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Callum Wood wasn’t proud of himself. As he and the other members of his ‘Midday Muggers’ gang waited in the shadows behind the St Aidan’s bike sheds, he asked himself if this was what he really wanted. But as yet another unsuspecting lone first year exited the adjacent school canteen carrying a magnificent looking takeaway pie and chips .... he decided that it was EXACTLY what he wanted .... though he cursed the lack of HP sauce.

With his brave posse of hooded 5th year accomplices at the ready it was like taking candy from a kid (well, pie and chips anyway). As he and his despicable mates tucked into the steak and shortcrust they laughed and stepped over their latest sobbing and soon to be starving victim. Even the Tory Government, voting as one against a bill to provide free school meals for the hungriest kids .... was causing less malnutrition than this!

But as the leader of the Midday Muggers laughed and belched and walked away, little did he know that their fate was already sealed. From a third floor window Head of Year Mr Margerison had seen, heard and smelled the goings on and as hoods were taken down ... he had finally got a look at the boyish faced ringleader. He was bloody well going to sort this out ........ !!

So it was Sessay at home on Saturday and with the temperatures up in the 80s, one way or another it was going to be a testing day. The sight of the orange coloured and eerie looking steelwork of the new clubhouse, coupled with the desert like conditions, had all the hallmarks of a scene from Mad Max 2. In a way it had an almost arty look of desolation, and Turner Prizes have certainly been won for less. We see you Tracy Emin and your crappy unmade bed!

In team news the almost unheard of situation of fourteen available players had occurred and with the mercury set to go off the scale, the combined 197 years of Zai, Quirkey and Pecker had been spared the torment. Young Toby was back though and making his first appearance of the season. Having recently discovered alcohol and having got in from Friday night at 9.30 on Saturday morning ..... his was a slightly dishevelled and sorry appearance. He grunted a “hello” then went off to throw up in a hedge.

Also saying a cheery hello was Callum who had spotted his Head of Year among the opposition ranks and was asking “Is it ok if I call you Lee out of school?” As the stern response of “You call me MR Margerison or Sir you little scrote!” came back, Callum couldn’t help but wonder why his usually approachable and supportive teacher ...... just looked SO disappointed. Must be pre-match nerves.

And so to business where as Sharkey wasted his time by going out to lose the eighth toss on the trot, the rest of the boys decided that climatic conditions similar to the Pompeii area in AD79, would be a good time to finally undertake some fielding drills. As if to make things even worse Ginger Brett Anderson, the team athlete, was the one holding the bat and making other less toned specimens hurtle about.  By the time Rich and Baz had padded up to come out and bat, the changing room area looked like a steaming scene from Tenko. Three of the lads had even felt the urge to go off and commence building a railway!

Returning to the newly recruited opening batsman Baz, it’s great to have him on board in what former (or is it still current) SCC legend Claz has described as the best signing since he waited for three hours in the rain outside Leeds Arena for Little Mix, before one of them agreed to come out and autograph his inner thigh .... while the others cowered in their dressing room and called the Police!

So as Baz and Rich took guard, Fatha Wood had already set off on the first of 62 laps round the ground, already confused why with his merry whistling of ‘All things bright and beautiful’ as he looked North, he kept getting the urge to burst into Desmond Dekker’s ‘Shanty Town’, every time he got to the bottom end and looked South. A real riddle!

Having Rich and Baz at the top of the order on a day like this is truly great. It’s just a fight for the comfy seats and sit back and enjoy. And that’s just what the crowd did as the two openers got to work on a rock hard deck that had only received its final short back and sides an hour before the start ….. due to yet another SCC mower failure. Thank goodness Opper knows people!

 

Just as a fifty stand looked nailed on though Baz got a ball that got big on him and he could only send an easy catch. That brought Rast to the crease, back from a week away and hell-bent on upping his season strike rate above 12! He needn’t have worried as the next hour saw him rocket it up to 15 as he and Rich ensured that the SCC total would at least have a firm foundation. After a solid stand of 60 both ended up falling more or less together as first Rich succumbed for 44 and then Rast for 35. With Sharkey suffering a second golden duck in two weeks and overtaking Rast before he’d even got off the field, it was time for youth to have its moment as Toby came to join Ginger Brett Anderson at the crease.

 

Leo’s bludgeoned 14 off 6 balls briefly flattered to deceive while Toby looking like he’d finally come round from his Prom induced hangover, also briefly flattered to deceive. But five minutes later both were back in the sweaty tent, Leo wondering what might have been and Toby wondering what HAD been!

 

That meant that the youth and experience of Callum and Steve were now at the crease and together they steadied the ship and put on a handy thirty, before Steve somehow allowed one between his legs and was skittled for a run a ball 15. The self-admonishing Irishman promptly exited the field self-admonishing himself. If he could reach his own arse easier I swear he would take off his belt and give himself a damn good thrashing. No-one else was volunteering to go anywhere near his steaming rump and do it for him anyway.

 

Opper now joined his son for the last knockings and between them they put on an unbroken fifty stand to take the final score up to a respectable 203 for 7. By now Callum was pretty broken and had suffered the ignominy of being outrun by his Pop. Them 15 year olds just don’t seem to have the energy of my day. Get him a paper round!! Still he came off with a brilliant 43 not out to his name.

 

So now it was time for the magnificent custom of teas. Rast was bemoaning his lack of sausage rolls, but in a moment of blissful irony spotted that his knackered nephew had three and swooped in like a kestrel spotting a vole ….. and devoured one in a single greedy and porcine appreciating bite!

 

Better than all that though Baz’s wife Emma had for the second week running, turned up with about a million delectable home-made scones and something called Blondies. They were also magnificent and almost as magnificent as a semi-clad Debbie Harry strutting away with the other Blondie at Glastonbury, aged, wait for it …… 77! Poor old Zai is gutted. He’s got no excuse to retire for years then yet!

 

Also by now Quirkey’s partner Clare had arrived for a cultural afternoon at the cricket with her beloved, alongside Rast’s wife Jo. They were more than happy to enjoy the fine culture of afternoon tea in the sunshine, but vociferously drew the line at the slightly different culture (or cultures …. like with a petrie dish!) of the cricket club bogs. It could be worse. In these post Brexit days of not needing to follow all that ridiculous EU red tape on water cleanliness (the very thought!), it’s a relief that the ‘stuff’ isn’t being piped straight into Johnny’s nearby stream and down to the River Wharfe at Wetherby, where some five year old having a paddle in the Summer sunshine might find a new floating ‘stick’ to play with!

 

Anyway, yes the baked treats were splendiferous and the ‘Hall boys cared not one jot that they collectively went out to field about 6 stones heavier than half an hour ago!

 

So Sharkey and Callum would be setting the tone with the ball and after 4 overs the score stood at 30 for no wicket …. tone duly set! Sharkey though was soon back into his stride, charging in, arms pumping like a T-Rex and teasing an edge to Steve at gully, that nearly took him with it. Sadly a shelling ….. and it wouldn’t be the last. At the other end though a clearly worn out Callum was stuggling after his batting exploits. We’d already seen a beamer before another vicious projectile was sent down, this time heading straight for his unfortunate uncle at first slip, who as a result of failing to cower out of the way is now sporting a left forearm the same colour as an over-ripened plum! Gnnggghhh!

 

Sharkey’s luck finally changed as the opener sent another guided missile to Steve in the gully, but this time it was closer to him and he took it with some ease ….. which kind of invited the question “what happened earlier?” Of course what happened earlier was that he failed to hold on and that’s exactly what happened one ball after the first wicket as Rast palmed one into the ether …. and then promptly used Ben’s butterfly collecting impression at Wicketkeeper as a feeble excuse.

 

The 54 year old has been was soon on to bowl at the bottom end and was keen to make amends though. He had always hoped he might have what they term a ‘golden arm’ when bowling, but with Rob handing him the ball from mid-on every other delivery, in between heading off for yet another p*ss behind the sight screen …… he realised he might just have to settle for golden (and slightly sticky) fingers!
 

Salvation came soon after though when Rob was moved as he was now on to bowl at the other end and boy did he bowl. To the layman it resembled a cross between Monica Seles and a severely damaged set of bagpipes ….. but behind the gasping façade beats the heart of a lion. Rob roared in for ten straight overs despite a badly broken ankle at one point, and helped himself to most of the Sessay middle order. We’ll never know if the ability to swing it late both ways was just down to natural talent ….. or was in some way enhanced due to the overhead conditions ….. and urine dribblets getting onto the ball.

 

Meanwhile Callum’s teacher had decided that he would tip and run, making only the slight mistake of picking out Rich at mid-off as his man to take on in the ensuing race. Other than Leo he couldn’t have chosen any worse as he saw the throw crash into the stumps at the bowlers end while he was still 6 feet short. Callum chuckled to himself at Sir’s lack of speed and then ironically went back to vegetating at square leg as he sought to recover from the terrible strain of batting for 15 overs and bowling 3 overs!

 

With Sharkey and Leo helping themselves to wickets as well it only remained to be seen if Rob could get the 5 for that his efforts so richly deserved and as the last man in chipped one to Toby at cover, Rob exhaled a final joyous gasp and held out his hand for the congratulations. He had to settle for pats on the back!


So a tired, very warm but contented crew made their celebratory way to The Scott’s Arms to sit in the beer garden and take refreshments ….. all that is except for Callum Wood, who was currently discovering the meaning of karma, having seen his double decker chip butty wrenched from his greedy grasp by an irate cricket bat waving Head of Year, who munched happily on the butty while chasing the surprisingly re-energised teenage upstart all the way down Main Street promising to demonstrate his cover drive!

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