At this time of year we are always thrown into confusion with the 50% eligibility rule, and it always sparks controversy. This year is no exception, as the firsts are in the running for promotion and Dale wants to field his strongest side. The seconds are in the running for finishing 8th or 9th, and their opposition, for both games in a bizarre twist of fate engineered by the league, is Charlesworth who are one place above them. In other words, both 2nd XI Charlesworth games are a dead rubber. So, we asked for Dave Marchington to be considered eligible for the 2nds, but we were refused on the grounds that he has taken more than 10 wickets (13 by my reckoning). Now, you could say that Dave has not played in the 2nds all season so why should he be eligible? But in actual fact Whaley in particular are renowned for having players in the side to make up the numbers, but when it comes to the crunch (and Kings School allow us to pick their talented youngsters) we need our strongest first XI to ensure the best chance of promotion. Taking this into account Dave doesn’t play at all, which seems unfair, and the situation could get worse this week as both Elliott Simmonds and Marc Thompson are in the same situation. Hopefully both of them will be allowed to play as neither have scored 100 first XI runs and they both played in the 2nds earlier in the year.
Now, there is no criticism of the league in this, and in particular the statistician Nichola, who does a wonderful job often in very trying circumstances (I really must remember to find out the name of the opposition keeper and mark it on the sheet, sorry!), but common sense must prevail! The rule is understandable, as is the desire for our first team captain to field his strongest XI, including two juniors from the aforementioned Kings, and Stuart Milner who has had a lengthy run in the seconds to recover some much needed form (68 on Sunday – runs, not age). Either way, it doesn’t seem fair that three cricketers could potentially miss out on a game of cricket. Any suggestions for a change to the rule would be more than welcome, as in the past we have managed to reach the last match of the season with at least 12 players only eligible to play for the firsts.
Onto more mundane matters, and the seconds continue to suffer from poor availability and a lack of application with the bat. Gibbo finally came good on Saturday, but we still managed just 129, whilst Sunday was even worse, with old timer Caddy top scoring in a total of 108. Our final match sees a return to Charlesworth, so lets hope that our batting is as good as the garlic mushrooms were reported to be.
The firsts have done rather better, beating Woodley and Charlesworth for a total of 37 points. They are now just 3 points behind Compstall with one game to go. It would be good to see a huge crowd at Whaley on Saturday, not only to cheer on our boys, but also to consume lots of fizzy drinks that were recently acquired rather cheaply.
And so to the end of the season. SF Morten is rumoured to be in town so we can expect a raucous version of Runaround Sue on Saturday night, whilst the end of season presentation and the return of the Relay are also scheduled.
Nice to see Ben Bettney reach double figures with the bat on Saturday, and interesting to hear of the at least double figures number of times that he has sustained a genital injury as he described them all at Charlesworth.