8.6.2003 Rock

Casuals: 151 for 8

The Rock: 123 for 4

“The Rock” cricket team, as I understand it, was loosely founded in a Brockholes alehouse from which it was subsequently banned for exuberant boozing and carousing. Whilst the team retains the name, its members now take their after match enjoyment tearing the seats out of “The Shoulder of Mutton”, Lockwood. Today the team repaired to “The Oak”, Thongsbridge.

During the opening overs, Marcus skippered mostly from the tea preparation area adjacent to the tavern, where several casuals were light-heartedly viewing and commenting on the game’s early phases. When he did take the field he remained but a moment, to gently dab the track, to take guard, to miss a straight one and to walk away to the sound of his breaking castle, endearingly and succinctly captured by the scorer with a single large round number. It took everyone by surprise, particularly the next man in (me) who had not expected to bat. I was therefore under prepared, a state that many might suggest is indistinguishable from the one they normally experience.

But at least I engaged with the opposition, enough indeed to necessitate the scorer making a fuller and less rounded record than the one preceding mine. Talking of the scorer, I have included as an appendix, the information passed on to me as data helpful to completing this column. As we can see, Rupert opened with Will. Will crashed it around and in no time reached his total. Rupert took a tiny bit longer. He began confidently, poking and prodding outside off stump. Then, when their quicks came off, he lost a little of his rhythm. In fact, the slower they came the harder he made it look. If it hadn’t been for the tavern, some of us would have lost the will to live. Rupert finally went on to make second top score. Prize for top score was a pair of specs and a stopwatch, so prize for second top score was two pairs of etc etc .

In and amongst we were entertained by the Rotheray brothers – interesting trio. Big Steve, little Steve and baby Steve. I called them Richard throughout, but that’s my problem, or one of them. In the changing room, the three Richards and I talked of 170 being a winning score. Had the one with the hump and badly fitting armour got on with it instead of mouthing off, we might have scored more. History shows however, that 151 were sufficient.

When we took the field I recognised the umpire. Bob Heywood played in the school second team with me when I was captain.

‘Fielding has been quite a prominent feature, especially Heywood’s brilliant caught and bowled against King Edward VII School, Sheffield, which will always be remembered.’

Huddersfield New College Magazine – Summer Term 1965

An early example of purple prose from this cricket correspondent, and I think you’ll agree one of promise. From nearly forty years ago when the sun shone every Saturday during May and June. Bob’s feat was truly outstanding and the venue was good too, one of those with a tree at square leg. Unfortunately the school’s reputation has nose-dived of late.

Only the older Rotheray deigned to join us on the fielding side, and we were forced to gratefully accept the services of two tavern stalwarts, Smith and Wilkinson. I was pleased to see Jim Harris’ flare for fielding has not diminished. He is diving full length now and well in advance of the ball. He would however, be well advised to keep his eye on it. That way he might just stop one. His bowling figures were the best of the day and, given the dismissal of their best bat by Bill, the main reason for them never getting in touch with the required rate. Nick and Will both got swing. Sam got rhythm. I’m not certain what Greg has, but it’s neither of those. Walker, the evergreen glove man, was in the catches behind the stumps, grateful just to keep hold, as was everyone else. He also created an incident that led to a timely wicket. A missthrow from Bill found him wanting twenty yards shy. The ball spilled from his gloves and the batsmen began another run on the strength of the missfield. But, quick as a flash he was in his leathers, prepared to throw down the wicket. Thankfully he has little in the way of an arm these days and Ward, taking up position behind the stumps, despite some trepidation, was never in danger. What amounted to a gentle lob followed and Ward broke the wicket successfully. The victim was less than pleased, but hey, shit happens.

We only took four wickets but still ran out comfortable winners.


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