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Lancashire Cricket Board - Clocking up the miles, and not clocking up the miles
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Clocking up the miles, and not clocking up the miles

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Where has our summer gone

My last blog was chockerblock of miles in my new motor. This latest blog sees me travelling a fair distance here and there but the dreaded rain has cut out some of my journeys.


In my last epistle I had driven down to Bunbury in Cheshire and driven back with no play possible in the Under 15’s opening game against Cheshire. Two days of Bank Holidays followed with wet weather never far away with the only cricket a District Under 13 game between Bury and Wigan at Elton Cricket Club. It is at this stage one of mine (and yours) blog favourites moves centre stage. Sorry about this Tim but you have now joined Nigel Warne in my list of geographical numpties. Tim, by the way, is Mr McKiernan of Under 11 sunglasses and glue fame. Nigel, bless him, rang me last season but one to ask me where East Lancs Cricket Club was. At the time he was heading north on the M6 in the direction of Lancaster. We did get him turned round and eventually he arrived at the East Lancs ground in Blackburn. To be fair he did not have a SatNav. Our intrepid venturer Tim did have a SatNav programmed to get him to Elton Cricket Club in Bury. He rang me from his car which had just passed Bury Golf Club on the opposite side of Bury to Elton for help. I talked him through to his destination eventually. He is now in the Motoring SatNav Hall of Fame.


To conclude my little story I am delighted to say that Tom’s Bury beat Wigan in that district match quite comfortably making grandad very happy. I was even happier when I was able to sell some of my books to the parents present including Mr Trigger Fielding.


The following day of June 6th was complicated as I was mixing official and grandad duties. In the morning accompanied by Sophie we pulled up at Eagley Cricket Club where under the guidance of Chuck O’Rourke and the indefatigable Tim the newly selected Under 11’s were having their first training session. I disposed of Player Handbooks. Fixture Lists and plenty of ties and badges. Well done to Jack Berry, who I think might feature quite a bit in my blogs, for spotting the deliberate mistakes in the Fixture Lists Booklet !!!!


At the conclusion of this exercise Sophie and yours truly navigated our way to Wigan Cricket Club. Now this ground and the Wigan one-way system has driven me nuts over the years and I can honestly say that I could join Tim in our motoring hall of fame as I have got lost almost every time I have got within half a mile of the ground. This time I did not have a problem as Sophie expertly guided me to the ground with Google Maps on her EyePhone.


The game in progress was between our Under 15 team and the Liverpool Competition Under 17’s. This game was staged to help our Under 15’s get in some practice and we must say thanks to John Williams and the Competition people, and Wigan CC. You may realise that John Williams possibly has an even more complicated cricket life than I do with fingers in many pies around the county including being Chairman of the Liverpool Competition. Now I have often heard from others that to agree to become Chairman of this illustrious organisation you have to be “mad”. That same statement has often been made about my position. So probably when the yellow van pulls up outside our house to take me off to a house of correction then John might be in there as well.


The match ended in a victory for the Under 15’s after rain had interfered. It was a good exercise and again thanks to everyone involved.


You may ask what on earth was Sophie doing travelling with me on this particular day. Well young Thomas was playing for Bury U13 against Rochdale at Heywood and Sophie had a training session with the U15 girls at Newton le Willows in the evening. Rain during the afternoon which held up the game at Wigan actually put paid to the game at Heywood but not before Thomas had the “best cricket tea ever”. The message filtered through to us at Wigan that after all we had no reason to drive over to Newton as that was off as well. I left the Wigan game a little early as Sophie was bored out of her trees but we called at a McDonalds on the way home to celebrate the fact she was in the team to play Durham on the Monday following.


June 7th dawned wet and stayed wet. Batman Williams had contacted the Under 12 opponents Durham to see what they wanted to do and they decided we would indeed gather at Middleton Cricket Club to assess the conditions. The ground conditions were good but the weather remained very wet and by mid-afternoon everyone wended their way home.


Friday merged into Saturday and the wet weather was relentless. The Mount were due to entertain Astley Bridge but that disappeared into the mists of time to be replaced with one of Stewies all-day entertainment sessions.


Saturday was the good lady’s, she who must be obeyed and the proud owner of the largest Zoo in Radcliffe’s, birthday. With no cricket we were somewhat at a loss as to what we could do. The remainder of the family minus number one son had escaped to a caravan park in the Lakes for the weekend. After much deliberation I took her out for a romantic dinner at the Swan Hotel on Tottington Road. This has been one of our favourite eating establishments over the years with good value for money meals. It has just been “done up” and looks quite chic.


Sunday saw me up bright and early to drive to Northop Hall in North Wales for the Under 15’s “home” fixture against Nottinghamshire. It was pretty vital we got this game in as otherwise the entire season could have gone belly up. Everyone at Northop Hall pulled the stops out and we managed to start just 30 minutes after the scheduled start. You may wonder why we were playing a home game in North Wales. The club is of course in the Liverpool Comp and the Secretary and his wife, the Isterlings, have been involved with this age group for a long, long while.


The day was a good one and we won very comfortably indeed. Joe Smith-Butler in his first appearance snaffled two wickets in his first ever over for Lancashire to prove the selectors know what they are doing. We now have the massive game against Yorkshire at St Annes to look forward to on Thursday June 21st. Prior to then I will return to Northop Hall next Tuesday for an Under 15B game against North Wales. On this occasion we will be in the Visitors Changing Room.


The day might have been a good one for the Under 15’s but it was a bad one for the Mount. They were home to Blackpool in the Lancashire Knock Out but unlike last year’s game with the same club this one ended in defeat. Not enough runs I was told. Plon got out early and not enough of our other batsmen did the business. Good luck to Blackpool in the rest of the competition.


Monday June 11th I should have been travelling with Sophie to Barnard Castle for the Under 15 girls game with Durham. Guess what – we did not travel, and Sophie had to go to school. Great disappointment for both of us.


When I have nowhere else to go my missus says I go to headquarters. Indeed for the next two days I did visit Old Trafford twice for a bit of copying, posting and printing.


Back to cricket on Wednesday of this week with a double header in Yorkshire. The Under 12’s were at Gomersal and the Under 14 B’s were at East Bierley. It just so happened that as I arrived at Gomersal with the good lady that we got the news that Lancashire were batting. That meant I chickened out and drove the short distance to East Bierley returning in the afternoon to watch the Under 12’s thrash the Yorkies. Mind you the Under 14B team got quite a tatering with Nathan Wood in his first game as coach. The Under 12 game was quite remarkable in that Yorkshire chasing Lancashire’s 40 over total of 149 were cruising at 43 without loss – when the first of five run outs took place. They collapsed in a heap from there giving the Under 12’s a very encouraging start to their season. It is always good to win your first match, but it is even better when you beat Yorkshire.


There were actually six run out’s in the match with the first affecting the Lancashire opener who I had cleared off from watching at the start. Everyone said it was an errant Yorkshire finger but try telling that to a 12 year old. Still he began his Lancashire career at Rydal School last year with a run out and did OK after that.


After the trials and tribulations of the day before we, the boss and me, decided we would have a trip to Garstang yesterday (Thursday) to watch the Under 11’s in their first game against Cumbria. It was well worth the visit. Everyone gets very excited at their first game for Lancashire and this group are no different. They do eventually realise that energy conservation is good for you and helps maintain concentration. We set Cumbria a fair old target with 172 off 40 overs. Sam Dorsey made his mark with a splendid 82. Cumbria looked out of it losing quick wickets but battled back brilliantly. Two of their middle order batsmen put on a stand of 80 in quick time and started the nerves jangling. We emerged winners by just 22 runs but well done Cumbria and especially their diminutive batsman who shared in that big stand and was almost knee high to a grasshopper. He got felled with a blow to his knee early on and needed treatment. I am sure there would have been tears. He got up however and produced a wonderful cover drive off the next ball he received. Great !!


Talking of excitement. There are three other matters to report following our visit to Garstang.


Number One – can someone tell me what Jack Berry has for his breakfast because I want some.


Number Two – if John Hood does not stop going on about Brentford rotten FC then we will be looking for a new Under 11 scorer. There will be a contract out on him.


Number Three – do you know we now have in our midst a “White Van Man”. I am sworn to secrecy as to who it is but he was best known last season for his sunglasses and glue, and this year got lost going to Elton.


Below is a picture of this said van parked up at Garstang.




Sold some more copies of my book this week including one to father Walling at Garstang.


The weather forecast for the weekend is dire. The Mount are due at Horwich on Saturday with nothing scheduled for Sunday.


Monday should be another away day for Sophie and me as she is due down in Handsworth on Monday for an Under 15 girls fixture against Warwickshire. I do hope the rains do not put paid to that one as well.  We can but wait and see.


Time to get this uploaded and then England v Sweden beckons plus a Tesco Moment.


Can anyone think of a suitable inscription for the “White Van” ????

The most famous zoo keeper in our house has just checked this blog through for spelling and grammar. She has just come up with a good inscription for the “White Van” – Wash Me !!

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