Woe is me – woe is everybody
Is this the worst ever year for matches abandoned
I have been asked that question a number of times over the past few days and it’s getting quite irritating to be asked it. Mind you the events of the past couple of weeks when the cricket programme for our junior county age groups has been decimated is sorely testing everyone’s resolve.
To date and including the Under 12 match against Notts tomorrow (July 12th) Lancashire Schools teams should have completed a total of 33 fixtures across all age groups. An amazing number of 15 have been called off. The worst age group to suffer is the Under 12’s with the Under 15’s escaping with the least matches not played. When you add to that the abandonments in the Girls Programme, and I can speak from experience here, then the figures get even worse. When we consider our tales of woe then it is little comfort to hear of the stories from other counties. When the Under 13 Nottinghamshire manager rang me on Saturday last to tell me he would have to call off the Under 13 match at Calverton on Sunday he told me that was their sixth scheduled match of the season and the fifth abandonment.
Woe is them but woe is me.
What have I been up to since my last Berlog. Well I did close by saying I was looking forward to another away day with Sophie at Harrogate – but of course it did not happen. Match off.
It did rain very hard in Yorkshire that Friday morning as number one son related to us that self-same evening when I did a little lager tasting at Totty Con with the good lady. I knew why he was travelling to York that morning but had not related it to his mother. He had been given a treat for his birthday by his sister in law which gave him the opportunity to test drive an Ashton Martin and a Lambageeny – they were actually the real McCoy but he went on so much about how great it was that I need to inject a little humour. He went across the Pennines with his good friend Olly and arrived at the disused airfield near York which was the setting on the occasion that Mr Top Gear Hammond nearly left the programme for good.
After signing a number of disclaimers and indicating his next of kin he went off with an instructor firstly in the Ashton Martin. This was followed by the Lambageeny. It just looked like the one I photographed in Monte Carlo not long ago. He had clearly been much excited by the experience as he was boring all and sundry in Totty Con. His mother’s face was a picture when she began to realise the “what ifs”. He is due to sign a contract with Furrary in the near future. When I told the good lady I wouldn’t mind something like that for my next birthday I was told in no uncertain terms that I had no chance,
This was a Lambageeny in Monte Carlo. Picture taken by a very jealous father.
The Mount managed to get a match in on Saturday and beat Social Circle quite comfortably. It required great efforts from many brave souls to get the game on and a couple of umpires who were fed up of calling matches off. Social were not as keen as they had key players missing.
Sunday saw the Under 13 fixture v Notts being chalked down as another wash-out. Tom surprisingly found that his League fixture v the Palace Shield was not called off. The ground was amazingly dry and playable. His team won and he had another run out to his credit.
The day after the Under 11 fixture v Warwicks at Nether Whitacre did not take place. In fact this was basically called off on Friday night. Sophie managed to get a training session in at Newton le Willows on Monday night but I was astonished how soft and muddy the outfield was. They had clearly had a lot of rain. It was in the sort of condition you might expect to see at the start of a season and not in mid-July.
I did spend quite some time at a very wet Northern Cricket Club on Monday with Messrs Stanworth and Dearden. The Sage of Merseyside, Mr Linford, attended with the news that there were drainage problems at Bootle. This news set in motion a whole series of actions which now means that tomorrow’s scheduled match for the U15’s at Bootle will now be played at Urmston.
Tuesday July 10th was in essence supposed to be a day off enjoying the cricket at Old Trafford between England and Australia. Before heading off to that event we had the Under 10’s game in Staffordshire called off, closely followed by the Under 14B game in North Wales at Northop Hall.
There should have been three Hacking Cup District Quarter Finals played on Tuesday. Two have been set back to later dates now but one game was played. This was between Bury U13 and St Helens and was at the Mount. I am delighted to report that grandson Thomas was the successful captain on this occasion and that Bury are through to the semi-final to play the winner of Wigan and Ribble Valley. I am also pleased to slip in the news that he got a good score as well.
All of this was happening whilst I was at headquarters in the Point (along with about 800 others) having a very good lunch in good company with an excellent bottle of red. The fact that the game did not commence until 5.30 meant that the wine tasting event had to be dragged out. This was quite a challenge but we managed to survive.
I must say that the ground developments are really beginning to change the whole face of Old Trafford. It was a pity the rains curtailed the match somewhat and that the two new stands were not full to capacity but under flood lights the ground looked most impressive. Even better we did the Aussies again winning the series 4 – 0.
Today was supposed to be a day of rest but after the news came through that the Under 12 match in Notts was off the system had to spring into action. It is no substitute for playing a match but the Under 12’s have been called into Headquarters for training in the afternoon. Tom, and the other lads, are fed up of having to go into school instead of cricket. Well tomorrow it will only be for half a day. The team are booked into the Indoor School but there are hopes of some outdoor fielding practice on the Old Trafford outfield.
Tomorrow we have an Under 13 fixture v Derbyshire at Leigh and the re-arranged U15 Cheshire match at Urmston. There are also three Bob Hurst Under 11 District Quarter Finals that should have been played last week.
Surprise – Surprise we have no rain forecast for tomorrow.
The forecast for Friday is wet, wet, wet again with showers for Saturday.
I am taking the Good Lady to Old Trafford on Friday for a treat. We are going to have dinner with Oscar. Mr Hardmans annual bash will be hosted by Norman Prince. I have not seen him for donkeys. I can remember the Parents Association staging concerts at Hayward School with such groups as the Oldham Tinkers and the Houghton Weavers. I had to attend these functions as I was President of the Parents Association. The Oldham Tinkers had a unique style as did the Weavers. Norman Prince was exceptionally funny as the lead man for the Weavers but then left to pursue a career on his own. These were great occasions at school as we had our own reserved table and had a regular supply of drinks brought to us along with the interval food. I wonder whether OSCAR will do the same on Friday. I must talk to Harders about what chance I have of flogging some copies of my book.
Talking about my life at Hayward I was also President of another institution – “the Old Boys”. Hayward Schools Old Boys FC had been established for some time in Bolton and it was custom and practice that the Head of the time was the Old Boys President. It was an Honorary and Unpaid Position other than on an annual basis I would be invited to their Annual Dinner. This was held at various hostelries in the Bolton area. I was never too sure why the venue changed so regularly. I often did my best to find excuses but one year I decided this was an Annual Dinner I needed to go to.
As President I hosted the main table where the Guest of Honour and After Dinner Speaker would be placed. The Chief Guest on this occasion was the one and only Jimmy Greaves. He was sat on my right hand side. On my left hand side was none other than Tommy Banks, and across on the far side was Roy Hartle. Ah I thought which bright spark from the Old Boys had invited Hartle and Banks, the most feared full back partnership in the Football League. Whoever it was it was an inspired move as we had the most entertaining evening. In basic terms when Jimmy Greaves travelled to play against the Wanderers at the old Burnden Park he usually managed to develop an injury in the days before. Where this ploy did not work he had a battle plan. He simply stayed in and around the middle of the field and did not venture to the wings at all. Of course in deference to my younger readers I cannot reveal the actual words Jimmy used but Roy Hartle and Tommy, as hard as they tried, never got anywhere near him.
Action Plan for Thursday July 12.
First up will be Urmston CC for the U15 match v Cheshire. After seeing that get under way I will wing my way to Leigh for the Under 13’s clash with Derbyshire. I have been advised that both grounds are still very damp and any further rain will make them doubtful. I, then, am hoping to get across to Old Trafford for the U12 Training Session. The Under 17’s are at Southport playing Derbyshire in the ECB Cup.
Friday will be getting ready for Oscar day . Saturday the Mount plays at Bradshaw with a Hamer Cup Semi at home on Sunday. I am hoping to get across to Grimsby to watch the Under 14’s on that day weather permitting.
No more woe. Let’s “look on the bright side”.
Time for a Tesco Moment.
My final word goes to Sophie who said my last Blog was boring. “Taxi ??”
Just found a piece of paper on my desk. When I was seriously teed off earlier in the week I decided to tot up the "hits" on my Blogs since I started.
That's a fair old total of other idiots who read my twitterings. If everyone of those bought my Book I would be in the Sunday Times Rich List. The copy I sent to Bumble last week looks like it fell on stony ground. Maybe the copy for Athers may do better.
Tesco where are you.
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Following the annual Pre-Season League Engagement meeting held at Chorley Cricket Club last week, the results of the report into player participation was released. ... Full story