Match report - vs Markington CC, 11th June, 2022.
Written by Andy Wood
On a beautiful moonlit Friday evening around 11.30pm, Steve Kirkpatrick was making his way back to St Peter’s Close from one of his rare trips to the Scott’s Arms. Being a refined and sober man of genteel rugby playing persuasion, he’d limited his consumption to pie and chips washed down by twelve pints and as he made his way up the steep hill past the village school, he could feel his own heart straining like a Honda 50 being ridden by Big Daddy ...... with Giant Haystacks on pillion!
As with that scenario it could only end one way and as his own ‘engine’ gave up the ghost, our hero from Coleraine crumpled to the ground, smashing the defibrillation unit case as he fell in an act of not little irony. Irish will never truly know what happened in the minutes that followed, but as he looked up from his tarmac ‘final resting place’ he could see figures in white frolicking on the SCG, playing a ghostly game of cricket . It couldn’t be ...... but it WAS! Unlucky Ben was running in and bowling to Matt Hatherly. “Come and join us Steve!” they beckoned, “Don’t fight it ...... We play in Heaven div 2 .... it’s never cold OR windy ..... and we’re never scratching for a team!”
A tear of contentment formed in Irish Steve’s eye. Heaven Div 2! That sounded like a decent standard. Looking up and smiling he could now see a bright light in the sky ...... but as the final KLM flight of the night continued descending into Leeds-Bradford, he suddenly let out an enormous fart / belch combo .... and the indigestion was gone ..... as were his spectral cricket mates! It was all a dream! Getting to his feet he smiled even wider ..... as he remembered he had a Deep Pan Pepperoni in the freezer.
Walking through the gates of the SCG the next day, for the home game with Markington, Irish chuckled as he remembered the ghostly dream. Meanwhile a crowd of players was gathered on the wicket looking confusedly at the strange spike marks which had mysteriously appeared overnight. We may never find out if said spike marks were someone up to mischief, Linford Christie doing some late night training, or the phantom figures of Hatherly and Williams ..... but when Lindsey Pearson gets his hands on them they WILL be dead!
But that could wait for another day. With a big game to play Skipper Quirkey was ticking off the names as they arrived, while announcing himself fitter than he’d felt for weeks. These things are of course all relative! In team news Sharkey had failed a late fitness test on his knee and would instead rest it by pacing nervously round the boundary line for the next five hours!
A tee shirted Alfie was back in, shrugging off concerns about the biting cold wind with the response of “I’m a farmer ..... (aged 12!) .... I’m tough!” Also playing this week was wily veteran Steve Hudson, reducing the average age by replacing Zai - who on hearing that a prominent Tory MP might be in the area, had elected to go racing ...... no doubt fearing a one way ticket to Rwanda if it turned out to be that compassionless, smirking harbinger of death, Priti Patel!
As Ginger Brett Anderson arrived, sporting some kind of red towelling trouser garment favoured by the millennial generation, Quirkey decided he’d better go out and toss, before he was forced to put the poorly attired young all rounder on a fizzer. Reaching into his pocket for his giant coin and his spectacles, the ocularly challenged leader made his way out to the middle, confident that this week he’d be able to SEE if it came down heads or tails. Coming down in his favour Quirkey summoned his inner Ben Stokes ..... and elected to field! Of course but for poor England catching Stokes’s decision might have been vindicated ..... and such a display would never happen with Sicklinghall ...... Ah!!
As a thankfully now white trousered Ginger Brett hurled down his opening ball beamer, and as it flew off an understandably flailing outside edge past the grateful and hastily retreating shin of the veteran at first slip for four ...... the tone for the day was duly set! Make no mistake though, at the other end it was even worse, where the usually economical Rast had settled on a metronomical line and length short and wide of off stump ...... and was currently being taken for ten an over in the cricketing version of Groundhog Day.
With the Markington openers making hay even quicker than Alfie’s dad was making silage in the next field (and that was bloody quick), Quirkey thankfully showed mercy on his misfiring attack and brought on Callum and Irish Steve instead. Luckily they managed to stem the bleeding a bit and when one of the openers holed out to Long Off soon after, Irish had a wicket and the boys were underway. Had there been DRS at the ground the unfortunate victim would undoubtedly have made the sign for the TV replay. It would have made no difference though. It would still have shown Clarence the cross eyed lion haring round the boundary, and it would still have shown the ball briiliantly caught ..... between the flapping sole and upper of Claz’s knackered boot, as it burst through his flapping hands. Or maybe he just pulled off a worldie!
Unfortunately Claz’s magnificent example was not followed as no fewer than six further chances were shelled, including one by the great master himself. As he correctly pointed out though, THAT one was already over the boundary before he dropped it ..... hence it didn’t spoil his magnificent career catching record ..... of 12%!
By now though it didn’t matter. Ginger Brett had returned and was bowling like Dennis Lillee, having earlier bowled like Lily Savage! Irish Steve was also in on the act and between them they kept a 320+ score down to 263, returning all 7 wickets between them ..... and saving Ali from having to start a new page in the book! Thankfully Ali has agreed to go on a course and train to be a better scorer, so that hopefully one day she may become as good as the opposition’s invisible one!
Anyway time for teas now and while a beret sporting Quirkey still tried to convince his troops that meat in a croissant is perfectly normal, Opper meanwhile was grumpily being forced to lay out his and Callum’s spread away from everyone else in the car park ..... there not being enough room on the outfield for the sandwiches, pies, sausage rolls, wraps, crisps, drinks, hamper basket, picnic rug ...... and brown sauce!
There can be no wonder therefore that with just twenty minutes to gobble up, clean up and pad up ..... Opper wasn’t quite on it as he dashed out to open the batting, and was himself cleaned up early doors. That brought Rast to the crease and between he and Rich they set about trying to knock off the huge total, while ignoring the hilarious and witty comments of the opposition.
Unfortunately Rast’s inability to time short and wide balls, together with the hilarious and witty comments of the opposition, was winding him right up and with a final loud snapping sound the seven week Sicklinghall CC charm offensive promptly suffered a major and possibly fatal blow. Five minutes later with handbags duly put away again the veteran former King of concentration realised that he’d better bloody well concentrate now and not get out ..... or he’d suffer the worst sledging since GB had last entered the four man bob at the Winter Olympics.
Thankfully it worked and the score had gone past 130 and Rich past yet another fifty, before he cue ended a return catch to the bowler. The subsequent crack in his ‘cue’ merely added to poor Rich’s despondency. Still, no need to be despondent yet as first young Toby and then young Ginger Brett Anderson came in and played magnificent cameos, scoring quickly and confidently from the off. Toby was playing drives through the covers while Leo elected for the aerial route ..... both equally effective in the pace gathering run chase.
With the game now there to be won Rast promptly dopily hoyed across the line and was sent on his way LBW ...... and thirty still needed. Irish Steve went quickly and with Leo pouched on the boundary, it was left to Quirkey and Claz (hastily wrenching Ginger Brett’s boots off his steaming feet), to try and get the remainder. Sadly with fielders on the boundary and a combined age of 112 preventing scampered twos, it was the away team who finally came out on top by just five runs in a game of 520 odd! A great game!
As the boys sucked it up and phlegmatically made their way past the village school for a consolation pint at The Scott’s Arms, they had to stop for five minutes, where the broken debfibrillation unit housing had now been replaced and a crowd of Daily Mail readers was blocking the road as they cheered on their hero. Boris Johnson had arrived and was cutting the ribbon on the new fifty quid casing - proudly announcing it as one of his forty new hospitals!