The Full Monty
Saturday’s romp in Powys has got the 3rd team believing in miracles.
Wellington’s bowlers put in an outstanding performance on what turned out to be a brief visit to Montgomery at the weekend. Despite winning the toss and choosing to bat first, the home side were scuttled out for just 53 as Pitchy’s men sent out a strong warning to their Division Two rivals.
Opening bowler Ben Keeble set the tone for a memorable win with an incredible four-wicket salvo, careering down the hill and smashing through the Montgomery top-order. In just his second over, he removed one of the Monty openers to a smart catch from Matty Simmonds, who was back behind the stumps. He repeated the feat in his next over: a carbon copy - bowled Keeble, caught Simmonds - and number three was on his way.
Keebs recharged and was soon sending opener Tim Davies packing, bereft of his off-stump which went spinning down the hill. Visibly delighted, Pitchy still couldn’t take his mind off the pre-match bombshell: his in-form opening bowler will soon be moving to London.
Jack Fishman was not prepared to let this become a one-man show and staked his claim to fill his senior partner's boots as he toiled away up the bank. He removed would-be adult actor Aaron Ruff-Cock to a sharp catch at gully by Corey Kernick.
Monty were now floundering on 9 for 4, and one ball later it could have been worse. Fishy again found the edge, but it landed in the hands of Ian Murphy at slip, who juggled it for a bit, toppled over, and finally dropped it. It was perhaps the longest drop in cricket history; when the ball eventually hit the turf, it came as a relief to everyone.
On a day when Wellington did very little wrong, this alone earned Smurph - poised to make his debut for the UK Fire Service against Northumberland CCC this week - the TFC award.
However, that setback did not unsettle Wellington in the slightest. Keeble picked up a fourth wicket in the final over of what would be a match-winning opening spell.
Keebs was replaced by Ryan Lloyd, but still there was no let up; the youngster bowled five maidens out of seven overs as Wellington refused to let Monty off the hook. Lloydy picked up the key wicket of Sam Williams (12), the only batsmen to score double figures for the Welsh side. He was caught at cover by Gouldy.
At 38 for 6, Wellington had a clean run at the tail - and they were ruthless. Spinner David Ross joined the attack and greedily helped himself to the remaining four wickets. Montgomery were all out for 53, having only hit two boundaries in the game.
Wellington’s players sprung off the field for a well-earned - and excellent - tea. Meanwhile, Pitchy contemplated how he might be able to get Keebs to stay for the whole season, toying with the idea of sabotaging his relationship.
The run-chase happened in a blur. Ben Gould clearly had a tenner on the Cup Final, as he was in no mood to hang about in Wales any longer than strictly necessary. Despite only needing 54 for victory, Gouldy incredibly managed to smash an unbeaten half century with nine fours and a six. Ben was delighted with what is, as far as he is aware, his first fifty for the Club.
Only the dismissal of fellow opener Sam Topper (3) late in the innings dampened the mood as Wellington got home with nine wickets to spare in just the ninth over.
The 3rds can be proud of another fantastic performance and enter June unbeaten in both league and cup. Hopes remain high for a memorable season, with Bishops Castle up next at home on Saturday.