The dark nights are rolling in now and the cricket season will soon be over.
This means a winter of cricket meetings and planning for 2012 – and football.
I am hoping to keep my blog going throughout the winter although maybe not as frequently. The football bit will focus on keeping you up to date with the progress of the Shakers and also keeping tabs on where our two grandchildren are with their involvement with Westbury Juniors.
The Shakers bright start to the season has nose-dived with another defeat at Chesterfield last night. I really did not expect them to break any pots this year but a true supporter always hopes for the best. The really frustrating thing is that the other JH’s team (Brentford) are now top of the league. I am awaiting the phone call with trepidation.
Last winter Sophie started playing for Westbury Diamonds in a Lancashire based league – and I became her Transport Manager. Much of the same looks likely this time around and we started tonight with a trip up the valley for a game against Haslingden St. Mary’s. Now some of the pitches they play on are a bit grotty but tonight the pitch would have been good enough for a football league game. Unfortunately it was full sized and so were the nets. This makes for hard work especially as the teams are 9 a side. The Diamonds won 12 (or possibly 13) to 1. Sophie kept goal in the first half but became a midfield dynamo in the second. It is great to watch the girls play because all you see is great effort, a more than expected level of skill, positive attitudes and no arguing with the referee.
The Mount lads are still buzzing after the weekend and the official photographer, the Loomba, has been busy filling his Facebook site with multitudinous snaps of the great day.
The first of two remaining LSCA Inter-School Finals will take place tomorrow at Heaton Cricket Club. Bolton School will play Lancaster RGS in the Under 12 Bunbury Final to determine who will represent Lancashire in the National Competition in 2012. The remaining Final for the John Heaton Memorial Trophy will be held next week and could well involve the same teams. I know I have mentioned this in other contexts, but if I can dig out a photograph taken at Nelson CC many, many years ago those who could be a little concerned about the “memorial” being for me will know differently. The picture caption refers to a sighting of two “John Heaton’s”.
The winter of cricket meetings starts tomorrow evening (Thursday) with an LSCA meeting in the Indoor Centre at Old Trafford. In the main we will be looking at the season just finishing, and then setting out the plans for 2012. After that one I will be back at headquarters on Monday for a Development of Excellence meeting – which will be doing something very similar.
Prior to my meeting tomorrow night I am off to Liverpool. The Queen Mary 2 is expected to be alongside at Pier Head somewhere around midday. We have sailed on this magnificent liner many times but have never seen her dock from the land side. There were many hundreds watching the Queen Elizabeth dock last Thursday but I feel the numbers tomorrow will be much bigger.
As the winter progress I want to look at different aspects of my involvement with cricket – do a bit of digging in the archives, look at some of the amusing happenings I can recollect and getting a bit serious from time to time.
I want to finish on a serious note. Early this year at an LCB Executive Meeting I raised the matter of player behaviour, and the real concerns I had. The reaction was totally positive and Mike Watkinson agreed to compose a joint memo between Lancashire CCC and the LCB to be sent to all Leagues and Clubs and to be publicised on the website. The terminology used was very much to the point.
What do I feel now at the end of the 2011 season in terms of what I have seen and heard throughout the summer? In terms of the Lancashire County Age Group teams I have not seen or had reported any matters of concern. I do know that the behaviour of certain other county board junior teams has had to be considered by the ECB. That worries me big time!!
I wish I could say that the levels of behaviour within the “spirit” of the game at matches I have been present at away from our junior ranks had shown massive improvements. Unfortunately this has not been the case. This is a topic I do not want to let go of, and over the next few months I want to try and encourage a return to the true traditions of cricket. Heaven forbid that we see more and more instances of premier league values appearing on our cricket fields.
Enough of the serious stuff for now.
The Mount play Westhoughton at home on Saturday, Bury are away against Jeff Stelling’s Hartlepool United and I feel a Tesco Moment coming on.