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2nd XI v Charlesworth (home) Saturday 10th September

posted 14 Sep 2011, 08:03 by Mike Madden
As spring turned to winter on the island of Sodor, Thomas wondered to himself what he could do to pass a blustery Saturday afternoon. "I know," said Peter, an officious looking engine who did not like the sun, "we can go to New Horwich Park to watch Whaley Bridge 2nds against Charlesworth." They really were lucky engines, as many expected the game to be off after a week of heavy rain, but thanks to our hard working groundsman the fixture was never in doubt. With his weather beaten Whaley Bridge captain's hat cocked at a jaunty angle, MMM won the toss and decided to let Charlesworth have first use of the wicket, and with the 1.04 express to Hazel Grove chugging away in the background, we got off to a late start as sawdust was strewn hither and thither. Colin Wild was a steaming and a rolling from the off, quite literally after Scholesy's allegations were proven to be true, whilst Fid chugged away in his own inimitable narrow gauge style. The captain missed what should have been a simple chance, possibly deceived by the slowness of the ball, or more likely by a glint of smoke puffing from a distant steam train. The going was slow, and as the 1.28 Chinley to Hope sleeper train blew its whistle, momentarily distracting the statuesque batsmen, Colin struck. With stumps splayed the batsman trudged off, but there were no further mishaps for a while. Callum McIlveen and Henry Holden were brought into the attack at around the same time as Annie and Clarabel, two venerable coaches, settled in for the long haul on the freight line to Buxton, preening themselves with pride as the two youngsters took the attack to the opposition. Harry Bold took a catch behind off Callum, then the captain made up for his earlier error by taking a sharp chance at gulley, again off Callum. There was a break in play whilst the mischievous sounds of Johnny Cash's Orange Blosson Special floated on the breeze, then Callum struck again, with another catch for Harry behind the stumps. Henry joined in as the ghost of the 2.29 that used to run from Sheffield to Newtown cast a shadowy figure against darkening skies, with Rob Hill clutching the ball. Peter Crowley began his warm up, pausing as the 2.40 Virgin Trains London to Piccadilly Traveller made a detour through the Peak due a signalling failure at Chipping Sodbury, whilst Thomas remarked to Peter (the engine, not the bowler) that "the Fat Controller would love this," ironically at the same moment that Gibbo started to turn his arm over. The Charlesworth captain and dangerman became Callum's fourth victim as MMM took another sharp catch at gulley, then Peter claimed a victim clean bowled as the Wabash Canonball set off from Birmingham, Alabama en route to the Pacific. Gibbo claimed the 8th wicket clean bowled, then Colin came back into the attack as frozen points at Brookside garden centre meant a delay to the 3.07 Poynton circular. Peter Crowley took a catch to bring the last pair together, then Colin's last delivery of the season removed middle stump, and we marched off as the Chatanooga Choo Choo seemed to announce "Ch Ch Ch Charlesworth, 90 all out, Ch Ch Ch Charlesworth, 90 all out." After tea, ably provided by Mrs Crowley after Scholesy had Sodored off for the weekend, MMM set off like Stevenson's Rocket. Unfortunately, he paid the ultimate price and was caught at slip for 6, then Callum and Henry benefitted from the fact that they are from the post "model train set for Christmas" era, avoiding distractions like the mysterious 3.49 Orient Express that was obviously lost. Henry was caught for 16, but when Callum was stumped for 31 we were 67 for 3, needing just 24 runs for victory and going like a train. Unfortunately the train hit the buffers as Harry was caught for 6 and Rob for 4, then loud cheers from Whaley Bridge station greeted the arrival of the 4.41 to Dove Holes that had last appeared in 1963. The same cheers spookily echoed the fall of Gibbo, caught for 2, and Graham Hill, bowled for the same score, but Peter Crowley was on hand along with the Wreck of The Old 97 himself, Clayton. Inch by inch they tore up the tracks, closing on victory in a less than certain manner. As TR Wild listened, the station announcer he was finally able to report, "The ball leaving the bat of Clayton en route to the boundary has sadly been delayed by the wet outfield, but on the plus side the three runs that were needed for victory have been achieved, and Clayton is likely to be out of breath for the rest of the night." No apologies for inconvenience caused were necessary as the seconds closed out their home season with a historic 3 wicket victory. Thomas and Peter returned to their sheds for the winter, whilst Annie and Clarabel have not been seen since.
 
Times courtesy of Number One Second Team Scorer Alex Wood
Train Timetable courtesy Of Network Rail and the British Rail Archives
Bullshit courtesy of the second team captain

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