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Storm, Secrets and Successes in Solihull on a Saturday

by Bob Mathieson

That you have read this far proves my earlier observations about the power of the alliteration. Welcome!

Saturday 27th July dawned a miserable, wet day after a week when those obliged to work had sweltered in record temperatures. There was, therefore, a sombre atmosphere on the journey to play Solihull Municipal and a belief that the journey would prove wasted. On arrival the ground looked sodden and the only sign of life were a group of sodden bowls players, and they soon abandoned play. A bare dressing room was poor accommodation for players, and even worse for the press corps and scorer, in which to seek shelter. Walmley representatives therefore took possession in a building which in the 19th century would have provided shelter for horses and it provided every opportunity for team discussion and for players to demonstrate their various social skills. The low rafters gave players the chance to demonstrate their fitness with ‘pull ups’. Not one succeeded, but one senior player demonstrated that were he to acquire a pair of frilly drawers and a wig he could well get employment in the Folies Bergere, such were the quality of his high kicks and the eye watering splits he performed. That he can sheikh his hips may be assumed.

Your correspondent had a fascinating talk with the club’s opening bowlers on the mechanics and psychology of fast bowling. Not only does he now feel able to open the bowling himself but also recognises his tutors not to be the hooligans he had previously thought: decent chaps, actually.

Bilal Hussain, the mystery man to whom I alluded in my last report explained himself. It seems he has even greater skills than the ability to bowl for run outs that he showed in our match at Barby. I like men who are prepared to sell themselves and if half of what he tells me is accurate he is undoubtedly a future Walmley star. I look forward to briefing the Oldest Member. The Club House was eventually opened and we were able leave the stable for tea.

The rain continued but the skies lightened and the odd optimist revealed himself. The rain changed to drizzle, the drizzle to a mist and the mist to a general feeling of dampness. Umpires, groundsmen, captains, forks and fork handles, and sawdust appeared. Beards were stroked, heads were shaken but decisions postponed. Then who should appear on the boundary edge but redacted! He waved his wand and it was determined that play would start at 4.50pm with 20 overs each. Solihull won the toss and asked Walmley to bat.

Frankly there is not much to say about the Walmley innings. I assume the wicket was less than perfect. Had it not been for Roshan Balaji, the Irish second innings score would have looked impressive. Roshan went in at 15 for 3 and with 43 not out was the only Walmley batsman to achieve double figures. A nonentity called Extras scored 13. Bilal Hussain contributed 9 not out valuable runs and skilfully gave Roshan the strike towards the end. Roshan played one memorable square cut that fizzed to the boundary over a sodden outfield. This and 3 sixes were virtually the only strokes of confidence in the Walmley innings. Walmley finished the 20 overs with a score of 87 for 7.

Over to you Captain Waugh. Inspire your team!

Yes, you seemed to have done a good job. The Decent Chaps referred to above quickly reduced Solihull to 15 for 3, just like Walmley, then 15 for 4 and 21 for 5. At this point two batsman played sensible cricket with lots of quick singles and although the asking rate was rising slightly they reached 71 before Captain Waugh broke the stand. Over 20 started with Solihull requiring 9 to win. Who stepped up to be the Walmley Archer? Who else but one of the Decent Chaps: him with the beard. First ball of the over – FOUR. Panic among Walmley supporters; one mother hides behind fence; scorer Sarah has to be supported by fellow scorer. Second ball of the over smashed (sort of) high (ish) on the leg side. Captain Waugh strides (well, shuffles) forward, cries ‘mine’ (rest of team cry ‘yours’) and the ball is gratefully grasped as it falls gently into his hands at short leg. However the batsmen had crossed bringing the Solihull skipper on 29 to face the third ball. It sped to the third man boundary where Dan Bromley dived to save the four and quickly recovered to restrict it to a single. Recordo was not to be denied. There was another wicket and a single off the last ball leaving Solihull 81 for 8 and Walmley winners by 6 runs.

Sarmad Bhatti, Recordo Gordon, Fahim Jan
Decent Chaps

Credit must go to the Decent Chaps: Mohammad Fahim Jan took 4 for 11 and Recordo Gordon 3 for 15. Sarmad Bhatti took a slip catch so amazing that even he was excited by it. This was an important match to win as, while many matches in the league were cancelled, both our closest rivals played. Bedworth won, so our lead remains at 3 points. Walmley’s batting performance was disappointing. One wonders whether the weather delay affected attitude and preparation.

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