Wait Goes On For 4th Team
Wellington 4th XI remain the only side in the club without a victory to their name in 2013 after another defeat, this time at Worfield.
However, this is not to tell the whole story. The 4ths gave as good as they got in this eventful encounter and were extremely unfortunate to lose the match.
Winning the toss, Wellington elected to bowl first. Young Sam Topper bounced back well from two early boundaries to finish with figures of 1-19 off his six overs, which included three maidens and a beautiful in-ducker that clipped the top of the off-stump. With a bit more luck, he would have had a second, but Alan Denver – summoning all the strength of Mr. Burns - failed to dislodge the bails with a leg-side stumping, despite making good contact with the timbers.
Naz Akhtar continued his fine form at the other end, claiming one wicket in a tight opening spell. However, neither bowler could dispense with Piers Rouwenhorst, whose 135 held the Worfield innings together (their next top scorer registered 13, in fact). His knock was not without chances; he survived two very ‘close’ stumping appeals, and was well caught on the mid-wicket boundary, only for fielder Dave Ross to place his right boot over the rope. Naz eventually cleaned him up in his second spell, but the damage had been done.
Once the opener was out, the Worfield innings reached a rapid conclusion. Martin 'The Missionary' Fears claimed one victim; meanwhile Michael Francis snaffled a four-fer in his first appearance of the season, including two in the final two balls. Unfortunately Mike may have to wait a couple of weeks to complete his hat-trick as he suffered a nasty blow to the foot whilst batting, which earned him a Saturday night in the Princess Royal - and a pair of crutches for good measure.
The final over of the innings included perhaps the shortest injury retirement in cricketing history. Darting for a quick single, one of the Worfield batsmen pulled a fetlock - and promptly hobbled off to the pavilion, cursing his luck. Number 11 replaced him; but he lasted just one ball, another victim for Francis. So after just a single delivery, the injured batsman was forced to drag himself back to the middle to have another go. To compound his misery, second time around, he too only lasted the one ball - and the innings was wrapped up.
Wellington’s reply to Worfield’s 194 started badly with Jamie Micklewright (0), Derick Benting (1) and Simon Topper (0) all falling in the opening exchanges. However, Denver (31) and Bruce Harris (84) came together at 15-3 to form a partnership that seemed to have taken Wellington to the brink of victory. They batted together for nearly 30 overs; when Denver fell, the score had progressed to 150, with plenty of overs left in hand and the home side looking dejected.
Bruce was at his bullish best, bludgeoning his way to the team’s highest individual score of the season (our first fifty, in fact) with a series of boundaries. Wellington also benefitted from 41 extras (including 26 wides) from an attack that was at times wayward. However, when the big Zimbabwean was caught at long-on, shortly after the caught-and-bowled dismissal of Denver, the side’s innings completely fell apart – slumping depressingly to 167 all out.
However, Worfield’s cause was helped by the contribution of the home umpire, who offered up two LBWs – of Sam Topper and Michael Francis – in one crucial over; and followed it up with a creative caught behind decision to end Martin Fears two overs later. All of which left last pair David Ross and Lewis Gough requiring an unlikely 35 to win. When Lewis was well bowled by a slower ball, the game was up with Wellington just 27 runs short.
Match report by David Ross