Cup Fever Cured!

Twiddley diddley dee, twiddley diddley dee sang Michael Jackson back in the seventies, and whilst that lyric featured the reprise “Tweet Tweet”, it is fair to say that Whaley Bridge Cricket Club’s contribution to the DCCL knocokout trophies this season did NOT warrant a Tweet, and lets face it, very few things do. Gibbo’s ill fated three was a possible candidate, but more of that below! Anyway, enough of the hyper regulated social media furore, lets get on to the stuff that lies beneath that particular PC radar, and I’ll start with the cup. 

As I have said previously, the cup weekend used to be a critical part of the season. Were you in or out? Was your 17 not out for the firsts at Mellor enough to get you in to the Hawke tropy game at Stockport next Sunday. Nowadays, 3 not out in a long forgotten six a side game is enough, and it must surely be time to review the knockout competitions. Especially coinciding a double weekend with a Bank Holiday. My view is that the Hawke Trophy should be optional, but I am sure that the League Management Committee will discuss this in due course and come up with an appropriate solution. Meanwhile, we fielded 22 players, not the best that we have ever done, but they were all there, present and correct. It meant that a player who has played six a side last year after a total absence from cricket for several years, faced a bowler who graced the ranks of Derbyshire in recent seasons, but although Sprog obviously came out on top in this encounter, we ultimately suffered heavy defeats at both first and second team level. 

However, three defeats out of four provided a weekend of entertainment, and our new signing from Chapel, Ivan Heathcote, is already proving to be a star. Saturday saw the firsts dismissed for 66, but even that paltry total proved to be enough against Charlesworth, whilst the seconds mustered just 99 away to the same opposition, and were soundly beaten. A telling factor could well have been the tea interval. It has to be borderline gamesmanship putting on such a magnificent tea against opposition such as Whaley Bridge, that contains one or two players that struggle with the idea of self restraint when faced with such a bounty. Gibbo proudly announced that he was well into his second plateful, Ivan was more polite though with the same effect, whilst Fid just sat there with an enigmatic grin, confident that he could probably beat both of them as he limbered up to open the bowling with an extra portion of breaded mushrooms and three more potato wedges.  

The drama really occurred in the scorebox, or rather en route to it. Zac Madden grumpily and steadfastly refused to score the second half much to the disappointment of his parents. He was eventually persuaded that it was the right thing to do, but it was with a scowl that he took to the box, a scowl that any nine year old would have been proud of. Later, he was confronted by his parents. “I want you to think about your behaviour Zachary” (he knew he was in trouble when his full name was used). “Your mother and father were very disappointed in you. What have you got to say for yourself?” After the briefest of pauses, he simply said, “Well, mum, you said I should always be prepared for disappointment…” 

And so to Sunday, and the collapsing seconds were briefly bolstered by stand in captain Gibson (obviously the vice captain was not there, he had been selected for the firsts, and cried off anyway). The breath back ball is becoming a regular phenomenon, and after a couple of singles cheeks were definitely glowing. Potty called for a two and it appeared for a moment that the travelator was back, as Gibbo’s arms and legs were pumping furiously without him actually gaining any forward movement. Ivan, new to the theory of the breath back ball, and still seeing his captain with a refreshingly naive admiration, asked, “Why doesn’t he like running?” “It’s something to do with his shirt size,” I explained, but Ivan was not satisfied. He looked out at the rotund twirler and asked “How did he get so big?” at which point discussions about who ate the most tea at Charlesworth suddenly became significant. A very short time later the biggest cheer for some time echoed around Horwich Park as Potty called Gibbo through for a three. With chest heaving and lungs bursting he just about managed to cross the line, unlike Potty as the umpire called “one short” to rapturous applause. Will McIlveen made his second team debut in this game, and Gibbo was pleased to announce that Will’s brother was going out with an Olympic athlete. “Usain Bolt?” asked an astonished Ivan, and he was a bit disappointed to be told “No!” 

Teams have been selected and the seconds face another challenge this weekend. A bevy of beautiful tea ladies have promised to provide a Charlesworthesque spread, and it has already been noted that the cake baking has become competitive, with certain “bakers” trying to push their own produce onto unsuspecting punters ahead of other chocolate cakes and deep Victoria sponge. 

We await this weekend with interest, though I suspect that if Charlesworth efforts are anything to go by, Gibbo will soon be putting the “Whale” into Whaley Bridge. 

Finally, it was good to see Murph umpiring the cup match at Whaley, and he happened to mention that if Russ Wild and myself were to make another speech at the league dinner he would definitely attend. I suspect several others wouldn’t after our last efforts, but we’re always up for a laugh. I’ll let you know if we hear anything from the organisers!