Saxton (5) v South Milford (0)
5th September 2009
Saxton 230 all out, South Milford 134/6 - Saxton won by 96 runs
After the previous week's crucial victory at Oulton, the Saxton Oval was the the location for yet another Cup Final, with a victory giving the home side the opportunity to cement their place in Division 2 for next season if other results went in their favour. On that note.....thank you Kippax.
As such there was an air of nervious tension in the dressing room as 1.30 approached. And more surprisingly for the second week running a full Saxton side on time and ready, with not a whiff of stale alcohol in the air, as the Skipper walked out to the middle to give the opposing captain the choice of what to do first. 5 minutes later and the Saxton openers...the returning Wookie and the once again sober Potter (pictured beneath) set out to the middle to make first use of the drier than expected strip.
Unfortunately, it wasnt to be a repeat of last week's heroics for the 'face of Alpine', who was caught driving after a solid start as the score approached 40. They say that bad luck comes in 3's....well it was the opposite for Gareth, who was dropped 3 times early on in an innings of 30 odd, littered with both mistimed edges and excellent cricket shots. Still a more positive start than usual....70 runs on the board and only 2 wickets down.
It was at this point that Saxton took a control of the game that they were never to relinquish. Much credit for this must go to a superb partnership between Steve H....on that note congratulations to Mr H and Kim on their new arrival at 3.18am the following day...a game of cricket, a half century, a few pints, a Masala, and a baby girl all in the space of just over 24 hours....good work, and the back to form Matt 'Donald' Ball, watched proudly father by Tim until him and Snowy decided to go on a vandalism spree at the top of the ground. Some huge hits, with one particular straight drive from young Ball standing out, and a few lost balls from the bat of Steve, mixed with some fine cricketing strokes summing up the fourth wicket stance. When Matt departed 5 runs short of a well deserved 50, Saxton had already passed the 150 mark. Enter Jamie W....seen next 6 minutes later crying into his Co-op unform back in the dressing room after being the run-out victim of a dubious '3' call.
Steve finally fell to a sharp bit of stumping for a well made 66, with Saxton scoring freely and looking for their highest total of the season. Smokie, The Skipper, Harry F and DC all made starts but were unable to really kick on, with Steve's run of misfortune continuing being caught behind down the leg-side between the wicketkeeper's shins....to a ball that he didnt even hit. Watch those ladders in the pre-season Mr Hills. Still 230 all out (last ball) represented a good team batting effort and a daunting total for the already mathematically relegated South Milford side to attempt to chase down, on without doubt the coldest day of the season so far.
After another tasty effort with the teas, including some rather awesome doughnuts, courtesy of the Skipper and those nice people at Tesco, a positive and perhaps even enthusiastic Saxton side took to the field in search of a priceless victory.
A victory that was going to be hard to come by though on a track which offered the bowlers very little, something that was evident in the first 8 overs as the aggressively minded visiting openers took the score to 30 with not much trouble. Every dog has its day however, and Saturday belonged to Dunc (seen a fortnight ago), returning from a paw injury.
Ably supported by the ever reliable DC, Saxton's favourite canine produced a dog-astating spell of 4 for 36 from 13 overs, despite looking like he needed a respirator after over number 9. The big-hitting Stuart his first victim bowled middle stump, quickly followed by his opening partner Jim, courtesy of an edge behind to Smokie, who despite nearly taking off twice after heavy gusts of wind propelled his ears into wing mode, was soon after was able to complete the formalities once again with Dunc enducing a feint edge with a perfect leg cutter to remove the South Milford dangerman at number 3. 3 overs later and it was 4 wickets thanks to well taken catch by Matt Ball off what can only be described as a rank long hop.
60-4 and already needing 9 an over, it was more or less game over, with the visiting team deciding, perhaps somewhat negatively, to try bat out the overs and prevent Saxton from earning a full compliment of 6 points. Despite 2 further wickets, both falling to Crampo, one well held by Jeff at Mid On, and the other thanks to a rare piece of sharp wicketkeeping...this was something they were able to do, in the main due to a brave innings from the number 6 batsmen. 134-6 at the close, and 5 points to Saxton, in a massively pressurised 'must-win game'. Well done everyone.
And things were only to get better 5 minutes later with a rather calm announcement from the Skipper that we would be playing in Division 2 next year as Kirk Hammerton had been hammered at Kippax. Cue the celebrations and the feeling that the night would be even messier than first planned.
Onto the Thin Dog and the start of what was going to be a heavy night. It was good to see the South Milford boys joining us for a few beers after another game played in good spirits. And it was from here that the carnage started to ensue, in the first instance courtesy of Colin and Judy and their generously priced rocket fuel.
2 hours later and in fantastic spirits, 20 odd members of the Saxton squad descended on the Curry House at Fenton...whose name I cannot remember, to be met by Rory (good match report by the way..anything that involves Wookie abuse must be applauded) and that shirt (modelled below), and several other of the younger lads who'd also all been on a similar mission to destroy their livers during during the previous few hours. Thanks to all the staff their who tolerated the events of the next couple of hours....events that included chanting...with nearly everyone the 'theme' of a song at some point, speeches about Groundsmen, Oringe's impersonation of David Bailey on his mobile phone, Ian C regularly mistaking Smokie for Dog Boy (written apology on its way I hope Mr Cunningham), and Denno (seen below).....a man who by his own admission would combust if temperatures soared above 18 degrees................. agreeing to eat his first Chilli.
All in all...a complete mess...but a hell of alot of fun. For some (the sensible ones) the night ended, and bed or the Maternity Ward loomed as we stumbled out of the establishment sometime just after midnight. For the more wreckless and masochistic Saxton players (Smokie, Potter, Wookie, Hills, Oringe with Steph in tow, Dog Boy with Kate on her way, Browny, Baxter, Matt B, Rory, The Dennisons and no doubt a few more) it didnt end for quite a while, with half heading to Chez Lennox..and the 4 kegs ordered by Potter, with the rest going to a party and possibly another night passed out on a trampoline.
Cans of Fosters and a strange concoction of fake Red Bull and Vodka were consumed until the kegs arrived at around 2am. The rest is somewhat guess work...but highlights included a dancing Wookie (seen below), surely the quote of the year from the same creature on spilling his beer...I'm not cleaning that, i'll just buy you a new carpet', before ordering Denno (soon to take residence on his toilet seat for the best part of 4 hours) to take him home, Smokie making a rather interesting phone call that he found out later thankfully wasnt all fully 'heard', the Skipper ('stand up for the Stevie Hills') drinking for half an hour out of every hour and sleeping the rest, half a bottle of Mrs's Lennox's prized Gin being consumed inside 90 seconds....10 seconds each for 4 of the lads and 25 for a thirsty Oringe, shots of 54% proof Rum that smelt like Methane Gas and tasted like Hydrochloric Acid, Smokie chewing on Baileys last brought out of the cupboard in February 1987, a mystery 34 second appearance from Harey, comments about Shakira and blood, arguments about who was going to warm...no thats erm a blur, more singing and chanting, a punchbag, press-ups, and general debauchery. Just let me know if I've missed anything boys.
3 hours and a bit of sleep later, Smokie woke up on his first night in bed with a 17 year old for many a year, to find a pool of 17 year old's sick next to his head, and Harry F passed out on the floor. Steve H had staggered home sometime between 9 and 10, and 15 minutes later Lennox, Potter, Steph...leaving Oringe stark naked in bed with only an unidentified Bra for company and Harry, wrapped in a blanket looking like he wanted his mum, appeared. After bacon sarnies and coffee (except Potter) it was back on the Beer in eager anticipation of the much vaunted Saxton versus the Greyhound Ashes match.
The next 5 hours remains a bit of a Heineken induced blur, but ended in a Saxton victory, despite many of the players still seeing 3 balls coming out of the bowlers hands. Noticeable moments included a stunning catch on the boundary by Nige, Hillsy managing to persuade Smokie he'd been bowled by one that missed off stump by at least 6 inches, Lennox's attempt at wicketkeeping, Potter going out to bat with just a bat, Steve Harrison showcasing his talents with a 2nd ball duck and 2 overs for 20 odd, and Smokie holding a catch in the outfield despite having a Benson & Hedges in his mouth.
Back to the Hound and more beer. And a BBQ.
A great weekend which highlighted the great spirit and cameraderie amongst the whole squad and supporters. Not to mention alcoholism. Another big weekend in store with a massive game for the seconds who need a return to form to guarantee promotion. And then another session on the booze from around 7.30pm onwards.
Lets make it another weekend to remember. And a little warning for any member of the first team who turns up in 'normal' clothes....forfeits include a £25 fine, a night in the same bed as Harry after he's been drinking for 10 hours, and being locked in the toilet with Denno after he's consumed a Vindaloo. You've been warned.'