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2nd XI v Chapel (away) Saturday 20th August

posted 24 Aug 2011, 04:58 by Mike Madden

Foul Mouth Pete


The Americans refer to it as “Jumping the Shark”. The moment when you realise that something that used to be good has embarrassingly passed its Sell-by date. The phrase originates from an episode of Happy Days, but it could easily be applied to the events that unfolded at Chapel en le Frith.

   In 1981 I took 6-10 at Chapel on the day that the English rioted in Switzerland. Thirty years later the English were rioting in Manchester and I was taking guard with a 1980s cricket bat, T R Wild’s socks and a permanently ruptured groin, courtesy of Tomsons Fruit.

  I always enjoy playing at Chapel and admiring their splendid Honours Board, especially the boast of Hawke Trophy Runners-Up in 1981 and 1982. Who beat them in the Final Scholesy?

  Considering that my highest ever score and best three bowling figures were all against Chapel, it came as somewhat of a surprise to discover that none of their players were aware that I was left handed. Quite revealingly neither did the Square Leg Umpire Dave Marchington. The downhill slope is getting steeper with every game.

  I can cope with the trauma of middle age, but after listening to Robert Hill I felt like Michael Douglas in Falling Down. Rob’s latest banal contribution was the immortal phrase: “Heard about last week Shawy?”

  Was he alluding to the Civil War in Libya, Edin Dzeko’s spectacular improvement, or the random stabbings in Jersey? Perhaps he was concerned about the volatile nature of the London Stock Exchange. I suspect it was cricket related, but after the inevitable sarcastic reply he wouldn’t expand.

  Even by Roy Clayton’s admittedly high standards of interfering, it was unusual to hear him suggesting the batting order on the Jodrell Car Park.     Tensions were high, but after the farcical opening to my previous game for Whaley it was refreshing to witness everybody turning up on time. Indeed the only   issue was the question of whose turn it was to give Colin Wild a lift.

  Whaley won the toss and after publicly declaring that he couldn’t be arsed chasing the ball for three hours, our esteemed captain elected to bat. There were no dissenters, but twenty minutes later we were 27-4 and heading for an early finish.

  Big Dave offered some resistance, but he was merely the hors d’oeuvre for the main course that followed: the unlikely batting combination of Scholesy and Pete Crowley.

  Pete would be ideal for the role of the devout Christian, Sergeant Howey, played by Edward Woodward in the legendary 1973 British horror classic, The Wicker Man. Scholesy would be ideal for every other character in the film, from the frog eating child, to the phallic symbol worshipping school teacher and the perverted grave digger.

In modern parlance Chapel took their foot off the gas and together with a lop sided batting order, the odd couple at the wicket and a young bowler with an exaggerated and arguably illegal grunt, events began to conspire in our favour. Scholesy achieved his half century and we eventually managed a competitive score of 144.

The tea was excellent and our confidence remained high until the fifth ball of Colin’s first over with Chapel on 12-0 and our committee of captains setting brilliant fields for the previous ball.

In all fairness Lee Bradley was the only significant difference between the two teams. He was certainly too good for our bowling and it remains a mystery as to how their first team can be struggling when such a quality opener was facing a motley assortment of Whaley bowlers who were either too young, too injured, or in the case of a certain bowler, too heavy.

 We needed wickets at the other hand, but John Theyer chanced his arm and the ball was always falling between fielders, or in the case of Roy Clayton, looping one yard over his head, although in fairness to Roy, he only had about five seconds to move three feet.

  As the game drifted towards its inevitable conclusion there was only one more question to answer. Did Pete Crowley actually swear after a Dave Marchington delivery just missed the outside edge?

Did he proclaim, “Good shot” or “Shit hot?”

Our Captain thought the former, but I was equally convinced of the latter. Why would he say, “Good Shot” after the batsman had just played and missed?

Opinions were mixed and Dave was unsure. It wasn’t quite in the Derek Bentley, “Let him have it” bracket, but it was certainly a J F K moment that will be debated for years to come.