The Wally With The Brolly
Wellington 4th XI recorded their best result of the season after holding out for a draw against a strong Newport 2nd XI.
Without a win all season, the 4ths were able to call on the services of Scott De Weymarn, who has just returned to the country from a year away playing rugby in Australia, as they entertained a side in contention at the right end of the table. It was suggested, only partly in jest, that with a front row of Benting, Harris and Denver we might forego the cricket and instead settle the points over a game of Egg Chasing.
In a sharp break from Newport CC tradition, there were no brown envelopes of cash being handed out to Wellington players this Saturday; rather, it was cricketing lessons that were on offer, as our opposition crashed their way to 241-6 in a blistering last 15 overs.
Such a large total was disappointing after Wellington had put in a solid first 25 overs to restrict Newport to 70-3. Breakthrough came from a sharp run-out by Lewis Gough, a result of the pressure Naz and Azaad had built up with the new ball; meanwhile, first-change Sam Topper continued his impressive bowling this season, claiming 2-23 off his allotted 6 overs.
However, the second half of the innings saw a general lapse in standards, especially in terms of fielding. Several crucial catches were spilled, whilst the batsmen seemed able to ‘tip and run’ without any danger of actually being run out.
Before the game, resident “Statto” Martin Fears had handed out some team statistics for the current season to all the players. Those with a keen eye might have spotted that our average innings score prior to the game was just 122. In that context, 242 to win always seemed like a tall order – and so it proved.
At the top of the order, Jamie Micklewright (0), Derick Benting (8) and Scott De Weymarn (0) made little impact and the team found itself in familiar territory. As always, Alan Denver was Wellington’s talisman and limited the damage with a well-crafted 39, before he chopped a wide onto his timbers, much to his evident disgust. Elsewhere there was little resistance to the Newport onslaught from the Wellington middle order.
Indeed the only danger to Newport’s apparent march to victory seemed to be the weather, which drove the teams from the field with Wellington 7 wickets down. Sensing the possibility of abandonment, Derick strolled out to the middle, armed with a golf umbrella and a pint of larger, but his rain-dance only irritated the opposition. As the rain relented, the Rat was heckled from the pitch: “The Wally With The Brolly.”
It was true, Derick did closely resemble the hopeless, umbrella-wielding figure of Steve McClaren as he looked to the heavens, watching his side slump to what was surely their eighth defeat of the season. Yet Wellington’s salvation would not come from above but from the gritty resistance of young Sam Topper (22*) and top-of-the-averages tail-ender David Ross (17*, all through the slips), who occupied the crease for the last 15 overs of the match to see the side to a hard-fought losing draw.
Up next Saturday: league leaders Ludow away. Pack the brolly, Derick.
Match report by David Ross