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Match Report vs North Stainley - 16th Sept
Written by Andy Wood

They say that September can be a lovely month. As Summer waves it’s fond farewell for another year the sun still shines through a glorious latticework of crystal clear changing colours. It can be beautiful!

Over in Adel poor Jan had been cooped up for most of the Summer nursing a badly broken arm. Granted there had been the bonus that she hadn’t had to wash Zai’s pants for 12 weeks, but even that dreadful chore paled against being confined under house arrest, with Zai’s scrambled eggs on toast day after day after day effectively being her bread and water ..... slowly killing her, psychologically if not physically.

Zai to his credit had picked up on this and had nobly cried off the last game of cricket. He would take Jan out for the afternoon. Needless to say she was absolutely made up by this proposal and was even prepared to overlook the unfortunate wording of “Let’s go for a nice drive dear, you look like you need a break!” After all she was finally getting out and with Zai promising somewhere scenic in North Yorkshire, she could already see grassy meadows and babbling brooks in her head .....

And so to the last game of an up and down season for Sicklinghall and as Quirkey drove past Lightwater Valley, the former scene of ‘The Ultimate’ rollercoaster, he tried and failed to think of a good word to describe the last 21 weeks. North Stainley was beckoning for the last knockings and what a thoroughly pleasant place it was. Despite the 30 degree Celsius sunshine of last week changing to Fahrenheit this week, the ground looked like a picture postcard of olde England. A gorgeous village scene which just needed a lovely pond in the middle. As Quirkey walked out to inspect the track he soon realised that it had one ..... rectangular and 22 yards in length. All it lacked was ducks ..... and they would be along in numbers when Sicklinghall came out to bat later!

Having completed his inspection and tossed the coin, Quirkey was mightily relieved to see it come down in his favour. He had no hesitation in electing to field. Sadly on this day of 12.30pm starts, as he went to tell his troops to prepare to be ‘all out together’, he suddenly realised that four of them weren’t even ‘all in together!’ No wonder the changing room had seemed surprisingly spacious.

Over in Linton Opper was whistling a merry tune as he finished up at work, to get ready for a 1.30 start. He was met on the drive by a fretting Callum, who would have got to him to hurry him along with more urgency, but for his catalogue of injuries and ailments. Well he is an old man of 16!

Meanwhile in Harrogate Rob was waiting patiently while his lift, Cleggy, was still removing buckshot from his arse, following last week’s nighttime encounter with Richard ..... where the Landlord / Builder had been rudely awoken from the land of nod by the intoxicated midnight musical warblings of Cleggy and Ben, swinging from the iron girders of the new pavilion, while juggling a bottle of Blue Nun!

Back at Stainley as the boys took to the field things were so bad for numbers that it looked like Rast would have to come out of the slips! Thankfully the four tardy boys had now arrived and with the urgency being shown, should be on the field in a matter of ..... no more than half an hour. Callum was last out as he wrestled to fit his newly acquired elasticated support to his newly acquired bad back! On seeing the obvious potential of the equipment at least three ‘Hall players without bad backs took down the details .... mesmerised by how well it could hold in their girthy mid-sections!

As Sharkey hurled down the mud splattering first over, Rast took it too far by insisting that Callum give him a lend of the support. Strapping the undersized garment round his shot putter’s abdomen , he placed the ball under the neoprene as he ambled in to start his spell. As he strained at the crease the elastic gave way, hurling a missile towards the batter at 160 mph, which shattered the stumps and left wicket keeper Ben, nursing an indented groinal protector and wishing he’d stayed in Lanzarote! “No ball!” screamed the disgruntled umpire! “It’s ok I’ve still got one left!” screamed an even more disgruntled Ben, rearranging his furniture gingerly.

Without artificial propulsion Rast settled into a spell of misery ..... sorry, miserly bowling, while at the other end Sharkey did the same. Even the local hypochondriac who had been constipated for a week and was still grunting without success, had the prospect of seeing runs come quicker.

Rob had now replaced Sharkey and was certainly seeing imminent movement of the ball, unlike the local guy’s bowels! Along with Rast who had snared two, he soon saw the wickets column going up. Now though it was time for Leo, replacing Rast and desperate to atone for dropping one at Rob’s end. Hey, we all do it!

Unfortunately despite these good intentions it just wasn’t to be Leo’s day, as 30 for 4 when he joined the party, quickly became about 80 for 5, as Stainley dined out on him as if it WAS a party. At least he had the balls to come back on later and give it a go at the other end!

Talking of balls, Cleggy was counting his, as after dropping a catch off Rob, the next one was drilled hard at him and hit him somewhere around THERE. Luckily the popping sound didn’t marry up to squashed gonad .... and it turned out it had actually whacked his hipbone instead. A blessed relief. The loudest sound of all though was reserved for the next delivery when Cleggy was found yet again, but this time gleefully accepted the chance. The banshee scream of celebration was followed by him getting on all fours and putting his face to the floor. Many thought he was giving thanks, but it turned out the pain from the shattered hip had just kicked in! A brave man!

Talking of brave here now was Callum coming on to bowl, a mere two weeks after snapping his back in half .... or at least feeling a bit of a twinge. Still at least it had made Uncle Rast’s decision of what to get him for his birthday easier .... even if he had subsequently wrecked the new back support with his expanding belly lard!
At the other end Rob was finishing another great spell by tickling the middle wicket of the dangerous middle order guy, in an act of accuracy completely in line with a man who can allegedly Karate chop a fly from two paces. 

Back to Callum who was now on the ground rubbing his rapidly swelling and reddening left hand, following a return drive that would have left him no longer requiring Colgate, had he not got his pinkies in the way. Luckily the youngster battled bravely on and secured the final two wickets before announcing that his hand was most likely broken and he may need to go to hospital.

That would have to wait though as the teas were out and boy did they look good. That was soon confirmed by Callum who was busy shovelling the equivalent of the local Greggs onto his plate .... with both hands! Best and cheapest away teas all season! Eleven ‘Hall players wagged their tails like contented puppies in agreement.

So with a very gettable 135 to win, it was to be Rast and Cleggy to face up .... and Cleggy was volunteering to take strike. He’d been practicing all week against the bowling machine at 80 mph and nothing would beat him for pace! However in a surprise twist Stainley had seemingly secured the services of the ghost of Shane Warne ...... and he was ragging it square! He didn’t even flout the rules of being a professional due to technically being dead!

Despite Cleggy’s “he’s not getting past me” bravado, Spooky Warnie DID get past him and skittled him. At the other end Rast had already been hit on the shoulder by a bouncer which by the time it arrived was travelling slower than HE runs (about 4 mph!) ...... thus saving him from crying. Two further bouncers had both hit the back of the bat as they slowed somewhat off the track. Failing to learn from this Rast promptly chipped a short wide one straight to cover, while his eyes dopily expected to see it screaming through backward point. He walked off to contemplate how long he could leave Quirkey out there umpiring. The answer was to be not long!

First Stevie tried to square cut a wide one that turned three feet and castles him, then Toby, manfully sticking it out, managed to get run out! There was a brief respite from the madness as Callum launched the biggest six of the day and Leo clubbed a couple of fours ..... but sadly brief it certainly was as both succumbed soon after their glory. Sharkey’s season didn’t end well as he chipped to mid-wicket while Ben’s ended much better .... by outscoring Sharkey.

By the time the familiar dark blue Jaguar drove into the ground and an unknowing Jan leapt out, excitedly wondering where Zai would set up the picnic, the local priest was reading the last rites to a limping Opper. To sum up the day he’d somehow lost the use of his right leg, simply by sitting watching proceedings!! To be fair it had been a tough watch for everyone.

As Rob was duly skittled to end the season and Quirkey walked off wondering what on Earth he’d just witnessed, there was at least one smiling face as a relieved Leo realised that his bowling spell had not affected the result at all. Sicklinghall couldn’t chase down 35, never mind 135!

Stainley’s joy was soon in evidence as they could be heard singing gleefully in the showers. Their joy soon turned to horror ..... and terror as a naked and soaped up Rob, discovering that Stevie had used up all of our hot water, sprinted across the corridor to join them ..... shouting “Geronimo!” as he did so!

And so shortly afterwards, when the Stainley boys had stopped gibbering, everyone enjoyed a nice social drink and swapped convivial tales of how one of Rich or Baz MUST be a shoo-in for player’s player ..... simply through their non-association with this debacle. Meanwhile Zai’s slight knee problem had cleared up a treat, as he was last seen sprinting down Ripon Road, with a now fully recovered Jan in hot pursuit ..... launching projectiles at him from her picnic basket .... full of shattered dreams!


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