Would The Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up?

Ah the splash of freezing rain on budding daffodils, blown horizontal by fierce gales bringing icy temperatures to the High Peak. That can only mean one thing – the cricket season is almost upon us. But are we ready? Well, the scorebox isn’t, but that’s another story. 

Club kit? Well there’s a story that, even in the more extreme facets of Whaley Bridge Cricket Club folklore, could not have been made up. It started with Naddem Abbasi; remember him? He was the Pakistani test wicketkeeper who came up to Whaley Bridge for the junior presentation, both to promote his company, Bouncer Sports, and to give some tips on wicketkeeping that seemed mainly to focus on Will McIlveen’s lazy left leg. Well, Nadeem Abbasi was in the news recently, as someone pretending to be him had duped the BBC into paying him money for his opinion on the cricket world cup. This second guy was Nadeem Alam, and Mr Abbasi was quoted as saying that if he ever met Mr Alam he would punch him in the face. Now two and two often make four, but I did not connect the Mr Abbasi impersonator with the genuinely nice guy who visited New Horwich Park towards the end of last season. However, an anonymous email suggested that the owner of Bouncer Sports was the same Mr Alam that had hoodwinked the BBC, and we should report him to the police. I scratched the surface a little harder, and found clear evidence that our Mr Abbasi looked very like Mr Alam, and nothing like Mr Abbasi who is currently coaching a team in Rawalpindi which, last time I looked, was a long way from Bouncer Sport’s wholesale unit in Salford. I then recalled that Mr Abbasi was supposed to come to the junior net practice last weekend with some samples, but he had to cancel as he was forced to return to Pakistan on urgent legal business. With it so far? Well, I then contacted our Mr Abbasi and asked him if he was really Mr Alam, and he made an odd statement. “The person with glasses is Nadeem Alam. Who you have dealt with and met.” I then asked him if that means that Bouncer is owned by Nadeem Alam, to which he simply replied “That is correct.” So, with a significant fraud case still in living memory, I thought it best to sever all ties and resurrect our deal with B3 in Nottingham. I have met Dr David Bacon, and as far as I can tell he simply makes cricket bats without impersonating anyone remotely famous. As for Bouncer, they seemed like a perfectly reputable company, though they obviously want to develop their customer base under false pretences. There is at least one other club in the local area who have dispensed with the services of Bouncer Sports, but I suspect the story has some way to run, and if it runs our way again you will be able to read about it here! 

Of course, what would the start of the season be without numerous emails from various members of the league, including the committee. Firstly, the demise of High Lane Under 17s, which does not bode well for the coming season. Now, I have nothing against High Lane, though I know that there were a few raised eyebrows at them being allowed back into the league so soon after folding. The issue I have is that the under 17s, in general, form the basis of a second team, and in some cases a first team. In addition, High Lane do not have a representation in the Under 15s, which may well be a breach of league rules! I wonder what the fine is for that. And what does that do for their prospects of fielding 22 players every Saturday? I would have expected the March Management Committee to have addressed this at great length, but the main concerns seemed to be to get the revised fixtures published, and to reiterate that fines will be levied for late reporting, something that High Lane won’t need to worry about as much as the rest of us. Welcome back, make yourselves comfortable, and don’t worry about Monday nights – we will let the rest of the league struggle to turn out teams and play games in all weathers! 

The next subject is one of umpires. We all know that umpire numbers are dwindling, and the request from the league to get ex players or senior club members to stand is a noble one. Perhaps this should be made mandatory for all new clubs that wish to join the league; to provide at least one umpire to the registered list. Maybe we should even be looking to reduce the number of teams in the league. Less teams means less games, and less games means less umpires! Just a thought. However, given a choice between umpires, scorers and tea ladies, I would choose an umpire every time. Even better if we could find one that could keep score and brew up at the interval!