Match report - vs Lofthouse & Middlesmoor CC, 5th June 2022.

Written by Andy Wood

As he set off on his grocery delivery round on Thursday Claz mused wistfully over how unlucky he was to have drawn the short straw of having to work on the Platinum Jubilee. While the Bank Holiday pay would undoubtedly come in handy (he had mouths to feed ..... especially his own greedy one!), as a proud patriot he was disappointed to be missing out on his local events and street parties.

But as he drove through a nondescript Northern town whistling ‘God save the Queen’, his spirits suddenly raised. What was this? Lots of men parading around carrying Union Jacks and St George’s flags. A street party? And they were all dressed in white. A street party AND a cricket match? ..... although the white hoods looked slightly odd compared to the usual caps. Still, great fun. Claz quickly parked up the van and grabbed his kit from the back. Judging by the flags it was EDL CC playing. “Never heard of them” thought Claz, “must be a touring side!”

Surveying the scene further he saw that there were ten hooded men surrounding two Asians. “Hmm, the Asian lads must be batting” thought Claz as he approached the first hooded man with kitbag in hand. “Any chance I can play?” asked the Wetherby based veteran excitedly. “Looks like you’re short?” The hooded man seeing Claz’s bat sticking out of his bag, grabbed it and turned menacingly towards the Asians .... “Aye, short of one of these!” Grasping the seriousness of the situation a now furious Claz grabbed the bat back and promptly clubbed the hooded man to the ground. As passers by cheered and the rest of the Nationalist vermin cast off their white sheets and hoods and ran away in all directions, the two relieved Asians ran to their saviour to thank him. “Well” said Claz, still slightly miffed, “No one uses MY bat without asking ..... I’m just sorry I’ve spoiled your game!”

And so still humming the National Anthem, Claz drove into the SCG yesterday, finally able to get a go as a late replacement for Kevin Godley in the fixture against Lofthouse CC. ‘Godley and Creme’ replaced by ‘Oh God-ley and curdled milk’ ..... if you will. In typical fashion Claz was once again helping the side out, answering Quirkey’s desperate Saturday morning phone call. “Claz, I’m one short and I need a decent replacement”. Claz’s chest puffed out at the compliment ...... “However I can’t find one .... are you free?”

It was just as well that Claz COULD play. Despite being 54 years old and the proud owner of knees that look like they’ve been combine harvested, he was still one of the fitter protagonists turning up for the big game. A Wood (tennis elbow), M Wood (COVID fallout), C Sharkey (knee), S Kirkpatrick (shoulder), Z Ali (age) and T Quirke (pages 1 - 134 of The British Medical Journal) ...... briefly summarises this week’s various ailments. In poor old Quirkey’s case a bit of warm sunshine had lulled him into thinking he was up to doing the garden. As he dragged his rigormortized and creaking carcass into a hot bath two hours later, he realised that a) he had been optimistic, b) Percy Thrower had been a freak of nature and c) perhaps he should stick to the window box in future.

While it’s unfair to suggest that Quirkey looked uncomfortable as he went out to toss the coin, he set off at five past one, got back at twenty to two and definitely seemed to be secreting a silver trail behind him. As he finally returned and announced that the boys were fielding, Lofthouse had padded up, taken guard and were wondering why we hadn’t started.

Starting down the hill was a ginger looking Sharkey. The floppy haired grumpster is currently hampered by a knee injury which while being seemingly manageable with deep heat, was subsequently self diagnosed as a badly shattered patella requiring six operations and six months recovery. He was told he could have six days till next week’s game. It was however impressive to watch him charge in down the hill through the pain and let one go. Umpire Dave seemingly didn’t agree as he told him in no uncertain terms to stop farting and start again!

At the other end Rast had benefited from an extra weeks rest and recuperation, although he had primarily spent it eating his own body weight. That didn’t stop him adding an extra yard to his already immense three yard run up though, to show how fit he was. Unfortunately neither of the opening bowlers could make the breakthrough, although in Sharkey’s case he was unlucky to suffer Quirkey juggling a sitter in a way that he would never juggle a ten pound note.

Irish Steve, also suffering from an alcohol related injury (over flexed pint glass holding arm) and Ginger Brett Anderson both toiled without success at the top end, while at the other end now Zai was suffering badly with the wind (which again displeased the umpire profusely!) In Zai’s case though his problem was that the easterly was blowing his off breaks down the leg side and the openers were very much enjoying the shorter boundary. Enjoying it slightly less was Callum who confidently announced that he would navigate his smaller frame through the hedge to retrieve the ball, while forgetting that said hedge is hawthorn. He soon remembered though and found that he had a bit of a thorny problem .... including a two inch thorny problem embedded in his left arse cheek!

Finally though Zai had now got the range and as his tweaking offy just flicked the off bail, the only confusion was whether keeper Toby had done it with his gloves. Being stood a full yard back though, only Inspector Gadget would have been able to successfully complete such a devious manoeuvre. At last though the gates had opened.

They soon closed again though as the other opener decided it was time for an onslaught, creaming boundaries at will to the short boundary, where a sheepish looking Callum had now decided someone else could do the retrieving. As Rast came back into the attack he could already see 5 overs, 0 for 5 becoming 10 overs, 0 for 105, so it was therefore a mighty relief to see the opener finally miss one and walk back for an excellent 80 odd.

With his demise and with overs running out, wickets were soon falling quickly. Callum delivered an impressive little spell down the hill, probably still smarting from his wounded posterior, while the severely impaired Sharkey still managed a couple of late ones. Next week he are being mostly bowling off spin! So a decent 176 on the board as the boys hobbled off for tea.

Quirkey was the undoubted highlight of this week’s pig-in, as he tried to pass off his sandwich filling inside a croissant as something cosmopolitan and debonair, rather than just admitting that he’d run out of bread. Elsewhere scorer Ali was on hunger strike due to having not been paid last week. The unfortunate Treasurer suffered dog’s abuse as he handed over this week’s remuneration in the usual timely manner, only to be met with “Where’s the ******g rest you thieving ******d!” (If only Dido Harding had been confronted in the same manner). With stories of mum Nessie savaging bald men about their choice of hairdressers , he certainly didn’t want to risk upsetting her either!

With that little misunderstanding sorted the still shaking (and now poorer) veteran made his way (via the toilet) to pad up. He was duly met by an unsympathetic Claz ..... “Are you opening Rast?” “No Claz not today” ...... “THANK ***K FOR THAT!!” ....... Who needs enemies ......?

No it would be the mega successful partnership of Rich and Opper to face up first, with Irish Steve donning the coat. Meanwhile Zai, hellbent on watching the Derby at Epsom, had spent twenty minutes pretending to sweep the wicket to get out of standing at square leg. His plan worked to perfection although sticking the broom handle up his arse to emphasise how much work he does, DID mean he had to stand up to watch the race!

Out in the middle there wasn’t much to say. It was another masterclass from the opening pair as they put on 75 for the first wicket. It took Opper running past one and yorking himself to get Lofthouse into the game and as Rast got himself into a horrific tangle trying to make his ground after a shocking attempt at a sweep shot, the away team suddenly saw hope. “Oh my God THAT’S their number 3” was just one of the cutting comments that the opposition were only just too polite to say.

Thankfully it was to be the last such humiliation of the day for the old lad, as between him and Rich they put on an unbroken hundred stand to win the game. Rich was sublime again, though undoubtedly owed the keeper a pint for shelling him with the scores tied.

It was a jubilant ten who therefore made their way to the welcoming surrounds of The Scott’s Arms beer garden soon after. Meanwhile Andrew “Matador” (watch his fielding, you’ll understand) Challenger was in his Sainsbury’s van and speeding towards a nondescript Northern town. Why had he not thought earlier? ...... All those duvet covers MUST be worth a few quid on e-bay!!