Match report - vs Rainton CC, 7th May, 2022.

Written by Andy Wood

One day up in Heaven God turned to St Peter and said “Do you know Pete, after all these years I think I’ve perfected my art. It’s time to create the perfect human specimen”. Peter was having none of it though. “You said that before though boss, when you made that Boris Johnson thing and look what happened there! ..... no morals, no shame, inability to tell the truth ..... and don’t get me started on the body!” God scowled at St Peter, “You can’t blame me for the Barnet Pete, he does that himself deliberately ..... it’s one of his ruses to appeal to thick people ..... but yes you’re right, it did go badly wrong ..... but I did have some mitigation there ..... I was p*ssed!! .... plus The Devil DID give me a good price for him”.

And lo the good Lord went to work on Andy Taylor. He moulded and he shaped, he chiselled and he scraped ..... and two days later even pessimistic Peter had to admit .... it was looking pretty good. But not only that, God had given huim just the right mix of personality and moral compass. As the Lord of all raised him up and finished charging the battery he looked pretty pleased with himself. “Ok Pete, flick that switch”. His subsequent exasperation when Andy T flopped to the floor was tangible. “Shit” said St Peter checking the work, “you forgot to give him hamstrings”. “Oh b*ll*cks!” replied the creator of all mankind, hastily looking for excuses, “supply chain issues. It’s a global problem you know. GB News says so”. “But great one” replied a now petulant Peter shaking his head, “they’ve got plenty in France, Germany and Spain. I’ll just order some”. But God shook his head tersely and waved his Union Jack ..... this was a British model and HE’D reclaimed sovereignty.

Looking round his workshop though he knew he must have something to fit ..... and there it was, A box full of elastic bands. He quickly fitted one in each leg and puffed his chest out proudly. Peter though had seen that the box was marked ‘use by 1992’ and sure enough when they switched him on again Andy T did a lap of the workshop like Linford Christie and then collapsed in agony as the brittle rubber snapped into a thousand pieces. “Oh Christ!” shouted God, thoroughly hacked off by now. “Yes father” answered Jesus walking past, before realising that his old man had once again used his name in vain ... and stomped off again. “What are we gonna do boss?” asked Peter, “you’re late for a meeting already and he’ll never be able to run”. God looked at his watch, thought for a moment and then grinned …..“Here Peter, put this Everton scarf round his neck and stick him outside Anfield ...... he’ll soon f*****g learn!!”

And now here was that same Andy Taylor driving through the gates of Rainton CC, leaping from his car in full working order, about to play his second game in two weeks. The body looked in perfect working order save for a badly swollen right hand. He really WAS pleased with his hamstrings. But no, it seems that in the rarified atmosphere of celebrating a home win at Goodison, Andy had punched a metal bar in front of him. The throbbing was a small price to pay and if his boys manage to stave off relegation (As long as it’s not LUFC), it isn’t likely to be the LAST part of his anatomy throbbing!

Anyway sorry ..... cricket! Yep, another lovely away trip to another lovely village .... this time Rainton. As they drove into the thoroughly pleasant venue many thoughts were being contemplated ....... Would we have eleven? Did Quirkey make it back from Greece without being arrested? Why did the sat-nav take me via Whitby?

And now right on cue here was a shorts wearing Captain Quirk, emerging from the changing rooms, pasty white legs glinting in the sunlight. Had he not made it to Greece then? Had he boarded a flight to Greenland to put his pursuers off the scent? Nope, he’d merely picked the one week EVER where Athens was colder than ‘Alifax. The Greek police had indeed pulled him in for questioning though, with regard to his sexual deviancy, but on stripping him down in a side room, had concluded that the evidence appeared small and flimsy ...... case dismissed!

Back in Rainton a headcount was going on .... and yes there were eleven. Today’s debutant would be Alfie Medcalf ..... not much older than eleven, but already a more than competent motorcyclist and about to put half the side to shame with his fielding. Fourteen year old cheeky chappy Callum was also back in the ranks. His opening gambit this week had been “Uncle Rast, who’s the quickest runner out of you and my dad?”. Having been met with the straight bat reply of “Well I’m not sure, we probably both do ok considering we’re in our 50s”, the crashing sound of a heart smashing on the floor, could be heard all over North Yorkshire, when the withering response of “Whatever, I’m pretty sure Zai’s quicker than both of you!” was delivered. Irish Steve meanwhile was absent this week as he enjoyed a few days in Paris, the city of love. As a fully paid up member of the Rugby Union fraternity it was anybody’s guess who or what he might be currently loving!

On a deck which had undoubtedly suffered from the deluges of Friday, Quirkey claimed the toss. The home captain blinded by his opponent’s unfettered legs had lost sight of the coin as it descended, but had shown grace in accepting Quirkey’s word on the outcome .... though slightly less grace when the Shadwell Slayer strolled off with the coin!

So thankfully the ‘Hall would get first use of the helpful facilities ..... Even the facilities struggled to help Sharkey though, as his first 3 deliveries failed to make contact with them and the opener helped himself to the head-banded hostile one’s hospitality instead. Coming on at the other end a recently Gout afflicted Rast was still feeling the bonus benefits of very strong anti-inflammatories and after an opening pie was despatched, he responded with a delivery that belied the unresponsive surface and tickled the edge through to Sharkey .... or in the truthful version .... he delivered a medium paced length ball which ramped vertically in the mud and caught the shoulder of the affronted opener’s bat.

Rainton’s top order was decent though and were employing the correct approach on the surface of ‘if it’s there hit it’. Sharkey though had other ideas and having now realised the pitch wasn’t 25 yards long, was causing problems, culminating in an edge to Rast at slip.

It was now time to change the bowling though and Callum, looking forward to tearing in down the hill, was forced to pace out his 42 yard run up up it and at least work for the entire contents of Appletons Pie Shop, that he would be fed later ….. plus he had the wind behind him. At the other end Zai was using the breeze to vary his flight ….. and line …. as the oppo batsman tickled one to Ginger Brett Anderson down the leg side. With Zai now in the groove we were soon treated to the classic off break bowler’s dismissal, as he teased the batsman forward and brought it back through the gate to hit the top of off ….. truly the most incredible act of spin since the Tories had tried to claim that their near total wipeout in the local elections, had not been a good night for Labour either!

Callum and Zai were keeping it tight but keeping even more tight was the hamstring of A Taylor esq and as he chased a ball down to fine leg, he realised that HIS leg wasn’t fine at all as his rotting rubber band of a hamstring, once again pinged with a high pitched twang ….. somewhat akin to an Aerosmith guitar solo …. And that’s a PRETTY high pitched twang ….. or is that just Steven Tyler’s screeching vocal? Hard to tell.

As is often the case in such times, the ball duly sought out the hiding Andy T thereafter and he was forced to gingerly and buttocks clenchedly waddle after it each time, while trying to convince the confused crowd that he hadn’t suffered a major malfunction in the rear of his underpants!

If that wasn’t bad enough Rainton now had a highly effective combination of experience and brutality at the crease and were making progress towards a good score. Thankfully Callum was on hand to rattle the timbers and take his first SCC wicket, cheering him up in the progress after having to witness his old man’s …. well ….. old man fielding earlier in the over.

Meanwhile Sharkey had become inspired and the steepling catch he took, very much supported his decision to reject Andy T’s heartfelt begging to borrow one of the rubber bands keeping his floppy curtained Barnet out of his eyes. Buoyed by his success he duly wrapped up the tail and 139 would be the total to chase.

That could wait though as there was talk of a giant Millionaires Shortbread to be won in the tea time raffle and despite ‘Hall’s teas having just arrived en masse in the back of an articulated lorry …. there was always room for a bit more. To this end at least 6 away team players were seen stealing back their match fees to buy as many chances as they could. The groan that went up when the sugary delight was won by a Rainton player, was even louder than Quirkey’s earlier in the week, when the Greek authorities had brought out the rubber gloves! Thankfully Nessie was handing out free crisps and ‘Hall players were still able to tip the ingested calories beyond 4,000 before going out to bat.

Opper and Rich it was then to start the boys off, while Quirkey and Zai would don the coats. After all the sun was now out and Zai was feeling a warm glow. He soon felt a warmer one as he failed to get out of the way of a bullet throw, with overthrows only prevented when the 5 1/2 ounce projectile crashed into his splintering shin! With every run vital the boys concernedly showed their sympathy for Zai by vociferously cursing him!

Runs were certainly tougher to come by this week and just as Rast thought to himself how well his comrades were fighting it out, Rich slashed one to slip and departed. Opper was to follow soon after, another victim of young bucks who can dive around in the field.

Sharkey and Rast thus decided that they needed to consolidate and guts it out …. so Sharkey did for two overs before slapping one vertically.

No need to worry yet though as Ginger Brett strolled to the crease, still wearing THAT jumper. Somewhere in Wetherby there is a woman confusedly walking round wondering how she’d left The Engine Shed wearing a reeking cricket fleece!

Leo’s stay was to be short and sweet as Umpire Rich had more chance of making the case for Brexit, than Ginger Brett not being trapped bang in front of all three.

Quirkey was now at the crease, announcing that he couldn’t run …. before immediately calling for a quick single. Watching him and Rast together took us back to days (and fitness) gone by, but with Rast dosed up on gout pills, he had discovered to his glee that he was once again able to get down on one knee and play his trademark square drives. Sadly this was not accompanied by him being able to time it off the square, but no matter …. he could get down and get up again ….. all at once! God bless Naproxen!

With the two old stagers at the crease it looked like the job was in hand, but as Quirkey missed a straight one and Rast got a nosebleed approaching 50, the game turned again.

Callum, Ben and Zai fell trying to get us over the line, but in the end it came down to young Alfie (13 year old) and Andy T (hamstrings of a 13 year old) to try to ping the five boundaries still required. As Andy’s hamstring pinged for the final time that day and his off bail pinged over the ‘keeper’s head, the away team ruefully accepted their fate …. while gutted that they’d missed out on the sight of Ginger Brett Anderson trying to be Andy T’s runner. Jeremy Beadle would have paid good money for THAT one!

As the boys made their way for a consolation pint, up in clouds the disgusted Big Man had handed the Andy Taylor project on to his son. But as the Burnley result came in and Andy T led a conga through the village, St Peter turned a knowing eye to Jesus. “Maybe there’s something in this”, he exclaimed, “look at him dancing. Now if you just keep Everton up ....?” “F**k off” scoffed the Son of God, “what do you think I am ..... a miracle worker?!” *

*Written before Everton v Leicester and Arsenal v Leeds