Match report - vs Ledsham, 18th May 2019.

Report written by Andy Wood

Fresh from his ordaining into the Trappist Monkhood, Sicklinghall club captain Imran Ali this week broke his vow of silence to explain his plans for redemption and self enlightenment, prior to his eagerly anticipated return to the cricketing stage. Having suffered the pudding basin holy haircut at the hands of the woefully under-qualified but willing to give it a go Zai during the week, it’s unclear whether the Skipper’s self imposed exile is the result of the need to find himself .... or because Zai’s made him look like Brother Cadfael! Either way it would seem that Immy has swapped dreams of Lords for dreams of Lourdes as he embarks on a mission to bring righteousness to the sinners and succour (and maybe crisps and sarnies) to the poor and needy. His great vision is to bring people together through the building of a small but functional monastery, to share their pain and set them on the path to inner peace. Sadly the project has suffered a slight delay as the design has tripled in size and is now subject to funding decisions as well as discussions about a perimeter cycle track ..... bum bum!!

However missionary work and holy callings undoubtedly trump cricket and so there were just nine Hall players who were available to greet the arrival of Ledsham at the weekend. Most of them were praying for a miracle too. Prayers were duly answered when a call arrived from the again absent Opper to say that he could get out of work for a couple of hours. Brilliant .... the opportunity for him to bash a quick fifty before he got dragged away again. Could be invaluable ...... Rich won the toss and elected to field! In fairness Opper’s skills in that department would also be massively needed ..... just a shame then that he forgot to bring them with him ..... more later!

First things first, in Immy’s absence the boys needed a ‘keeper. Who could possibly do it? Auditions were short as most candidates couldn’t even bend down to pick the gloves up without groaning or popping something. With Leeds City Boys FC goalkeeper Ginger Brett Anderson in the team though the problem was solved .... Goalkeeper .... Wicket Keeper .... the clues were all there. As Leo strapped the pads on and promptly tripped up over someone’s kit bag as he exited the Changing Room, the elder statesmen in the side pretended not to notice .... and just hoped for the best.

In other team news the much missed Zuby was back in the fold, late as usual but this time with a good excuse. Unable to find his kit he’d been forced to rush out at the last minute and buy some more. As he got changed and the figure hugging nature of the new apparel became apparent, it was clearly testament to a burning desire to get fitter .... either that or the smaller sizes were cheaper!

Ah yes smaller sizes. As Opper made his way on to the ground eight overs in, he’d had the foresight to bring eleven year old son Callum with him to field. Finally there was to be the sight of a Wood actually running around. By this time Uncle Rast was well into a spell of such tightness that his knackered taut hamstring, somewhere around the note of an upper G string in musical terms, seemed positively loose in comparison. Talking of ladies underwear that reminds me .... Claz was playing again! Somehow he had bagged himself another gig at slip .... probably so he could once again lend his bespoke brand of reverse psychology encouragement to Leo! It was working though. Ginger Brett was keeping like he was born to it and his proud father’s chest was sticking out ever further as the innings went on ..... though it could just have been his man boobs!

Tom, Andy T, Zai and Zuby all had their moments .... interspersed with the odd beamer ... and more than one catch went down off their bowling ..... though in the case of Zai and Erotic they were caught and bowled chances, so who’s the Clot there? Probably the best effort of the lot though was reserved for “Super-specialist-fielder” Opper, who literally two minutes after chastising his poor offspring for failing to employ the long barrier, ran round to take a skyer, shelled it ..... and then booted it for four in an inept display of football not seen since Leeds United gift wrapped the play off semi for Derby, tied a gold ribbon round it and sent it first class and Sealed With A Loving Kiss! FFS!! (I’m not bitter!) Talking of the play off semi, Sheffield Wednesday fan Claz, watching gleefully in a Wetherby hostelry as the hosts capitulated, had been forced to leave the pub when his cheering had left him under the very real threat of being punched in the face ..... and having his looks improved!

The appalling effort by Opper was greeted with mocking (but well deserved) derision from son Callum. How times have changed with the confidence and worldliness of modern youth. As Ledsham’s middle order put the Hall bowlers to the sword in the remaining overs, one of the more veteran fielders decided he would cheer Callum up with a loud hum-dinger of a fart, fully expecting the cherubic youth to collapse on the floor laughing (as HE would have done 40 years earlier .... or now for that matter). Instead his shame on being told in no uncertain terms that he was contributing to global warming was palpable, and he was forced to spend the remainder of the innings clenching his buttocks for fear of earning a further stinging rebuke. I mean .... it was hardly on the scale of China!

And so finally to half time where a score of 226 would have to be chased. Not though before Ben’s tasty treats would be sampled, and with Opper and Callum now gone, there were even more delights for the greediest of the piggies to go at. In an absolute master stroke and in the absence of Matt and Opper, Ben had also volunteered to open the batting ..... thus getting him out of the washing up. For a short while though he was worried that he may get saddled after all, the second half of the game being delayed while a passing policeman stopped to interview and caution Willie Gant, who had been caught behind the Changing Rooms in a compromising position with a lamb. Though Nessie’s testimony had saved Willie from utter ignominy and shame, explaining as she did that he was untangling it from and lifting it over the wire fence .... it’s still possible that his new nickname of Woolly Willie will stick ..... a bit like all that fleece at the top of his trousers!

Anyway Ben safely negotiated the first over and proved immediately that this was a nice deck to bat on. Rast disproved it one ball later as he was out first ball and Ali sighed and reached once again for her gold pen. So Rich came to the crease and immediately looked the part, while Ben, now guilt ridden about his domestic duties, chipped one in the air and ran off to don the marigolds. As Tommy Ryko trudged back very soon after to join Rast and Ben at 3-3, the innings was in turmoil .... though the kitchen had never looked so clean and tidy.

Claz was in at five and in a storybook half hour similar to the Tiger comic character in “Billy’s boots” (where a young amateur footballer gets hold of a pair of boots that belonged to a superstar and plays like one), he performed like a batting God. Just as it was looking like the tide might turn though, it all came crashing down as “Billy’s boots” became “Billy Smart’s boots” once again, as he completely missed a full toss and was skittled.

When Rich went for a defiant 33 and Leo followed soon after for 10, the game was just about up and less than 60 was on the board. There was though just time for Zuby to cream an unexpected late four to take the final total to 63 and make the top order feel even worse ..... as Ledsham celebrated a massacre.

All that was left was to suck it up down at the pub as the gang sat out and pondered such things as “How did that happen?”, “Will Immy ever return?” and “Why IS Willie Gant wearing Wellies??!!”

© Sicklinghall Cricket Club