Disappointment in Dunstable for U15 Girls
But success for both the Under 13's and Under 17's
PART ONE OF BLOG - Wednesday 29th August
We have oft talked of such things and it is never over until the fat lady sings. Well the piano was out, the sheet music in place and the choir clearing their voices. The fat lady simply refused to play the game and we had huge disappointment in of all places – Dunstable.
My regular readers will remember at the end of my blog about our Under 15 Boys – Champeones etc., I referred to the fact we may have some more excitement around the corner. I had been unable to enter into much detail about the whereabouts of a major part of the Heaton family over the past two weeks. In fact the younger Heatons had jetted off to Sharm el Watsit in Egypt for a two week sojourn in the sun. I understand a good time was had by all with a little bit of cricket excitement towards the end of their stay. The Under 15 County Girls team had come top of the North & Midlands group and consequently were to be involved in the National Finals – at Dunstable Town CC.
Sophie returned home on Saturday night – late, and was due to score for the Mount on the Sunday. Unlike Egypt where they had baked in temperatures nudging and often passing 100 degrees Fahrenheit without a cloud in the sky, they returned to wall to wall rain. The Mount did not play either day. We, that is the good lady and myself, had re-arranged matters so that we could set off early Monday morning with Sophie for the drive down to Dunstable. Thanks to it being a Bank Holiday we made it with time to spare.
We had been drawn to play Kent with the other Semi-Final involving Somerset and Yorkshire. The Yorkies had made it in as the Best Runner Up. Dunstable was a fine and welcoming venue although the weather was dampish to begin with. We batted first and struggled to make 144 against a decent Kent attack with the top scorer being “wides” with 45. This young lady played quite a part in the Kent innings as well. The ninth Kent wicket fell with the score on 121, I think. Cue the thoughts of “Here we go, here we go” and roll out the piano. Cricket can, however, be a cruel game. The two remaining Kent batsmen played extremely well and the “wides” helped. In fact the winning run came from a wide and Kent were through to the Final.
Now I have been to many of these Final days with boys’ teams and I have had to suffer in silence as opposing teams, usually from down south, and usually with brown caps, have whooped and hollered their way around cavorting about like maniacs.
The Kent players and supporters were obviously pleased to have won but they had enough about them to realise our disappointment and to offer kind words. The girls were upset, as indeed was a certain pairing of Grandma and Grandad. By the time we had exited to the Holiday Inn Express, their base for the night, the team’s thoughts had turned to the more immediate issue of where and what to eat.
We, that is the Zoo Keeper and myself, repaired off to the Dunstable Premier Inn. Before dining there was the issue of checking to see if the latest zoo expansion had happened and whether the breeding of two new inmates had been successful. I understand both events had occurred as planned. All of this was completed without using all 30 free wi-fi minutes afforded to us. This Lenny Henry establishment had a “Table Table” restaurant alongside and we had a hearty repast with appropriate liquid support. We have become regulars with Premier this summer, but my missus wants me to see if Lenny can arrange for chair lifts or something in some hotels as we were on the third floor at this one. It must have been the effort of climbing the stairs that wore her out, and not the fine wine and Tesco moments, but she was well away whilst the night was still young.
Tuesday dawned bright and sunny as we collected Sophie from the Holiday Inn and headed towards Dunstable CC for the 3rd/4th Play Off match. It was clear that everyone was determined to put the disappointment behind them and ensure we finished the season on a winning note. Our opponents were to be Somerset who had lost to the Yorkies. We scored 212 for 9 with Emma Lamb hitting a splendid 79. The Somerset reply never got going and they were eventually all out for 98.
Yorkshire beat Kent in the Final and were crowned as Champions. Something quite amazing happened after the presentations – our girls got a team picture, an ECB cap and a T-shirt by the way but no medal. After the Yorkies had had the obligatory picture in front of the big sign saying they were the champions, they invited everyone to join them for a mass photo. After many of the shenanigans I have witnessed on Bolton League grounds where ill-feeling between teams has regularly surfaced, it was wonderful to see everyone mixing together in such a way. Yet another plus for girl’s cricket.
Congratulations to Nalisha and her team for making this season special for me, and for Sophie. As I said to her when we set off for the journey up the M1 and M6 back home – “If I had said to you last year when I took you to the trials at Old Trafford that not only would you make the team but you would also play in the National Finals – you would possibly not have believed me.”
The majority of the Under 15 team of 2012 will be available again in 2013. I wonder where the Finals will be next year.
Whilst being ensconced in Dunstable with the help of mobile telephony and colleagues within LSCA we managed to complete two of our District Finals. The Bob Hurst Under 11 Trophy Final was switched to Clifton CC and Salford emerged victorious, just, after Chorley had looked favourites. Yet another example of how cricket can be so unpredictable. It has been a while since my good friend Nigel has snared a pot for Salford. Whilst that was happening at Clifton, South Ribble and Wigan were competing for the Hacking Cup at Under 13 level at Leigh CC. Our thanks to the club for moving gallons of water from the ground to enable us to complete this Final. Wigan were the victors in this instance.
We just have the Ainsworth Trophy Under 15 District Final left. This will be played at Old Trafford on Monday September 17th between Bolton and Sefton. Quite a day for the players of both of these teams to be able to set foot on such a famous ground as it appears in its transformation back to the future.
There are other Finals to be completed at Inter-School level. Manchester GS meet Kirkham GS at Blackpool CC on Wednesday September 5th for the Harold Bailey Final. The winners will represent Lancashire in the National Under 15 Competition in 2013. The Under 12 Bunbury and the Under 13 John Heaton Memorial Finals dates are not yet sorted as we still have Semi-Finals to play when the schools get back next week.
I am pretty focussed on my next major event which is the LCB Development of Excellence Presentation Evening. This is being held at Old Trafford in the Point on Wednesday September 12th starting at 7.30pm. From its early days as a Get Together to today’s massive exercise this is the time of the year when the whole family of Lancashire age group cricket can be together in the same room. We look back on the season, give out awards for special performances and honour the major achievements of the summer. The Under 15 Boys will take centre stage for now but I was hoping we could add three girl’s titles as well. The Under 15’s slipped away yesterday but the Under 13’s and 17’s were in Semi-Finals today against Yorkshire and Hampshire respectively. Fingers crossed.
We have already been asked for just over 300 places in the Point for the Presentation Evening with many still to respond. There is a simple order form on the LCB Website. So if you are reading this and have not asked for places yet, then please do not delay.
When I respond to the requests for tickets/places I am also on the Adobe reply sheet asking for as many of you as possible to consider making an old man happy. The old man is me and the happiness will come when I have sold all the supplies of my “BOOK” in stock at Old Trafford. The agreement I had with boss man Andy was that after I had covered the printing costs the remaining profit would be for LSCA itself. Now we are not rolling in money and the costs of our match programme are shooting up every year. So come along on September 12th to celebrate a summer of success in the middle of a monsoon and buy a copy of the History of LSCA at the same time. If you are not involved in the festivities at Old Trafford but have been threatening to treat yourself or someone else to a copy then the LCB website and Jasmine will wing a copy off to you before you can say boo.
If Bob Dearden, the same man who has oft referred to me in disparaging terms as a “non-spinning off spinner” can be moved to say that “My Book” was SUPERB then it must be worth all £12.50 to buy it. So come on – make me happy.
Happiness comes in different ways and may often require a little help from the fat lady and her piano. Latest from Reading and Wokenham Cricket Club’s and the venues for today’s U13 and 17 Girls National Semi-Finals is guess what – No Play – Rain, Rain and Rain. This news has been transmitted to me by the Incredible Titch. What will now happen is in the hands of the ECB.
I feel I must now call upon “Every Little Helps” Tesco as I watch the opening ceremony of the Paralympics. Somewhere today, probably in the Express, I have seen something about a September summer. Bring it on.
I must also talk to the Good Lady about potential cruises. But first the Paralympics and a Tesco. By the way the Heaton family returned from Egypt with the usual gifts – they do not have Tesco’s at Sharm El Watsit Airport so they decided to remind me that I was once a “Teacher”.
Just had a call from Tim the “Sunglasses Man” who doubles as the Under 17 Girls Manager. He tells me they are going to play two 20/20 matches tomorrow to determine the National Champions. I know we have had a summer of crazy weather but who within the cloisters of the ECB has decided that the best way to decide the National Champions for 2012 at Under 17 level is by way of a silly 20/20 series is almost as daft as introducing leg-side wides at the Under 15 Finals.
Bring me a “Teacher’s".
PART TWO OF BLOG - Thursday 30th August
I take back all I said about the ECB.
With the help of Sophie and her Tweet with Charlotte Edwards and the LCB Twitter page I have been able to find out that both the the Under 13 and Under 17 Girls teams have become National Champions. Well done everyone. Jenny must be mighty chuffed at the moment along with all those involved as officials and players. No details of scores as yet but who cares.
Three National Titles to celebrate on Wednesday September 12at in the Point.
Get your ticket requests in by using www.lancashirecricket.co.uk/presentation .
Do not delay. I have allocated 343 places already from less than half our 2012 players.
And remember to have a spare £12.50 to purchase a copy of My Book.
Just to close on something which has nothing to do with cricket. I am waiting for news from my Zoo as to whether a major expansion has been completed. Just after tea today the Major Zoo Owner in our family suddenly said out of nowhere "I have no more room for my cubbies !!!" Just afterwards our house phone went and it was a gentleman who was anxious to tell me that as I was over a certain age that "we" that is the Good Lady and Me "now qualified for free loft and cavity wall insulation." This must be the fifth such call in the past week. There is a good chance these people will send me over the edge and that famous yellow van will appear outside to take me away. You see we had all of this lofting and cavitying done about four years ago.
Why do "they" keep on ringing us. Somewhere there must be a national database of who has been lofted and cavitied. It's a little bit like the other calls we keep getting about PPI's. I wonder if when I get the next call about lofting or PPI'ing I say to the person calling that "Do you know my wife has no more room in her Zoo for the cubbies", that they may get the message around to avoid ringing the Heaton's of Turks Road as they will not get a great deal of sense out of them.
Do you know I feel really chuffed about this week.
Well done everyone. Lanky, Lanky, Lanky, Lancashire.
Oh by the way I did say earlier that I needed to persuade she who must be obeyed at all times without question that we should really get a cruise sorted. I used the fact that a lot of people greet me with the same question - "Well where's your next cruise to then." I can answer that question now. THE CARIBBEAN. Yippee.
Lanky, Lanky, Lanky Lancashire.
Is it a "Teachers" or a "Tesco" moment tonight.