Match report - vs Barwick, 14th August, 2021.

Written by Andy Wood

Marcelo Bielsa was gutted and more than a little miffed. Two days on from the humiliating defeat at Old Trafford and as he did his weekly big shop in Morrisons, the last thing he needed was to listen to Adam Ryszkowski moaning in the milk aisle to anyone who would listen, about his crap cricket team. It was in many ways a wise ploy by the Sicklinghall Skipper, knowing as he did that the local OAPs always congregated for a chin wag in the busiest part of the shop, as that way they could get in the way of the maximum number of other shoppers. Adam thought he must have a better than average chance of signing one or two up. Who knows he might even discover the new Zai Ali.

The Argentine god of football coaching and well known scholar of team management was quick to invite his Sicklinghall counterpart for a coffee. As Adam duly accepted and headed across the road towards Costa, Bielsa quickly called him back. Pointing him back towards Mozzers caff he proved that his command of English and certainly Maths is pretty good ..... “Oi, where do you think you’re going? I ain’t paying THOSE sodding prices!”

The two sporting heavyweights were soon exchanging bad luck and sob stories of their weekend woes :
Bielsa - “I had such high hopes for the season”
Ryko - “I thought WE could finish top 8!”
B - “We were so well prepared”
R - “And WE had a net!”
B - “But then I couldn’t pick my best 11”
R - “I couldn’t even FIND 11”
B - “My Koch didn’t have good game”
R - “Neither did mine. Rast had a shocker!”

After much debate which stretched into a second latte and a fruit scone each, the two agreed to call it a draw. Both had been dealt a poor hand. As Bielsa called for the bill and just “popped to the loo” Adam felt much better. It had been good to talk it all through ..... and he’d been treated to a cream tea by a superstar. He was almost certain that he was now a Leeds fan .... and wondered how he would break the good news to Tom! It was at that point that he heard the two staff members talking to each other .... “Someone’s left the big window wide open in the gent’s bogs!” Adam supports Bradford again .... and has an empty wallet!

Barwick away on Saturday and the home team would be fired up having been denied their request to delay the start to watch the Leeds game first. In actual fact they should have thanked us for sparing them the dreadful carnage. Those of us padded up to bat were not so lucky!

In team news Sharkey and Zai were again absent, but Opper and Callum were late additions to ensure that a full eleven would travel. Originally scheduled to be toilet training their new puppy (teaching the Cava-poo where to ‘ave a poo), Opper was pleased to find getting up on Saturday morning, that his cute young pooch was a quick learner and had controlled it’s bowels overnight. If only Opper had realised that rewarding the desperate dawg with a pleasurable pat wasn’t the best way to express his gratitude, he might have avoided the subsequent 1kg steaming pat that appeared on his lounge carpet, as the now howling hound was finally forced to evacuate its innards!

Also back in the side was Unlucky Ben, but as 1 o’clock ticked round and with Rich and Matt walking out to take guard, there was still no sign of the number three listed, formerly herniated hero. Just as all hope was nearly lost the BMW roared into the Barwick car park and the ‘Hall boys finally got a look at the best batter in the Wetherby area. They had to be quick though as the last piece of Ben’s Frying Pan portion of fish accompanied the remaining chips down his greedy gullet and he waddled inside to pad up.

Luckily he wouldn’t be required imminently as Rich and Matt ticked the score over in the early overs and 37 were racked up and some were daring to dream, when Matt got his leg (and bat - he says!) in front of a hooping straight one??? and was LBW. Ben was soon regretting his one of each as the fluency of his innings was hampered by his now badly repeating fishy lunch, seeing him belching his way back for three. With Rich also following caught and bowled soon after, Barwick were confronted by the sight of Opper and Rast at the crease .... a combined 103 years of sh*te! Any thought in the home ranks that the badly ageing twosome might wind back the clock to when they could bat were soon dispelled as Gary Bettison turned into Graeme Swann for the afternoon. Opper padded up to a ripper and was LBW not playing a shot. If like Clint Eastwood in the Spaghetti Westerns he was the man with no name he literally wouldn’t trouble the scorers at all! Rast meanwhile might as well not have played a shot either, leaving a gap wider than a hippie’s flares and getting well and truly castled.

Tom gave some respectability to the score with a counter attacking 29 ..... seeing a very speedy recovery from his “badly broken kneecap”, while Adam also counter-attacked but forgot to look at the ball. For the second week running Robbie batted well with the tail, but as Callum looked behind him in mortification as his stumps were spread eagled, the score that Barwick would have to chase stood at a lowly and very gettable 115.

As lads tucked into their sandwiches at half time and discussed technical deficiencies, Opper and Callum realised that their poo infested and duck infested day actually COULD get worse, as with the 20 minute tea break already in progress Katherine phoned to say that she was “about 21 minutes away” with their Fortnum and Mason hamper. Much begging ensued and with Katherine breaking every speed limit going, the fois-gras and duck (apt!) liver pate appeared in the nick of time.

Adam Ryko spent the break planning how he could defend the meagre total and the best he could come up with was to give Rast the new ball. Despite a jammy LBW with the first ball (nearly bounced twice), the Skipper soon realised the error of his ways (the numerous long hops getting battered for four helped) and he sent the knackered old pit pony to the slips for a metaphorical early shower. He was at least to prove of some use when the reaction from Robbie and Opper to his subsequent rancid fart, provided a quick and easy negative COVID testing service. No problems with THEIR sense of smell!

As Adam gave way to Tom down the hill, Irish Steve was now doing the donkey work up the hill and he soon teased an edge which was somehow pouched at first slip by another VERY SURPRISED donkey! The re-alignment of Tom’s rebuilt knee was working wonders, giving him an extra yard of pace as well as a now functioning radar. His bowling career was well and truly resurrected as he helped himself to key wickets.

The fielding had also improved (if only temporarily) with Steve bravely parrying a straight drive with the cue end of his middle finger. Barely showing discomfort that display of stiff upper lip proved to be nothing, as Ginger Brett took over at the pavilion end and promptly wore a full on comet tailed tracer bullet flush on his not very fleshy shin. Lads looked the other way expecting to see Leo’s blood soaked shinbone sticking out of the back of his trousers. Instead he just turned and walked (not limped) back to his mark. He didn’t scream, he didn’t shout, he didn’t even rub it. Truly the best advert for the pain killing benefits of cannabis that I for one have ever seen. Where can I get some!?

The batsman could take no more and promptly holed out. His head was scrambled and he trudged off shaking it and rubbing his eyes in disbelief. Leo was on fire (as indeed was his eggy lumped shin) and the new batsman soon edged to Rast, fresh from his earlier glorious snaring at slip. Sadly as this one bounced for runs off the unseeing idiot’s shin, Opper burst into uncontrollable snotty tears of laughter while Rast pathetically rubbed his slightly sore lower leg in a show of zero solidarity with Leo’s earlier manliness!

The boys spirit was finally broken but there was still just time for 13 year old Callum to steam in and bowl a maiden over, proving himself in the process to be without doubt the only Wood with any kind of a cricketing future.

The winning runs were duly knocked off and as the boys sank a swift one to drown their sorrows (again), and Ben contemplated his second 2,000 calorie meal of the day (It’s Sarah who’s pregnant not you mate!), Skipper Adam Ryko took scorer Ali’s result enquiring phone call from Greece ..... mightily relieved that BREXIT induced roaming charges would limit the deserved bollocking to just five minutes!