Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Cross border Raiders take the spoils

posted by John Winn

On Sunday, and seeking something close to home, for the second time this season I made the short trip over the River Ure to Alne, this time for a women's match with Ribble Valley Raiders making the journey from Lancashire for a Group 1 match in the ECB Women's Club Cup. The website for the competition did not show a start time so armed with the deck chair and the Sunday paper I arrived well in advance of the start of play. I was impressed to find the Raiders, in coloured clothing, already present and warming up under the supervision of their coach, also dressed in the same fetching shade of pink.

My assumption that all the Raiders were present was corrected when the coach made a phone call which included the advice to look out for a traditional phone box, albeit as this photo shows one slightly on the tilt.

Coming from Lancashire turn right just before the phone box.

The directions proved helpful for shortly afterwards the eleventh Raider arrived and we were underway on time with the visitors batting. Although billed as 'women's cricket' both teams seemed to comprise young players, one couple from Lancashire I spoke to told me that their daughter was only 13. Alne's bowlers had problems finding their range both in terms of height and width, twelve wides conceded and openers Liberty Heap and Alice Clarke put together an opening stand of 113 before Liberty was bowled by Jennifer Quick for 66. The innings closed on 167 and the you never knows from Alne supporters lacked conviction.

During the Raiders' innings I chatted with one of the Alne players' mothers who told me that they have in the region of 80 women and girls registered, great stuff, and as she put it, 'so much better than rounders'.  The Lancashire bowlers were quicker and straighter and although the Alne openers put on 38 it was at a pace never likely to threaten their target. Runs came almost exclusively from shots to leg and only some lusty clouts towards 'cow corner' from Emily Johnson who finished on 32 not out brought the score to respectability and closure at 94 for 5.

'Cow Corner at Alne'

Action in the competition resumes this Sunday when the Ribble Valley Raiders, based in Clitheroe, will be at home to Saxton Ladies. The full draw is available at ecbwclubt20.play-cricket.com.

Hiding its light under a bush,

Nearly to Filey (Part Two)

posted by John Winn

Back to Plan A and back to the A64 this time to the village of Ganton, a few miles west of Staxton. The ground here can be seen from the main road and is a large enclosure with the village hall doubling up as pavilion. A Division 1  local derby on offer here against Sherburn who had brought a number of supporters. Ganton batting and going along well at 100 for 2 as I settled into the deckchair. Progress was halted when both batsmen disputed possession of the same crease and shortly afterwards a left arm spinner who might have seen Derek Underwood as a child sent a fourth Ganton man back to the village hall. Things improved and with Liam Cousins hitting 57 Sherburn were set 179 to win which proved 16 too many. 22 points and bragging rights to Ganton, just 8 for Sherburn.

Heading east again through Sherburn and East Heslerton to West Heslerton  and down Sand Lane to a multi purpose sports ground, shared with football and bowls, and one that has benefited from some of football's riches although not to the extent of two sightscreens. Heslerton II v Ravenscar I in Scarborough League Division 3, Heslerton batting and struggling although while I watched the eighth wicket pair led by Andy Exton managed to almost see out the forty overs. Taking the chance to have a cup of tea I was part of a conversation in which the lady who had laid on the spread bemoaned the shortage of tea ladies and that the players should be grateful that Harry and Meghan had plighted their troths at noon and not later. 125 for 8 did not seem a lot and the website shows Ravenscar got home with all their wickets in hand,  a win that leaves them second in the table behind Cloughton seconds. Heslerton fourth from bottom but well clear of the pink relegation zone.

Heading for Settrington, the last ground of the day, took me through Scagglethorpe and past the Ham and Cheese a busy looking pub not a discarded sandwich and to what I hoped would be a another Division 1 game against Staxton II. Alas a deserted field spelt out my first concession of the year with Staxton the culprits. Their twitter feed reveals that raising a second XI has been a problem for them since the beginning of the season, a problem reflected in their position at the foot of the table. Settrington lie second, just one point behind Great Habton.

And so to home with five new grounds ticked off and ground of the day, not because of its facilities but because I found it, Wold Newton. Lots more grounds still to visit make a return trip a must.

Folkton and Flixton CC

Monday, 21 May 2018

Nearly to Filey (part 1)

posted by John Winn

On Saturday  the counter attractions of the Royal Wedding and the FA Cup Final persuaded me  that the notoriously busy A64 from York to Scarborough would not have too much traffic going to  the coast. A tortuous journey round the York ring road suggested that I might be wrong and that the two thirds of the population who had told YouGove that they were not interested in events in Windsor had decided that the North Bay was the obvious alternative. My concerns proved unnecessary however for once free of the ring road's shackles I had a clear run.

In the past I had visited a small number of grounds in the Scarborough League but in a recent conversation Tony alerted me to the concentration of cricket clubs close to the A64 between Malton and Scarborough. First port of call took me onto the Filey road and the home of Folkton and Flixton CC. The ground is easily accessible from the A1039 and is just a short distance beyond The Fox Hound pub, Flixton where a modest lunch delayed me just enough that I missed the opening over. 'Which team is batting, please?' brought the response 'Flixton' and their opponents were Easingwold in a York League Premier Division game. Flixton made a good start while I watched and Hutchinson and Stocks added 44 for the first wicket before I left. Those who stayed to watch must have enjoyed an eventful afternoon with F and F recovering from 81 for 6 to reach 281 for 7 with Matthew Nesfield hitting an undefeated 112. Easingwold who had a season to forget in Yorkshire Premier North last year fell just fifteen short with a wicket in hand to give them a losing draw. The table shows that they are in third place just a point ahead of Saturday's rivals.

Before leaving the enclosure I turned to the smaller of the two pitches and here it was Scarborough League Division Three with 'Flixton' III batting against Cloughton II. 203 all out was seemingly easily overcome by the vistors' 204 for 3 off 27 overs. After watching a start delayed while some bails were found I turned my back on the distant view of Filey Bay and headed for Staxton a village I have passed through many times on my way to North Marine Road. Precise directions made the ground easy to find and although just a few hundred metres from the A64 it is a most attractive venue.

Premier Division stuff here with Scalby, from just north of Scarborough, batting and my arrival brought a fall of wickets with 17 for 0 becoming 44 for 5 before after a couple of circuits I called time. Things didn't improve much and despite 49 from Adam Waugh Scalby were all out for 120. Staxton's openers Dove and Pinder took them close to victory before being parted and a nine wicket win puts them second to Seamer in the table. Scalby lie fourth from bottom. 

Not for the first time on one my ground hopping jaunts I deviated from Plan A and instead of heading east I took the Driffield road in search of the intriguingly named Wold Newton. Intriguing may be but Wold is most apt for the village is tucked away in typical rolling countryside. The law of lost travellers, namely that the first person you ask for directions will be a stranger, in this case from Eastern Europe, having been confirmed, I turned to the local postman, still delivering at 3:00 on Saturday afternoon, and his 'turn left at the bungalow and go through the farm yard and up the hill' soon had me watching cricket on a ground that I suspect has changed very little over the years. Wold Newton batting against Seamer II and slow going the other spectator informed me. 

While I watched the opening pair were parted by a catch at cover which brought about an excessive celebration. 'Scoreboard pressure' was felt to be the cause amongst sympathetic team mates. Poor shot would have done just as well. Things must have speeded up in this Division Two game for Wold reached 192 for 5 with Charles Gary hitting 61 and Seamer fell 67 short. Bridlington II head this division with Wold Newton fith and Seamer seventh.

Somewhat reluctantly I turned my back on this very rural ground and headed back to the A64.

To be concluded.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Hartlepool host Durham seconds.

Posted by Tony Hutton

Thursday 17th May and although it has been a long time coming delighted to make a return to the pleasant Park Drive ground in Hartlepool where Durham seconds were taking on Worcestershire seconds in a Second XI Trophy one day game. Plenty of Yorkshire connections around with James Middlebrook one of the umpires, Kevin Sharp, now the Worcestershire head coach, George Rhodes son of Yorkshireman Steve Rhodes and Ben Twohig born in Birstall in the Worcester side.
Twohig's dad was keen to inform us of an error in the Second XI annual, to which we had introduced him, in that his son was not born in Dewsbury but in Birstall (very different). No doubt this will be noted in due course by editor Howard Clayton.

The welcoming clubhouse at Hartlepool has been refurbished since our last visit some years ago but the rest of the the ground retains its pleasant appearance with attractive houses and trees around the playing area and the park across the road a suitable venue for a lunchtime stroll around the lake. Nice to see Mike Taylerson, our Hartlepool correspondent, in residence with friends from Darlington, originally from York, who admitted to being regular readers of our blog (the more the merrier).

Durham pile up the runs early on.

Durham won the toss and batted first with in form opener Liam Trevaskis soon going well, again being watched by England Under 19s John Abrahams. Jones went cheaply but Trevaskis and Harte put on 110 for the second wicket in fine style before Trevaskis was out for 71 (seven fours and one six). Harte was looking good until he was bowled by Finch for 74. Wicket keeper Davies, who impressed at Headingley last week, was also back in the runs before being run out for 56 and the icing on the cake came from young hopeful Scott Steel with 47 not out at the end. 284-5 looked a stern target.
View of the Hartlepool pavilion.

Worcester had won all four games in this competition so far and batted full of confidence. However the strong Durham pace attack soon had them in trouble with McCarthy, Main and particularly Gareth Harte, the South African, among the wickets. The top five were back in the pavilion with the total on 74 and it was left to the two youngsters, Dell and Twohig to get them out of trouble. Together they put on 81 for the seventh wicket. Twohig went for a well played 45 and Dell continued to make top score of 60 before Worcester were all out for 203 in the 43rd over of this fifty overs a side contest. Durham winners by 81 runs.

Health and safety is everywhere.

After the late lunch interval word soon passed around the ground that lots of food was left, as usual prepared in abundance by the admirable Mrs Mulholland, previously well known for her catering skills at Darlington. Now that her husband is starring for Hartlepool she has transferred her allegiances. We managed to devour a plateful of left over cakes which were delightful and certainly much appreciated.

Cricket at all levels

Posted by Tony Hutton

After a long day at Derby, made longer by a police 'incident' road closure on our cross country journey through the Derbyshire Dales, it was time for a couple of days close to home. Tuesday15th May was an opportunity to catch up with the all conquering Yorkshire over 60s side who were playing Durham over 60s at the attractive Bradford League ground of East Bierley. Another very hot sunny day with marvellous views looking south over Huddersfield and the Pennines with the Emley Moor TV mast on the far horizon. The ground is situated on the aptly named South View Road.

The sunny scene at East Bierley.

Yorkshire, following a big win last week away to Lincolnshire at Cleethorpes in their first match of the season, were soon down to business as usual. Durham elected to bat first but became bogged down somewhat against some accurate bowling, particularly from the ever reliable Mick Scott, veteran of the Aire Wharfe league for many years. A typical performance with nine overs, five maidens, no wickets for only ten runs more or less settled the match.

Durham looking for runs.

All the other four bowlers supported him well and there were in fact ten maiden overs out of the total of forty five. Only a late flourish from the later batsman took the final score to 147-6, almost respectability but not enough to challenge Yorkshire's batting line up which included two century makers last week in Colin Frank of Pickering and skipper Martin Ivill of Barnsley. Perennial wicket keeper Tommy Hodson got in on the act as usual, the 'crafty cockney' snapping up two stumpings and a catch towards the end of the innings.

Tommy Hodson celebrates two stumpings at the end of the innings.

Durham suffered a little with one batsman retired hurt and another having great difficulty running between wickets due to a pulled muscle apparently. Garry Purcell with 38 and Colin Ede withe 37 were their top scorers.

The 'crafty cockney' just misses out on a run out opportunity.

The Yorkshire reply was very predictable with the long standing opening pair of Martin Ivill and John Flintoff, from Sessay, making short work of the job, knocking off the required total of 149 together in 31 overs. Ivill finished with 72 not out, including eleven fours and the slightly more sedate Flintoff 59 not out, with six fours. All in all a splendid advert for over sixties cricket. The running between wickets and sometimes the fielding may be a little slower than when in their prime but the players still give their all in a very competitive competition.

Wednesday 16th May brought a distinct change in temperature, about ten degrees cooler in fact.
A full programme of BUCS (British Universities) cricket in the North Leeds area but the cold winds made it necessary to find a ground where you could watch in comfort from the car. After an early trip to windswept Weetwood, where Leeds/Bradford's womens team were entertaining (?) Edinburgh women and Leeds University mens 2nds were playing Durham 2nds, we went a short distance down the road to New Rover cricket club.

Here Leeds Beckett University were playing Loughborough University and as the only two spectators to be seen were able to secure an admirable vantage point in our car where we could see both the play and the scoreboard. Problem solved for the moment. The home side batted first but were very soon in desperate trouble as the freezing conditions did not seem to hamper the Loughborough bowlers. By the third over Leeds Beckett were 9-3, with stumps flying out of the ground on two occasions. When the fourth wicket went down at 27 we anticipated another early finish, which seemed to be a trend this week with Yorkshire seconds twice bowling out opponents cheaply in the Second XI trophy.

However, some resistance from the middle order saw a partnership of almost fifty develop, but the tail succumbed to the Loughborough spinners until the number eleven batsman supported the unknown number four who collared the bowling at the end to finish with 73 not out in a total of 135 all out.

At this point (around 1 p.m. we returned to Weetwood to find that the women's game was already over. Edinburgh who had been bowled out for ten a couple of weeks ago at home by Leeds/Bradford, did rather better with 39 all out today. The home side knocking off the runs in 4.4 overs. Was your journey really necessary!

On the main Weetwood ground Leeds University seconds bowled out Durham second for 202, again with a one man band, this time number four scoring 86. Leeds knocked off the runs fairly easily after losing two early wickets with Killoran 70 not our and Tikere 76 not out taking them to an eight wicket victory. By this time we had long gone for the warmth of a shopping trip but had achieved our daily fix despite the Arctic conditions. Last we heard from New Rover was Loughborough 70-2, so assume they won although the rather dilatory BUCS website still does not show the result.

Next thrilling instalment a long awaited return to Hartlepool tomorrow.

Durham denied by the foreign legion.

Posted by Tony Hutton

Monday 14th May and despite further traffic problems on the M1 we arrived at Derby just as play was about to commence for the last day of what had been a very high scoring championship game between Derbyshire and Durham. The visitors huge total on Sunday had given them a first innings lead 93 runs. The prospects of another Durham victory, following their success over Leicestershire last week, looked rather remote at the start of the day but as we know all too well from some of the exciting championship games this season things can change rather rapidly.

Change they did indeed following a stubborn opening partnership between the Leeds/Bradford University pair of Ben Slater and Louis Reece. Mark Wood who has returned early from his stint in the IPL with a view to gaining Test selection for England got one to whip through, perhaps keeping a bit low, and clean bowled Reece for 12. Things seemed to be going along nicely for Derby at 88-1 with Slater and Madsen together, but all changed again rather quickly when Wood had the prolific Madsen caught behind by Poynton and Slater caught by Steel to make it 97-3.

Good advice at Derby (courtesy of health and safety).

Just before lunch the occasional leg spin of Cameron Steel was introduced and he did the trick with the fourth wicket, that of Alex Hughes falling to another Poynton catch. Durham must have been delighted with the first session and another remarkable victory seemed very much on the cards.
Skipper Godleman and Critchley who have both been in good form with the bat this season had other ideas and Critchley in particular  scored quickly at the start of the aftenoon session. After an hour's batting he became another caught Poynton bowled Steel victim for 40, which included six fours.

Markram patrols the boundary in his last appearance for Durham.

Godleman batted more circumspectly for 25 in about the same time as Critchley before he was caught at slip by Collingwood off the bowling of Weighell, who of course was the hero of last week's win over Leicester. The score now was 185-6 and Derby were almost 100 runs ahead, but Wood had been off the field for a while and it was some time before he came back for another spell.

Spectators enjoying the sunshine at Derby.

This was the cue for the entry of the foreign legion in the shape of Derby's three South Africans, Smit, Viljoen and Olivier together with West Indian Ravi Rampaul. They all made significant contributions to the score as the lead slowly increased and the remaining overs began to run out. Wood returned to dismiss all three South Africans eventually but number eleven Rampaul together with the foreign sounding Palladino, who is in fact as English as they come,  put on 37 more runs for the last wicket to take the game out of Durham's reach.

Durham persist with their attacking field.

Durham's own South African, who has had a short chequered career with the county, ended proceedings by bowling a maiden over, but by then the game had died the death and the players shook hands on a draw. Despite missing out on another victory full credit to Durham for fighting back as they did with Mark Wood's 6-46 the highlight of a fascinating final day's play.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Act one is over now costumes change

posted by John Winn

Tomorrow sees me off to the Knavesmire for the York Dante race meeting but following my predictions on the outcome of Monday's championship matches you would be well advised to give 'Honest John's' tips a wide berth if you fancy a flutter on the big race.To recap I suggested the fixture most likely to produce a stalemate was that between Derbyshire and Durham whilst in all the others there was the possibility of an exciting finish. Most of our readers will be aware that I couldn't have been more wrong for only stubborn tail end batting prevented Durham pulling off a second last day surprise following last week's remarkable win over Leicestershire. At The Oval Yorkshire caused the catering staff more problems than they did Surrey's bowlers being all out by 11:45. An innings defeat on arguably the best batting wicket in the country raises yet more questions about Yorkshire's top order and I hope stand in skipper Root privately is more concerned than the platitudes he offered in a post match interview for radio.

With Yorkshire heading back up the A1 Radio Five Extra switched its attention to Taunton where Hampshire, led by James Vince who I was sure had played himself into next week's test side, had Somerset man Anthony Gibson predicting a draw by mid afternoon. A similar pattern unfolded at Lord's where Gloucestershire were indebted to a century by Bristol born James Bracey in their draw with Middlesex.

The championship next reappears on Saturday (sic) June 9th when there will be seven games. Top of the bill is Notts v Somerset, first v second, at Taunton. In the second division Warwickshire will fancy their chances of cementing their position at the head of the table when Glamorgan visit Edgbaston. A fifteen point lead is a handy one at this stage and better tipsters than me will feel fairly confident that they will return to Division 1 in September. Kent are second with three wins but only one batting point. To fill  the twenty six days before the next round of matches counties will play eight 50 over matches in the Royal London Cup which will produce the eight quarter finalists. The competition kicks off tomorrow with games at Edgabston, Old Trafford, Wantage Road, Radlett and Hove.