ACCC v. The Retreat    Tadcaster         22nd May 2005

ACCC 228 for 5 (35 overs) P Brown 105 not out     

The Retreat 229 for 2 G McFaul 128 not out, Crossland 5 – 3 – 10 – 1

Conditions in the Holme Valley did not bode well for cricket on Sunday – persistent heavy persistence coupled with a house warming party which threatened to take Cleave and Rotheray out of the equation. Tadcaster, however, is in another world, where most of the water comes up boreholes into the Smith’s (Samuel and John) breweries, and a remarkably dry track which produced hatfuls of runs. The groundsman and opening batsman, a close relative of Boyc’s despite the disparity in names, was so well versed in local whether lore that he brought the players off for a predicted shower break five minutes before it hit, allowing the wicket to be covered and the game to continue with a minimum of disruption.

To compensate for last weeks under delivery of players, debutante skipper Brown had the luxury of 12 players to field on the day – since the Chairman was one of these the selection meeting was mercifully short (he has such authority as an umpire….). The brothers Brown had been arguing with a sheep shearing machine, and sported fine hairstyles reminiscent of the Beal/Crossland School, but with a hint of undergrowth which would one day cover their shining pates once again. 

Batting first, a brisk start was in prospect with Matt facing and Stewart at the other end. Brisk it was, quick runs, powerful blows and a finely judged four of the first ball the latter received, squeezed between first and second slips (who weren’t actually there) of the bottom edge. Enthusiasm got the better of Matt, clean bowled going for the big one, allowing the senior Brown to take up the cudgel. Larner, by now on his third wind, narrowly failed to take a short single and was stretchered of to the oxygen tent. Noz continued his recent run  fiesta, with the usual selection of good shots and those which look less good but still go for 4. The short, no backlift spoon through the square leg boundary was particularly effective, though the purists in the pavilion preferred the more conventional parts of the repertoire. Able support from Father Cooper, Dunc and Joe Cooper allowed Noz to reach the deserved century, after two close attempts in previous weeks, giving him an average of 293 – the season is yet young…. Dave Beal’s inning, brief and interesting, was undone by the slowest bowler in Tadcaster, allowing DB to complete a pirouette, miss the ball twice and be clean bowled. Such is life, but 228 from 35 overs gave the bowlers hope.

An early breakthrough for the ever economical (well, this season anyway) Crossland had Boyc’s LBW – particularly appreciated by the bowler, who has expended much fruitless energy in the past running up only to be thwarted by Mr Laver. At the other end, Brown minor was attempting to reach his brothers score with the ball – the harder he tried, the faster it flew to the shorter boundaries. The advent of Graham McFall, at 3, turned the game rapidly in the direction of the Retreat, physically and metaphorically. Surviving some relatively easy chances, he rode his luck to make a fine 128 not out, accompanied by another young stallion we hadn’t seen before with a fine 248 not out. Little the bowlers did could contain these two, and although the game lasted into the 34th over, the batsmen were always well up with the rate. Unfortunately the bar at the ground wasn’t open and repair to the Angle and White Horse, right next to Sam’s brewery, was the only option. The beer there is priced at levels which the Chairman recalled from his youth, when groats were common currency. Even Rupert would have offered a round, had he been there…..