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Lancashire Cricket Board - We have an “Annus Horribilis” developing
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We have an “Annus Horribilis” developing

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And things do not seem to be getting any better

I do hope I have spelled the Latin bit correctly as I could get into “horribilis” trouble if I have not.


My last Blog was on June 23rd when the Mount were preparing to play Heaton even though there had been ducks floating in the outfield when the Good Lady and myself had passed by in the morning. I am afraid to say that the Mount got well and truly beaten. The Heaton professional blasted 143 runs in a quite amazing innings. Allowing for the fact that Greenmount is rather a small ground many of his sixes almost ended up at Totty St Johns one way or Rammy the other. Occasionally you have to put your hands up and say wow.


The following day saw the Hamer Cup Quarter Final v Bradshaw at the Mount. This time the weather won and the game was shelved.


Now a certain daily newspaper the Famous Zoo Keeper reads tends to go over the top with its headlines. On the Monday it predicted monsoon conditions for the next two weeks. I tend to disregard any predictions this daily rag comes out with. BUT ????


Let me take you through the days since.


Monday June 25th

Lancashire Under 12’s v Cumbria at Penwortham CC – Called off the day before.

For my little Tommy Trouble with 1 run in 2 innings this was a game where he could have “dipped his bread” as they say.


Interestingly just a short distance away at Vernon Carus we managed to get our LSCA Under 15 20/20 Finals in without interruption from rain. This was won in emphatic fashion by Bolton School. The other schools involved were Manchester GS, Ribblesdale School and Merchant Taylor’s, Crosby. Well done U15 Co-Ordinator Brian Woodhead for ensuring we had these Finals. Mind you we had to delay the original date for (guess what) the weather.


I departed early to take Sophie to Newton le Willows for an Under 15 Girls training session. The ground was in good condition and the Army Cadets practising alongside the nets at their headquarters were very noisy. The bulk of these are quite young and I wonder whether they are trying to impress.


Tuesday June 26th

Lancashire Under 11’s v Yorkshire at Rainford for the Hemingway Trophy.

I did intend to go to this game as it is important to many of us, but I had to divert to Read CC as Sophie was picked to play for the U15 Girls Development team against Shropshire.


The Under 11’s lost a close game to the White Rose county meaning Yorkshire retain the Hemingway Trophy, and I arrived at Read to see Sophie walking out after being trapped LBW. She had scored six including a magnificent cover drive. Well that was according to her coach. Her dad said something different but we take no notice of him.


Wednesday June 27th

Our very first Under 10 County fixture against North Wales !!!. I had marked this in my calendar as a must. But guess what. Sophie was selected for the Under 15 Girls team to play Nottinghamshire at Caythorpe Cricket Club. The beauty of modern technology and smarties phones meant I could watch the girls and be kept up to date with the ramblings of Batman Williams at the Under 10 game at Bootle.  The Under 15 Girls beat Nottinghamshire comfortably and the Under 10’s beat North Wales by 58 to 49. Sophie claimed her first ever Lancashire wicket and amazed everyone with her sunglasses. Nalisha once again showed what a tremendous cricketer she could become with five more wickets and 30+ runs. For once this was a sunny day and the groundsman, Eddie Hemmings, was keen for cricket to be played.


Thursday June 28th

This was the second day of the U17 Trial at Ormskirk. As I have added Under 16 and 17 match arrangements into my “portfolio” I needed to meet up with Stanny and his hoppo Mr Bob Dearden. Some would say I was avoiding the Under 12 match at Highfield against Staffordshire. Both games were played even though there was bad weather around. This is where the “AH Year” feeling first hit me. My texting son told me that Staffs had posted 100 and something in their 40 overs. I had concluded my discussions with Stanny including leaving him a “complimentary” copy of my book to pass on via Mrs Lloyd in the LCCC offices to one said Bumble. As I drove from Ormskirk to Highfield my Smartie was pinging too often. Tom succumbed early doors and was followed by others at regular intervals. Bless him the Staffs opening bowler at one time had taken five for two and we had been blasted away. As the French would say “C’est La Cricket”.


Friday June 29th

Relief. No cricket planned and therefore no cricket to be called off.


Saturday June 30th

The Mount are due to play Eagley away. The weather is foul yet amazingly a shortened game is played and Number One Son claims his first wickets for a while and we win. We miss the conclusion as we head off to our second 90th Birthday Party in six weeks. In this instance my very good friend and loyal supporter Mr Bob Stamp achieved the milestone. It was a splendid evening indeed. I had to sing, well talk, for my supper but was delighted to do so for someone who means so much to everyone connected with Lancashire Schools.


As I said here is Bob in his “cups”. This was a favourite saying of his which really meant he had had a few Tesco Moments or rather Bitter Moments.


We now head into Sunday July 1st. Will the change of month change the weather patterns. Nope. But we had 2 matches to play and both ended in a Lancashire victory. The Under 15B team played Yorkshire at Urmston and won comfortably. In similar vein the Under 14’s disposed of Cumbria at Kirkham & Wesham. If we had given due regard to the weather forecast we could have called both games off on Saturday night. As I was at Bob Stamp’s 90th I am not sure whether anyone even tried.


At this stage I have a confession to make. I drove from Urmston to Kirkham and got lost in the last mile or so. I needed “bluetooff” instructions from Mr Dave Redders to get me to the ground. The club and officials did a marvellous job in staging this game at short notice. Many thanks Kirkham and  Wesham.


I winged my way back to the Mount from Kirkham where the Hamer Cup match rained off last week was being played. We had scored 160 plus in 40 overs and had just started to bowl when I left. Via the splendour of “bluetoof” Mrs Heaton the younger kept me alert to the fact that we were skittling Bradshaw. By the time I got back to the Log Cabin the game was won. Three games played on a day where the weather forecast was out of sync with what actually happened.


Now this is where the “AH” feeling really hits.


Monday July 2nd

Under 11’s v Cheshire at Ashley CC – 2 overs and finito.


The Harold Bailey U14 Inter-School Final at Blackpool CC between Manchester GS and Kirkham GS will now be played on Wednesday September 5th as both schools break at the end of this week.


I received a phone call on Monday afternoon from Bob Miles, the Welsh Under 16 Team Manager, telling me that Newport Cricket Club was about to float away down the Bristol Channel. He had been informed by the Club that our game due to be played on Wednesday and Thursday was now a no hoper. For these sorts of games the LCB provides coach transport and hotel accommodation. Messrs Singh and Reddy were due to meet up with 12 selected players on Tuesday at Old Trafford to depart by coach to Newport. They had accommodation at the Holiday Inn in Newport. Now arranging all these items takes a bit of effort but to cancel them at very short notice is much harder. It also means contacting all the players to tell them the bad news. In some cases parents will have booked their own accommodation as well. These are “horribilis” moments. As the dust has settled we have now been able to re-arrange the fixture for September and transfer the hotel accommodation as well as coach travel.


No sooner had the news come through from Welsh Wales that I received information that the Under 10 game away v Warwickshire at Bedworth CC was off.


That evening in addition to all that was going on I had a meeting at Headquarters. It was pretty high in terms of level of importance. After much deliberation the outcome was very sensible but far reaching. All will be revealed in the fullness of time.


I was further faced with the fact that Tuesday July 3rd was also the start of our County District Quarter Finals. The Hacking Cup at Under 13 was first up. As I was contacting the Under 16 boys with their news, John Steele, the Bury U13 Manager, rang me to say the game against St Helens at Radcliffe was a further victim of the weather. Poor Thomas again. This was a game for much needed batting practice before his county game on Thursday. By early Tuesday morning just one game remained at Leyland between South Ribble and Burnley. This was a situation where the two teams had decided to meet at the ground to assess rather than call the game off. Colin Dawber, the Leyland grounds maestro, worked his little cotton socks off and with a little gentle persuasion the game started. I was there and did a roaring trade with sales of my Book including one to Mike McLeod, a blast from the past, and another Grandad on the taxi service routine.


As the game was in progress I decided to check with Mr Stanworth as to the whereabouts of the copy of my book “what I had given him”. He was at Loughborough on some high-falluting ECB business and had to confess that it was still on the front seat of his car. I should have known. I decided to head to Old Trafford firstly to put further supplies of this book now selling like hot cakes into my car but to personally deliver a copy for Bumble to his missus. I accomplished both tasks successfully thanks to the assistance of Messrs Asher and Singh. I even left additional copies with one for Athers and the other for Glen Chapple. The purpose of all of this is in the vain hope that either Bumble or Athers, who both get good mentions in the Book, feel like giving me some on line publicity during the England v Australia match at Old Trafford next Tuesday.


Now then on to Wednesday and the Under 15 match v Northumberland at Morpeth Cricket Club. I have been involved with LSCA for 48 years now and the events of yesterday were totally unique in my experience. First of all I can report that the Under 15’s stuffed their opponents. We got 191 for 5 in 35 overs and bowled them out for 42. I had planned to drive up yesterday morning but almost all the team except I think one player had booked overnight accommodation with some in the hotel alongside the ground. Titch was up there as well. Just as I was about to drive off from home I got a phone call from the Northumberland contact to regretfully inform me that there was absolutely no chance of any play at all. A lot of what he had based this decision on was the weather forecast he had seen.


I have no intention of going into the diplomatic or even non-diplomatic events that followed centred on Morpeth Cricket Club. The game did eventually go ahead but there were casualties. Dan Robson was heading across by car from his home when I managed to get the information that the game was off. He returned to school. Saad Khan and his dad were staying in the area but decided not to look at the ground conditions but headed back home. The intense negotiations involving Northumberland Cricket Board officials, the ECB and Steve and Rudra did not reach their conclusion until later morning so I had no chance to get these two players back. The rest of our parents had remained to provide support to our chief negotiators. I was kept “in the loop” and finally got the news that the game would go ahead. The Northumberland players were recalled from whence they had gone and a start time of 1.30 was agreed. When I got the final phone call to say we had won the sun was shining and had been all day. One final word about our new found test pilot, Mr Dasher Dearden. I had left him a message about the game being off forgetting that Harry was with the Under 17’s at Urmston. That game was off so Dasher set off from Tottington at around midday getting to Morpeth just in time for Harry to make a telling contribution at the end of our innings. Yet another part of an amazing story. I wonder what Dasher’s average speed was.


Now it is Thursday July 4th.


The Under 12 game v Cheshire at Styal has been called off.


No news as yet on the U13B game in Yorkshire.


Four Ainsworth Trophy Quarter Finals (U15) today. All of them have been postponed. The reserve date of tomorrow was of no use at all. We are now looking at dates next week.


At this moment there is just one of four Bob Hurst (U11) matches left at Mawdseley CC between Chorley and Fylde due to start at 1.30pm. All the others – one by one – have been called off.


Tomorrow we should have had our U17 20/20 Finals in Blackburn. No chance. They will now be in September.


Sophie has been selected for the Under 15 Girls v Yorkshire at Harrogate tomorrow. I wonder whether I will be getting the taxi out or that one will fall foul of the weather.


Now you can see why I am seeing 2012 as an “Annus Horribilis”. BUT I have not quite yet given up and we could still see everything turn round into an “Annus Mirabilis”.


Yes I have spelt it correctly again.


I would make one important point here. Wherever those involved in on-off decisions have ignored the weather forecast and turned up games have been played. Long before the advent of smarties phones and so called “Eyephone One Hour Forecasts” we still often travelled to games only to travel back. There were, however, occasions when local conditions varied from the norm and we got games in. The Northumberland Incident of yesterday is a splendid example. I say no more.


Always look on the bright side.


Well do we - THAT newspaper my wife reads has headlines today saying "Two months rain in next three days" Oh dear, oh dear.



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