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Match report vs South Milford, 7th July 2019.

Written by Andy Wood

Wood you believe it?!

Unlucky Ben was sure his luck was finally changing for the better. A baby on the way, Sicklinghall’s party planner of the year award ..... and now a fabulous new job ..... with business trips to Poland thrown in for good measure. Perfect. As she waved him off on his flight to Krakow Sarah was happy too. She knew he needed to get back out there and get his networks building up again. This was the perfect opportunity and what’s more it would get him away from the pub and the bad influence of Cleggy

Twenty four hours later and Ben’s networking was done. Waking up in a gutter, head spinning and wondering why his arm was tingling, he remembered little of the night before. He’d met the new Head of Technical, a nice chap called Lech (Lech from Tech) ..... and they’d had a great meeting. He vaguely recalled wanting to show that he was committed to the new international working relationship and their lovely city and ..... then something about a bar ..... But what WAS that tingling in his arm. As he started to roll up his sleeve ..... it suddenly hit him. THE TATTOO!!

It might have been a bit spontaneous. It might even have been a bit ostentatious ..... but he knew that Sarah understood his need to get in and get on with these people. They were going to be a big part of his working life. She wouldn’t be happy but she’d understand. But hang on .... it was coming back to him now ..... he didn’t think he’d gone through with the tat because it might hurt a bit. Yes that was it. He’d got them to stop. The tingling would just be from feeling a bit of a prick initially. Relieved now he rolled the sleeve fully up chuckling to himself at the near miss. The largely written words “I LOVE KRAK” came into view. Closing his eyes and sighing he could already see Sarah’s face!! ..... Unlucky Ben!

On the subject of being p****d in a gutter there were no Rykos this week. Tom had carted brother Adam off on his Stag do to Portugal. At first it was thought that Tom just hadn’t bothered to invite any of the cricket lads ..... obviously thinking about our lack of numbers ...... but then when the WhatsApp photo arrived from the Algarve beach, with some random “stout” bloke in the background wearing nothing but an ill fitting thong, that was shown to be untrue ...... and Zuby’s absence from the team was finally explained

But for every cloud there is a silver lining and driving into the ground at 12.30 pm was none other than Pecker ..... not seen in these parts for three years .... and never ever seen before five to one! The early arrival of the not so spritely 52 year old was due to having his 14 year old identical twins James and Mark with him ..... and unlike their father they were keen to warm up. Pecker settled for heading for the tea room and making early inroads into Opper’s teas.

So with these great late additions there were eleven fit men .... well eleven men .... well eleven to take the field for the visit of deserved league leaders South Milford. Mayo Matt was back from a week in Cornwall, looking like he’d had a month in Turkey. That hot Cornish weather had better last another month. Although back in body, Hatherly was clearly struggling ..... his pre game prep having involved 8 pints, 6 whiskeys and an early morning licking from the dog. Incidentally it was the poor pooch who recoiled due to the rancid 5am breath!

As Rich went out to toss .... we won it and would bat, Rast was sad to see that Claz’s gruesome and disfigured knee had kept him out of a game. A similar problem with his face had once seen him miss an entire season! More to the point who was going to provide the intellectual repartee in his absence? “I’ve got size 8 boots and size 12 feet” announced Ginger Brett Anderson. Rast and Sharkey looked at each other ..... question answered!

As Rast walked to the middle with his hung over Hellman loving partner, he worried whether Matt would be up to the task. After all he was shaking by now and was currently taking guard on the next track along. There was no need to worry though. As usual the Crossgates Cracker was straight into his work, driving and pulling effortlessly, while at the other end “He always gets runs against Milford” Rast was stroking his way to a fine ..... two ..... off 46 balls! As he walked back to the shed after being caught behind he was happy that he’d seen off the new ball on a quick deck ..... while everyone else rightly wondered why he’d effectively made it a 30 over innings. Well it was hard work ......

..... But not seemingly for Matt and Opper, who once again made it look easy, save for some of Opper’s woeful running (49 years old and counting) .... not to mention his shocking turning, where fellow junior coach Pecker correctly pointed out that he was regularly turning blind to the ball ..... a terrible example to the myriad of juniors on display and something which would undoubtedly see him relieved of his Thursday evening coaching duties ..... but for the fact that no-one else can be arsed to do it

Progress was serene anyway right up to the point where Matt was caught in two minds, between playing forward to the off spinner ..... or decapitating the wasp which was pestering him. He chose the latter and saw his stumps shattered .... while the wasp gave him the finger as it buzzed off. He’d missed that too!

It was time for a consolidating partnership between Opper and Rich now, so Opper promptly got out ..... a consolidating partnership of nil having been achieved. This meant that Rich and Ben would have to start again ..... and with Ben still smarting from his botched tat and the pain .... of Sarah booting him up the arse!

But they’re made of stern stuff these two and between them Sicklinghall’s pair of 30 somethings put on a quick 30 something, before Ben chipped one up in the air. That brought the recently acquired Sharkey to the middle and he joined Rich in another useful partnership ..... interspersed with some optimistic running from Sharkey, who had the veteran temporary and not concentrating square leg umpire praying that he wouldn’t be called into action. Luckily for him and his ropey eyes he wasn’t, as Sharkey picked out cover with a smote drive

With Skipper Rich falling for 18 it was now down to Pecker and the young lads .... oh and old Zai .... to get the score to respectability. But what was this? After a full 40 years of cadging kit, including warm and often moist abdominal protectors! ..... here now was Pecker resplendent in new gear ..... and all of it with receipts! It was too much for some. Life would never be the same again! ..... And the bat worked as Pecker was creaming boundaries, while at the other end Ginger Brett had just remembered that like his boots, actually his feet WERE only size 8 ..... they were size 12 on Friday night .... before his mum had made him cut his toenails. Sadly the new found foot freedom didn’t help Leo as his twitching tootsies had him failing to line up with a quick one .... and seeing his off stump hit the deck

But now in a moment of history we had 14 year old Mark going out to join his dad on Sicklinghall turf for the first time. Sage words of advice followed ..... but Pecker decided to ignore them and just keep slogging. He should have listened as one hoy too many saw him pouched at square leg

Now there was real trouble. Identical twin James was striding out to join his brother, both 60 yards away and both under helmets. Poor Ali was at her wits end. The tippex was pulled from the bottom of the bag. There was a quick brainstorm of ideas for how the problem could be solved. I know .... get Pecker to say who was who. Nope. He had gone to sit on the khazi and pick his nose. I know .... get them to shout their names. Nope. They couldn’t hear under the helmets. Finally someone realised they had different coloured boots on

The home players and supporters were really willing the two lads on ..... especially Zai who was next in and the Eclipse stakes from Sandown was about to start. James and Mark were both looking solid and Zai sat back with confidence as the last thoroughbred was loaded into the stalls. Clink ..... went the sound of James’s off bail. Sigh ..... Zai would be watching on Catch Up again!

As the innings closed shortly afterwards on 159, one 14 year old walked proudly from the field with a debut 7 not out to his name, while elsewhere another 14 year old walked proudly into the tea room and helped himself to eight slices of pizza and six sausage rolls. Size 12 feet? They should be size 22! Opper’s teas were truly splendid and after Hurricane Leo had passed through the other players and supporters sat down to such treats as ham with piccalilli and savoury cheese. There was little left so they must have been good. Had Leo not had to put the keeping pads on there would have been NOTHING left and the floor would not have needed sweeping

After Rast’s trundling opening maiden from the bottom end it was to be an understandably slightly nervous Sharkey charging down the hill. As the sweaty palmed loopy full toss was dispatched through covers for four, Pecker’s subsequent and prolonged rasping fart passed judgement on the delivery. Probably not something that Amanda Holden is likely to mimic anytime soon on Britain’s Got Talent! She’ll just stick with the buzzer for now thank you very much!

Spurred into action though by the dismissive rasp, Sharkey was soon finding his range and sent the opener back with a hooping inswinger. Milford’s prolific number 3 came to the crease but having let two Rast trundlers go harmlessly by, he could only look on in horror as he let the third one, an actual straight one, also go by. A real Brucey Bonus. The game was on!

But Milford are top for a reason. The other opener and the number four saw off Sharkey and Rast and then built their match winning partnership. Zai and young Mark both bowled well but the wickets just wouldn’t come. Appealing for caught behinds might have helped! As the game got tighter the fielding needed to step up. Desperate to impress and support his son, Pecker sprinted to his right to try to stop a drive off Mark’s bowling. He couldn’t quite get there and started to pull out. The momentum of his gut had other ideas though and very soon he was crashed down on his arse. His son felt neither impressed nor supported!

Elsewhere Opper’s announcement as he jogged down to long on that he would “breeze the fielding point”, saw him sprint round the boundary while Rich sprinting the other way, saw Opper approaching like an Artic lorry and sensibly pulled out. Opper failed to see Rich and shortly after they were in a tangled heap of legs and arms on the floor, with Opper rubbing his head in dizziness and Rich rubbing his in utter bewilderment. Concerned colleagues literally wet themselves laughing. Fielding point awarder Ali picked up her red pen and wrote a big “X” against M Wood’s name. It wasn’t an affectionate “X”!

Eventually Zai had the opener LBW and young Mark will never forget that his first wicket for Sicklinghall was none other than the world famous, but dead singer Roy Orbison .... who was hoping to drive all night ..... but could only drive to mid wicket! No wonder .... he couldn’t see!

Milford’s young guns were seeing them through though and despite a promising spell from young James and another shelled chance by Rast off Sharkey (at no stage was HE promising to hold onto any chances), the game drifted away, ending in a six wicket defeat.

The game was played in and with great spirit (the spirit of Roy Orbison for one) and Milford will be sorely missed next season as they make the move to the York League, hopefully as champions. Both teams drank together in the pub afterwards, while down at the Village Hall Unlucky Ben hob-nobbed with the various trendy bands on show, hoping for a cameo. If only he had a decent tattoo he could impress them with!


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