Kumar's Five-fer Not Enough For Fifths
Kumar Singh takes another five wickets, but Wellington 5ths still suffer their first defeat of the season.
Simon Toppers table topping Wellington 5th X1 suffered their first defeat of the season in a well contested game at Orleton Park in a dull & gloomy Sunday afternoon.
After all the games were called off on Saturday it looked doubtful at best that there would be any cricket played in Wellington at all over the weekend. After rain all day on Saturday the sun made a brief appearance late in the day and as it stayed relatively dry the game was permitted to take place on the 3rd team pitch to the delight of all involved.
Simon won his 5th straight toss of the season and elected to have a bowl at the visitors.
The skipper gave his usual team talk to the lads before play started, in which Matt Earley had to bring something up to the team and star opening bowler Kumar in particular. It had been noted that Kumar when on 4 wickets just wasn’t being ruthless and it was decided that this was solely down to jug avoidance whether conscious or not! Therefore it was an incentivised chat where Matt declared that for every 5 wicket hall Kumar takes both he and Captain Simon will pay for his jug of Stella. However every time he doesn’t get 5 then he buys the jug for the team to share. It was agreed and everyone went out knowing their jobs and roles within the side. Typically Kumar took 5 with the skipper taking the catch for his 5th wicket of the day. As agreed captain and vice were true to their word and a jug was purchased after play had finished. Back to cricket.
It was the formidable Kumar “Nacho 007” Singh who got things going for the home side, bowling at the opening left handed batsman. After an unusual wide to start, Kumar pitched one up at the end of his 1st over. A big leading edge high in the air backwards was chased down by Matt Earley and brilliantly taken to get off to the best possible start. 1/1 after the first over.
George Topper opened up from the other end bowling extremely well in his 6 over spell as Wellington kept the score down and the pressure on the visitors. George took a wicket in his spell clean bowling the number 5 batsman and ended on very good figures of 6/0/14/1.
Wellington kept the pressure on and further wickets came around the Whitchurch young opener who went on to very respectable and well deserved 65. It was a great innings by the young man who shown a lot of patience and class. Without many chances being presented he didn’t quite connect with one that was hit to mid-wicket where the teams pro for the day Dan Pilkington was waiting. It wasn’t quite picked up as Dan covered ground before taking the catch expertly and cleanly high above his head as Wellington got the danger man late on in the game.
After a fantastic start Wellington seemed to dip a little as Whitchurch got a foothold in the game. A few fortunate shots and some good mid-order batting helped to set up their innings total and Wellington needed to make changes and work hard for the remaining wickets.
Further wickets late on by Umair Nawaz and Alex Brasenall both bowling spin came late on in the day. The best spin bowling display however belonged to Athar Mehmood. Athar after a nervy first few balls got things right and at times he was unplayable. He ended without reward yet with great figures of 8/1/18/0 which helped to tighten things up and keep Wellington in the game.
A run out late in the day saw Matt Earley chase down an eager 1 run and his throw ran out the young number 10 batsman without facing a ball.
Despite being so close Wellington just couldn’t buy the final wicket and time ran out. Arguably as a team they gave away a few too many runs (despite some good keeping behind the stumps by Ben Lee, who kept well all day) It was the last few overs where the visitors had a go as the men at the crease hit out and tried to post a score as high as possible to defend.
Nevertheless Wellington bowled and fielded very well as a team, with all involved and reduced the visitors to a score of 135/9 after the scheduled 40 overs.
After tea Wellington came out with in form Chris Newbold (23) & young prospect Matty Simmonds (0) opening the batting. Whitchurch opened up with their star man and opening young batsman who bowled as well as he batted. Some good variety and pace proving a test for the openers. Matty kept a few out before being undone by a slower varied delivery as like the visitors Wellington lost a wicket in the first over of their innings.
He was replaced by Matt Earley (13). Matt was in supporting Newby for around 3 overs until he finally faced a ball. Both dug in and did well to keep out some fantastic opening bowling at both ends. Wellington came back in to the game as both started to score from either end. Some good shots by Newbold including a huge full toss 6 dispatched into the field and narrowly avoiding the sheep. The opening bowling was pacey and Newbold felt the full brunt of it as a full ball on his legs crashed in to his foot.
Matt at the other end dug out the good balls and also put away anything with width with the pick being a big 6 hit square picked off his legs. It was Matt who went next, clean bowled after a good delivery from the skiddy, pacey opener. 2 down for not many it was down to Dan Pilkington (6) to support Chris. Dan dug in and like those before him, did well to keep out some good varied opening bowling. A change of bowling saw Dan’s bails clipped after a good ball from the 1st change bowler.
Wellington were under pressure and lost further wickets as Newbs was dismissed, clean bowled by the opener just before a short rain delay interrupted the days play. Ben Lee was due to replace Newbs however he had to wait until play resumed to do so. Unfortunately Ben’s time at the crease was short lived after he too was undone by some very good, tight bowling.
This was not in the script. The young lads who had taken cover in with the scorers were not prepared or padded up so all ran in to the changing rooms to get ready and set for their time at the crease. Whitchurch were cruising and clearly buoyant. It was up to the skipper Simon Topper (21)* and Umair Nawaz (4) to stay there and try to give Wellington a glimmer of getting back in to the game. In fairness that they did. Simon batted without risk and kept his wicket in what was needed. If Wellington were to try and salvage anything from the game then it was imperative that they collectively bat every ball of the scheduled 40 overs. Umair and Simon were going nicely until Umair went down in a heap after facing a ball from the pacey opener. Clearly troubled he had to come off injured. He was replaced by Athar Mehmood (0) who was bowled early on as the game got further away from Wellington’s clutches. Kumar Singh (1) after his fantastic bowling spell and recent batting prowess was in at 9 and like a few before him that was also short lived as he was run out.
George Topper (3) came in to try and put on a father & son partnership. Both batted well and did so for some time until George was bowled. Umair was still due back in with a runner but it was Alex Brasenall (16) who came in at 11. He and Simon put on a great partnership and got Wellington within touching distance as the game came towards the end. Alex batting brilliantly seeing off some good bowling and like Simon playing some great scoring shots and running well between the wickets as Wellington got to within touching distance of the required total. A great partnership that sadly came to an end with 2 overs remaining as Alex was bowled by the returning opening bowler.
Umair came back in complete with runner (Matty Simmonds) as around 9 an over was needed for victory. A few more were added before Umair & Runner were run out by the opening bowler as Whitchurch got their last man to secure victory at table topping Wellington.
It was a well contested game played in good spirits that went right to the wire.
Despite their first loss of the season this doesn’t change things so much at the top of the table. Division 4a now has 3 teams all on 92 points at the top. Wellington, Whitchurch and Worfield.
Worfield are the hosts next Sunday as Simon’s 5th X1 will look to bounce back with victory in the table topping clash.
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