The Hand

 
September 2005: Good Things Do Happen
 
Casuals 152 for4

Jacob’s Well 151 all out

The Casuals’ archive does  have an account of the Jacob’s Well game, but strangely it omits a report of an improbable catch.

‘Fielding at long off and long on can be a lonely business. Most of the time, nothing much happens and then suddenly something serious comes along. Jacob’s Well had kept a big hitter in reserve, down the order. He proceeded to clout The Casuals’ bowling and looked like he would win the game for them. Then he hugely skied one toward long off where Dave Walker was fielding and the action seemed to slow down. Up and up it went and everyone, including Dave, began to realise it wasn’t going to clear the boundary. Will Ward recalled thinking “He’ll never take that, not after The Jesters”. Silent and  open-mouthed, aware of Dave’s frailties, others waited for the scorer to record a four. Mercifully the ball had gone too high for the infamous Thongsbridge industrial backdrop to be in play. It was a black orb against a clear sky. Dave walked in, too far, stepped back, too far. “Is he doing a bloody waltz?” Bill Crossland remembered asking himself. Dave said later he was simply getting a sight on it. But the ball was still in the air and dropping steeply. Dave then raised his right arm, pointed at it, straightened his neck and closed his left eye. On a moorland estate he would have been drawing a bead on a grouse. The action returned to normal speed as the ball plummeted and stuck in Dave’s right palm. He fell over. A short stunned totally silent second, and the Casuals ran as a man to long off. “Never in doubt,” said Greg. Handshakes, back slaps, smiles, jokes as the astonished batter walked back to the pavilion. The catch was a game breaker and Jacob’s Well never recovered.’

I note from the score they were only one short, so not quite a game breaker. Funny, no one ever remembers who the bowler was. The Jacob’s Well is a public house along the Woodhead Road in Honley, the village next to Thongsbridge. Their cricket team is made up of local drinkers and plays in the evening leagues. I knew a few from my time with Honley Juniors soccer and I was quietly pleased with the result.

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