It's Always Sunny In Ellesmere
By David Ross
The 3rd team managed to beat the weather but found Ellesmere too tough on their unexpected trip to north Shropshire.
Given the biblical conditions that swept into the county on Friday evening, Wellington’s players were perhaps forgiven for arranging alternative plans for their Saturday afternoons whilst repeatedly checking their phones for confirmation of the abandoned game.
However to everyone’s complete surprise, the news from Ellesmere suggested that the town had escaped the conditions entirely and that the game would be able to go ahead. In fact, as Ross and Murphy's tour down the High Street testified, the good weather had actually attracted a couple of Stag Parties to the area. (Surely if your stag is in Ellesmere, you've picked the wrong best man?!).
All this caught former skipper Duncan Taylor off guard as he sought out the Alka-Seltzer in Superdrug. It comes to something when the oldest member of the side is the one who mis-plays his “raincard.”
By the time Duncs arrived the game was underway and Ellesmere had mustered just one run from a total of eight overs. Ben Keeble and Jack Fishman had got the side off to a fine start in a match reduced to 35 overs per side by the two captains.
The home side’s openers were up against it during a concerted spell of pressure from both ends. However their struggles were nothing compared to Pat Howells’, who, playing his first game of the season, and having wintered well, found fitting himself into last year’s whites a real challenge. The luck: so MoneySuperMarket.
Once Duncan had settled himself in at first slip, his side’s early pressure evaporated. A flurry of boundaries catapulted Ellesmere’s score past fifty, undoing much of Wellington’s early good work.
Pitchy’s headaches were mounting - and it got worse when one of his five bowlers went down injured. Jonny Black could only muster one over and left the skipper needing to find three overs from either Duncs or Smurph.
Thankfully Ryan Barnett was on hand to produce a much-needed breakthrough in his first over. Meanwhile, Ben Keeble - who is prepping himself for his impending move to London with his new Made In Chelsea hair-do - got two in two as Wellington threatened to claw their way back into the contest.
Alas, the flurry of wickets did little to check the progress of Ellesmere’s batsmen, who continued to find the short boundary with regularity, whilst also hitting cleanly over-the-top.
Some light relief came courtesy of a catch on the boundary from Pat, who finally split his kegs collecting Wellington’s fourth wicket. As far as his team-mates were concerned, the biggest surprise was that they had lasted so long. And the carnival atmosphere spilled into the next over when part-time tweaker Duncan bamboozled the batsman with his first delivery to send the team into raptures.
Ellesmere regrouped and continued to go well; late wickets from Keebs, who finished with three, and Ross, who got four, did little to dent the scoring. Their score of 190 for 9 off 35 overs certainly would take some chasing.
Wellington lost Duncs early-on for two, but his partner Ryan Barnett did not look fazed by the job of opening the innings. He showed great discipline on his way to 47 and deserved a half century for his efforts as he gave his side a solid base to the innings.
Number three Pat Howells, on the other hand, certainly looked rattled when a short ball reared up and lodged between his helmet and grill, cutting his eyelid. Patched up with a single plaster on his brow, Wellington’s answer to Nelly returned to the crease and - surprisingly - the ridicule of some of the Ellesmere fielders. He did not have to suffer long, however, as he fell shortly after for six.
Hit a cricket ball into my head today. #welldonemate A photo posted by Patrick Howells (@patjisung26) on Jun 13, 2015 at 11:33am PDT
Wellington remained well behind the rate and victory soon existed only as an outside shot. Unfortunately the Ellesmere bowling was much more disciplined than their own had been - and the visitors were unable to find the boundaries needed to sustain the chase. It soon became a matter of how near the lads could get and how many points they could salvage from the draw.
Pat’s demise brought Matty Simmonds to the crease and he really impressed in a knock of 56 not out. He established impressive partnerships with Barney and later Matty Pitchford (15*) as Wellington’s youngsters shone in the final 15 overs, frustrating the Ellesmere bowlers in their quest for further wickets and outright victory.
Just as the rain moved in the game drew to a tame conclusion. Wellington were able to claim 9 points from the draw and thereby closed the gap on the sides above them in the table. All other games in the division fell victim to the rain.
Up next Saturday, bottom side Much Wenlock.