The Demise Of Our Beloved Game

Oh dear, oh dear. I fear the worst. It seems that umpires and scorers (of adult status) now require CRB checks. So, let’s think about a regular Saturday afternoon. The league have only appointed one umpire, and so I, as second team captain, have to provide one. My vice captain is away on holiday, and my scorer has been drafted in to play at the last minute. So who umpires? Well, as I am the only member of the team that has a CRB check it will have to be me, but who scores? Well, as I am the only member of the team who has a CRB check it will have to be me. I suppose I could get one of the juniors to score, but they always claim (as do many seniors who have played the game for years) that they do not know how to score. And then there’s the teas. Teas at Whaley will change this year (more of that below), but if I don’t have a tea lady allocated I will have to get someone to do that too, and if they are likely to be in contact with juniors, unsupervised, for any length of time, they will need a CRB check too. I will also need to get all of my players to fill in a Self Declaration form (how on earth that will help if, god forbid, anything untoward happens I have no idea!), as well as the tea ladies and the groundsman. I should no doubt get our resident joiner CRB checked as he will have to build a new cabinet to house all of this documentation. 

And so on to the halcyon days of salads, cold meats, hot tea, and cricket. For many years Whaley Bridge CC prided itself on its teas, and we would occasionally marvel at the attempts of other clubs to provide Saturday sustenance. Who can forget the black smoke coming from the kitchen at Tintwistle as the pies were a little overdone, or the ham sandwich at Dove Holes that was just lacking one key ingredient, ham. The days when we played the game together, and then went to the pub together. The Royal at Hayfield, the George at Compstall, the “guess which pub we’re going to this year” at Old Glossop, and even The Vine at Birch Vale. It never snowed in April, and it never rained all summer, but the times they are a changing, and not, in my opinion, for the better. Many clubs have already started resorting to selling cans of beer to make ends meet, and in these harsh times I have to applaud every attempt by every club to raise much needed funds. I have to say that the saddest loss from a WBCC point of view is the trip to the George and Dragon at Charlesworth, for reasons that I won’t go into here, and which will probably never be repeated anyway, as Roy Clayton will testify from numerous subsequent checks. But teas are teas. There are rumours that the league want to do away with this traditional part of Saturday afternoon, and what a sad loss that would be. Whaley Bridge are resorting to sandwiches this summer, prepacked, accompanied by salad, and cake bars, or similar. It will be perfectly adequate, but it takes away the magnificence of the buffet table, the layers of ham, the piles of grated cheese, the slightly charred pizza and the crisps of indeterminate flavour once they have left the safety of the Aldi packaging. No more the jade shards of shredded lettuce, nestling the bright red orbs of cherry tomatoes, and no more the glares from the captain as the last slice of lemon drizzle cake disappears into the melee on the opposition table. It feels like a tiny part of the cricketing Saturday has died, though no doubt a few pints in the Shepherds will bring it back to life. See you when the snow melts.