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Match report vs Crompark, 31st August 2019.

Report written by Andy Wood

It was a big day for Matthew “Rocket Arm” Hatherly. Once again he was going into battle to open the batting for Sicklinghall. But hey he does that every week. No it was a big day because he was off to that new place in the High Street for his monthly haircut. Well why not? He’d heard the price was very reasonable and last time out he’d got awfully upset with Claudine and Justine at his usual establishment when firstly Claudine had failed to give him the number 3 that he’d asked for and then when Justine had offered him “something for the weekend?” she’d laughed mockingly when he answered “Yes have you got any tickets for Flamingoland?” He wouldn’t be going back there again!

So as he kissed a fond goodbye to his wife, his child and Ossie the dog, he firstly winced ..... once again Ossie had got his tongue in a bit ..... before setting off on his merry way to “Shirley’s Salon”. As he walked through the door he was pleased to see the place surprisingly empty, save for a big bloke ..... presumably the cleaner, mopping up some red paint. Being proud of his barnet Matt had already decided that he would ask for the proprietor. “Er, is Shirley about?”, he sheepishly asked the cleaner. The man paused from his mopping, hacked up the phlegm of a thousand Rothmans and spat it at a bowl in the corner. He wiped his heavily tatted and now wet forearm on his 18 inch grey bedraggled beard and finally spoke .... “I’m Shirley .... named after that Big Daddy geezer .... now sit down and relax while I get me razors!”

Half an hour later Shirley had just about finished swabbing the cuts and was showing Matt the fruits of his labours. “Lovely thanks” said Rocket, as a small tear dripped down his face and merged with the blood already dribbling from the nick above his right ear. “Do you know if there’s a hat shop nearby ..... and maybe a Chemist?” Shirley wasn’t listening. “Glad you like it son, I do all styles ..... short, back AND sides. Tell yer friends”. As he whimperingly exited Matt looked back one final time. “I don’t have any friends” he sobbed as he ran down the High Street.

Meanwhile the boys were getting ready for the trip to Crompark. With parking spaces at a premium, car sharing was the order of the day. Rast had driven to Opper’s to get a lift and was feeling surprisingly fit and keen as they drove out of Linton. Ten minutes later having attempted to programme the sat-nav while Opper was whizzing round the windy lanes of Western Wetherby, he had turned an unfortunate shade of green and was truly thankful that he hadn’t had time for a sandwich. Right about now it would have been coming back as a pizza on Opper’s dashboard!

Thankfully the journey didn’t take too long and as they parked up at the end of a built up urban area, they were amazed as they got out of the car to be greeted by a scene from Brideshead Revisited. A lovely looking ground stood before them, a gorgeous big green space, surrounded by trees of all sizes and hues .... and if Rast wasn’t mistaken a river babbling away behind the trees. He was mistaken, it was the A65 and the babbling was the muffled sound of traffic. Quickly Rast had to put away all thoughts of getting his rod out and dangling it behind the trees. That probably wouldn’t go down well at all on a busy ‘A’ road!

On the face of it the pavilion also looked lovely and quaint and you could almost see brylcreemed chaps from yesteryear getting into position to take strike. Getting into position in the Changing Room was Ginger Brett Anderson. The rain had started and so had the indoor game. Opper was shocked to see that there were already six holes in the ceiling. As Ginger Brett swung and missed it soon became apparent that natural dilapidation was the root cause rather than Leo’s slogging. He was yet to connect .... something he would put right later.

Heavy shower over, the home side went out to remove their wicket covering sheet. The Hall boys chuckled as more than once the strong breeze got under it and nearly created a ten man paraglider. No wonder the planes ascending out of the nearby Leeds Bradford airport were climbing at a seemingly steeper rate than normal. “Chaos as 737 swerves to avoid human marquee” sounds a much more interesting headline than a few drones round Gatwick!

Immy lost the delayed toss (delayed not by the rain but by the roller being stuck in first gear and taking an hour to get to and from the wicket), and surprisingly the boys would be all out together. In team news the most important change saw a very brown looking Ali returning to boot Fatha Wood out of scoring duties. He didn’t care, it meant he could puff away in peace and maybe squeeze in an extra pack of tabs, without his fellow scorer complaining of asphyxiation. Not just that but Ali’s gold pen was also back .... and ready for action.

Missing this week were Unlucky Ben, now making a nice sideline as a professional wedding guest, Zubair who genuinely might be dead (seriously, has anyone checked?) .... and Zai, who was happily reacquainting himself with ITV Racing and his Betfair account. As those present made their way out to the middle it was not lost on some of the batsmen ..... it was a bloody long walk for a duck. Rast however was not one of those batsmen ..... he was still at the Changing Room entrance wondering how he was going to negotiate the really steep steps down to the ground with his pathetic knees. Finally Rocket came back and held his crutch ..... sorry, held him as a crutch .... and all was good to go.

So steaming in first was to be Adam Ryko, fresh back from his newly wed holiday and the only honeymooner in history to smugly produce his marriage certificate when checking in to the hotel .... and end up paying more! Guests who were still enjoying the glorious aftertaste of his complimentary stonebaked wedding pizzas ..... decided it would be a bit rude to laugh and mock for more than two minutes. Still raging though from the receptionist turning her nose up at his ring, the bronzed Adonis (well bronzed on his back side) charged in and let rip at the Crompark openers.

At the other end Rast had recovered from the long walk and was chugging into the wind, marginally quicker than the roller had just done, and an early edge was soon found but was put down by Sharkey at slip. For “put down” read “waved by”. It was not the young all rounder’s finest hour, but with the very real threat of moving into a one bedroom London flea pit with Speedy getting ever nearer and realer ..... who could blame him? There are some very real issues to sort like ..... who sleeps on which side?

Crompark’s opener was soon taking advantage, hitting graceful boundaries and rubbing Sharkey’s nose in it ..... something which he really hopes Dan doesn’t do when they move in together! Luckily the wronged Adam Ryko was still charging in and teased an edge which Immy did well to catch rather than eat at slip. The unfortunate opener had taken a hit from Adam that was really meant for a hotel receptionist in Santorini .... who had made his wallet take an even bigger hit a week ago.

Meanwhile Rast had ground things to a complete halt at the other end. It was more boring than the CrossRail 2 drill and as teammates begged Rast to do something .... anything to break the tedium, he went to the only thing he knows .... the googly! History will not say if the batsman picked it. Rast however will say that not only did he not pick it, but it turned a foot and cannoned into leg stump. Honesty and fairness will probably say however that the batsman dancing down turned a long hop into a good length ball and the inside edge was what ensured it bowled him. As colleagues feigned joy at the wicket, the undertone of light groaning told the story only too well .... he’s gonna keep bowling it next year! And with a success rate of a wicket every 500 runs .... why the devil not?!

Crompark’s resistance was coming to an all too quick end now. Rast got three more in two overs and Speedy was having a ball at the other end (literally!). He bowled with pace and no little guile (really?!) in knocking back four of his own. But for the home side only having ten men it could have been a five wicket hall .... and Bill might once again be calling him “Son” ..... well progress with the recently adopted Ginger Brett was slower than he’d expected or hoped. But we’ll never know and with Leo promoted to three in the batting order, here was the chance to cement his place in Bill’s heart .... and Speedy’s room!

So as the boys skipped back at half time (and someone cranked up the roller to give Rast a lift), a mere 46 runs were on the board and the talk was of serious changes to the batting order. That could wait though as there were some serious ham and egg butties to go at first, as well as other treats that made away team tails wag even more.

So here we were ready for the second half and it was to be Rich and Sharkey to try and do the biz, while elsewhere demoted teammates happily set off on idyllic strolls round the lovely surrounds. Opper thought he’d seen an otter, until he remembered there was no bloody river and what he’d actually seen was Alfie the dog. I mean, as if Tommy Ryko would fondle an otter!

On the field the promoted twosome were already halfway to the target. Rich was making it look like the track at his old manor of Scarborough with glorious back foot drives, while most others had made it look like the beach at Scarborough! Sharkey too was stroking straight drives, temporarily forgetting that he’s about to have new cramped living arrangements and the last thing he’ll want to think about is straight drives!

That last thought may have temporarily entered his head just at a crucial moment, culminating in the splattering of his stumps. No matter though .... Ginger Brett Anderson was striding purposefully to the crease, the encouraging words of ‘dad’ Bill ringing in his ears .... “Stick with me son and there’ll be awards”. As Leo chipped his first delivery straight back to the bowler the engraver in Harrogate was already on the phone .... “Which of these cups is the duck trophy? .... and how do you spell Anderson?” It was too much for Bill. He was already on his phone typing out an advert ..... “Room for rent!”

All that meant that poor old Robbie was forced to walk the 200 yards out to the middle for the last knockings, though as Ginger Brett hadn’t wasted much time at all, he did at least get a reasonable outing ..... as did Ali’s legendary gold pen. I wonder if they can do gold engraving.

With the walking group having completed less than two full laps, Rich stroked the winning boundary through the covers and a sixth (or is it seventh) win on the bounce was completed. The boys all got changed and made their way cheerily to the White Cross pub for refreshments ..... save for Leo, who had been sent to the more aptly named Dog and Duck ..... and Sharkey, who in a near panicked state was doing last minute shopping for twin beds!

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