Sunday, 18 September 2011

Youlgreave CC v Edale CC : Sunday 4th September

Youlgreave CC: 185 all out; Edale CC: 182-9. Defeat by three runs.

“Cookie?....Andy here..could you pick up the kit from Kevin and take it to Trent Bridge?..Yes, I know it's his turn, but he says he's taking the Ferrari and can't fit it in....Oh yeah, does your mate Goochie want a game? Great...see you about 1.30..No, the Indians are doing the tea....”

The Schofield Report was a watershed moment in English cricket, designed to answer the issues raised by England's dismal performance on the Ashes tour of 2006; amongst the proposals of the report was that the England skipper should no longer need to scrabble around to get a team together as reported above. Sadly, this radical notion has yet to filter down to the lower reaches of the game....I have no idea if Andrew Strauss has actually tried to raise a team by texting from under a desk in a Stockport classroom – no, please don't ask – but I can assure him that it makes facing the Indian attack of this summer a piece of cake. (Apologies to anyone in the village who may have received a mysterious text along the lines of:

“m8: cn u play Yulgr Sun? 1.30 *t ”

Thanks for replying anyway, Belinda.) Thus it was, that a rather cosmopolitan side of Edalians, Castletonians, Tideswell dwellers and Zingari folk set out for the deep south. The pitch was firm if rough, the weather overcast and we were greeted by the news that the ever charming Josh had decided he could fit in one more game for Youlgreave before heading to university. At this point, the Edale bowlers could have declared a collective thigh strain and we could have abandoned the game; manfully, after winning the toss and electing to field, Paul Saville and Stuart Scoffins opened the bowling. A strong opening partnership looked set to put Youlgreave on course for a big total, but the Edale opening seamers stuck to their task. A change of bowling bought a change of luck, and our guest spin-twins of Taylor and Somerton started to make inroads on the Youlgreave batting order. Rob Willing rolled back the years with a text-book display of reverse swing – even if the text book was A.F. Abbott's “Ordinary Level Physics”, a volume I'm sure we all remember with affection. On the subject of turning moments, (now...that was a link!!), the Edale fielding was pivotal in the run of the game; our new random recruitment policy resulted in Paul Saville meeting his old mate Stewart Salmon in a bar and asking him if he fancied a game. On being assured by Stewart that he'd never picked up a bat in his life, Paul imagined he'd feel perfectly at home in the Edale side. What a result! An absolutely stunning catch on the mid-wicket boundary rounded off a great fielding display; indeed, the Edale fielding was exemplary all afternoon, with Moran taking three catches behind the stumps and Dan Metcalfe putting in sterling work close to the wicket – sorry about that Dan; I'm sure most of the bruises have gone by now. The last four Youlgreave wickets went cheaply, and the bowling looked like this:

Unusually, there seemed to be a bit of a queue amongst the Edale batsmen to face the rather brisk Josh McMahon; either there was a desire to show the young upstart who was boss, or people just wanted to get it over quickly and get back to the Rambler's to start the traditional Sunday night kit-burning party. After six overs Edale were 10-3, but Moran joined Taylor and helped stabilise the middle-order. After Moran's departure, Martin Somerton of Castleton came to the crease. Inspired by the newly arrived sunshine and his rather charming companion, Somerton proceeded to put on 106 for the fifth wicket. Salmon and Taylor added a few for the next, and tension grew amongst the spectators and Suzie the bull-terrier sat next to me. (Could I apologise now for twisting her ear rather sharply ? It was a moment of high drama and a sad attempt to get her to bite me and not have to face Josh.....).

Sadly, the late order stuttered a little leaving Coker and Willing to get ten off the last over; we got six of them, but sadly a big hit eluded the pair of us once more. Defeat by three runs!!

The batting looked a bit like this:

It was an excellent game of cricket, one that exemplifies Edale's season. We lost every game but one, but in each 40 over game we made over 100 and twice were defeated in the final over by less than five runs. The spirit and enthusiasm of the team was superb, the fielding being of a very high standard. Despite the results, I think the team has come a long way in four seasons – many thanks to Rob, Andy Mark and to all those that supported us. Many thanks to Bob for scoring whenever he could.

Next season we hope to increase the number of fixtures and perhaps find a way of fitting a practice net onto the playing field. As ever, we welcome players of any ability; Mark Reeves will be heading the winter recruitment drive with a lecture tour entitled “Fielding at Fieldhead: Slip Catching the Mark Reeves' Way”. I encourage you to book now – just think how much you'll save on prescription charges!

Many thanks, once more, to all involved – Ken Coker.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Those Twin Impostors....well, just the one actually.....

Sporting failure is nothing new to me; I have finished 11 000th in the London Marathon, never got round a golf course in less than 120 and watched my forwards lose an unopposed scrum against the head...however, this weekend takes the biscuit. In fact, it opens the tin, takes out the whole packet of Bourbons and runs off with them and the tin - pausing only to see if there's a couple of bottles of Chablis in the fridge to wash them down with. (Ok, I'll get on with it...what do you expect? I'm reading John le Carre..this is called setting the scene..)

First the good bit. I met up with my old school chum Les. The downhill slide started when we decided to leave the Sheffield Tap and actually go and watch Rotherham v Gillingham.I won't bore you with the details, but if you imagine Manchester United v Arsenal without any talent on show whatsoever, you might get the idea. I have no idea what lower division footballers do during the week, but it would appear not to involve anything with a ball. I imagine they spend their time practising their shouting, jostling and barging skills as that's what the game seemed to consist of.

After this sporting adventure, the weekend could only get better. Fresh from their midweek triumph, Tideswell entertained Disley CC who were keen for revenge. (It's not often one reads "Tideswell" and "entertained" in the same sentence, but such is the joy of creative writing.....) Deciding that the policy of picking young players with ability and talent for two games in a row was rather unsporting, Tideswell once again showed they were in the forefront of the fight against age discrimination. Sadly, there is clearly a different view of team selection on the other side of the Pennines.

We may or may not have won the toss - it's always hard to tell when Knobber Taylor leads the side, as part of the training for dentistry in Sheffield appears to be a placement with the Syrian secret service - but Disley batted first. Stella took an early wicket with a catch behind from Coker the Human Colander. Shirt bowled a bit, Taylor bowled a bit and Bob too. I'd like to have seen a bowled Shirt caught Button combination, but it was a pretty poor day for catching...someone actually kept hold of one, but by that stage I was suffering from hypothermia induced amnesia. Rip van Sawyers bowled, well but was let down by the's never edifying to see two grown men at opposite ends of a cricket pitch banging their heads on the ground in an arrhythmic pattern, but it does make an interesting noise. I'M SORRY RIP!! I have no excuse to make other than I find it extremely disturbing to try an keep while my first slip is relating their triumphs at the Edale Horticultural Show:"..and I got first prize for the most unusual looking vegetable"...thanks Mark. They got 177.

Claiming that knowing the batting order would subject one to a fatwa issued by the Supreme Islamic sub-committee of the MCC,(Committee Chairman: Christopher Martin-Jenkins), Knobber unleashed his strategic plan. This seemed to work, as we were soon 8 for 2 with Knobber and Alex at the crease. The pair of them actually put on a few runs at a reasonable rate and victory was still a possibility. Inevitably, the middle order got bogged down. Stella and Campo hung around for a bit; Shirt and Astley went cheaply. Disley very sportingly brought their two openers back for the last few overs and we finished 126-9.

There was a great tea from Bob, and an absolutely fabulous discussion in the pub on how a bowler could run-out the non-striker; I read out the correct interpretation of the law, and then everyone told me why it was wrong...Rip made the observation that the square-leg umpire should call LBW decisions, although I don't think he's been taking his medicines of late. Sadly, I had to leave just as the karaoke was starting; a shame really, as I was rather looking forward to Trigger's rendition of the Ramones' "Rockaway Beach". Still, there's plenty more of the season left.............

Thursday, 26 May 2011

It's Easier on the Kitchen Table

Tideswell versus the Hitters rained off. What could be more fun than getting out the Cricket Dice? Well, actually, almost anything. Despite this rather unusual midweek format, the result was depressingly familiar...

The Tideswell innings:

And the Hitters' innings:

Obviously, the high point was Stella's hat-trick in his haul of 6-31....possibly his best figures ever. Not having to dive for Greg's leg-side full toss and being able to have a nice glass of Anjou were also very positive.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Mud, Blood, Rhetoric...and an Analysis of Conceptual Art

The Rumble in the Jungle; the Battle of Brookline; the Tussle in Tideswell; Survival Sunday; a Wet Wednesday in Wirksworth - all the ghosts of sporting battles past were being invoked by both sides in the tense build-up to this game. Both skippers had indulged in verbal sparring during the week, Waining accusing Edale's Coker of an act of treachery akin to the breakaway of the People's Front of Judea from the Judean People's Front....oh, there was also a reference to not being able to keep chickens, let alone wicket.(As it happens, I am able to keep chickens...although I do drop a few.) Adding fuel to the fire was some spurious challenge issued after the Baslow game involving two-hundred quid and three-hundred runs. Mark will no doubt be alluding to this in his forthcoming lecture tour, "Mark Reeves, Man of Cricket: Have I Told you About My Catch?" - an enthralling night in the theatre for those suffering from sleep deprivation. I digress....

Waining and Coker, later joined by the new art critic of the Tideswell Bugle & Examiner, Mr. Andy Stelling, were putting nets up on Saturday so decided to conduct the toss right then. Dave won and elected to bat the following day; since we were at it, we thought we might get July's 20/20 out of the way and I can tell all members of the Edale Massive to get there on time, as we're fielding.

Coker's mighty game plan was affected by late with so much of his life. Two early wickets were secured, including Dave "The Cat" Frenkel, before Waining and Smith came to the crease. Smith demonstrated his interest in Steve Reich's minimalist music by creating some fascinating rhythmic patterns on the houses in Recreation Road; Waining secured his place in the Hope Show by displaying his usual agricultural finesse. Still, it was nice for the Edale fielders to go and meet those jolly friendly people who live opposite the ground.

(It might, at this juncture, be worth noting the two different methods deployed by the two sides to record the score. Tideswell used the traditional box-scoring system as recommended by the ECB/ACO; always at the forefront of the modern game, Edale presented a system based on the Dirichlet Eta Function, which can briefly be explained thus:

As it happens, if one holds that equation up to a mirror one can see the face of Satan shouting "Kill, Kill, Kill..." )

Even without the notorious Roofierella, Tideswell managed to rack-up 177. Smith got 91, Waining 28 and Rumplesayers made 17 not out before Waining declared on humanitarian grounds; there are, after all, only so many cases of self-harm that Buxton Cottage Hospital can deal with.

After a fine tea, Edale batted on a rain affected pitch. Saville went cheaply shortly followed by Willing who presumably had had enough of standing about in the rain. Brendon Whittram made a fine 80-ish, although he did run out Olly Mount; never mind Olly, standing around in a wet, windy field with a load of old blokes for three hours has got to be better than sitting in your house with your mates and a case of Stella on a Sunday. Reeves stood his ground for an LBW appeal from Rumple - presumably on the grounds that he thought the ball was going to spontaneously explode before hitting the bottom of middle stump - but he still got the umpire's finger. Coker played the comedy sweep to Sammy's comedy off-break and saw Waining join in the hilarity by almost dropping him - to be fair, this all happened so slowly that Dave may well have dropped off while the ball was in the air. That was it really; Edale lost by about 55 runs. Sammy the Stag and Rumple got a couple of wickets; Dan bowled well; Andy Stelling had an excellent opening spell, bowling some excellent yorkers.....talking of which.....

Most people went to the George afterwards for beer and chips; Mike enjoyed both the chips left for him and Sammy tried to defend the rather hopeless decision of having a soft drink, claiming his liver was currently registering with an adoption agency. All the usual rhubarb was tossed around, much enlivened by the BAFTA awards on the George's new 129-inch TV; Mark Wallington was again sadly disappointed by his lack of recognition in the best screenplay category. A refreshed Stella noted that going to watch a play in Russian was "pretentious bollocks" and that he wouldn't climb over me to get to Tracey Emin, which seems a little ungallant. (I do fear for Tideswell Amateur Operatic Society when he reviews their new production of "Jerry Springer: the Opera".) Any case, here's a pic to cheer Andy up:

So, the Hitters on Thursday, and another chance to check out the more obscure bus routes of north Derbyshire.

Monday, 9 May 2011

It's not cricket

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a number of broken fingers , must be in want of something to do on a Sunday - given that cricket or taking one's SPA assessment is out of the question. How could one fail to answer the call from a comrade telling one, forty-eight hours before the event, that the Sheffield Wildlife Trust had a half-marathon place going spare? All I had to do was meet up with Barney at secret location and collect my race-pack and badger suit. This part of the mission was a success, with the added treat of a train journey back from Sheffield with a group of very refreshed Wednesday fans singing their jolly folk songs and letting everyone know how much they were looking forward to their night out in Chapel-en-le Frith. Pausing briefly at John Watson's 40th, I repaired to bed in anticipation of the big day.

Race day dawned. The team assembled; fit, lean with the set expression of men about to meet their destiny...or at least the set expression of men wondering if they had been to the bathroom enough and what the queue for the men's would be like at the stadium. The journey was enlivened by a brisk discussion on the atomic clock at Rugby and its relationship to Wallington Standard Time, recent political events and whether we should actually be aiming for Hillsborough on the Don Valley Stadium....fate may have had their hand on our shoulders, but fate certainly hadn't bothered to read the race day instructions.

Arriving, unusually, in good time for the event, the team went through their intensive pre-run preparations; mostly, this was just wandering about looking for a toilet, but Julian McIntosh was seen to be covertly doing some stretches! It stood him in great stead as, as soon as the gun fired, he was off like a rabbit - actually, as soon as the gun fired, everyone shuffled about a bit for three minutes waiting to cross the start line. It takes a while for nearly five-thousand runners to get going.

The course itself was as sly as ever; it is a fairly flat course with the only real climb coming after the rather depressing facade of Bramall Lane is passed - although the collective booing from the blue and white runners rather cheered things up. The climb goes up Cemetery Road, drops down to Eccleshall Road and then climbs again almost to Hunter's Bar. This is the most crowded section of the race, with spectators on both sides of the road and the faster runners heading downhill having turned for home at the top. It's also the place to check how one's comrades are doing. After this section, it's back to the city centre and then the long slog back to the stadium.

The sun cam out for a bit, much to the chagrin of those dressed as the Pink Panther, there was a decent tail-wind on the way back and I managed to keep going despite the lack of training. I also managed to beat most people dressed as animals - a personal triumph. Julian led the team home in an impressive 1:47:15; I beat Wallington and Mount home - although Mark did say how much he enjoyed seeing "Fitzcarraldo" again at the Showroom - with David taking an impressive twelve minutes off his time from last year. Julian was rewarded for his great effort with a medal, a t-shirt and conscription into the Elderly Brothers; I'm sure he had a pleasant evening watching the Happy Mondays on Youtube, picking up some Bez like moves.As is customary on these occasions, the evening ended with future plans being made; it would appear that the Elderly Brothers are going to be spending 2012 on a canoeing marathon in Romania, stopping on the way to subject the inhabitants of the Danube delta to their unique brand of entertainment. It certainly works that Timothy Taylor's Landlord.....

And now, dear reader, I must work on how to knock seven minutes off my time.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

My Central Paper on Pilbrow & Lighting Design

The link to this paper can be found here. Sadly, the references and footnotes have been mangled in uploading, so do contact me if you want details of authors mentioned in the text.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Sun, Sea, Sand and Stretford

Fighting through the pain, well you try being in Mark's car for an hour, your correspondent left the dark valleys of north Derbyshire to emerge into the sunlit plains of suburban Manchester. High noon with those willow-swingers of Stretford it sure was...

In an effort to offer entertainment to the crowd, Stretford batted first. Tideswell, after the usual pre-match ritual of introducing themselves to one another, opened the bowling with the pace duo of Cormack and Shirt. The pitch was hard, true and occupied by batsmen of real competence. Everyone took a wacking but kept going; Dan bowled a great ball to take the first wicket and Saville, having relaxed a bit, bowled a lovely outswinger. Spin came from Sammy the Stag and Bomber Waining; I have heard, on the grapevine, that the latter has been contacted by NASA with a view to resupplying the international space station. Sayers had a bowl and took a wicket, and there was the usual performance of "Seven Byes for Seven Brothers" behind the stumps. Stretford made 223 for five, pegged back by a very decent Tideswell fielding display.

The batting was dire. Paul Rushworth went to the second ball of the innings; no doubt he will take solace from holding a great catch and getting the fielding doubt..... Further gloom ensued when it became clear that Reeves was the only batsman that appeared to have any clue how to play the Stretford attack; there is no justice in this world. Tideswell subsided to 75-8 shortly after twenty overs. Coker and Taylor had an amusing stand, with the injured Sayers joining in the fun with a runner. Taylor was last out, bowled by the worst ball of the match while playing, almost certainly, the worst shot of the match - and there was some pretty serious competition for that title. It's not everyday that one sees a five in the scorebook, so: