Saturday was not a good day for cricket. The weather ranged from drizzle to downpour, but it never seemed cold and wet enough to call the game off as Whaley 2nds hosted Tintwistle. We appeared to run out of sawdust as Tintwistle were in the field, but when it was our turn to bowl Colin miraculously found a huge bagful in the scorebox. The bitter cold was not particularly conducive to fielding either, with several younger members of the squad diving full length for the ball, but then somehow withdrawing their hand to avoid the stinging impact. However, that was not the worst thing that happened in the field. That particular accolade belongs to Ivan, who was fielding at fine leg. He had tucked both arms inside his jumper for warmth, and as the ball sped towards him he struggled to free them. It was a comical sight, but it only provided a brief moment of levity in an otherwise miserable day.
On Sunday morning it seemed that the cricketing weather gods had really turned against us. Buxworth was under water, so the under 11s was off, and at Whaley Bridge there were several ponds, lots of standing water, and a sizeable lake. In the changing rooms, Boss Hog sat patiently, smiling inwardly as he knew that this was his chance. He had a shiny new sponge, and he was eager to drink up the deluge that had landed on the ground. The first team captain marched him onto the ground, and after a small adjustment we were ready to put him to the test. And boy did he pass. The first load was deposited over the boundary, but there was still a huge amount left. It looked futile, but all that Boss Hog really needed was a Daisy Duke to spur him on. And right on cue, our own Daisy Duke, aka groundsman Nick Latham appeared on the scene. Despite the fact that he was playing for the seconds later that day, Nick set about the task with gusto. Boss Hog slurped and sucked his way around the field, and Rigger used his local knowledge to tip the water away into the drains rather than over boundary. When the Boss had no more to slurp he sat there grinning his Bow Dry grin, whilst the groundsman headed for Charlesworth with the news that the firsts would definitely be playing. And it turned out to be well worth the effort, as they comprehensively beat Charlesworth firsts by 9 wickets, thanks to good batting, bowling and fielding, and the superhuman efforts of Boss and Daisy.
Meanwhile, over at Charlesworth, the ground was wet, but playable. The youth policy appeared to be in tatters, as Russ Wild declared himself the fourth oldest player on the team, but we sill had Jack Kitchin, Ivan Heathcote, Harry Elms and George Holden representing our junior section. We also had Gibbo, making his long awaited return from injury, but he didn’t get further than putting his new shirt on. The seconds batted first, but after 15 overs thunder and lightning appeared, and the umpires and players scuttled for cover. The thought that there would be no more play did not really cross our minds, but as the storm turned into heavy rain we opted for an early tea. At this point young George Holden forever etched his name into WBCC folklore. He lined up for tea next to his mate Harry, who appeared to be stacking his plate rather high. George turned to him and said, ‘Hey fat boy, how much are you having?’ at which point Harry turned around to reveal that he was not Harry at all. He was a member of the opposition. George quickly apologised and rushed to the changing rooms, red faced and somewhat embarrassed, but myself and Mr Wild both shook him firmly by the hand and said, ‘Welcome to Whaley Bridge Cricket Club’. It was a rite of passage that is not often bestowed on one so young, but on this occasion George certainly deserved it. Back to the game, and the rain continued. We could have waited, and waited, and waited, but with the rule stating that there is no reduction of overs once the game has started, and with potentially another 65 overs to bowl, there seemed little point. Perhaps the league might want to look at this in future revisions. The game was abandoned, and it was a disaster, as the following week contained two days of Lee Jones’ stag do, and if that was to be followed by two more days of cricket there could be trouble at mill. However, it turned out to be no more disastrous than another Caddy misprint, as the reserve date is actually in two weeks time. So, we shook hands and went our separate ways, looking forward to another helping of Charlesworth’s wonderful teas, and reflecting on the fact that a rained off result in the first round is the furthest we have been in the Hawke Trophy for many years.
Common sense seems to have prevailed in the Compstall Cup. The league sensibly deferred the majority of the Under 17s season until after the GCSE exams, but the Compstall Cup first round falls on 4th June. On 5th June there is a science exam, so the majority of players from ourselves, and I suspect the same applies to our opposition Dove Holes, will be either revising, or praying. So, we have decided to look at the possibility of playing the game on the evening of 5th June, which is a Friday.
We have welcomed a new member this season, David Bell, who has joined us from Sheffield Hallam. I am yet to meet David, but when I published the teams for last weekend, including the meeting place (The Wall), he asked, ‘Which Wall?’ He has clearly not been resident in Whaley Bridge for very long.
Last night saw the latest Big Pan event at the Sheps as part of the Derek Abbott memorial crib competition. I don’t know who won, but I do know that the defending champions, Sally & Cromp, got knocked out in the first round by our own Nick ‘Daisy Duke’ Latham and Bart.
Outside, the Big Pan bubbled away with a jalapeno filled chilli, and I have promised that the next one will see a return to chicken & chorizo paella. MMM!