Wellington Toil On Soggy Saturday
Wellington 4ths faced Welshpool on a tempestuous afternoon at Orleton Park.
Dark, wet and windy conditions moved into Wellington around lunchtime, making it extremely unlikely that a full game of cricket would transpire. However with our visitors having travelled so far it was only right that we at least tried; although judging by the faces of batsmen, fielders and umpires alike, it fair to say there was a strong reluctance from all quarters.
Naz Akhtar was certainly taking no risks when it came to the weather, donning his black Mickey Mouse sweatshirt as an improvised base layer for extra warmth. He took the new ball when Derick elected to bowl first; however, after just a solitary over the weather intervened and the team trudged off to push on the covers.
After a short delay, the shower had passed and Sam Topper resumed the bowling from the pavilion end. The youngster bowled a disciplined spell of 6 overs for 24 runs and was unlucky to finish empty-handed. Whilst Wellington huffed and puffed trying to make an early breakthrough, the sun made a brief but very welcome appearance. Floundering away under several layers, Naz now regretted the sweatshirt decision; he was eventually forced to stop the game in order to remove it, before handing it over to the umpire.
What respite there was from the conditions did not last, as we received another deluge of the wet stuff within the hour. With the sides again forced from the field, Naz used the opportunity to drive into town and withdraw his subs money. Anticipating another lengthy delay, he was in no rush, even finding time to put a bet on in the bookies and stock up on a few groceries; when he finally returned, his teammates were already back out in the field, toiling away one short.
Jonathan Black (3-45) came into the attack and bowled excellently, as did leg-spinner Lewis Gough (4-43). Gradually Wellington began to take wickets and bring themselves into the contest. However, no one had an answer to Welshpool’s opener, Nick Davies, who hit a splendid 103 with an array of fine shots, particularly off the back foot. Failure to remove him earlier on was ultimately the difference between a score of 120 or 130 and the eventual total of 201-9. Only one other Welshpool batsman registered double figures on the day.
Conditions continued to be against the playing of cricket. The ball absorbed so much moisture that it lost its shape entirely, ballooning out on one side like a meringue. It eventually had to be replaced for a drier, rounder version.
The distinctive Jonathan Penrose (42) – a bearded lumberjack of a batsman, with his ponytail tied up in a bunch on the top of his head – joined Davies in the middle and added fresh impetus to the final overs with some lusty blows. If Middle Earth had a cricket team, he'd be the first name on the team sheet. As for Wellington, the bowling and fielding standards dropped markedly during the final 15 overs, perhaps exhausted from all that cover-pushing.
It was 5 o’clock before tea was finally taken; and whilst everyone tucked into their well-deserved sandwiches, Derick attempted to navigate the revised batting targets for the second innings. As he grappled with run rates and percentages, the mother of all rainstorms finally came to put us all out of our misery.
Pools Panel: Home Win
Match report by David Ross