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Fixtures and Results | Match Reports

Date Against H/A Link Result Captain/Score
Sun 31 / 7 / 2011 Claverley Away Lost by 31 runs. Oppo 285-9. Old Mo 254-5.

SCORECARD

Hot and Sweaty in Claverley
A novel that goes on for a while……………..

Claverley 285-9
Old Mo 254-5.
Fitmen lost by 31 runs.


The excitement of the drive past Dudley Castle and zoo had worn off by the time everyone got traditionally lost – but, having struggled with holidays, the Fitmen did indeed put out 11 against a traditionally strong opposition.

As you cross into the rural hinterland all contact with the outside world ceases…what was happening in the test match? Who could tell since signals in that part of the world are still based on yoghurt pots and wet pieces of string.

However, nostalgia was rekindled when the clubshed TV was switched to teletext allowing the senior players to recall the joy of ‘watching’ test match cricket before the turn of the century. The excitement as it flickers/refreshes and another 4 is added to Bell’s score. Judging the run-out fiasco at Trent Bridge proved beyond teletext however and it promptly melted down and showed Trescothick as being the next batsman………

Still – back to the Fitmen……….The All Saints Church in the East Shropshire village of Claverley displays a 13th century wall painting that depicts a group of knights, clad in armour mostly engaged in single combat. It is thought to portray scenes from the 5th century poem 'Psychomachia', a battle between virtues and vices, by Prudentius.

800 and something years later the similarities were on display in the rural setting in the middle of nowhere.............for knights read batsmen, and for armour read padding...........the ‘Psychomachia’ bit though has a nice ring to it.

A cunning plan (given the lack of resources at the skipper’s disposal*) was devised. Win the toss and see how many their batsmen can knock up in the sweltering heat and humidity. All went according to plan (i.e. win the toss and invite them to bat) and the answer was ‘quite a lot’.

A traditional pair of opening over from Ash ably supported by Raj gave the captain a nervous nudge that if the run rate remained at this rate after two overs, then the 400 target may be beyond us………..

However, the rate started reducing nicely and after 10 was back to a constant 6 and then even got down to 5 and a bit.
We’ll leave the bowling to one side and focus on the fielding. 4 excellent catches (largely after the rate had started to climb again) meant that the Fitmen kept in the game. But an excellent hundred from the young Claverley Maestro (ably assisted by displays of swipes and belts (interspersed by some lovely cultured stuff) meant a mammoth 285 was set.

Stand out bowler was (again) Ash with a superb ‘Six For’. On the eve of his fasting he’d certainly filled his boots and became the next Fitman to reserve his place on the much threatened honours board. Elsewhere the bowling was a little ragged and suffered at the hands of the home centurion. Chairman came a distant 2nd to Ash through being miserly, but that aside, we gave them about a run an over too much.

Given the humidity the over rate was bound to be slow – but 3 hours to get through 40……………….India would have been proud of that rate!

Special mention to Liam Butcher as we fielded what we think was a first. 3 generations of a family in the same match. We’ve had father and son combinations but this as a first………and how well Liam fielded, legging it from fine leg to fine leg, and didn’t put a foot wrong in the field. No-one else could honestly say they had a better day in the field than Liam!

A good tea set the Fitmen up for a response………..Tom and Si opened against an odd looking opening pair (not physically you understand) and soon got into their stride. The testosterone sandwich consumed by Howarth kicked in resulting in a six off the first ball he faced.

The first wicket fell with the trademark Howarth dab-push-flick played on to his stumps but 40 0dd were on the board and the opener would be consigned to dreaming of what might have been as he exiled himself to the beaches of the Costas.

The shine was off the ball and Butch joined Tom as they helped themselves to bring up the hundred in quick order. No panic just yet in the Claverley ranks, but they had re-adjusted the bowling a few times realising that the runs were coming thick and fast.

Not as thick and fast as they were about to come after Tom succumbed to one that stopped on him and he holed out to mid off for a breezy 38. In strode Umberto, tattoos shining in the high humidity. A few dodgy climbers later gave rise to some head armour but also to unleashing the beats as the pair put the cat amongst the pigeons and raced on with a combination of magnificently brutal straight drivers and deft flicks.

A disappointed (by his own very high standards!) Rich Harris fell just before his 50 and Butch soon after for 80 holing out on the boundary. The pair had put the Fitmen in the unlikely position of being within sniffing distance. But it was a tall order, the light wasn’t great and the hosts had brought back their strike bowlers.

Frosty waved at a few before working out where he was and continued to bludgeon the way toward the large total. 200 was up and 12 an over was the target. Very tricky but a possibility.

The home bowlers finally found their rhythm and urgency – they knew the result just might not go their way. But with Frost gone for a bold 40 odd it proved too much for new batsmen against good bowling in the fading light and ended up requiring 35 odd off the last two. A bridge too far……but not out of sight.

An excellent response to a formidable target.

Footnote
*Our thanks to Alf and Liam for stepping in at the last moment with a combined age of 90 (Liam taking 10% of that figure!), and to Dan looking well on the way to recovery from his stroke. Aside from that, everyone else was reasonably (?) fit and between the ages of 20 and 52.