The inaugural Sunday 4ths team made their way to play Ombersley on a very hot and sunny afternoon. Set in the idyllic Worcestershire countryside, overlooked by the Church spire, and with the A38 hidden from view this was true middle England.
The team arrived not knowing what the opposition would be like, but it turned out to be a well-matched game with Ombersley playing a youthful team too. An excellent setting, but a baking sun beaming down would make the 40 overs per side a long day.
The 4ths under new Captain Alex Carey, an elder statesman of the team at 17, won the toss and fielded, perhaps against Sunday tradition, but when the camels were asking for water in the Saharan heat, the right decision. The pitch from afar looked bare and possibly a batter’s track, however closer inspection showed cracks and tufts that gave the bowlers a lot of hope. Game on.
Carey’s first hurdle was no recognised keeper, Rishi Dadwal took the gloves and the challenge and seemed to have a natural keeper gene in leaping like a salmon, chirping at the batsmen and of course appealing in true “how can you not give that out” manner. Great to see Rishi supported by father Raj at slip, a formidable defence!
Yohan Mudalige and Amarni Anwar opened the bowling and kept a lid on the openers, quick singles were not the order of the day, with their number 2 only running 3 singles in his 42. Amarni’s spectacular progress continued with a very tight spell, an initial 5 over burst for just 12 and only one no-ball. At the other end Yohan matched the youngster and by over 12 Ombersley were only on 29.
Carey’s 1st change brought 1st joy and a new fielding move we will call the “Hanlon”, Kian bowls, a top edge send the ball into space, the sort of catch that you have too much time to think and it comes down with snow, Tom sets himself, and it goes in then out of his hands, but quick thinking and a dead-eye means in a flash the ball is arrowed at the stumps and the split, the batsman well out of his crease and recorded as a run-out.
Kian Eratne strikes for a second when the batsman goes for a big one through the covers, but Umair Choudhry casually reaches both hands and plucks it out of the sky. Ombersley were never getting away, and the bowling remained tight, Arjuna Rao not getting any reward for a very good spell. Another change brought on Sami Hamid and Rishi got his first stumping taking out their big hitter.
Captain Alex then came on as bowler 6. Ombersley’s 14-year-old, 6ft 4inch big hitter was at the crease and battle commenced, he did not shy from trying to put Alex into the trees, holing out to the long-off boundary, well watched and held by Yohan. This then started a trend of Alex getting a wicket with the first ball of the next three overs and he got his 5fer in a spell of 7-2-18-5.
Walmley’s legendary fielding strength showed with seven catches and two run outs to accompany the stumping.
Walmley’s batting started with the great scene of father and son, Raj and Rishi going into battle. The Ombersley bowling attack was accurate, mean and at times hostile. All the qualities you do not want when chasing 172. Rishi, took up that challenge and like a flashing blade asked no quarter as he went through to 45. Raj ably supported him for the first six overs before falling to an LBW and sent off with a hug from his talented son.
In came Umair, surviving a first ball appeal, which was close, he opened his shoulders and took on the attack in true Umair style. 4, 4 and then the big 6, we settled for a cameo of stylish power play. But what is that on the rope at deep square leg, an Ombersley munchkin, who takes it into his midriff, avoids the rope and Umair is gone.
Batting then became a little difficult, the Ombersley spinners being particularly mean and on target. Rajveer Chauhan and Tom Hanlon sparkled brightly but briefly, and Yohan came in with firework intentions, 4 6, out.
Ombersley’s pace bowler had a bouncer in his locker and used it well. It was also great the Walmley took him on with a number of attempted hooks, some with success others not.
Alex came in at 6 and anchored a bit of a midfield collapse, ending up on 20 not-out. With the innings a little becalmed, Walmley pushed on and the target was on the horizon, but a tail wag was needed, and a long afternoon was taking its toll with Kian, Arjuna and Amarni not making it to double figures.
A last wicket stand between Alex and Sami brought Walmley to within 16 runs and with three overs left, but the stumps crashed and Sami was gone for 10….
A team with two 12 years olds and only two over 18, a fantastic effort and everyone one said a great game, but for Captain Alex, in his first game the team came close, but it wasn’t to be!Alex Carey