“Water Weekend” For Whaley

Can you see what I did with that headline? Clever word play or what? Anyway, its been a typically Whaley week, and even more so during the infamous though usually brief bout of cup fever that inevitably occurs at this time of year.

Cast your minds back to Monday night. Perhaps it was the euphoria of the Diamond Jubilee, or the translation of that notable occasion into hard cash for the cricket club. It could have been smoke inhalation from the bonfire, or kit inhalation from holding the selection meeting in the home dressing room. Whatever it was, something clearly caught the selection committee off guard, as although 44 players were chosen, there was more chance of Luke writing a 20 page dissertation on the difference between “hindsight” and “intuition” than of the 44 selected players actually playing.

Before the teams had been consigned to paper the seconds lost a bowler for Saturday, so Fid switched from Sunday and Nick Howe came in. To be fair to Nick, he didnt actually know that he was being considered for selection, though neither did Matt Morten (his mum said “pick him”), Neil Shaw or even Fid himself. By Wednesday “Millygate” had come to more heads than Scholesy’s pubescent complexion, and he declared himself available for selection. Forget the whys and wherefores – he was in. So, he was more than happy as the second team wicketkeeper against New Mills in the cup. Unfortunately, the demons took over Crompton’s addled brain, and he decided that he could not get his head around playing, whilst Jake declared that he was 50/50 as he had a bad back, and Ben Williams was still struggling with his calf. Matt Morten cried off along with Shawy, Milly went into the firsts on Sunday, and we were perhaps fortunate that Dec’s Marigolds were consigned to a Swedish au pair or other such appropriate substitute and he was free to play.

By Friday night we had an abundance of players on Saturday, and with rain in the air we took the prudent decision to move Clayton into the Sunday side that was diminishing rapidly. Saturday was a washout, despite the Compstall players standing in the way of the oncoming tide of water brought up by their magnificent water hog, like a line of Chinese King Canutes on the edge of The Wok.

So we sat in the Sheps and reassessed the Sunday side. Not bad – 8 players. Not even 8 bad players, but certainly not 8 good players, and with very little emphasis on youth. Whaley Bridge on Saturday night is a very good place to pick up players, and several other things that are perhaps less appealing and leave you with more of an itch, but we tried several other avenues first. Ironically, or appropriately, Whaley Water Weekend robbed us of the potential services of Jon Goldfinch, whilst Dave Mulholland has his finger in a splint. Exams accounted for most of our juniors, though if we had a level two coach available several of our under 13s would have been brought into the fray. So, by the time festivities commenced, we were still down to 8, with Alex Fox a “maybe” due to the wonders of Facebook. This soon became 10 with Gavin Hill and Fid, but 10 it remained until the following morning.

This was not really seen as a problem, with the outfield under water and the square capable of hosting an Olympic yachting qualifier, but we should have contacted the umpires there and then for an early decision. Unfortunately, unlike the case of the infamous abandoned six a side which would have resulted in several cases of sunstroke had the club not made a premature call two days earlier, we left it until the following morning when the modicum of cloudless sky (I can’t bring myself to going as far as calling it sunshine) together with the magnificent efforts of an over zealous groundsman (who had also been selected to play), meant that the game would indeed go ahead. Calls were made, Caddy, Willy, anyone who had ever played for Whaley, anyone who had ever watched Whaley, anyone who had ever heard of Whaley, and it was Caddy who came to the rescue. We had 11, Dale and Tommo assisted captain TR Wild to make the teas, and we were all set. That is until Jake cried off, and we were down to 10 with half an hour to start time. Foxy, no, Broggy, no. All of those players that said “I would never see you short,” no. Crompton was sat on his wall and preferred to stay there rather than to join in the battle for the good name of the club. Pykey, surely we weren’t that desperate? Woody, possibly the best scorer in the history of the second team (whoops, nearly upset someone there) said he’d play, then Scott Rowntree said the same. At exactly that time Clayton was on the phone to Pykey, last seen falling down the steps on Jubilee night, and he was our 11th man. Fortunately our 12th and 13th men were not at all upset about not having to face the might of the Millers, so Peter opened the batting with Caddy and the rest, by the time you read this, will be history!