Plenty of junior games, the highlight of which was a maiden half century for Will Birch in Thursdays under 14s game against Cannock. The under 19s received their customary defeat at the hands of the old boys in a practice match on Thursday night, and our ladies’ softball teams performed with distinction in the first softball festival of the summer at Milford – including one game where the two teams played each other!
On Saturday, the first team made the short trip to Fordhouses and came away with their unbeaten league record so far this season intact after a thrilling tie. Fordhouses batted first and made 273-6 largely thanks to 109 not out from Alex McChristie, with the wickets being shared between our bowlers. In reply, both Rana Hassan and Waseem Shah made 84 for the firsts who tied the game with a last ball boundary from Matt Jenkinson in a game also notable for a stoppage caused by a swarm of wasps!
The second team entertained Walsall in what turned out to be a relatively low scoring, but nevertheless entertaining game. Batting first, we totalled 161-8 in an innings where most of the batsmen made a start, but only Ian Brown (30) and Joe Marson (43 not out) provided a significant contribution. Despite excellent bowling spells from Joe Oakley (2-27) and Jon Price (2-19) and three wickets from Richard James, Walsall reached their victory target with two wickets and three overs to spare.
Hammerwich second team were the opponents for the thirds, and Hammerwich recorded an imposing 330-6 from their 50 overs with Brian Fisher (93) and Josh Allen (82) both batting impressively. Chris Green with 2-72 was our leading wicket taker, a whilst we never really threatened to overhaul the Hammerwich total the side batted out comfortably for a draw, finishing on 214-5 thanks to handy efforts with the bat from the ever-consistent Steve Jones (34), Liam Kettle (51 not out) and 67 from Mohammed Shafiq on his welcome first appearance of the season.
The fourth team travelled to Old Wulfs and were on the end of a heavy defeat by 126 runs. Old Wulfs finished their innings on 213-7, with Josh Baker and Nathan Taylor taking a wicket apiece in support of George Price (taking his first senior wickets with 2-37) and Richard Birch (3-30). Birch then finished on 23 not out as we were bowled out for just 87 in reply.
The Sunday firsts hosted Cannock and Rugeley Hawks and were narrowly beaten by 13 runs in a high scoring game. The visitors batted first and recorded 245-4 from their 40 overs largely thanks to Lee Evans (107 not out). Joe Marson was the leading wicket taker for us with 2-45, before our innings finished on 232-6, with Michael Hartwell (32), Ross Parker (49), Ryan Ferguson (50) and Jack Pope (50 not out) all contributing well with the bat.
A strong Aldridge side entertained a largely youthful second team, winning relatively comfortably after posting 221-5 from their overs. Tom Porter, Josh Baker and Sam Horobin all took a wicket apiece in support of Jon Price (2-41) before Price (38) and Jim Horobin (32) were the main contributors to our final score of 143-9.
For me, just a game on Saturday for the club this weekend as I had a Shropshire D40 game on Sunday. A spectacular 4-3 victory for the “olds” in the pre-match football warm up, our pass and not move tactics working splendidly, helped by some fine goalkeeping from William James (who may not technically have been old enough for our team, but…), and a clinical hat trick by myself from a combined total of about six yards which unfortunately came just a few days after Gareth Southgate named his World Cup squad!
On to the cricket and having opened the batting it was disappointing to get out for just 14 when reasonably set and feeling comfortable. Kept wicket decently, and we performed well in attempting to defend a total that was perhaps 25 or so short of par. It’s been a promising start for the seconds after promotion last season, with one comprehensive win and two narrow defeats – this week we entertain Barnt Green at home in what promises to be another tough test for us, but one we will look forward to.