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Match report - vs Sessay CC, 2nd July, 2022.

Written by Andy Wood

As Willie Gant sat down outside court number 1 (The Crown variety that is .... not Wimbledon), he knew it was going to be a big day. He didn’t WANT to sue Sicklinghall CC, but with his right arm still hanging off due to the club’s utter ineptness in the case of the loose iron bar on the sightscreen, he felt that a stand needed to be made. (He also thought that a bracket needed to be made, which would have stopped the bloody thing dropping off and nearly decapitating him in the first place, but that was after all the reason he was here).


“Ah Mr Gant” said the Usher walking past, “Are your briefs all sorted?” “Well I’ve got clean ones on yes”, replied the slightly confused Willie, “though with THIS arm it took half the morning and Nessie had to get down and dirty to help!” The Usher shook his head and looked aghast. “No I meant have you got your support?” Still looking at his underwear Willie blushed and smiled, “Well they’re a good sturdy elasticated pair of Y fronts if that’s what you mean? I’ve never liked the feel of dangling out of a pair of boxer shorts ...... But why all the questions about my pants?!”


Well primed at least for a cross examination now, Willie made his way to the witness box to face the Defence Counsel ...... “Mr Gant”, boomed the opposition barrister ..... (he really WAS cross!), “isn’t it true that you do many odd jobs at the Sicklinghall Cricket Ground? Isn’t it true that you are often the one putting boundary flags out ..... or carrying benches out ..... or untying the sight screens?”


“I put it to you that as most of the players can’t be arsed and you usually get lumbered, what we have here is a clear case of ‘custom and practice’ ...... So actually it might fairly be argued that fixing the sightscreen was actually YOUR job Mr Gant?”


Willie couldn’t contend with that logic. “Yes” he replied quizzically, “sorry about that, I just didn’t get round to it”. “That’s ok” pronounced the Judge (interjecting and toying with whether or not to put his black cap on), “Case dismissed, don’t do it again ..... and pay £500 to Lindsey Pearson for wrecking his sightscreen!”


“That’s pants!” bemoaned a badly done to Willie, as he was duly escorted from the premises.


Some time before that the badly fatigued sightscreen had been wheeled into place, ready for the home game v Sessay. Turning up also badly fatigued was a home eleven with an average age of 45, despite including three under 14s! It was not so much ‘dads and lads’ as ‘grandads and lads’, with a 61 year age gap between the oldest and youngest protagonists. In selection terms Sicklinghall were past being down to the bare bones and were now down to thin air. A ravenous dog would have turned its nose up at the distinct lack of bones .... bare or otherwise!


While a cool breeze initially greeted the boys on arrival, the sight of Opper donning an umpire’s coat under his club shirt, DID seem to be taking things a bit too far. As Quirkey went out to toss with the sun now coming through, the Michelin Man thankfully changed his mind and sartorially corrected himself. Hopefully he might have even received a new ‘skin’ for his birthday today, so that if he ever finds it he can give Rast his rotting thermal vest back.


On a bat first day then the boys would indeed be batting first. The umpires and Sessay were out and ready to start, but that would have to wait until Quirkey had fetched the lucky orange disc from his car and the opening pair of Rast and Opper had touched it for luck. At 50+ years of age such things are far more important than practice and technique.


In scorer news Sessay had one, which is an improvement on most teams in the division, while in the home seat Nessie was kicking off proceedings. In an act of poignancy Ali had gone to have some of her beloved Grandad Roy’s last words to her tattooed onto her arm and she’d be coming along later to take over. The pain of watching Sicklinghall would hopefully take her mind off the pain of the needle.


At the moment though it was a pretty painless start for the ‘Hall boys. Rast and Opper had certainly not got the memo from England to attack whatever, with considered accumulation being the order of the day. With Pecker due in at four, yet still scrabbling around searching for something to hold his tackle in and with a twelve year old opening the bowling .... the openers couldn’t afford and didn’t dare to go gung-ho. As Opper got a leading edge back to the opening bowler he promptly wished he had done.


Sharkey was in now, back from a twisted, shattered .... nay severed knee, which had seemingly been cured through the best use of a rubber band since Claz last fixed his flapping soled size 10s. A month off appeared to have done the Alice banded all-rounder the world of good, as he quickly got on top of the opposition attack. Just as well, as Rast had now feathered one behind and was currently cursing his inability to concentrate beyond half an hour.


No matter though as coming out to bat was Pecker, who was either very excited at being promoted in the order, or had stuffed his unfettered underwear with socks in order to try to keep his mechanics in place. Whatever it was it was certainly working as Pecker was looking like a cross between Jonny Bairstow and Jonny Holmes! Between he and Sharkey they took the score on to 92 before Sharkey was pouched.


Quirkey joined Pecker for a Jack Leach-esque 1 in a partnership of twenty odd before he was out driving on the up. With Pecker getting out soon after it was left to the experience of Zai and Phil to get us up to 169. If the bodies had been able to still do what the brains were saying it would have been 269, but nonetheless it was a great effort and gave the boys some hope for the second half.


Quirkey spent the tea break proving that meaty croissants are a real thing (certainly in some areas of the cosmopolitan big city) and on viewing the googled evidence, some team mates were forced to eat humble pie. On top of copious amounts of sarnies and crisps, that meant that some veteran saggy guts were even more distended as the boys waddled out to bowl.


Sharkey and Rast then needed early wickets but first up the boys needed a wicket keeper. Step forward one B Marson, who it turns out has been hiding his light under a bushel. By way of proving this he never dropped ONE in the pre innings throw downs ..... no mean feat given some of the stiff armed dross being hurled his way.


Thirty odd runs were on the board before Rast finally made the breakthrough and he soon wished he hadn’t as the number three appeared to be in a bigger hurry than Sir Alex Ferguson on the day he was stopped for speeding down the hard shoulder, allegedly trying to get to the toilet. On that occasion as on this one poo was involved, as the new man was certainly fed one or two steamers. Poor Zai was given no time to settle at all, but at least his two overs for 29 was a s*** sight cheaper than Stuart Broad’s calamitous efforts earlier in the day.


By the time the second wicket finally fell to the wily Phil (wily for bowling to the long boundary for sure), the game was all but up. Also up was Pecker’s shin, as the ball bulleted towards it in the gully. Common sense or cowardice? The jury is out. Pecker’s ego was badly bruised as Quirkey promptly sacked him off to graze at mid on .... but at least his ageing and brittle leg wasn’t also badly bruised ..... or shattered into a million pieces!


There was still time for Callum to show off to his Head of Year in the opposition, as he first effected a run out and then took a wicket, caught behind by Ben who was having a great time following his earlier stumping off Phil and was rightly quite pleased with HIMSELF too. In the end it was too little too late though and the winning boundary came soon after, with eight overs still remaining.


As everyone made their way for a commiseratory drink soon after, Quirkey was contemplating how he might get his hands on a Flux Capacitor, in order to get to his dinner appointment in Kendal in minus ten minutes ...... while as Ali looked down at the writing on her wrist, she smiled and thanked goodness that Willie had survived his near death experience and she wasn’t having to contemplate having the word “OUCH!” etched on her flesh as well!

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