A series of unfortunate events

To all of you Lemony Snicket fans out there – this has nothing whatsoever to do with Lemony Snicket. 

So, it started last week when Dave Waterhouse from Birch Vale called to say that Phil Leadbetter wanted to play for them at the weekend. What???!!! The Panther? How could he? Last seen in the Bissenden final and still the hitter of one of the biggest sixes ever seen at Old Horwich Park. They should have named that wall after him. On reflection, though, Phil must now be well into his forties, and if he wants a game of cricket then who are we to stop him. And Birch have to do something to bring their average age down. So I said yes, no problem, and Russ said yes, no problem, and as Dave had no access to email I emailed the league to say as far as we are concerned there was nothing more to be said or done on the subject. Unfortunately the league saw it differently, and wanted a transfer form which our secretary, the esteemed Peter Crowley, duly provided. Hopefully this will have helped our near neighbours Birch Vale to field a full XI, and avoid a fine, and allow Phil to return to the club of his father. It may also be time to revisit the registration rules in light of High Lane’s demise, as we should be doing everything possible to encourage participation on Saturday afternoons. As it happened – the whole league was washed out so Phil may have to wait another week before he makes his debut at Birch. 

And so onto the aforementioned washout. In light of emails bordering on the irate regarding the non application of the early ground inspection procedures on page 4 & 5 of the handbook, we invoked the procedure on Saturday morning, getting an inspection before 11am. Although the ground was very wet, the forecast horrendous and the prospect of play virtually nil, the umpire decided that as there was possibly six hours before the game was due to start he could not call the game off, obviously not wanting to figure in a reverse of the Michael Fish and the hurricane type situation.So Woodley had to travel to Whaley Bridge, where they were greeted by a river running down the road, a flooded car park, a swamp in the outfield, and a doubt about whether it would be fit for the following day! Sometimes you just cant win! 

That was certainly the case on Sunday when both teams crashed out of their respective cups. The firsts were at New Mills and the seconds were at home, and could it have been something to do with the atmospherics taking place between the two grounds that caused a series of almost simultaneous unfortunate events? At New Mills the firsts had reached 134 and were up against it, whilst the seconds were eerily similar on 127 and up against it. Not long into the second innings of each game, at around 4.45pm on Sunday, two very different events occurred, First team captain Dale Jones decided to “hutch” a New Mills batsman, without issuing a warning. Needless to say that led to a fair bit of abuse, bordering on the unseemly. In fact, in some quarters it is reported that it went way beyond the unseemly! Anyway, New Mills went on to win the game and Whaley returned to the Sheps. Meanwhile, Peter Crowley, at New Horwich Park, fielded a fiercely hit drive off his own bowling. The impact was on awkwardly placed fingers rather than the palm of his hand, and the gestures that followed showed that he was in trouble. In a rather animated game of Give Us A Clue it seemed it was a film, a book and a tv series all rolled into one, starting with a cut throat and finishing with a blind man. Peter walked off in some degree of shock, and he was taken to the hospital by Peter Stones where dislocated fingers were diagnosed. The rip in the space time continuum was healed, unlike Peter’s fingers, as he also appeared in the Sheps, with strapped fingers held gingerly in front of him. 

The following day I received an email from the league requesting non payment of the teas (they are split in the cup) and £10 towards a scorer. The odd thing about that is, why didnt New Mills simply contact us to get the money, and why did the league then contact the second team captain? Anyway, the money was paid so we are no longer in debt! 

Somehow I suspect that we have not heard the last of that particular match. 

On Monday the under 17s travelled to Hayfield, and amongst filming of “The Village” they got off to a disastrous start. Callum, JJ, Ole, Ivan, Charlie and George were all back in the shed with just 36 on the board. Will McIlveen and Oli Prior set about repairing the damage, and eventually we closed on 82-7. Not a great score on the small Hayfield pitch, but who could have predicted what would happen next. Five overs into the Hayfield innings they were 6 for 8 with JJ and Callum taking 4 wickets apiece, and all clean bowled. George Holden took the last two as Hayfield recovered to 8 all out, though Callum cant have been too pleased at being taken out of the attack on a hattrick!