It may have been Remembrance Day but Saturday is a day Wingham Premier League cricketers want to forget.
An abysmal batting display saw them humiliated when bowled out for just 20 runs against Taree West at Johnny Martin Oval.
A hat-trick by former Wingham opening bowler Ryan Williams was the catalyst for the debacle as he captured 5 for 5 off 5.2 overs. After 89 wickets over four seasons for Wingham, Williams sent former team-mates Staff, Hynes and Mullen packing, reducing the depleted batting line-up to 4/13 in the process.
Jonathon Paff, whilst lesser in pace, was equally accurate at the other end and claimed career best figures of 5 for 8. Winghams innings lasted just 10.2 overs and included six ducks. Not surprisingly, no batter reached double figures.
It was Winghams lowest score on the ground, by 1, and only slightly bettered their lowest ever (of records collected so far) total of 16 recorded against Mt George on the Eastbank ground at Dingo Creek way back in the 1938/39 season.
Earlier, Taree West had their own top order wobbles but recovered from 5/30 to post 136, thanks mainly to John Burton (46) and Nathan Johnson (19) who added 54 for the sixth wicket. Nathan Plummer also contributed 22 batting at 9 to give West some sort of total. Although the wicket was not at its’ best, there was nothing to suggest that Wingham shouldn’t challenge that score.
Steve Allwood claimed four of the first five wickets at a cost of 36 runs, whilst Ryan Smoothy snared the prized scalp of Josh Meldrum, caught at gully for five. He also removed Burton in his second spell, brilliantly caught by Jake Mullen, to finish with 2 for 18 off 8. Ben Scowen (2/29) and Brad Staff (2/31) removed the tail between them.
Both sides went into the contest severely understrength with Taree West without Dean Mills, Paul Cox, Nayden Moriarty and Ben Jonas. Wingham were forced to make seven changes to last weeks’ team, with Dave Rees, Mick Stinson, Rhyce Kliendienst and Matt Essery notable absentees.
On a positive note, Wingham welcomes class batsman Ben Cole back to the fold after four seasons with Old Bar. The return of Cole, and the afore-mentioned players, can’t come quickly enough for skipper Ben Scowen, who has been forced to use 21 different players thus far.
With just one win, Wingham will need to bounce back against Kempsey Rovers at Laurieton Oval on Saturday to stay in sight of a finals berth. Surely, it can’t get any worse than Saturdays effort.
– WAYNE SMOOTHY