Captain Topper Remains Unbeaten
By David Ross
Wellington 5ths kept up their excellent start with a narrow victory over Madeley thanks to a great all-round performance from Ryan Lloyd.
For the third game running Captain Topper won the toss and he put his side in to bat.
Chris Newbold (13) and newly promoted from the 6th's Ben Harrison (6) got things under way for the home team.
After his unbeaten 40 the week before in division 6 Ben found himself at the top of the order for the 5's.
Newbold found a bit of form and looked good opening the innings. It was a good, controlled 13 which saw some lovely strokes before top edging a short delivery trying to pull it to the boundary ropes. Matt Earley walked out at 3 and then back just as quickly, followed closely by Ben Harrison & Henry Davies. A mini collapse saw the home side in an unfamiliar position as they were reduced to 27-4 and it was very much backs against the wall.
Madeley were buoyant and in control of the game at this point and could almost smell & taste victory over the in form Wellington side. Captain Simon Topper (18) & Umair Nawaz (21) were in next at 5 and 6 respectively as they looked to steady the ship and give Wellington a chance at defending a realistic target. That they did. The pair batted very well at a difficult time, sensibly and without risk which helped to ease Wellington back in to the game. Umair fell next at 81/5. A few more wickets fell for not many as Simon was caught and Shehan and Andy Howells both fell with Wellington at 98/8. Enter the star of the show Ryan Lloyd (35)* & Kumar "I won the batting averages 3 years ago" Singh (24)*.
Some big powerful hitting and a fantastic partnership between the two not only gave Wellington something to defend but on a wicket that was tough to score on it gave all involved a chance.
Both Ryan and Kumar batted with great maturity, not giving much away and punishing some bowling at the end. Each boundary and ball being applauded by the home team from the sidelines. Both finished not out and gave themselves as bowlers a very respectable target to defend as the Wellington innings ended at 164/8 after the scheduled 40 overs.
The mood changed after the fantastic end by Ryan & Kumar and Wellington came out in confidence.
Kumar & Shehan got things going and it was a fairly slow and subdued start. Kumar hit first clean bowling the opener as Wellington had a spell fairly similar to the one they found themselves in early on in their own innings. 3 more wickets in fairly quick succession saw Madeley reduced to 29/4 with Shehan and Kumar sharing the wickets. For long periods Wellington seemed in control as some tight bowling from the opening pair kept Madeley well below the required run rate. A change of bowling saw Henry Davies come in and his bowling had the Madeley batsman dancing around. The score was kept low for long periods. Ryan Lloyd taking 2 wickets in his first spell. A further wicket by Kumar saw Madeley reduced to a staggering 43/8. From there Wellington just couldn't buy a wicket and all involved had to dig deep and really try and grind out the result they so badly wanted. The Madeley batsman number 8 & number 10 stepped right up for their side and got to 46 & 43 respectively after some good batting. The overs were running out and Wellington were trying everything in their power to try and get the last 2 wickets. Newly promoted Matthew Armstrong bowled a 3 over spell midway through and fielded well in his first game for the 5th X1.
Matt Earley had 5 overs at the end and got a breakthrough, bowling the number 10. It was tense stuff. 1 wicket needed and it came down to the very last over of the game. You couldn't have wrote the script!
It was a gritted and determined display from the Madeley lads who were not willing to give their wicket away cheaply.
Cometh the hour cometh the man. Ryan Lloyd did just that. In the last over of the game Ryan stormed in off his usual run up and with the 1st ball of his and the teams last over he sent the bails flying and the last man packing as everyone chased him to celebrate victory.
It really was a fantastic game by both teams which went right to the wire. A game in which again all of the Wellington lads contributed towards and one which was enjoyed by all.
It was a third straight victory for Simon's 5th X1 which saw them top the table in Division 4A in a run they will try to continue.