Mid Week League;
Game 8; Ryhill vs Nostell
Captain’s Log; 22nd July, 2008.
The final game of the mid-week season saw Nostell visit their neighbours Ryhill in search of a victory that would at least secure second spot in the league, (joint top if other results went Nostell’s way). Having worked out his game plan some days earlier the “Captain” arrived at Ryhill (having departed from Ryhill!) confident that Nostell would prove a hand full for the home team. The bowling attack looked good, boosted by the addition of ‘friend of the club’ Paul Ellis and the availability of the “Stroke”, who despite being no nearer to a full recovery was so full of pain killers that a look of uncontrolled “permanent suprise” was grafted on his face for the duration of the game.
The wicket was damp, green and looked slow, low totals were par for the course at Ryhill and there was reason for the “Captain” to believe today’s games would prove any different.
However, what was to follow would be a game that twisted and turned like a mid wicket call of “Yes, No” typical of Nostell’s middle order batsmen.
Nostell were first to bat the “Captain” chose to open the innings following his dogmatic performance agains’t Leeds Caribbean the Saturday before, taking “Slick’ with him to balance the the opening pairing. With only 4 runs on the board veteran captain/batsman/bowler/keeper/drinker “Chattie” had the “Captain” caught behind from a ball that “dipped” and “cut away” with venom on the bowler friendly surface, “Blinking Eck” said the “Captain” as wicketkeeper Poucher took a fine nick.
“Nevermind”, said Poucher, “It took a good batsman to get a bat on that one!”
Confirming what the “Captain” already knew was no consolation and to make matters worse the following Nostell batsmen made “falling on your own sword” fashionable. This was not overlooked by the on looking “Kid Sombrero”, who not able to play had come along to support from the boundary.
“I can’t believe it, this is ridiculous, it’s a fix, I’ve never seen some much twisting”, ranted the “Kid”
(Realising Kid’s rant was directed to something other than cricket LaMotta intervened)
“Kid, they’ve served you the half you asked for in a pint glass, reasured LaMotta
Oh,..nevermind that, they still appeal for anything, fu*@ing, cheats stated the unrelenting “Kid”
Next batsman out was “Slick” having second top scored with 9, distracted by the haze created by brilcream residue obscuring his vision at a critical moment.
“The ball came down from above the sight screen” offered “Slick”
“Of course it did Slick, perhaps keep the helmet on next time” said the supportive ”Mad Dog”
Now to the moment when all the Nostell team united to support one of their own, Jason was walking out to the middle following a dip in confidence as a result of a string of low score’s that had culminated in a second ball duck in his previous innings.
Marching out with “Kiwi” pupose and humming the melody to “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” by Charlie Mingus, Jason asked for the umpire for middle stump.
Umpire Crossland confirmed the request as accurate, with all onlookers holding their breathe Jason faced his first ball. Thankfully, it was a lollipop, looped up by the previously dangaeous “Chattie” the ball had 4 written all over it, the onlooking Nostell team where just about to cheer in unison as Jason managed to manifacture an outside edge straight into the glove of the awaiting “Poucher”.. “Howzat” went the cry “Out” said umpire Crossland
Walking off dejectedly and at an all time low, Jason knew he had a chance to fight back with the ball because the ” Captain” had promised!(Ed”s Note;Nevermind Jason it’s Gawthorpe on Saturday that will boost your average)
Had it not been for the efforts of Nostell’s leading mid-week league’s batsman then everything could have turned out much bleaker than it than a rendition of Captain Chaos’s life story. Mal “Village People” Green (sensing a trophy for best mid-week batsman) proceeded to knock the Ryhill attack to all corners of the adjoining estate on his way to a typical quick fire 34. This was not only by far the highest total posted by a Nostell batsman but at least proivided the bowlers with a final total of 74 to try defend.
The “Captain” enthusiastically reminded his team, “Nostell may have been “all out” but they were still “not out” of the game.
Back to the Game
With such a low total to chase Ryhill considered themselves favourate to win the game and knew a steady, measured approach should get them home.However, being in touch of all aspects of the game the “Captain” was aware of the need to “mix it up” and be prepared to pursue the unexpected and to avoid the trap of reciting the mantra according to the “Wisden book of school cricket” much favoured by other lesser, more functional teams, Fairyburn. etc…
With this in mind “Mad Dog” was let loose down hill with instructions to “get um out or knock em out”
With the worrying smile of a man let loose the “Dog” replied “are you sure Captain”
“I’m Flipping Sure”, (Ed’s Note;Insert the Captain’s favoured catch phrase at this point)
In pre-warning “Slick” (the appointed wicket keeper) of his “Shock and Awe” tactic the “Capatain” suggested that “Slick” kept wicket in his helmet if only for his own safety.
“Even when I’m stood back”? said the quizzical looking “Slick”
“Slick”, you’ve paid for it, it looks slightly expensive, so wear it” replied the “Captain”
Walking out to the middle the Ryhill openning batsmen looked confident and self asured.
“Open fire Mad Dog”, came the instruction from the inceasingly intense “Captain”
What was to follow was a blistering example of pace bowling, not seen by a Nostell team since Denby Grange circa 2004, when the “Dog” had last been let off the leash.
The batsmen were scared, brave and unable to hit the ball, Nostell had made the start they needed…. the “Dog” had relearned old tricks.
“Right Arm Kiwi! announced the “Captain”
“Whats he doing?” said the deposed openning bowler, Scotty Bish
He promised, so it happened , on came (“rehab worked for me , then it didn’t”) Jason.
“Find your length Jase, offered Paul “Friend of the Club” Ellis
“Get the line right” shouted the “Stoke”
“How do you spell Garrick” asked the top scorer in Tiwan “Dr Phil Fagg”
Running in uphill Jason decided to “take a yard off the pace”, the ball pictched,….it pitched again!…stopped, and finally started to run back down the hill to the non strikers end.
“It’s backspin” offered the Jason
It’s a dead ball, said the bewildered Umpire Crossland.
Undetered by the uniqueness of his first ball Jason continued with a 2 over spell that explored all aspects of “line and length” to a degree never witnessed in the mid-week league, which if only in terms of morbid curiosity will guarantee further bowling spells, well done Jase!!
If “Dog” was scaring batsmen from one end then Paul “friend of the club” Ellis was getting them out from the other. Running in from the “constanly obscurred by passing footballers end”, Paul called for every sinu of effort to be extracted from his body at the point of releasing the ball , accompanied a facial expession that could hold a weeks rain fall, Paul broke throught the top order batsmen.
In roads were made and the run rate was under control, the “Captain” sensed it was time to introduce the “Stroke” into the attack. While passing the ball over the “Captain” confided “It’s made for you, it’s low,slow and here’s 6 paracetamol”, with a grimmace the “Stroke” managed to gesture a nod in agreement.
If the term masterful has sometimes been used to describe the tacticle astutness of the “Captain” then knowone can remember it!, but on this occasion his “form a circle and fill a gap” approach supported perfectly the strangle hold the “Stroke’s” bowling was applying to the Ryhill run rate.
With better figures than “Torvell and Dean” the “Stroke “ finished with an impressive 4 overs, 2 wickets for 4 runs and in doing so set up a climax far more exciting than any ever experienced in the sub-continent by the onlooking Dr Phil Fagg.
Scott Bish was brought in to inject some “down the hill pace”, it was a gamble, was Scotts radar swithed on?….It was…but it had been left at home!!!…10 runs came off the one over and Ryhill were back in the mix. Fortunately, the “Young” Captain was on form and managed to rein in the run rate with some accurate swing bowling.
With two overs left 15 runs were needed to win and Ryhill Captain Chattie was hitting the ball well, without mercy the “Captain” decided an over from the misfiring Scott could signal defeat, consequently Scott was removed from the attack. The “Young Captain” would need at least 7 runs to play with if he was to bowl the final over ,but who could hold their nerve and bowl the final over from the ”Graveyard” end ?
Looking no further the “Captain” took the ball to make his final contribution to what had been an eventful mid week season. Unfortunately, a ”no ball” and a “4″ ball were not what the Captain had in mind. Faced with 5 more deliveries he knew things had to tighten up, and tighten up they did, two singles were squeezed out by the Ryhill batsmen from the remaining deliveries, one of the deliveries leading to a potential stumping by “Slick” not to be given due to umpire Croossland “not being sure” and giving the batsman the benefit of the doubt.
Seven runs from the ‘Captain’s” over had given the Young Captain seven runs to defend if a win was to be miraculously achived. Raising to the challenge the “Young” Captain bowled brilliantly almost taking a caught and balled in the process. With 2 balls to go Ryhill needed 3 to win, a single was taken leaving 2 needed off the last ball. The field was positioned with all 3 results possible, the “Young” Captain came charging in, the ball was hit in the air firmily to square leg where Lamotta stood determined, (if this man would take a bullet in defense of the Queen then a cricket ball was never going to pass) with an out streched hand Lamotta produced a fine stop restricting Ryhill to a single. A draw!! Nostell had defended a total of 74 the team full of spirit and working as a unit…”well done lads” said the “Captain” “what a finish and a deserved second place in the table”.
With a team ethic fimly in place the team inadvertively split into two different groups and celebrated in two different pubs!! but this was a mistake and one we were all entitled to make having not made many during the game earlier.
As the “Captain’ reflected on his long drive home(?) he knew he would have to write a few lines to post on the clubs web site just as a reminder and a thank you to to those who had taken part in the strange journey provided by the mid-week season….(If he started now he could have them finished by February 2009!)….and perhaps a few credits afterwards?