Frankton My Dear, We Might Need A Damn
Chris Newbold and captain Simon Topper helped Wellington to a commanding, match-winning total against Frankton 3rds.
Report by Kevin Vaughan
If Mealoaf thought “2 put of three aint bad” then he’d be mightly impressed with Table topping Wellington 5ths who looked to make it 6 out of 7 and extend their lead at the top of Division 4a when they hosted 5th placed Frankton 3rds at Orleton Park on Sunday.
With the first 4 teams all having their games called off due to Miami-esq storms all day Saturday and the 6ths with a free week, it meant the famous 5’s had the weight of the whole club on their shoulders. After the ground staff had cleared the GB water polo team off the second pitch in the morning, and the sun come had come out, the game was all set to start on time in the baking sun at 1-30.
Simon Topper’s customary loss off the toss lead to being asked to pad up first so the skipper, partnered by Chris Newbold, set out to give the home side a good platform to build an innings on.
Franktons young looking side had only 3 adults playing 1 of which was playing his first game ever. Upon arriving to the ground, they could have been mistaken for the Anthill Mob made famous by the wacky racers cartoons such was the way their cars were crammed in the back with youngsters. Unfortunatley for the young side, they found Wellingtons Chris Newbold in great touch as he blasted his way to 50 in the first 15 overs.
Despite the sun blaring at the start of play, there were several false alarms during the innings, a few times the heavens opened with a desperate dash to the covers to prep them for action, luckily, as hard as the rain tried, it was just not quite enough to allow an interruption to the innings. This was great news for the Wellington sides building momentum as despite the outfield being slow and pudding-esq due to the heavy rain in the lead up to the game, the 5ths managed to score quickly with some solid strikes to the boundary and positive running between the wickets putting them up near 5 an over for most of the innings.
When Newbold was dismissed for 70. Wellington were on top in the game, As relieved as Frankton were to see the back of Newbs, the last person you want to see coming out to the crease when the side is scoring quickly is the personification of fast runs, Matt Early(37) who also for the second week in a row added a quickfire score to plump up the score. Si Topper(59no) seeing his partners come and go playing a skippers innnings once again, anchoring the side and getting his rewards come the end of the innings. Alex Brasenall (5) came in to partner Tops looking to add some quick runs before being bowled then with the score almost at 200 in the 34th over, Kevin Vaughan (4no) came out to continue the momentum although all he did was upset the groundsman after digging out a length ball putting a divot in the pitch. After a somewhat agricultural hook in the next over and 206 on the board, Si couldn’t bare to bat with him any longer at risk of the pitch looking like the surface of the moon so called time on the innings giving the visitors an extra 4 overs extra. Although in his thinking would have been the weather which was looking more and more ominous…
During the lunch break, the covers looked like they were needed and delay to the game may occur. Fortunately, by the time the annoyed groundstaff, still reeling from the £50’s worth of polyfiller ploughed into the wicket from Vaughans hack, had them ready to go on, the metaphorical taps were turned off and the sun came back out.
With 206 to defend from 44 overs not only were Wellington needing to bowl out Frankton, they also needed to do it quickly before the weather set in and possibly caused an abandoned game.
The ever reliable Kumar Singh got things going early on, bowling the opener Wigley for a duck. Backed up at the impressive Ryan Lloyd who saw off the other opener in the next over followed by Dylan Evans in his next over, Wellington made the start to the innings that’s become synonymous this season. Not to be outdone, Shehan ‘Yaya Toure’ Gunawardena who had calmed down from the week before after Alex Brasenall brought him a cake for his birthday to stop a transfer request going in, also picked up 2 mid innings wickets along with George Topper who combined with Matt Early to take to almost identical wickets with the batsmen scooping the ball into Matthews’ hands at silly mid.
7 down with the weather looming, the 5ths needed to act quick to wrap up the result before the dark clouds casted their decisive contents on the game despite having 20 overs left in which to do it. Several different fielding combinations including Kumar making a cameo in the slips and bowling changes were struggling to unlock 9,10 & Jack. Not helped by some poor catching, Wellington were reaching a frustrating point similar to the week before where they just about got over the line. Luckily the ‘twins’ - Jason Whitely aided by the catch of Chris Newbold saw off number 8. And then Simon Topper and Kevin Vaughan both held catches off Jason Whitley to clinch a big 24 literally 5 minutes before the heavens’ opened.
It proved to be an important result with the other 2 at the top winning, but it does mean Wellington maintain their lead at the top and have actually extended it to 36 points due to batting first.
Next up is 4th placed Alberbury 3rds at home on Sunday.
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