Russell's Wagon Wheel is a Treat for Chigs
Chigwell maintained their 100% winning start to the season thanks to a magnificent hundred from in form Russell and persistence in the field, despite the spilling of a few catches, writes Rob Orange.
The day did not start well. Calling tails was, on reflection, a mistake as the coin obliged Adrian Clarke, Willingale skipper, and with not much hesitation Chigwell were inserted. Discovering that the match ball hadn't made it to the ground added to the misery, but fortunately the home team was able to supply a ball and the match got under way.
It was the first time I can remember the Willingale pitch being something other than green and Adam and Russell navigated their way through a probing opening spell of bowling, particularly from Willingale's skipper. As our openers acclimatised the run rate rose from 3 per over and the ball was sent to various thickets surrounding the playing area. This was to prove the downfall for Adam when the match ball was lost in a massive area of brambles and the replacement ball declined to bounce, leaving him trapped in front. Still, 59 for the first wicket was a good start and Russell was well set.
Nigel played some useful shots before swinging across the line and being bowled by another of the many Clarkes appearing for the opposition. Richard was promoted to number 4 which seemed a good plan as he pulled his first delivery for a boundary, but not so good when he spooned a catch to gully second ball. Aqeel was next to come and go after advancing down the track to a well flighted delivery, missing it and being easily stumped. Will, batting at six, proved a worthy partner for Russell, the pair scoring at 10 per over to push Chigwell to an impressive 235 from the 36 overs the two and a half hours of batting time allowed.
During this belligerent partnership Russell cut, pulled and drove imperiously, bringing up his maiden ton for Chigwell to the acclaim and delight of his team mates by the pavilion. Virtually chanceless and characterised by a beautiful tempo it was impressive to watch. Century in the locker, Russell straight drove Adrian Clarke for a towering six and continued to bat for the team to finish on 124 not out. Will finished on 31 from only 18 balls and gave a good indication of how useful an addition to the Chigwell ranks he will be.
The Willingale tea was up to its usual standard, i.e. sumptuous. Of course we are used to Wiskin Teas © now so it did not have quite the impact of former years. Bloody delicious though!
With an hour followed by 20 overs the meagre allocation for Willingale to score 236, or for us to take 10 wickets I decided to open with spin (me) at one end and Gremlo at the other. After 2 or 3 balls from Gremlo Adam brought to the attention of the umpires that the ball we were using was not the original match ball or a like for like replacement. Somehow we were left with this obviously older and swollen ball which had probably sat in a boundary hedge for at least a week. Gremlo couldn't make it swing and I couldn't find much turn but we managed a wicket apiece, the first of which heralded the arrival of A.Joy, batting at 3. Always ready to chat, but rarely ready for the bowler Mr. Joy began to club my full toss pies to all parts of the ground. He raced to 50 (out of 61) but fortunately his batting partners proved less durable and steadily perished, 2 wickets falling to Dan's wily spin including an excellent catch off his own bowling, and 3 to the impressive Alex, including a useful catch from yours truly. Richard was only given 2 overs (sorry Rich), this while Dan's spinning finger was recovering from an injury sustained while taking his catch. On returning however he found Mr. Joy in excellent form and Dan never rediscovered the form of his first spell. Francois was given no chance to bat or bowl, a victim of the short format of the game. (Sorry Francois).
Chigs were running out of time and as a last throw I returned to the opening attack, but from different ends. There were 3 overs to go and 3 wickets required, but then Gremlo struck, clean bowling the Willingale number 9, then, crucially, taking a caught and bowled chance from Mr. Joy who had by then recorded the second century of the match. With 2 overs to go skipper bowled at skipper and Adrian looked comfortable. From the last delivery he was determined to retain the strike, having the opinion that the number 11 would stand no chance against Gremlo. Unfortunately for Willingale he hit the ball straight to Gremlo at shortish mid-wicket and fortunately for Chigwell Gremlo's rather effeminate throw reached me just in time to run Adrian out and seal the win for Chigwell.
After the match we enjoyed the beer Russell bought to mark his excellent century and marvelled at the wagon wheel courtesy of Dan's cricket scoring app. It showed scoring all around the wicket, demonstrating what a good knock it was. Well done on your first century for Chigs Russell; here's to many more.