Sunday 16th June: Rugby Club at Thongsbridge

Casuals lost the toss and fielded first.

Rugby Club 147 all out off 27 overs.

Casuals 153 for 7 off 35 overs.

Batting:  Ward – 20; Walker – 11; Umbers – 5; Wilson – 27; Hunter -20; Lockwood – 11;  Wilkinson – 15; Crossland – NO 4;  Cleave – NO 26.

Bowling: Crossland 1-2 (2); Hunter 1-24 (4); Burgess 0-18 (3); Wilson 1-21 (3); Umbers 0-11 (3); Cleave 3-18 (4); Lockwood 0-18 (3); Ward 1-13 (2); Wilkinson 1-13 (2).

A lot of column inches have been devoted recently to successful English sporting performances.  To the list of Lennox Lewis, England soccer and cricket teams, we need to add Almondbury Casuals who returned to winning ways this week.

Last Sunday at Thongsbridge, they entertained a Huddersfield RUFC cricket team containing a number of previous and current first fifteen stars.  Most were informally dressed in shorts, golf shoes and other assorted sportswear and a continuous buzz surrounded them as they joked and messed about.  Was this nervous banter intended to defuse any serious cricketing intentions The Casuals might have had?  The Rugby Club, now of Lockwood Park, play one cricket fixture per year, and they know well enough that they will always struggle to match a Casuals team that contains four or five evening league regulars as well as their core irremediables.

Casuals lost the toss and The Rugby Club elected to bat, following which the two skippers discussed the rules – everybody bowls two overs and then let’s see what happens.  But two overs is the minimum warm up for our mature quicks, so they never generated their normal inconsistent line and length.  Our fast bowling youth policy, Rob Hunter, came in off two steps and looked particularly ill at ease with his leg breaks, off breaks and wide googlies – I don’t think even he knew what he was bowling.  He later reverted to type, commendably keeping the ball up to the bat.

In the meantime, those rugby players waiting their turn to bat let us know that Ireland had lost to Spain on penalties in the soccer world cup.

All the rugby players could play a bit, but most went for big hits without first getting settled.  Was this inexperience or embarrassment?  Bone and a couple of the others are only two or three games off being decent batters.  Near the close of their innings, Wilson connected with two memorable mighty slog sweeps for maximum off Cleave, scoring twelve in seven balls.  If he’d also pushed down the line when appropriate, who knows.  Cleave finally bowled him, finishing with three wickets from an excellent spell of fast little off breaks.  He also took two difficult catches in the deep square leg area – quite a debut, and there was more to come, but I suspect this is a lad who can play.

Bill returned with the scorebook this week, and during tea talked of spreadsheets and other mathematical computer whizz bangs.  Will he keep a record of dropped catches we wonder?  I couldn’t help notice two chances going down today, one at deep fine leg and the other at long off, positions occupied by our own Bill Frindall, without the hair that is.

When they batted, the Casuals made their usual steady progress after Ward was dismissed.  The frequent change of slow bowlers confused some as did a pitch that was soggy enough to divot and yet produce the odd one that popped up off a length.  Wilson, their one fast bowler, generated a lot of pace in his four overs, sorely testing Rupert’s eysight.  Fortunately he did not hit the target and Rupert survived, finishing with a creditable 27 – top scorer.  Cleave remained not out at the end with the second highest score.  Duncan and his pal James Lockwood were super recruits.  Lets hope we see them again, along with this season’s other debutants, Adam Frost and David Knight.

We didn’t learn much about rugby players who play cricket.  I suspect they are a tough bunch, and they will need to be in the higher leagues to which they have recently gained promotion.  Today, they came to enjoy themselves, and we did not to bury them.  I for one am not going to volunteer to play them at their game.

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What the papers say.

There was a medical flavour to the cricket writing of The Telegraph’s Derek Pringle and Simon Hughes this week.

‘But if Messrs Tudor, Hoggard and Flintoff provided the dynamite to

blast batsmen out, Ashley Giles, restricted by a sore back, provided

the scalpel.  It was nip and tuck . . . ‘

(Pringle)

‘The way they (England) have surgically removed most of Sri

Lanka’s moving parts . . .  The tourists, who won nine Tests in a

row, are now looking distinctly disembowelled.’

(Hughes)

Is Pringle discussing plastic surgery or explosives?  Is the scalpel a ballistic missile I haven’t heard of yet?  If Hughes is to be believed, what remains of the Sri Lankan cricket team?  Heart, liver and spleen?

According to The Concise Oxford, the heart controls love and courage, the liver is in charge of cowardice and the spleen covers ill-temper and spite.  All you need to be a Casual.

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Correspondence following ‘The Jesters’.

David

Another gem, thank you.

It really is disappointing that we can’t raise 11 every week, although I was partly to blame this time. I was committed to the Jubilee Knees-up months ago and couldn’t change plans. More importantly, I had paid my £7.50 towards the food and ale (a barrel of Church Bitter from the Church Inn brewery at Uppermill).

Any roid up, to the matter in hand: I will refrain fron my customary pedanticism (?) with the regard to the application of the apostrophe (several grave errors) and turn to a more significant booboo.

Cricket grounds do not have side screens and never have had.

Some, however (the better ones), have SIGHT screens, the purpose of which is to enable the batsman to gain SIGHT of the ball as it leaves the bowler’s hand. The fact that the very large majority of the sight screens are too low to make any difference unless the batsman is a Haarlem Globetrotter or the bowler is Charlie Drake (or both), is held to be irrelevant. The main thing is that it gives the batsman the chance to disrupt proceedings, extend his time at the crease and tire out a fielder and, it is hoped, the bowler by insisting that it be moved as often as he has the nerve to ask for it to be.

Rupe

(A pendant is one ‘who overrates or parades book-learning or technical knowledge or insists on strict adherence to fomal rules; one who is obsessed by a theory; doctrinaire’.  So you think you are one of these?  InSIGHTful?)

Enjoyed the report but where were the cowboy allegories beloved of

afficianados of the Stainborough missive?

Bill

(Only one ‘f’ in aficionados Bill.  Strictly speaking they are lovers of bull-fighting.  I’ve noticed how cowboys tend to fight indians or each other rather than bulls.  A missive is a letter from a sovereign to dean and chapter nominating a bishop.  So you want me to write a scandalous parable of bloodsports in S. Yorkshire graveyards indulged in by royalty and senior clerics?)

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