Alex Harris and Corey Kernick came together to form a promising partnership. They both got to 13 – doubly unlucky, it transpires – before falling in consecutive overs. Wellington were now floundering on 65-5.
Yet whilst the ghostly, sun-creamed figure of Alex Taylor was still at the crease, Wellington had hope. Unfortunately though, the night before was beginning to catch up with our man. His uncomfortable ten-over vigil achieved just four runs before he fell LBW. At the other end, Jonny Black did his team credit as he batted diligently for 22, but Wellington’s tail melted around him like a Solero in the sun.
Whilst it was another disappointing batting display from Wellington, who fell 55 runs short in the final reckoning, there were some good bowling and fielding performances to encourage us moving forward. Next up: Willey.
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