Match report - vs Kippax, 23rd June 2019.
Report written by Andy Wood
Long missing aristocrat Lord Lucan is recovering this morning in Harrogate District Hospital, having finally been discovered miraculously alive and well at the Sicklinghall Cricket Ground. Details remain a little sketchy but it seems that 45 years ago, accused of murder and on the run from the law, the noble Lord had found himself caught short in the local vicinity and popped over the fence to take a quick leak at the foot of Siddiqui Slope.
As usual the monument to the great Dubai dwelling dufus was completely overgrown with stinging nettles and as the peer of the realm unzipped in the dark and “went to work”, he got a terrible shock when he nettled his nadgers and prickled his p***k! Reeling backwards he found himself descending into the abyss (also known as the Sicklinghall Well). The next four and a half decades had been spent surviving on the murky water in the well and the odd mole which had been busy giving Lindsey Pearson the runaround and taken a wrong turning; while all the time wishing he had the one thing he craved more than anything ..... a dock leaf!!
So many times in the intervening years he had thought he was about to be rescued as yet another opposition six landed near him, only to hear the words “Sod that I’m not off in there, let’s just tell them we couldn’t find it”. Invariably those words were spoken from the mouth of Aayan Siddiqui, a cunning and inherently lazy man!
But now here we were and he had finally been discovered by two Kippax players. Naturally it was a six struck by one of their own lads and it had landed right in the overgrown well, just missing the Good Lord’s swede. They were shocked to the core to see the ball ascend vertically from the ground, accompanied by the words “For f***s sake, that nearly killed me!” Fast forward a few minutes and the long lost Lord was being hoisted from his watery pit, a little greyer in the hair and three of four stones lighter, but seemingly none the worse for his elongated ordeal.
At first he had refused hospital treatment, asking only for something to eat. Half an hour later having been subjected to Claz’s ham and egg butties he was begging for hospital treatment and trying to jump back down the hole! Thinking him delusional Claz treated him to a slice of his home made pizza and shortly afterwards an ambulance could be heard whizzing up the village as in an ironic twist of fate the projectile vomiting peer accused the distinctly amateur chef of attempted murder.
Yes it was a drama packed day at the SCG as high flying Kippax were the visitors. Once again the viewing area in the South West corner was starved of what used to be packed masses of spectators. In these days of struggling for numbers they’re all terrified that they’ll get roped in to the starting eleven. Octogenarian Don has moved 200 miles away to avoid the call, fellow 80 something Frank has put off a second hip replacement, preferring to limp around in joint grinding agony .... and nonagenarian (that’s 90 for you lot looking bewildered) Roy Goddard has also turned down the invite ..... but only because Rich won’t let him open the batting and bowling.
So just the nine players again yesterday ..... but what was this? Not one, not two but three Challengers getting out of the Mondeo, 12 year old David having been drafted in ..... abuse from ALL angles then. Not just that but they were carrying teas ..... well two were ..... Leo was following behind sniffing for crumbs. It was going to be a long day!
With the weather finally cracking the flags after weeks of rain, scorer Ali was gleefully setting up camp al fresco. Mum Nessie though was concerned about the table cover flapping in the breeze but Ali had just laid out her collection of forty two pens and wasn’t about to cause herself more work. She needn’t have worried. In two seconds flat Nessie had grabbed the corners a la Debbie McGee and whipped off the cloth without a single pen falling off .... a move which gave an insight into how she sorts Willie out when he can’t be bothered to change his undies for the third day running!
Also getting a game was 10 year old Callum, with Uncle Rast praying that the cherubic youngster would keep his hurtful wisecracks to himself today. Here he was arriving with Dad Opper, who turned up looking exactly like page 422 of the Next Directory, sporting crew neck tee shirt, fancy shorts, Adidas trainers and aviator sunglasses. But for the varicose veins he looked every inch the mid-range male model.
So to the game where everyone waited eagerly for the outcome of the toss, especially Ted at the pub who needed to know if his extra staff were coming on at seven o clock (if Kippax were batting) or half past two (if Sicklinghall were wielding the willow). Stand them down Ted .... the Hall boys were all out together.
Opening up down the hill was the erotic Andy Tennant, bowling to that bloke who once played a test for India. The nearest Erotic had been to an Indian test was the night when he’d accidentally chosen the vindaloo and then found that someone was already in the bog! But here he was bowling great and giving the openers a proper test ..... at least up to the point where he inadvertently let a thirty foot high beamer go. (Is it technically a beamer when it hits the sight screen on the full?)
At the other end Rast was cheerily keeping it tight as usual and even when the opener heaved a four across the line to break the shackles, he refused to let his rhythm slip. Sadly his brain didn’t agree and as he slothed in for the next ball making mooing noises and cow horn gestures, he forgot all about where to bowl the ball. As the cow pie delivery was dispatched to the fence he could only turn away. Utter bull!
Still, better was to come for the slow-medium trundler as catches were sent the way of the two junior Claz’s. True to their father’s teachings both were shelled, though Ginger Brett held on to his right up to the point where he realised it wasn’t edible.
With a wicket desperately needed Rich needed a top bowler so turned to Zuby. “Zuby, do you know any top bowlers?”. He didn’t, but what he did know was that samosa oil had got on his fingers from humping them in earlier and it could be a swinging day. It was as he sent the opener packing first ball with one that shattered the off stump before coming to rest at Leo’s feet. Smelling samosa grease Ginger Brett picked it up and licked it. Now it was proper shiny.
Rast was coming to the end of another wicketless spell. At mid off nephew Callum challenged him to finish off with “your quickest ball”. The 55 mph thunderbolt was played to gully for no run. Rast looked content with his work. “Uncle Andy” said Callum, “was that your quickest ball? Only if it was it was VERY disappointing!” The veteran sobbed his way to third man.
Zuby and Zai were now in tandem .... the ZZ squad .... sounds like a swarm of bees. Talking of which, here was one now, making it’s buzzing way across the SCG. Countryman Opper was shouting at people to lie flat to the floor as the swarm would not fly below a height of two feet. At least three home players had to seriously breathe in to get within the threshold, with one unfortunate insect skimming off Claz’s gut and shooting upwards as he desperately tried to suck it in. The players held their collective breath knowing that one angry insect would bring the whole swarm back in a biblical style rampage. Luckily the happy bee just thought it was at Alton Towers and came back for another go. Disaster had been narrowly averted.
And here was Opper now into the attack alongside a fired up Zai. Certain members of the team were starting to deeply regret their unofficial nearest the pin competition which had seen guesses STARTING at 275, ascending all the way to 602. Thanks to Zai’s ripping off breakers and Opper’s partnership breakers Kippax were not going to set anything too embarrassing at all. It was like watching Saqlain Mushtaq (or Saqlain Mushtaq’s white haired dad anyway) as Zai rolled back the years to his pomp ..... 1974.
As the boys left the field Zai took the applause for a deserved five-fer, while Opper took a deserved kick in the shins from his son for earlier telling him to hold the ball, while everyone else told him to throw it up to the keeper. Talking of throwing up it was time for Claz’s teas! No, they were copious and great and along with two boxes of Zuby’s samosas ... very well received
So now it was time for the nine men to go out and try to chase down 228. And here opening the batting was Unlucky Ben. Kippax had maybe heard of his unfortunate reputation as twice in the opening ten overs they appealed for LBWs off the middle of UB’s bat. At one point he considered buying a parrot and a three cornered hat. Arrrrrr Jim Laaaad!
Anyway as UB’s wooden leg kept middling boundaries and Rast upset the opposition by batting outside off stump and slog sweeping (upset himself too as he couldn’t get up), the target was coming down and Hall players were daring to dream. To be fair to Claz he had also been dreaming earlier when instead of backing up a potential run out, he stood whistling and looking at cloud shapes ..... oooooh look a tea pot!
Eighty runs were on the board and some on the field of play were getting very twitchy .... especially UB who knew he only had ten minutes to get home and get a shower, before Sarah started making a doll and thrusting pins into it. He thought about carrying on and skipping the shower, but with the mercury rising to 23 degrees, wisely thought better of it and got bowled. He was last seen gasping profusely as he high tailed it down Main Street
Rich was now at the crease but his batting form as captain had deserted him and he was soon on his way back, cursing Adam Ryko for wrecking his form, but pleased at least that having only been subjected to eight Kippax appeals in his four overs at the crease, he could still just about hear. All over the rest of the village dogs were howling. This may also have explained the umpire’s and Opper’s failure to hear his little nick a few overs later ..... their auditory organs by now only able to pick up a constant whistling
Opper took his chance and along with Rast made hay while the sun shone. Poor Rast was struggling by now though and in twenty seconds of comedic mayhem he found himself flat on his arse not once but twice, as the sound of a howling with laughter Claz, briefly drowned out the howling dogs. It was all too much for the overweight old opener who in one final attempt at square leg boundary hitting, was happy that the subsequent top edge didn’t remove his teeth on its way to short third man
Claz was in now and they say that mimicry is the highest form of flattery. He whacked a couple of fours to square leg before also top edging to short third man. He’d done his bit though and happily took the adulation from ..... his son. His other son was now out in the middle and was also getting boundaries. Between Leo and Opper they got the score up to point scoring territory, before both clottishly getting out trying to get 60 off 3 overs. Zai and Erotic saw out the last knockings and as the boys shook hands they’d at least knocked the breath out of Kippax ..... all that appealing probably
In amazing scenes at the pub both Woods miraculously declared that they couldn’t eat, though Rast subsequently relented with very little persuasion. Meanwhile fifteen miles away in York a still slightly whiffy UB tucked into his lamb shank and wondered why it kept feeling like he’d sat on a broken bottle!