Sat 27th July 2013
Saxton 172 all out (6)
(Tim Carter 6/24) beat Old Leodiensians 157 all out (1)
to Saxton and a much more pleasant pasture than Crossgates.
But as if struck down with some disease (those teas?),
there were a few absences in this weeks team: Ball, Harry
Fletcher, George Fletcher, Phil, Nick, Walsh. Also with
a depleted seconds there was no back up. With no disrespect
to the lads who came in, effectively Saxton has lost their
top order which was now beginning to come into some form
in the second half of the season, bar the game at Crossgates.
This weeks opposition was much sterner in the form of
high flying Old Leo's, and now comfortable with the news
that the league format would be staying as it is...for
Saxton were put into bat
first, with Potter thrust into the opening slot. Bishop
and him started well, coasting along to 42 off 8 overs,
thanks to some slack bowling of half volley's and full
tosses flying over the marble surfaced outfield. Ground
fielding from the promotion chasers was also slack. Then
the inevitable collapse came. Hills played a loose shot
that the circumstances did not require. Hutton went to
change his bat, but seemingly forgot to bring a new one
out with him and was bowled. Bishop's was an odder one.
Young Sykes, bounding in, bowled 18 balls a foot outside
leg stump, to a 7-2 offside field. They were practically
stood on each other's shoulders, fighting for room in
the covers, but Sykes was bowling that wide it was hard
to get a bat on it. He changed ends and then reaped the
values of bowling on the stumps; when one pitched outside
leg, hit Bishop's pads, a half hearted appeal from the
slips and keeper, the Umpire raised his finger. Sykes
had just got over the embarrasment of his first 3 overs,
before he turned round to see the umpire's decision. Bishop
gone on 49. It is a bowlers game.
The pavilion was treated
to a selection of Bishop's extensive vocabulary, to which
one Old Leo's fan took offence. Bishop amazingly held
his tongue to amicably apologise, known to have a sharper
bite than pirahna with the hump. Then Hewer went thanks
to a good catch in the slips (to which he would return
the gesture, don't worry Dan, im going to give it its
deserved coverage in a couple of paragraphs). However
thanks to Jamie Baxter and the man stuck in time, David
Crampton, adding 50 runs to the score, Saxton mustered
172, after being 100/6. Both very good innings, taking
the game to Old Leo's. Baxter played some glorious drives,
that he's been saving up all season (Urine sample pending)
and Crampton with his time old hitting. It gave Saxton
a whiff of a chance, taking them past the psychological
barrier of 150. It was also a deceptive looking wicket,
looking like a road, but one ball an over was guaranteed
to Mick Jagger off the square with varying bounce and
It was also a welcoming return to a good tea, loaded with
garnishes and those pretentious half a sandwich where
the meat is left exposed. The Hutton family unit put on
Loaded, throwing a tennis
ball to each other, displaying their usual amateurness,
whilst Dan Hewer was dancing to the rain gods. There was
something for the bowlers, but Leo's opening batters cautiously
and sensibly played there way to 66, until Hewer got a
much deserved LBW. This brought Cobbett to the crease.
Not allowing any other person on the field to get a word
in edge ways all day he was quiet at the crease. He loves
playing Saxton, but all Saxton had to do was bowl back
of the length and nothing in his half, and proving so,
he looped one to Jimmy Leonard at mid-wicket. Jimmy Leonard
looking like he had been chasing stationery cars all day
displayed the alertness of an electrocuted Schnauser.
The game was interrupted
by the sound of the Saxton security alarm. Nobody was
able to work out the Da Vinci code to stop it ringing
and MI5's super code cracking computers capitulated at
trying to figure out the security code. If you know the
code then you have access to Chris Dennison's savings
account, and also the code to the under pitch sweatshop
that Dennison runs to create all the Saxton merchandise.
It brought back some painful memories for Bishop, and
some unoriginal banter about his t-shirt.
Sykes came in, proving himself to be a solid all-rounder
at this level, as Old Leo's teetered on the egde. The
ball was still largely in their court at 100/4. But the
bowling from Steve Hills and the deft footwork of deputsing
Keeper Jamie Baxter, managed to hold on to his wicket.
Baxter took the liberty of a few keepy uppies, balancing
the ball on the back of his neck, putting it through his
shirt, pretending he was pregnant with the ball, throwing
it out of his shirt, catching the ball in his mouth, swallowing
it, excreting it, and then catching it before it touched
the floor. Sykes had to go eventually.
This was then followed
by the acrobatics of Dan Hewer. The man who slides around
the turf on a whim, like a kid at a wedding, finally had
justification to throw his body around. The ball looping
over his head, he rose like a Fridge falling off of a
lorry with arms to catch the ball. The shuddering earth
thought it was Hiroshima, but no, it was much more beautiful
than that. That was one of the moments of the season,
and the game teetered towards Saxton.
Could this rag tag bunch
of mis-fits pull it off? Old Leo's wickets continued to
fall. With every player having the ability to hold the
bat, it was left to the skipper and opening bowler, needing
20 off the last wicket. They got to within 14. Potter,
Captain, and with an injured back was obliged to take
the ball as Crampton was bowled out. The first ball was
hit away for a single, and with skipper facing skipper,
it went under his bat and careered into the stumps. Time
stopped, and fell in on itself. Doctor Who and the Tardis
stopped by but nobody noticed it. And in my quest to avoid
every cliche possible this was one of the days that nothing
but a cliche could sum up.
This motley bunch of saturday
cricketers had pulled it off. Chasing 400 at Wetherby,
chasing 115 at Old Leo's, chasing 107 at Thorner, all
catastrophically bad losses, but distant memories after
this. And what? And why? Why do we do this every saturday?
Maybe Freud provides the answer, "One day, in retrospect,
the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful".
It is when somebody finally says., the person who was
watched you, led you, reprimanded you, told you off, but
ultimately always tried to do the best for you says in
the most understated manner they can possibly say it,
"Well done, you deserved that.".
And of course they have to do it again next week, but
one that they can enjoy but hope that this can provide
the impetus for the rest of the season. It was a rare
day in Saxton. All catches were taken, a win, and a hot
shower. Every player can take the happiness in knowing
that whatever amount of runs he scored, or stopped in
the field took Saxton to their win. A game of finite margins.
It was a game played in extremely good spirit as well,
with Old Leo's bringing good competition and healthy banter
and all the best to their promotion chase.
So to the greyhound as the apocalypse began. Bucky prepared
for his wettest night in a decade, unfortunately not the
one he would prefer.