Back to official duties with a bang.
Taunton ended super hot
The Lancashire Under 12’s left Taunton on Friday evening in some of the hottest conditions for some time. In fact over the final two days of the Kings College Under 12 Festivals the weather turned itself upside down. After monsoon conditions for three days instead of sending Sophie for the umbrellas she was on ice pops duties. The least we say of the first three days the better. It was simply wet, wet, wet and wetter. The boys coped very well indeed and we saw a little more of Taunton than we expected. Great disappointment on Tuesday evening to find the Castle Inn Steak Night (now famed in the Heaton’s history for its plots and plans) was no more. Wednesday we played St. Stithians on Pitch 1 and lost narrowly. Tom had a decent knock of 19 helping us to a total of 106. Rehan chipped in with a valuable 34 and extras helped big time. The rains returned during our time in the field which did not help us. Josh Rhodes took three wickets to help set up a tight finish but the South Africans sneaked in by two wickets.
The Wednesday evening brought the alternative of a barbecue at the Swan in Kingston. Steve Kirby turned up as a surprise guest for the evening and entertained the lads in fine style. I showed him my world famous book and he was able to identify all his team mates from the Under 15 team he played in. He was a character then and he still is one now. He did not, however, buy a copy of the book.
Thursday saw us give a serious stuffing to Gloucester who had turned over Surrey the day before. Rehan batted well for 64 and as happens at Taunton the extras were high. Good bowling from all the bowlers finally dismissed our opponents with just a couple of overs to go.
Malcolm Broad the organiser decided to extend the Friday matches to 50 overs although apart from one the remaining five games were completed by early afternoon. We batted first against Hampshire and struggled to a final score of 124. We started well but the introduction of spin saw our wickets tumble. Dovey and Sam took their chances in an eighth wicket partnership which lifted our total dramatically.
Drama followed at the start of the Hampshire innings with two text book run outs from the golden arm of Rehan. The introduction of Dovey and then Macca (Muhammad) sent Hampshire spinning to a very rapid defeat. Dovey had two initial wickets and then Macca took the final six in six overs for six runs finishing with the hat trick. The week ended on a high. After what had preceded it cricket still has the capacity to do such things.
Number One Son plus Mrs Heaton the younger and Soph had joined us on the Wednesday after the Mount had lost the rain affected Hamer Cup. We did not dwell on the happenings at Kearsley for too long as PJH wanted to focus on what he considered to be the “biggest six ever hit on that ground”. We were more interested in how Soph had gone on in the 20/20 U15 Competition at Northern. The team had played 4 games winning four. She had played a significant part in one of those wins.
PJH was still going on about the “biggest six in Bolton League history” when we sat in the Beer Garden in the pub alongside our hotel after watching the Bolt annihilate the rest of the runners in the Lympics 200 metres on the Thursday evening. The Most Successful Zoo Keeper in the world was in “her cups” that evening as my good friend Bob Stamp used to describe such conditions. Sophie found this to be most entertaining indeed none more so when on our return to the hotel my good lady excelled herself creating another wonderful moment in Heaton family history. Unfortunately the LCB website is not the place to go into detail. Sophie was telling the tale at the match at Kings on Friday but had to miss out the final coup de grace. Our super supporter Helen who was unable to travel down this year will most certainly feel that the “plots and plans” of 2011 had been trumped when she receives the full unexpurgated 2012 version.
Back to normal this weekend with a routine victory for the Mount over Tonge.
Next week I am back into the routine with a bang and this time with my tie on.
Monday I am acting Manager for the Under 11’s in a re-arranged match v Wales being played at Colwyn Bay. Now when Tim, “Where are my glasses”, McKiernan asked me to stand in I would have done so even allowing for the fact that the game is being played on a county ground. I remember vividly my years at University in Wales and enjoy returning to the Municipality when I can.
Tuesday the Under 16’s are playing Cheshire at Leigh CC and I will be there with my good friend Rudra and Mrs Williams Wigan pies.
Wednesday will see me and the missus off to Oakham for the Under 15 National Finals. Whilst down at Taunton I tried to find information about Oakham and who else would be involved. Returning home I happened upon a train of emails which had started at the ECB. The first email with full details had been sent to Geoff Eccles – to an email address he had not used for donkey’s years, and I mean donkeys. This had clearly been bunged back to the ECB but no one had noticed. It took the intervention of Ken Lake from ESCA to re-direct things. We are now in full possession of what we needed. Our Semi-Final opponents on Thursday on the main ground at Oakham School will be Buckinghamshire. If we win that one then we will play either Norfolk or Hampshire in the Final on Friday. Come on you 15’s!!!
Over the past two weeks without a TIE there have been many personal moments of pride alongside moments of yuck. The week in and out of Malvern College with the Under 15 girls and the tropical experience of Taunton will have done both my grandkids the world of good in so many ways. Forget how many wickets or runs they scored – they were both playing for Lancashire. There are hundreds nay thousands of youngsters across the county who would love to have been involved. One abiding memory I have is of how the differing groups of young people became a team offering encouragement and support to each other. One young man last week left the field of play after getting out. It was clear to me that he was going to descend into tears. As he entered the dressing room not one but three of his fellow players followed him in.
The London Olympics comes to an end tonight. Between all the cricket moments of the past couple of weeks we have been able to watch some memorable sporting moments. All of those doubters who poo pooed the fact that not only had we campaigned to get the Games here but had succeeded ought to be made to eat as many hats as humanly possible. The Olympics have been brilliant. Well done everyone involved for making this summer.
Now come on the 15’s at Oakham.