Match report - vs Sharrow CC, 14th May, 2022.

Written by Andy Wood

As Martin Wood packed away his gear on Saturday evening following the resounding win, he knew the moment had to be now. The rest of the boys were all celebrating and back slapping each other and in some cases even contemplating a shower following their glorious exertions ..... step forward a very moist Irish Steve! But Opper wanted none of it. He’d done all the planning for his big night and right on cue here was Callum phoning through as ordered, claiming to be upset that he hadn’t bowled well for Collingham and could his dad come home? ..... The same Callum Wood who the history books will show had figures of 7 overs, 3 maidens, 5 for 12 that day!

But what was it all for? Why would he make his son lie like that, just so he could make his ‘concerned’ exit from the well earned celebrations? Three miles away in Wetherby the answer was starting to become clear, where over at Claz’s house the occupant was just adding the bubble bath to his lovely steamy inflatable hot tub! With Tracy out for the evening, Ginger Brett and Ben at cricket, a bottle of champagne chilling, the tightest speedos ever seen stretched over his groinal delights ..... and Opper en-route, it was time for their annual evening of harmless fun and depravity ...... yes folks, Eurovision was here again! With jingoistic flag waving and blaming the rest of Europe for the UK’s own abject shortcomings, it was just like watching BREXIT ..... but with added campness ....... although Michael Gove?

As Opper drove into Claz’s street in the evening sunshine and eased his be-sequinned and Lycra clad backside out of his car, he thought how glad he was that Claz lived in such a quiet and secluded location. With high fences and shrubbery all around he was happy that the two of them could enjoy the evening’s entertainment in undisturbed bliss, just the bubbles from the champagne, the bubblegum pop songs and possibly a few squeaky bubbles in the hot tub from Claz breaking the peaceful tranquility. A part of him felt sad that his urge to fully embrace this cultural magnificence should have to be undertaken in such a secretive way, but his manly brothers would never understand! As Graham Norton announced the Armenian entry though and Claz uncorked the champers and beckoned to the hot tub, he didn’t care a jot!

Hours earlier he’d been just another of this week’s eleven, arriving in the unexpected Mediterranean conditions, to do battle with top of the table Sharow CC. In a change from the norm, ‘Hall’s players found themselves digging down in their kit bags past five or six jumpers, in search of the rotting pairs of shorts that they knew must still be in there somewhere from last year’s annual ‘nice day’. In another break with tradition the cadging of the sole tube of Deep Heat had become the cadging of the sole bottle of Piz Buin. As it got to Ginger Brett Anderson though and the entire 500ml contents soaked straight through his sensitive fair skin, half the side realised they might be about to become as red as the weekly card shown to a Leeds United player.

In this week’s team news Sharkey had taken his hair for a well earned break, while his mate Ben had gone with him to keep him and it out of trouble! With young Callum once again slumming it at Collingham and even younger Alfie back saving his dad money on the farm, there were a few vacancies to fill. Back in then came the new sprightly version of Pecker, while Kev had finally finished the human cryogenics trial that he started at Helperby three weeks earlier. There was also a top order berth for Toby, fresh from exams and now wanting to inflict some of that misery on the opposition. Also arriving for a debut was the eldest fruit of Claz’s busy loins, son Ben ..... who with his chiselled good looks either takes after his mum or was swapped at birth! As if to prove the theory the slightly less chiselled features and frame of Claz soon appeared grinning round the corner. After trading insults and swapping woeful tales of woeful football teams, he left shortly afterwards to go and buy some Speedos ..... and a budgie.

Also taking his place in the lineup was a sickly looking Zai, a commendable effort as every inch of his blue lipped features screamed “I want my bed!!” In a show of heartfelt concern Rast went straight up to him ..... and demanded his match fee before he could cry off! Luckily for Zai Quirkey won the toss and elected to bat on Stadler and Waldorf’s latest wondrous creation. Thankfully for Zai the opportunity for a nice rest was being presented. Unfortunately also being presented was the umpire’s coat and the expiring veteran was literally dragged out to do his bit, while the screams of “YOU DON’T DO ENOUGH FOR THIS CLUB!” rang in his selfish ears.

So for the fourth week running Rich and Opper took to the field and for the third of those four weeks they tucked into the bowling at will. Also tucking in at will was Kev, who had appeared with a carrier bag containing the entire stock of sarnies from Sainsbury’s. Some lame excuse about it being a late lunch, was offered in between chomping and belching, as what was supposedly a late lunch, carried on into an early tea ..... and probably later into an evening meal ..... with doggy bag!

But now there was trouble on the field. Opper had spotted food being consumed and had oafishly nailed one to cover. Enter Rast to keep Rich company while he helped himself to yet another fifty. The Wetherby Whacker is making mincemeat of Division 4 attacks this season and certain Sicklinghall players are queuing up to cook it and eat it. Rast meanwhile was soon queuing for the shower as he hit a full toss straight down mid wicket’s throat. That only served though to bring in the newly coached Toby, who after Rich departed, held the innings together while the likes of Ginger Brett and Irish Steve flattered to deceive around him.

In the end though it was the old guard of Quirkey and Pecker who helped Toby to take the score past 200. Pecker was playing full blooded shots which at one point nearly cleared the square, while Quirkey was channelling his inner Benjamin Button, as he went from staggering pained singles to sprinting threes like a gazelle running from a big game hunter ..... all in the space of 15 minutes. As the half time whistle blew a par score of 226 was on the board and Toby had helped himself to a fine 66 and some lovely red ink.

The boys sprinted for their fodder where Opper let out an audible growl as he remembered that his usual high end pie shop had been replaced by a small Aldi growler, made of low end lips and arseholes. Austerity finally hits Linton. Luckily Irish Steve was handing out chocolate tea cakes and strawberries and as the plague of locusts went straight for the chocolate, the healthy fruit was smashed to the floor and puréed in the stampede.

So all out together then and the combined 108 years of Rast and Pecker would attempt to roll back those years by about half, as they took the new ball. Also joining the attack was the secret weapon of Roy Goddard’s chair. In the last home game Newby Hall players had sat in the sturdy but comfy ‘Venus fly trap’ and had found themselves 16 for 6 as a result. Two years on from his passing Roy currently sits atop the Sicklinghall CC MVP list! This week Willie had strategically placed the cursed bench right in front of the opposition changing room.

Out on the field though Sharow had got off to a decent start and were looking untroubled until the opener reached for a leg side pie off Rast and tickled a bit of crust through to Toby, taking over from Brett Anderson behind the stumps. Due to the amount of practice, all ‘Hall keepers are highly capable down the leg side. Coming in at number three now was Sharow’s captain and talisman. Being the captain though he had earlier pulled rank and had assumed his rightful seat on Roy’s throne for the last half hour. A second ball duck showed that somewhere up above Roy had gone to work! .... and as the next man in suffered the same sequence of events ..... Willie just looked up to the sky and smirked!

Pecker and Rast were done for by now due to the tropical heat and the brittle bones of old age, so happily gave way to two fitter men ..... Leo and Zai, who had been resurrected from his crypt at half time ....... primarily to get off his lazy arse and make a pot of tea. Somehow he managed to get through a ten over spell though and his figures of 0-45 will never truly reflect how near he was to death. His pea green groaning face however reflected it quite well!

Thankfully after a useful Sharow partnership, Ginger Brett had struck at the other end and as Irish Steve marked out his long run, the boys were on top again. Paris must have done something to Norn Arr’s finest, for not only had he handed out free food .... he was now hooping it in all directions! ..... Or it could just have been his very clammy hands. Whatever, the wickets were racking up one after the other and as Ginger Brett Anderson pouched one in the deep off him half an hour later, Sharow’s half centurion .... and resistance was gone. A gleeful set of team mates carried the five wicketed and dripping hero from the field ..... and threw his reeking carcass in the nearest cattle trough!

As the boys made their way to the pub (and Zai swept the changing rooms), Irish was still fighting off the advances of a frisky looking Friesian .... while up above the now familiar strains of PJ’s flying hair dryer could be heard. (Makes a change from the usual kind of strains heard at the SCG!) As he flew past the Scott’s Arms and settled over a quiet part of Wetherby, five hundred feet below two semi naked forms could be seen leaping from a hot tub and running for cover .... no doubt praying that PJ didn’t have his camera with him!