Well, hurricanes, and at the very least quite stiff breezes, have been forecast around the country for some time, but no one quite expected the after effects of Hurricane Hutch to have such an influence in Whaley Bridge.
I, of course, refer to last weekend in the home match against Birch Vale, and the subsequent deliberation about whether Law 42.15 is even a part of the rules.
There has been debate about our special relationship with Birch Vale, and as I sat having a beer with the likes of Dave Platt, John Bradshaw, Dave Waterhouse, etc after the seconds defeat at Birch it did seem that the special relationship still exists. These were some of the same players from their heyday of the mid 90s, when Birch were indeed simply better than most of the opposition. But they weren’t better in that Bissenden cup final that will live long in the memory. The day that the vanquished heroes put their pride to one side and decided to join the victorious Whaley Bridge club in a raucous celebration in the Sheps. Special relationship indeed.
So, the special relationship lives on, but it seems to be exclusively reserved for the second team nowadays. First team cricket was always hard but, in the main, fair. Sledging was something that we did in the winter. The extent of bending the rules seems to have been repeatedly throwing the ball into the stream at Hayfield in order to delay the game and therefore snatch a draw. Now it seems de rigeur to hurl abuse at the opposition all day and expect polite applause in return. So how far have Whaley Bridge fallen? Well we have not yet taken to four letter abuse on social media, and we have not been up on a disciplinary in quite a while. 22 man brawl? Ive seen worse in the Boxing Day sales. It should not have happened, but it did. However, impartial observers, and even those with a desire to nail their colours to the mast, should not jump to conclusions. The hutching incident was close to the end, and was therefore fresh in the memory. Other incidents went unnoticed from the spectators’ vantage point, but they most certainly happened, as the umpires will testify.
The league can do nothing, as the law has not been broken. The club can speak to the captain to ask him…well, to adhere to the rules but in a more sporting way?
In other matters it was very sad to see Chapel seconds forfeit the game against Hazel Grove on Saturday as they could only get 6 players together. We should feel privileged at Whaley Bridge that we have actually left out at least 4 players this weekend who possibly deserve a game. I only hope that the shortage is temporary and that Chapel get back to fielding 2 teams this weekend.
Good to see Buggy seconds pick up yet another 20 points, though it does look like they will narrowly miss out on promotion.
The 2020 semi final at Hadfield was postponed last Sunday. Shame no one told Whaley Bridge about it. I will refrain from further comment!