Sunday 7th July: The Police at Woodfield Park.

Casuals fielded first.

Police 160 all out off 34 overs.

Casuals 118 all out off 28 overs.

Batting:  Walker – 4; Smith – 7; Taaffe – 5; Crossland – 6; Farrow – 2; Hunter – 4; Wilkinson – 16; Longbottom – 16; Ward – 19; Harris – 11;

Burgess – NO12.

Bowling: Crossland 3-18 (6); Hunter 1-25 (5); Burgess 0-20 (3); Taaffe 1-25 (5); Wilkinson 1-31 (4); Harris 1-17 (3); Smith 2-5 (4) Farrow 1-8 (3).

In 1766, George Cavendish discovered hydrogen, the lightest of the elements and a colourless odourless gas.  Nearly two hundred years later, in 1954, he probably turned in his grave when one of the obscenities of the twentieth century, the hydrogen bomb, became a reality.  From the end of the nineteenth century to the Second World War, the laboratory that bears his name, at Cambridge University was the world’s foremost in nuclear physics.  In 1934, Rutherford conducted the first nuclear fusion here, the process that was ultimately harnessed for the H-bomb.  Many of the scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize for their work, a prize bequeathed by the inventor of dynamite.

So much power, so little regard for the consequences.

Oppenheimer, responsible for The Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, which spawned the A-bomb in 1945, tried unsuccessfully to stop America from making the H-bomb.

“In some sort of crude sense . . the physicists have known sin; and

this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.”

J.R. Oppenheimer  25.11.1947

After the heady fireworks of Wealdstone it was business as usual this Sunday at Woodfield Park and, whilst the Wealdstone embers may still be glowing, the The Casuals’  spark had gone out.  The batting line-up contained a number of regular Saturday and evening players and was arguably the best of the season so far.  Batting second, The Casuals kept up with the required run rate of four an over, but too many wickets were lost too cheaply.  None of the usual suspects, having

got in, moved on to a big score and only 28 of the allotted 40 overs were used.

However, to put it in perspective, The Police only batted for 34 overs, and if Williams, their opener, had only managed 20, they would have just sneaked home with a total of 121.  So one decent innings made the difference, and the pitch was largely responsible.  It was featherbed soft, uneven in pace and bounce.  Rob Hunter pitched one delivery in his half that should have rocketed past the batsmans’ ears.  The batsman must have thought so too as he shaped to hook outside off stump.  But, the bails finished next to the wicket keeper.  It was the effort ball in Rob’s second spell of one over, attempting, successfully as it happens, to remove Nightingale who was playing straight and expensively.  A skiddy bouncing bomb of a ball, borne of the captain’s inspired bowling change.  Noone else thrived either, apart from Williams, who was sound in defence and effective on or just outside leg stump.  The Casuals did not bowl badly, but Williams took full advantage of those one or two balls per over that were off line.

The Police play at Woodfield Park.  It is a huge playing area, and under normal circumstances, those watching from the pavilion struggle to keep in touch with the intimacies of events out in the middle.  Greg took a casual walk around the boundary edge after his short stay at the wicket and didn’t return for hours.  On Sunday, play was even further away from the spectators as the groundsman had used a part of the square close to the riverside boundary.  Horse chestnut trees grow in abundance here, and the one at square leg was hit cleanly by Williams on no less than four occasions, all off Wilkinson – unlucky.

Unsurprisingly, spectators’ attention can easily wander.  This part of The Holme Valley is no more than two miles from the centre of Huddersfield, yet, with a cemetery and Beaumont Park on one side of the valley, and the wooded Primrose Hill on the other, visitors might imagine they are in a more remote rural location.  Sport happens here every week of the year.  The valley bottom has been virtually taken over by three large sports facilities – The Rugby Club with hockey and squash affiliated, The Police ground which also hosts a soccer team, and Armitage Bridge CC.

The only oddity is the use of railway sleepers for fencing, or in Burge’s case, for a toilet.  He apparently lives close by and still contrived to be late.  Play had just begun when a red face appeared between the sleepers and horsechestnuts.  He spoke but nothing comprehensibe was heard.  A kit bag then arched over the fence and the players waited patiently for Burge to follow.  More French or was it double Dutch and the kit bag returned from whence it came.  Its unclear how he achieved it, but two minutes later Burge was seen twenty five yards away, marching towards the dressing room.  The Beaumont Arms had benefited from his Sunday lunchtime custom and the grass at long on and third man will be greener for it.

Burge was also a member of the catching trio which accounted for four of their batsmen, including Williams who skied one to Will at deep long on.  Like an artillery shell, it described a high arc and whistled quietly.  Will needed all his concentration and coordination to take it, but he is young and athletic, well suited to the cut and thrust of limited over cricket and its demands in the field.  His retrieving and returning to the wicket is without peer.  Take for example that simple push to off from Walton in the 32nd over.  Will swept down upon it like a missile with no mercy.  Two hands, bent back, moving to his left.  He collected and threw in with one easy fluid movement and the ball trickled through his legs.  The batsmen ran an easy single.  It’s a thing of beauty.

Burge’s catch was an instinctive and languid affair by comparison.  As their helmeted number nine walked to the wicket, skip signalled The Casuals’ spin attack to loosen up – a generous gesture as the ensuing partnership yielded 27 runs.  Greg’s slow flighted concentration on off stump, or mostly just outside was the lad’s eventual undoing.  The loopy top edge to backward of point had still to be caught however.  Cometh the hour and Burge took a step to his left, raised his left arm, and, slightly off balance, extended the fingers of his left hand.  Two minor miracles then occurred.  At the precise time the ball’s flight path and Burge’s hand inexplicably occupied the same spacial coordinates, he flexed his fingers, and The Police’s youth policy was back in the pavilion.  Burge’s red face did not move for a second or so.  He was in denial.  He then turned slightly and saw his left hand, as if for the first time.  Eyebrows raised, forehead puckered, just for an instant he was in shock.  Then it was all modest smiles.  He could do this in his sleep.  As adjustment to the moment set in, there remained an aura of mild disbelief, which persists even to this day.

Burge’s man of the match performance did not end there.  The last two in, he and Jim Harris produced the second highest partnership of the innings.  They put on 26 unhurried and stylish runs – a revelation, especially as noone could remember whether Burge had ever scored for The Casuals before.  Jim was suffering, difficult to say from what, but his autumn gold rinse looked distinctly wintery.

Then there was Edward Crossland, corinthian despite his several beaded necklaces.  It would never have done in Peter’s or Colin’s or Don’s day.  Hey, but what the heck, cannabis is nearly legal today.  Anyway Viv used to sport a chunky gold chain and he and Ian were not averse to the odd spliff or two, allegedly.  To the onlooker, everything else about Edward was correct.  He has a classic address at the wicket:  upright, unflinching and motionless – almost an excerpt from “The Aftermyth of War.”

‘The chips are down, backs to the wall.  Give me your worst, constable, I can take it.  We need a futile knock at this stage of the innings.’

He was lively and effective in the field and bowled off twenty five yards or so, generating enough accurate pace to get the batsmen hopping around.  An all round Oxbridge young man with a posh accent to match and only in his early twenties.  And, Edward is a researcher in explosives at The Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University.

The Casuals could have scored a megaton.  ‘If onlys’ abound.  But if none of your strike batsmen come off, it will end up as a damp squib.  If only they’d listened to Oppenheimer.



There are many other ways of connecting nuclear physics with cricket, but none so personal.  Edward is Bill Crossland’s lad, and a grand one at that.  Bill’s OK but he does need to attend a seminar on the LBW law.

“The Aftermyth of War” was a sketch in “Beyond the Fringe’, a Cambridge  University revew that became a West End and Broadway hit.



I thought a pendant was something which one dangled from odd parts of the body – frequently spotted in the Casuals changing room. The graveyards of

South Yorkshire have their own story to tell without any input from the

clerics – ask Sam Gledsteir about frolics in Barnsley after closing time.

Bill C.

(Stier, Steer, Steir whatever  – lets ask him.  

Hoisted by my own pendant I think)


Attached might be of interest to you.

Special attention is to be paid to the last-mentioned site ! !


(thanks Rupe,  An easy-to-use, although rather basic, reference guide that also gives free advice online and set exercises and tests.

I’m speechless and grammarless)



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