Match report - vs Green Hammerton, 28th August, 2021.
Written by Andy Wood
As Tommy Ryko stood in line at the Bradford Community Diversity awards he couldn’t be prouder. A silver medal to hang round his neck for quelling racial tensions at Bradford City felt like a fitting reward for how he had stepped in to prevent carnage on the terraces. Granted all he had actually done was to point out to three Asian lads that the “Woo-hoo-hooing” that they had put up with from behind them for 70 minutes wasn’t some kind of racist chanting, but merely the highly vocal and sarcastic orations of Will K-W, who was busy belittling the misfiring forward line of Port Vale FC in his own accustomed and loveable way!
But that was three weeks ago and now here stood the very same Tommy Ryko, his good citizenship status and his reputation in tatters, accused as he was of abusing a Muslim opponent in the worst possible way. But as he rightly protested to anyone who would listen …. (no-one) ….. IT JUST WASN’T HIS FAULT!!
In Tom’s eyes he was an innocent victim, certainly much more than the opposition fielder who had slid for the ball on the boundary right in front of where Tommy was sat munching on a snack and seemingly dislocated his ankle. Well it was swinging loose in the breeze. Players and spectators were turning away in horror (well the slide had caused his trousers to come down at the back and his bum-crack was showing), but one brave fellow Green Hammerton player had run straight to his team-mate’s aid, being as he was apparently a doctor. Assessing the seemingly hopeless situation quickly he realised that he could quickly snap the dangling ankle back in to its socket, but oh boy was it going to hurt! The poor guy would need something to bite down on to help with the pain and looking around the doc had spotted that Tom was holding a stick and demanded that he throw it down from his viewing point at the top of the little Green Hammerton slope. He wouldn’t listen to the “but, but” protestations and ripped the ‘stick’ from Tom’s grasp …. promptly forcing 5 inches of sausage roll straight into the stricken man’s howling mush!
What followed was like a scene from the Benny Hill show (but without any scantily clad ladies …. well this IS 2021!), with the Muslim patient AND the doctor both high tailing after poor Tom, who was putting in a slightly late attempt for Olympic 800 metres glory. In a fantastic irony the player’s ankle snapped back into place as he sprinted after his abuser, so in the end everyone was happy again …… except poor old Tom, who was busy throwing up AND was down one Ginsters (other porky brands are available).
So yes indeed, it was all across to Green Hammerton on Saturday, for what was the last away game of the season, at a ground which while very nice to look at, was clearly not designed with stroppy cricketers in mind. How on Earth when getting a low score was a batsman meant to stomp sulkily off the field towards the changing rooms, only to have to stop at the pretty decking and take his boots off so as not to damage it. Certain emotive away players would just have to make sure they didn’t get a duck! ….. Ahh! That may have also explained why most of the home side had turned up to play in trainers!
In team news it was the usual story of ins and outs. No settled XI at Sicklinghall that’s for sure. Robbie, the man who hides his phone in his pants when playing, was on holiday …. in Columbia. Could it be that the local drugs baron had heard of his clever method of concealment ….. and wanted to borrow his Y-Fronts? Also missing was Zai, a cunning man if ever there was, who had gone on a 10 day cruise around Mediterranean climes and due to ensuring that he stepped off the boat into a newly red listed domain, had somehow managed to wangle him and Jan an extra 5 days in the sun!! Opper was also missing as son Callum had point blankly refused to play for Sicklinghall, preferring instead to lend his talents to a ‘better outfit’ ….. Collingham seconds!
On the flip side though, making his debut was new signing Kev, a man who despite connections with the village, had no idea what he was letting himself in for. Not having played for 10 years he was also badly lacking in kit. When a brand new SCC shirt complete with sponsors logo was duly handed to him he thought to himself what a professional set up he had joined. When Rich then handed him a pair of white clown trousers that looked like the last owner was Big Daddy ….. he changed his mind! Even then though there was simply no excuse for believing as he undoubtedly did, that the huge flapping britches would look better tucked into his socks. Now resembling something from The Arabian Nights (but still with ill-fitting trousers), he took to the field alongside his chuckling new comrades. Nearly out at the middle and clearly blind-sided by the strides, he suddenly realised that he was walking out with the opposition. His boys were batting first.
Rich and Rast would go out first and take the game to the opposition. For Rast it was a long overdue promotion back to his rightful openers spot. Ok it was only because head-hunted Matt was still finishing his shift at Mozzers, but Rast knew deep down that four weeks into his second coming and with an average almost tipping over to six …. he had earned his chance. In any case he knew that reliable Rich at the other end would see us off to his usual good sensible start. The first ball lolloped by, wide of the tram lines and Rich waited for the signal of wide. It never came. As often happens the bowler had been given a freebie. When an irate Rich promptly drove the next ball straight into the hands of cover, he was given no such reciprocation ….. in fact the umpire pointed him back to the hut …. shouting to remind him to take his boots off so as not to stand on the decking!
Rast was now ready to face the second over. He had been suffering with aching joints for weeks now but had then had the foresight to go out and procure some cod liver oil. Unable to find any he settled on some other fishy based product, not noticing that it was to aid brain function. So after failing to execute his old trademark down on one knee drive and getting stumped before he could get his sorry carcass back up, he was left to make the slow trudge back, taking comfort at least that he might finally manage a correct answer on University Challenge.
With Matt still putting shopping trolleys away Tommy Ryko was now the next man in and between he and Ben they rescued the situation, putting on a mighty 25 before Tom failed to run as fast as he was to manage sometime later, and was run out (so says the book!) But now here he was, the great saviour had not only arrived, but had padded up and almost finished his sandwich and as Matt purposefully strode out to save the day – 28 for 3 would soon become …… 28 for 4, as he strode back slightly less purposefully ….. at least until he remembered the remainder of his sandwich and that Ginger Brett Anderson was in the vicinity!
Thank goodness then for Ben and Sharkey. Due to the secret powers contained in his Alice band, Sharkey was able to contribute a solid 33, with his hair not getting in his eyes once, while Ben’s score of 40 was even more impressive, not only mirroring his unfortunate new time of life, but given the state of his eyesight ….. being worth twice as many! Given what followed later with his fielding, maybe Sharkey has a spare Alice band?
Ginger Brett’s knock which included one towering six and Kev’s knock which included one towering pair of kegs, kept the score motoring, but it was the introduction of Irish Steve down at number nine that really took the innings to where we needed it to be. Coleraine’s finest played a knock combining subtlety, care and brutality and it was a shame that he just failed to make it to a deserved fifty. Still as Adam showed with his five and last man Toby showed with his four not out, it was a sh*t sight more than the fabled top order could muster!
With the exception of the now starving Tom who had already kissed goodbye to his piggy picnic, the lads helped themselves to their cling film wrapped treats and suitably replenished went out to defend 176.
Adam Ryko like Brexit voters everywhere, had chosen to ignore the catastrophic evidence of his own eyes and ears and instead gave an undeserved vote of confidence to Rast to open the bowling. Unbelievably though there was some magic still in there and a valuable benefit was duly produced with nine tight overs (and no, that won’t happen with Brexit!)
An early mix up resulting in a run out had also given hope to the boys and if they could bowl at their physical peak and catch their catches, there would be a great chance of victory. With the skipper promptly pulling up lame (either cramp or a broken leg – he wasn’t sure) and with the first of eight dropped catches duly following, the optimism gently slunk away. That was until Sharkey’s fairy Godmother (Alice Band), took hold of him and made him run in down the hill like a man possessed, hair correctly sweeping backwards due to the good work of the band! For eleven long overs he bust a gut (while in the slips Rast dropped a gut), ably abetted by a magical and near match turning spell Irish Steve late on, but the Sicklinghall fielding just wasn’t up to the same level of skill and savage anger.
Despite his best efforts Kev’s kegs were definitely causing him issues, while Ben had seemingly helped himself to a smoke of something funny at half time. Something else funny were his attempts at fielding. The non-movement at third man and the shelling of a looping sitter at point were particular heart warmers for the capacity crowd of three. In a last desperate attempt to make himself look better he moved himself to field near Rast!
Even more worrying was the sight of the usually safe hands of Ginger Brett shelling one out on the boundary. Not only that but as the man who feels no pain collapsed in a heap holding his leg, it could only mean one thing. He must be dead! He wasn’t, he temporarily wished he was, but he wasn’t. It was merely an act to avoid the deserved critical scrutiny of his clottishness!
With the game coming to an exciting ‘could go this way, could go that way’ climax the two warriors (Alice and Irish) were still giving it their all with no quarter asked or given, including with each other when at one point it looked like they might go 3 rounds under Queensbury rules, having upset each other’s sensitivities!
In the end though it was the hope that killed us as a late slog for six ensured that the points would go to the home side and the boys were left to rue the fielding (as opposed to 3 of the top 5 batsmen whose ducks weren’t to blame at all).
For Tommy Ryko it didn’t matter either way. He was last seen heading east down the A59 as fast as his legs would carry him, stopping only at the petrol station at Skipbridge to see if he could get a sausage roll!