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Saturday 28th May

posted 5 Jun 2011, 07:04 by Mike Madden   [ updated 5 Jun 2011, 07:20 ]
1st XI v Hollingworth (home)

Taken from the league website.

Whaley Bridge got the better of Hollingworth at home. Whaley batted first, and posted 202-3 declared. Darren Crompton scored 45, but was outshone by Dec Ryan who scored a magnificent 106 not out. A Holliday scored a defiant 54 for the visitors, but 6-56 from Eddie Ford, and 4-70 from Dale Jones saw Hollingworth bowled out for just 152. 

2nd XI v Hollingworth (away)

From the pen of Neil Shaw who has now been given his own page!

Tonight Mathew I’m going to be the Whaley Bridge Second Team Captain.

 

From the sublime to the ridiculous in ten minutes, May 28th 2011 will forever be remembered as the day when the gods of village farce descended upon the Jodrell Arms car park.

At 12:45 it slowly transpired that there were only nine players amongst the assembled throng. Not for the first time, Anthony Rowntree had found an alternative source of Saturday afternoon entertainment, whilst rumours were surfacing that Trumpton Fire Brigade had deprived us of the dubious cricketing talent of Nick Howe. Meanwhile Gibbo was picking the wrong moment to inform his team mates that the deadline for payment of subs was imminent.  The punchline to this remarkable joke was that anybody who hadn’t paid their subs by 31st May would not be considered for future games.

T R Wild was allocated the difficult task of tracking down the elusive John fiddler and soon found himself trading small talk with a mysterious eccentric old lady who had been receiving two phone calls per week for Fid ever since she had changed her mobile phone at Christmas. Bizarrely, despite receiving so many strange phone calls, she appeared to be a huge admirer of Mr Fidler and wished to pass on her regards.

Cars were stopped and innocent bystanders refused to be press ganged into a game of cricket.  Stewart Weston was mentioned, but it would have been more appropriate if Simon Weston had donned his whites. The good ship Whaley Bridge was sinking rapidly in a minefield of indifference to the Derbyshire and Cheshire Cricket League.

At this point I wasn’t even captain, but as the clock was ticking I tentatively suggested that my car should aim for Derbyshire’s answer to Jurassic Park.

We arrived at Hollingworth with the umpire placing the bails and at least two players from the opposition exaggerating the action of checking their watches. All very transparent, but little did they realise that the man in the blue fiesta doesn’t take orders from anybody.

The umpire followed me into the changing room and was greeted with an outrageous lie concerning the volume of traffic at Hayfield Carnival. I don’t even know if Hayfield celebrates a Carnival, but it was the first thing I could think of. Thankfully, he was a trifle gullible and within minutes we were comparing experiences of recent games involving unexpected delays. I can’t speak for him, but there wasn’t an ounce of truth in any of my experiences.

Eventually my delaying tactics were rumbled and I was summoned to the obligatory toss of the coin. Rather worryingly, there was still no sign of Gibbo and TR Wild, or the two mystery guests.

The umpire was delightfully pompous as he explained the rules of tossing a coin. Apparently, one of us would toss the coin and the other would either shout “Heads” or “Tails”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but equally after passing me a 2p coin he probably wasn’t aware that the temporary captain of Whaley Bridge was also the Patron Saint of Stupidity.

For the first time in my life I launched into a run-up to toss the coin. Totally childish, but absolutely brilliant, as the coin rebounded off the clouds and drifted with the breeze. Eventually it bounced and rolled down the slope towards the sightscreen with the umpire and opposition skipper in hot pursuit.

The call was correct, but remarkably their captain deliberated for thirty seconds before making the obvious decision of inviting Whaley Bridge to take first knock. Thankfully it also prevented the embarrassing scenario of Whaley fielding first without a ball or wicket keeping gloves.

As I returned to the changing room I felt like the Garrison Commander at Rorke’s Drift with Colin Wild singing Men of Harlech and Matt Morten manning the barricades with Sam Slack. I had used every stalling tactic in the book, but the game was about to commence.

Still no sign of back-up from Whaley and with the Umpire requesting assistance at square leg, my options were limited. Eventually I presented our batting order to the opposition scorer.

 

1/ Matt Morten

2/ Sam Slack

3/ Neil Shaw

4/Colin Wild at Square Leg

 

My fears were finally eased by the pleasing sound of car engines in low gears and car exhausts hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Not quite the 7th Cavalry, but I don’t ever recall being so pleased to see Gibbo in my life. It was around this time that I was nominated captain.

I was so excited I immediately forgot the rules and shouted “No Ball” from Square leg. The patience of the Hollingworth captain was beginning to wane as I tried to meander my way out of the embarrassment.

Eventually the afternoon began to resemble a game of cricket, but there was still one more surprise in the shape of our tenth and eleventh players. Strictly speaking we were still two players short, but Lydia Slack was due to return from a shopping expedition in Macclesfield at around 2:45pm and the original intention  was for the injured Peter Crowley to field at slip, but not bat. John Crowley suggested that he should play rather than Peter and given all the previous stress, nobody was going to argue otherwise.

The opposition were obviously confident of victory, but their bowling attack was nothing spectacular.  The Whaley batting resembled Wendy Richards rather than Viv Richards, but on more than one occasion, the home team were beginning to get rattled. Matt Morten bludgeoned a quick thirty, but the highlight of the innings was the eighth wicket partnership between Lydia and the highly promising Callum Mcllveen, both of whom played some delightful cricket strokes and thus guaranteed a more than respectable final score, given the circumstances, of 133.

Our chances of victory rested largely on the accuracy of our opening bowlers, Colin and Gibbo. Sadly, a few loose deliveries diluted the impact of an attacking field, but refreshingly Callum bowled well and the ground fielding was excellent.  Eight bowlers were used and it would have been nine if Slacky had not bowled a rank long hop at their opening batsmen with the resulting smash preventing me from holding a pen, never mind a cricket ball. Lydia wasn’t keen on bowling and T R Wild wasn’t keen on John Crowley bowling. A Six wicket defeat doesn’t really tell the full story, but then again I’ve experienced bigger humiliations in far stronger teams.


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