Match report - vs Ledsham, 29th June 2019.
Report written by Andy Wood
As Chairman Zai Ali stepped off the Emirates flight at Manchester Airport he shook his head one last time. The search for players would have to go on. Three days earlier he had been tipped off that former superstar and international quality batsman Aayan Siddiqui might be open to offers to make an unexpected and startling return to the club that shaped him. Actually it was all the pies that shaped him but you get my drift. It would be an unlikely coup, after all the great one was now a hugely successful Middle Eastern businessman, but hey it had worked for Leeds United with Marcelo Bielsa .... anything was possible if negotiations were planned and handled right. As Zai’s flight ascended into the sky that Tuesday morning the engines strained with the extra weight in the hold ...... three large suitcases of steak and kidney!
The main problem was Zai had no idea where Siddy’s empire was located in the Sultan of all the Emirates that is Dubai. As he passed through Immigration and said his prayers that as a more mature Asian he might not be subjected to the Marigold gloves treatment ... he looked around for someone to ask. Where did the Sir John Harvey-Jones of the Middle East have his kingdom? Ah that shoe shine boy sweating at the stinking feet of unappreciative rich Western folk would know. He must have polished Siddy’s size 7s as he passed through on his high flying ways. But as Zai tapped the pitiful but well fed urchin on the shoulder he got the shock of his life. ‘Twas the man himself! But how? What about all those cigar smoking photos on WhatsApp? As another American tourist stubbed his Hamlet out on Siddy’s working class head Zai watched as he picked the tab end up and relit it. It would help him through another hour ..... and the riddle was duly answered.
But how had it come to this? Well, to cut a long story not much shorter it seems that when Siddy blagged his way through the interview into his multi million paying position all those months ago ...... they actually expected him to be able to do the job!! I know ..... ridiculous! Further responsible work had followed in a high class Dubai restaurant, but that didn’t work out. Siddy ate the profits! And now here he was, a shoe shine boy. It couldn’t get any lower. “Siddy, please come back and play for Sicklinghall” enthused a now hopeful Zai. ..... It COULD get lower!! But no, he would do it. He loved the club. Excitedly he rushed home to break the news to Salma. She loved the idea. She could finally have a sensible conversation with a family member again. Zai’s work was done. As they boarded the plane he turned to Siddy. “Tom will be so happy to see you Siddy”. The 7.45am flight out of Dubai was delayed that day .... They had to offload the bags of the local shoe shine boy (and most of Zai’s pies) as he ran back through the airport and sobbingly got to work again with his rag. He could take the shame of failure .... he could even take the crappy English weather ..... but no way was he “SETTING FOOT ON A CRICKET FIELD AGAIN WITH TOMMY F*****G RYKO!!”
Well it was Dubai weather this week as the boys made their way to Ledsham. Unbelievably and sadly there was no Claz. The man who wears shorts when it’s p*****g down was not around to enjoy temperatures in the early 30s. Probably out buying Jeans. No, it seems that Claz, forgetting that he’s not in HIS early 30s had overdone things last week .... running away from those bees .... and had hurt his knee. As he’s off to Disney in three weeks he doesn’t want to risk it. So giving up playing for Sicklinghall because he wants to see Mickey Mouse .... hmmm, ironic!
Also in the ranks today was Dan’s mate Feargal Sharkey. He hadn’t played for three years but confidently stated that his expectations were high, which he blamed on his youth. We just hoped that soon he wouldn’t learn the painful truth. (Over the heads of anyone not aged between 45 and 55 that one .... so most in our club should get it).
And here now was Dan himself strolling in, sporting the remnants of an alcohol induced black eye and tripping up as he came up the stairs. A one off surely? A look out to the middle though showed Bill inspecting the wicket. Was that a dog with him? A fluffy Golden Retriever. No! It couldn’t be. But it was! Bonzo was back! It seems that when Dan ceremoniously buried his Guide pooch at the pub all that time ago, he’d picked up someone’s mohair jumper by mistake and interred that instead. (Thank you SpecSavers). Some poor customer had gone home freezing that night but Bonzo had made a full recovery from being severed in two by a lorry and was back with his loving but optically challenged master
But there were omissions as well. The erotic Andy Tennant had just passed his driving test and was driving to work at the Yorkshire Showground for the first time, to show off to his mates who had just finished the long and laborious erection of the giant main marquee. Erotic’s slightly inexperienced and slightly late braking meant that actually he might now have to work Saturday .... while his mates searched for some rope and a tree
And Zuby and Unlucky Ben were missing too. Both at a wedding. There had been telltale signs. A smile here, a wink there. Ben saying how much he loved the samosas. Just a shame they didn’t invite their cricket chums to their joint celebration of love. Nonetheless I hope they will be happy, though I suspect when the guests have gone and the lights are off, Ben might find that he’s actually even more unlucky than he thought!!
So the young duo of Callum and David (23 years between them) would be helping out in the field again and in these temperatures, two lads daft enough, I mean willing to run around, would be worth their weight in gold. It was hot!!
Adam Ryko, Sicklinghall’s only unbeaten captain, went out for the toss and when he announced that we would be batting, an orderly queue formed to kiss his lovely bottom. It’s fair to say the lads were pleased not to be fielding .... especially Ginger Brett who was still trying to get the lid off his 25 litre drum of sun cream
Opper became Rast’s 74th different opening partner of the Summer as they made their way out to take guard on the rock hard surface. Ah but one day of Sun could not hide the fact that it has rained for about six weeks and as the feet started to sink into the surface, it became clear that actually it might be slow and low ....or that Rast could maybe shed a pound or two! It was a test for sure with many a forward defensive clanging off the toe of the bat, but slowly the runs came. Both openers looked to the Changing Rooms to see their surely appreciative team mates, only to find that they were all facing the other way ..... queueing for ice creams
Rast went first ..... a pitiful 19 out of 62 to his name, but glad at least to be heading in the direction of the freezing cold confectionery. As her last remnants of wafer were gobbled up, Nessie made the announcement ..... they were sold out! Failed captain Rich was next in to join Opper, smarting still that Ryszkowski A had knackered his form .... and that he hadn’t got to finish his Magnum. Putting it in the fridge he hoped it wouldn’t melt before he returned. It did ..... down the gullet of Ginger Brett Anderson who had spied the nifty fridge work. Rich was finding it hard to middle anything on the slow surface and as he got out and headed for the fridge, he was last seen chasing Ginger Brett round the ground bat in hand ..... seemingly finding it much easier to middle the thieving Magnum Muncher’s arse!
Walking to the crease now was Dan ...... and Bonzo!? Heated discussions followed about allowing a fit four legged hound to be a runner. The injury after all had taken place in the depraved ale houses of some Northern town .... not during the game. There could be no canine collusion. Five minutes later as Dan’s fleet footedness became evermore apparent, Ledsham (to the great relief of a gasping Opper) allowed Bonzo back on. The mangled up old mutt would surely slow him down!
By now Opper was done for. He’d played yet another arse about face Benjamin Button innings, starting like a God and ending like a Dog .... and was ready for a sit down. He got his wish as his stumps crashed to the floor. Siddy’s mate Tommy Ryko strolled out to join Dan and Bonzo
The score was ticking along nicely by now. Tom was already flaying sixes and Dan was playing the full range of drives through mid off and covers. The only problem for the speedy pair was ironically running between the wickets. Every time Dan hit through covers and set off down the track to run, Bonzo set off after the ball. An unfortunate home fielder already bravely fielding at short cover, realised just how brave he actually was .... as Bonzo’s super taut lead almost garrotted him!
When Dan fell for a well made thirty odd and Tom played on to a full bunger, it just meant that Ginger Brett and Feargal entered the fray. Both batted well and with Glastonbury in full flow we were lucky to have the services of two great front men from the 80s and 90s. Feargal especially was showing a good heart and but for some calamitous running they might still be batting now, but instead Feargal showed that a good heart wasn’t accompanied by good lungs as he was run out by three yards, while the least said about Ginger Brett’s demise where he barely crossed, the better. He was just excited though because he’d outscored the former Chairman and couldn’t wait to tell him all about it.
Adam Ryko and Zai grabbed a few late runs before the skipper went for a huge hit .... which was caught ten yards in from the short boundary. With the two kids knackered from sightscreen moving duties (well they don’t pay), oh and because they’re not allowed to .... the innings closed on a useful 193. Now for the food .....
..... which as ever at Ledsham was really really good, with this year’s particular treats being hot dogs ...... excellent ..... though Bonzo was more than a little offended!
But oh my Lord the ruse of batting first had backfired. Firstly some were knackered from their willow wielding exploits .... and secondly the temperature had actually gone UP! Luckily there was an obvious and sensible solution ...... the young lads could do all the chasing. Wicket keeper Ginger Brett wedged his helmet onto his sun cream soaked swede (The Drowners ..... for any Suede fans) and we were good to go in a game that might go either way .....
..... Half an hour later utter carnage had taken place. ECB pitch inspectors were on their way up from London as were DEA drugs inspectors. Whether it was the surface or the exploits of Adam and Rast, the shocking truth was inescapable .... Ledsham were 10 for 6! They’re even checking the hot dogs!
And as a clothed shot went straight up in the air and a five fer for Rast looked ready to be celebrated, with 10 for 6 about to become 10 for 7 ..... eleven year old Callum gathered himself under the chance. Ten yards away Dan realised the risk and moved quickly round to take the responsibility from the surely fretting youngster, nudging him three yards out of the way to safety. As the ball fell to Earth .... arguably nearer to the irate Callum than the butter fingered hands of the Stevie Wonder inspired all rounder ..... the only celebration came from the direction of Bonzo the dog. In these unsure Brexit times the conversion of his temporary contract into a now certain permanent one was not to be sniffed at!
Late runs were added as Ledsham finally realised that the opposition can’t catch, but it was all too late as Zai took the final wicket and ‘Hall players looked at each other, not quite sure how to celebrate such an event. They did so by wending their way to the wonderful Chequers pub, where the hospitality was equally wonderful ..... right up to the point where Dan dropped his pint onto the flags, soaking two posh ladies and severing the foot of an unsuspecting and barefooted third ..... before driving into three cars as he high tailed it out of the car park. Ledsham go into the Ponte League next year and best wishes to them ...... Just as well really. We’re all banned from the pub!!