Match report - vs Crossgates, 1st June 2019.
Report written by Andy Wood
Marathon man Steve Clegg today finds himself on the run from the law enforcement agencies of two countries, still shaking his head as to how he has become embroiled in an international male sex trafficking scandal. How was he to know that the two Indian lads who had signed late on Friday, with only broken English between them, would turn out to be undercover cops from the Mumbai Vice Squad? And how the hell had his generous and innocent offer of a lift back to their digs caused such an uproar that sixteen cars with blue and twos going, had chased him halfway across the county? Replaying events in his mind a day later as he huddled for warmth round his small fire in the woods above Bradford, he was still puzzled ..... ‘All I said was “SO, YOU BOYS WANT TONG THEN?”, what the hell just happened?’.
Meanwhile quite reasonably, with Cleggy gone to ground, the boys in blue had turned their attention to Chairman Zai. After all it was he who had arranged Fridays late double signing. “Sorry Officer” said the beleaguered SCC Head Honcho, answering the door on Sunday morning, “Of course I understand the seriousness of the accusations, but I tell you, I know nothing about it ..... I WENT TO ROD STEWART!”. ....... He now finds himself very confused and on remand in Armley.
Oh yes, it was a strange going on yesterday what with one thing and another. With even more absentees for the trip to Crossgates than in the recent drubbing by Ledsham, Zai had turned his attention in the week to trying to get Phil Drabble to play. He after all was surely more experienced than most when it came to One Man and His Dog. Sadly the star of the hit BBC shepherding show was forced to turn down the kind invite due to unavailability .... primarily due to being dead since 2007! Luckily Zai was able call on Cleggy and the two Indian lads (lucky until the scandal hit that is) and with two hours of availability himself, it was once again nine and a bit who would take to the field this week. That would have to do.
Also present was scorer Ali, only nine hours after a long flight back from Turkey ...... still pissed and looking to fight anyone. In fact following her inebriation on Skittle Bombs (Cointreau and Red Bull so I’m told), she had quite rightly been turned away from her EasyJet flight home ...... NOT drunk and lairy enough apparently! Luckily the Red Bull gave her wings and she was able to fly herself back, though a group of unfortunate folk in southern Slovakia are still wondering how and why the sky was raining vomit on Saturday morning!
It was also an emotional day for Matt this week. Not only was he returning to his old stamping ground to see old mates ..... he was doing so in utterly woeful form, his longest recent innings being the one where he acted as a runner. Would he be able to cope with the scrutiny, the pressure and the jeering from past comrades? Probably not but let’s see ....
Stand in Skipper Rich lost the toss and was asked to have a bat. A disappointing outcome as the boys were all very keen to be out in the fresh air, what with someone in the Changing Rooms smelling like they too had died in 2007. Embalming fluid .... or maybe soap next time? Just a thought! So a nervous looking Matt breathed deeply as he made his way out to the middle alongside Rast ..... who was just breathing deeply ... Thank God for fresh air! No wonder Crossgates delayed the first use of their swanky new pavilion by a week.
Matt was shaking with nerves as the first over came down, and his knocking knees could be the only explanation for the click as the ball went through to the Keeper. It certainly wasn’t his glove anyway. Talking of knees, the man with the permanently knackered ones was already on his way back as his left one had got in the way of a straight ball. Disappointing but the impact seems to have knocked a bit of loose cartilage back into place at least.
All eyes then turned to the Asian sensation entering the fray .... in the area as the Coach of a group of touring under 16s, one of whom was our other special guest today. The crowd collectively held their breath (Anyone near the away Changing Room already was). Sadly the hype was just that as the second ball was cow-hoiked straight up in the air and was caught. As Rich got to his feet to take his place, a clearly disappointed Zai shook his head. “I don’t understand it” he gasped exasperatedly, “HE’S the coach!”. “No, no”, explained his eavesdropping young protege, “he DRIVES the coach!”
Crossgates were cock a hoop, but maybe they were dancing too soon as Matt and Rich were soon showing how it should be done. Matt was hell bent on getting one over on old pals, while Rich was desperate to avoid being the most unsuccessful leader since David Cameron had said “Oh go on then, let’s have a referendum .... what’s the worst that could happen?” Determined to avoid ignominy and threats relating to a pigs head, he stroked the ball around ..... a bit like Dav......, no let’s not go there!
Sadly just as Matt was earning plaudits from the capacity crowd of eight, he missed a slower ball and trudged back, castigating himself loudly so as not to hear the mocking laughter of the home side. That brought Ben to the crease and he also looked in control, until a dreadful heave across the line ..... a shot that he had recently been taught by a nearby coach, saw further mocking laughter. Rich needed a partner to stay with him and it looked like young guest keeper / batsman Krish might do just that as he played some flowing shots. “I like the look of him” said a clearly impressed Nessie, while Willie shuffled uncomfortably in his Winter coat, taking solace by stealing his daughter’s crisps! Unfortunately for Krish he got a bit of a stinker, given out caught behind and Tom entered the fray.
Rich was pretty much taking Crossgates on single handedly at the other end, but time was ticking on and Zai had to be away by 3pm for his VIP concert experience. Finally he had padded up and sat back down near Nessie, who was envious of his evening itinerary. “So, have you got a big box then Zai?” she asked. “I haven’t put one on yet” he replied a little confusedly, “I’m just REALLY enjoying watching Rich bat!”
Also padded up was Ginger Brett Anderson, pacing up and down trying to decide which of two bats to use. “This is mine”, he explained to an only mildly interested veteran, “but it’s a bit light. This other one is my dad’s ..... a big thick plank”. “Yes” replied the former Chairman “but what’s his bat like?”
For a while it seemed that neither Zai nor Leo, or even last man Cleggy would be required, as Tom was building a solid innings around Rich .... right up to the point where the day’s only grubber sent him packing. Cleggy, who had been enjoying the scenery behind a tree in the next field, was forced to quickly shake the drips and sprint back to pad up, scuffing his boot as he did so. Indeed it was just as well that he did sprint as Zai had been in and out and headed off to see Rod, erotically crooning “Do ya think I’m sexy?” as he minced past the two Indian lads ..... something else that the local constabulary now want to speak to him about!
Ginger Brett’s useful little cameo was also now over (well the queue for butties was forming) and Cleggy was striding purposefully to the middle, determined to put his heart and soul into the cause. Though as his flapping sole finally detached itself from his right boot and his stride became less purposeful and more of a constipated shuffle, it seemed we would just have to settle for heart. On seeing this Rich’s heart finally broke and he slogged the next ball up in the air, to bring the innings to a close at 161
Teas were tasty if a little dry, with more than one away team gannet wondering what had happened to the butter. Turns out it was on Rast’s fingers (more later), though Ginger Brett was more than happy to sweep up the arid leftovers.
Anyway, even with only nine players there was a real optimism for the second half. Crossgates were yet to win a game and Coach Naz was a quick bowler. All it would need was an early wicket or two. An hour later it was 120 for none and it seemed like that particular plan had gone for a burton ..... and any optimism had followed close behind. Coach Naz had a bit of pace but had still gone around the park. Rast had strained ..... but probably just his back, and had retired to the slips for an easy life, while Leo, suffering from having handled Claz’s bat, found that he was suddenly bowling like his dad and got spanked accordingly. As the affliction wore off he got better .... but it was too late.
Tommy Ryko eventually restored a little pride, cleaning up the high scoring opener and having the number three woefully dropped low down in the slips by a man who thought he had done well to reach as low as his shins. It was pitiful to see. With a last throw of the dice Matt was brought on to fizz down some “spinners” and having spent a few runs getting his range (as he says, it’s been a while), he cleaned up an old mate to at least ensure that the post match mocking would not entirely be one way.
‘Twas but a minor late blip though for the victorious home side and the Hall boys left the field with heads bowed, careful to avoid eye contact with their own seething crowd ..... especially Ali, who was angrily looking to throw the scorebook at someone .... in between hiccups. At least they could look forward to a quick drowning of sorrows in the bar ...... though even that would have to wait as Gazza was already there with his fishing rod, ordering a four pack of Stella and asking for directions to the woods above Bradford.