Monday, 13 August 2018

New Readers Start Here

posted by John Winn

Leicestershire v Somerset
Leicestershire vWarwickshire
Gloucestershire v Somerset
Gloucestershirev Warwickshire

In 1990 or thereabouts Cricketer Magazine carried a piece about a man who had seen every county play every other county, home and away in the county championship. Being by nature a ticker of lists this aroused my interest and I decided that to attempt a watered down version of this feat. No sooner had I got started than things got a little more difficult when Durham were admitted to the competition in 1992 and further complications arose with the advent of two divisions in the early years of this century. The task I set myself was to see each county play every county at least once and as at that time I could only claim about 15 scalps and the target was 153 matches there was a long way to go. 

I have made reference to my pursuit of the '153 club' in the blog on several occasions but not recently, for it has been three years since I saw Derbyshire v Lancashire, leaving me just the four games in the table at the top of the page outstanding and after two blank seasons Warwickshire's relegation has presented me with the opportunity to reduce my target to just two. This Sunday Warwickshire will play Gloucestershire at Edgbaston and all being well I will be there. Annoyingly it is the only occasion on which these two will meet this season and a further irritation is the clash with Scarborough but the weather forecast suggests there will be play and under Winn's law one ball is enough to justify another tick in the book. Keep your eye on twitter at 11:01 on Sunday morning.

Leicestershire and Warwickshire will also meet this season, again just once, at Grace Road on Monday September 10th, this time clashing with the roses match and Durham v Sussex but with Warwickshire seeming very likely to return to Division 1 for 2019 Bears v Foxes takes top priority. So fingers crossed games 150 and 151 in the canon should be in the bag next month. What are the prospects for the other two becoming available? There was a time towards the end of last season when Somerset flirted dangerously with relegation which would have set up all four for this season and arguably they were only saved by men in suits following the arrow incident at The Oval but the west country men are currently second in the table and it would need a disastrous change of fortunes to make them relegation fodder. 

My best hope and it is  a slender one lies with Leicestershire who lie fourth in Division Two, ten points behind second place Sussex and as they have the Hove men and third place Kent to play to some extent the issue is in the own hands. Champagne celebrations at Grace Road? Don't hold your breath. 

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Yorkshire Academy on top at Driffield.

Posted by Tony Hutton

Saturday 11th August - always a pleasure to visit Driffield cricket club in East Yorkshire, travelling over a splendid new bit of road over Garrowby Hill and traversing the Yorkshire Wolds, one of the hidden gems of Yorkshire. The Kings Mill Road ground covers a large area and is in fact large enough to have two cricket grounds, the first team entertaining the Yorkshire Academy on the main ground and Driffield Third Eleven hosting Welton 1st XI on the number two ground.

The Driffield pavilion.

Driffield are struggling somewhat this season having lost a few regular players at the start of the season, notably the two Kohler-Cadmore brothers and Sam Drury, who now captains Scarborough.
However, they have welcomed back young Alex Drury after a spell with today's opponents the Yorkshire Academy. They suffered a bad defeat at Scarborough last week and were missing another couple of regulars today.

Early discussions among the handful of travelling Academy supporters centred around the decision to disqualify the county side from the Rudgate cup final after their semi-final victory over Barnsley, described by John Winn last week. The problem seems to be that by playing Harry Brook in the semi-final they fielded an ineligible player, in that he had only played five league games this season instead of the statutory six, apparently a rule change made half way through the season.

This ruling apparently has other ramifications regarding Woodhouse Grange due to play Aston Hall in the other semi-final. They are having difficulty raising a side for this fixture and planned to field several regular second eleven players who have also not played the minimum number of games and would be declared ineligible as well. This seems another case of cricket shooting itself in the foot, surely any bona-fide member of the club should be eligible to play at all times as opposed to someone brought in from elsewhere at the last minute. We await further developments.

The Academy piling up the runs at Driffield.

Today's game proved to be rather a one sided affair with a fine batting display from the visitors built largely around a second wicket partnership of 146 between skipper Ben Birkhead and George Hill. Driffield were handicapped by the early loss, due to injury, of opening bowler Ollie Ezard and their attack was largely dominated by spin, with Nick Hardgrave and Kavindu Kulasekara both proving rather expensive.

George Hill finally dismissed for 107.

Birkhead unluckily missed out on a century when Hargrave had him lbw for 96, but Hill completed his century, the third we have seen him make this season, all for different sides - Sedbergh School, Yorkshire under 17s and now the Academy. Kulasekara picked up two wickets near the end when hitters Barnes and Taylor were promoted in the order. Tom Loten, who has been consistent all season, lost the strike towards the end and was left stranded on 49 not out. The Academy total by this time had reached 293-5.

End of the innings. Bilal Anjum and Tom Loten the not out batsmen.

Driffield's reply was led by the diminutive Alec Drury and with help from Kulasekara he took the score to 81 before the second wicket fell. After that it became a bit of a procession until wicket keeper Mark Goddard stuck around near the end with a useful 28. Soon after he was out Drury completed his century, which included eleven fours, and with the help of the injured Ollie Ezard coming in at number eleven, managed to hold out until the end with Driffield on 221-9.

Action from the neighbouring third eleven ground.

This meant the Academy only collected eight points for an incomplete win and Driffield managed two points for achieving a score in excess of 70 per cent of their opponents' innings. Joshua Sullivan again impressed with 3-58, despite lacking the support of his young brother who has been away at the Bunbury Festival this week. There was a certain sameness about the five man Academy seam attack. They all try hard but nobody stands out as a prospect for the future. Time may prove me wrong, but Yorkshire need another bowler like Ben Coad to make a breakthrough soon.

Between Wakefield and Doncaster

posted by John Winn

A trip to grounds in the Pontefract League has become something of an annual fixture in my cricket watching calendar and with the end of the league cricket season not too far away and with bigger fish to fry next weekend yesterday saw me heading down the A1 in search of new grounds. First stop was scheduled to be a Division 1 game between Brodsworth Main CC and Hooton Pagnell but relying on the advice of a man whose parting words to me were 'I'm not from round here' I ended up at the wrong ground in the wrong league and was misinformed as to the name of the opposition. Things could only get better, and they did, but first up I saw a few overs of a game in the South Yorkshire League Division Four  between Adwick le Street I and Conisbrough II, not Penistone as I was informed by an Adwick supporter. Conisbrough were batting and according to a couple of their players second was the best they could hope for and so it proved for their 143 for 7 off their 46 (sic) overs caused Adwick little trouble and a nine wicket win ensued. Adwick are by no means high fliers in this league but find themselves this morning well clear of the relegation zone while for Conisbrough Division Five looms.

Having taken fresh counsel within five minutes I was watching Brodsworth batting who were  finding the going tough against Hooton Pagnell aka The Black Rams. Fine leg filled me in on the few overs I had missed and he turned out to be on loan from Fenwick CC, a team I had planned to see later in the day. Would his temporary status mean the ignominy of fine leg at both ends? Not so for when bowling switched to the other end he rose to the dizzy heights of backward square leg.

Thanks to 52 not out from John O'Neill, Brodsworth reached respectability at 162 for 8 but Hooton got home with almost five overs in hand and with only five wickets down. 

Two miles away and a Division Four game between South Kirkby II and Fenwick and runs coming much more quickly. The visitors were batting and on a hot afternoon Kirkby's fielding grew increasingly ragged with a catch dropped and the captain's ire rising as the ground fielding became sloppy. 55 were scored off 7 overs while I watched with runs for numbers three, four and five and a final total of 210 for 7. Kirby tried nine bowlers, one of whom, Scott Smith bowled just one ball and conceded seven runs. Led by opener Matt Tarbuck who hit 64 the home team made a decent start but with seven batsmen getting only single figures subsided to 172 all out. This morning's table shows Fenwick third but Kirkby just one place above the pink ink. 

Still in postcode WF9 my next stop was at Frickley Colliery CC and a top of the table clash with Horbury Bridge in attendance. The visitors were batting and effecting a recovery through a sixth wicket stand which was broken by a good catch from first slip who had to turn and run before taking the ball over his shoulder. 144 for 6 became 189 all out but Frickley II could only manage 142, a result that widens the gap between the two teams to 47 points.

My afternoon was completed with a trip to Hemsworth Miners' Welfare CC. whose ground is in Fitzwilliam, the birthplace of you probably know who, and ground of the day to my mind. This gave me the opportunity to see Frickley I in action and their innings was drawing to a close as I arrived. Much of their total of 137 had come from the top order and numbers six to eleven made only 11 between them. Fortunately our old friend wides chipped in with 20 and the mood amongst  the decent sized home crowd was one of confidence that this was gettable. 

After an excellent cup of tea I watched the start of Hemsworth's reply but they were soon in trouble against the quick, straight and full length bowling of Jason Mills who took 4 for 37 while 'Unsure' captured 3 for 6. Top scorer Phil Crapper was the only one to make double figures and Hemsworth were all out for 70 on a square that is to be relayed over the winter. Amen to that say the Hemsworth batters. You need to look to the bottom half of the Division 1 table to find these two teams and Hemsworth might be a little anxious about their proximity to the relegation zone. A 12 point advantage over West Bretton is not a lot when there are 16 points for a win. 

Players from the past - number 2 - Roly Jenkins

Posted by Tony Hutton

A discussion on Test Match Special yesterday regarding England's latest Test player Oliver Pope, went on to remember other players with the same Christian name. One that came up was Roland Oliver Jenkins, known to everyone simply as 'Roly'. He was a leg spinner who played for Worcestershire and England with great distinction and was a good enough batsman to have completed the double of one thousand runs and one hundred wickets in a season.

I remember him so well from my schooldays in the early 1950s when I watched him play for Worcestershire at Worcester and Dudley. Always outwardly cheerful, he bowled with his cap on often in partnership with slow left armer Dick Howarth, who did likewise. He appeared to walk with a nautical, rolling gait and was always good for a laugh. In a team of memorable characters including stalwart opening bowler Reg Perks, wicketkeeper Hugo Yarnold and a young batsman called Don Kenyon, Jenkins was always the life and soul of the party.

Chris Oldnall, former cricket correspondent of the Worcester News recalls Jenkins' first ever wicket in county cricket which came against the very strong Yorkshire side of 1938 at Bradford Park Avenue. The 19 year old had the temerity to clean bowl none other than Yorkshire and England batsman Maurice Leyland. To his credit Leyland strolled down the wicket to say ' Very well bowled, sonny'. The first bit would be appreciated, but not sure about the final comment.

His sense of humour apparently did not go down well with the powers that be and he was only selected to play in nine Test matches when many people thought he should have been a regular. Never one to appreciate the amateurs who dominated the game he wrote a piece on spin bowling for the Cricketer and R.W.V. Robins of Middlesex said to him 'That was a very good article, Jenkins. Who wrote it for you?'. To which he immediately replied 'I wrote it myself, sir. Who read it for you?'.

Stephen Chalke recalls a remark he made once in Glasgow when he beat the Rev. Jim Aitchison, a very useful basman, repeatedly before coming down to the wicket to come out with the following -
'They say your a vicar. With your luck you'll be Archbishop of Canterbury. Other sources suggest a similar remark was once made to the Rev. David Sheppard of Sussex.

After touring South Africa in 1948-49. without much success in the Tests but plenty of wickets in other matches, he probably had his best season in 1949 when he took most wickets and also completed over a thousand runs to become one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year. He continued to play the odd game for England in 1950 and 1952, but his later cricketing years were spent as a valuable senior professional and occasional captain of his beloved Worcestershire.

After problems with injuries his form deserted him in 1957 and his contract was terminated
during 1958. However his cricketing days were far from over as he joined West Bromwich Dartmouth as professional in the Birmingham League and continued to play for them for a full fifteen seasons. A remarkable record for this splendid cricket enthusiast. He would still watch Worcestershire, walking round the ground, smoking his pipe, and always willing to talk to anyone about cricket.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Trying to keep up with cup competitions

Posted by Tony Hutton

Trying to keep up with all the national age group competitions, and the local league cups as well, is proving a daunting task, but here goes with a summary of where we are in many of them.

The county over fifties competition has reached the quarter-final stage and Yorkshire entertain Cornwall at Malton cricket club at 13.00 on Sunday 12th August. This should lead on to a semi-final on 26th August and a final on 9th September. The Yorkshire over 50s are unbeaten so far this season and are  well worth watching.

The Yorkshire over sixties are having a good season too. They travel to Lancashire on Tuesday next 14th August for their quarter-final at Heywood cricket club with a 12.30 start. If successful they will play their semi-final on Tuesday 28th August with a final on Tuesday 4th September at Aston Rowant CC in Oxfordshire.
Yorkshire over sixties in action.

Yorkshire under 17s have now reached the semi-final of their three day county competition and face Nottinghamshire away at Caythorpe C.C. starting on Tuesday 14th August, 11 a.m. The under 17 final against Somerset or Surrey, at a venue to be decided, will be played over three days commencing 28th August.

Two centuries for Yorkshire under 17s at Darlington recently.

Turning to Yorkshire under 15s they too have reached the quarter final stage and will entertain Shropshire at North Marine Road, Scarborough this coming Wednesday, 15th August in a one day 50 over game. If successful Yorkshire could well meet Lancashire again in a semi-final on 22nd August with a final the following day, both at a venue to be decided. (It was Kibworth, Leicestershire last season).

At club level the situation is perhaps a little more confusing with an apparent media black out as to when Richmondshire and Ormskirk will do battle in the quarter final of the National club knockout.
The original date was postponed due to Ormskirk's involvement in the National club T20 knockout and they will play at Nantwich in the T20 quarter final this Sunday. The north eastern area winners Hanging Heaton are away at Bracebridge Heath, Lincoln on the same day. The semi-finals and final of the national T20 will be played at Derby on Sunday 16th September.

Cricket at Derby.

Returning to the National club knockout, two of the semi-finalists are known, Stanmore (Middlesex) and Northern (Lancashire), but the two other quarter finals (including Richmondshire v Ormskirk) are still to be played. The semi-finals are due to be played on 2nd September and the final of this competition will not be played until Wednesday 26th September at Bristol, when surprisingly county cricket will still be going on!

The one competition where the two finalists are already known is the Village knock out where Folkton and Flixton of Yorkshire will take on Liphook and Risley from Hampshire at Lord's on Sunday 16th September.

This is probably enough to take in for now, although of course there are many other competitions going on at local Yorkshire level which may also take some unravelling. Something for next time perhaps.

Monday, 6 August 2018

A good weekend for Harry

posted by John Winn

On Friday night at Headingley Harry Brook spent time at the crease with Kane Williamson at the other end  in front of a crowd close to 10000, coming in with the game against Derbyshire almost in the bag he hit 7 not out from four balls. A steady enough start to the weekend for this most promising young cricketer, well established in all forms of the game for Yorkshire but still available for the Academy and it is for this team I have seen him play two splendid innings over the weekend.

 On Saturday I dropped in at Clifton Alliance where the Academy were the visitors. Alliance have not found life easy in the Premier (North) and with Acomb seemingly doomed are one of four other clubs who are not far above the pink zone.

YCC were batting as I pitched my deck chair in the shade of this tree with Brook partnered by Tom Loten who had made a hundred for the second XI  earlier in the week and the score was 138 for 3 before Loten was bowled by Hope-Shackley. Brook continued to boss the show but when on ninety and with three figures there for the taking he indulged in some frippery which saw his stumps disturbed and he returned to the pavilion for 90. Enter Benjamin Birkhead and his 46 was largely responsible for the Academy reaching 262 for 9, a total which proved too much for Clifton who despite 82 from Scott Hopkinson fell 68 short, a result which leaves them just six points above Sessay. Next week's fixtures offer no comfort when York will cross the rugby pitch that separates the two clubs. 

Yesterday, frustrated by the postponement of the Richmondshire Ormskirk match, I travelled to Weetwood for another game involving Yorkshire Premier sides, this time north v south with the Academy hosting Barnsley Woolley Miners, henceforth known as Barnsley, in a semi final of the Rudgate Cup. A lovely afternoon of course and with Tony and Jennifer I sought shelter at the southern end. The game presented an opportunity to compare standards between north and south with the Academy in mid table and Barnsley a somewhat distant second to Wakefield Thornes in the south. Barnsley took first knock and the dismissal of Jonathon Trower brought the prolific scorer and IPL participant Harpreet Singh to the wicket. Wickets fell at regular intervals however and it was not until Harpreet was joined by Jahangir that Barnsley made significant progress. Main man for the academy was Matthew Taylor who took 4 for 20 including Harpreet for 81. Jahangir got 38 but there was not much else except wides and the innings closed on 192 all out.

Would just  short of 200 be enough? This question could be answered with a resounding no within about three overs as Brook and Birkhead got stuck into the Barnsley attack. Harpreet replaced Daniel Waldron after just one over but the former under 19 player went for 40 off his two overs before being asked to take a rest. Brook went for a rapid 52 at which point Birkhead took up the onslaught and YCC were only 9 short when he fell to Ali Jahangir for 88. Start the car was reached at twenty past five with 14 overs to spare and victory for the academy by seven wickets. Oliver Jackson the only Barnsley bowler who will not be averse to being reminded of his figures, 2 for 19 off 8 overs. The other semi is scheduled to be played next Sunday at Woodhouse Grange when Aston Hall travel to East Yorkshire. 

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Stunning scenery with a little cricket thrown in.

Posted by Tony Hutton

The Eskdale cricket league in a small area near Whitby on the North Yorkshire coast has always been one of my favourites. It is a valley very much of ups and downs, often with extreme weather and like many others prone to to the problems of small villages trying to preserve their cricket clubs and actually find eleven men to put into the field.

Saturday 4th August was a rare opportunity to visit yet again in an effort to see cricket on some of the grounds not yet visited. The league's fixtures are hard to come by, but this season I was fortunate to contact the secretary of the only club in the league with a website, Hinderwell, and he kindly sent me the full fixtures. Earlier visits had found matches called off at short notice and I was a little apprehensive with some football starting today whether this might happen again.

Sure enough our first call at Sleights in the valley bottom found nobody around and the pavilion boarded up. However we were rewarded by the sight of a steam train on the nearby North Yorkshire Moors railway just pulling slowly out of Sleights station. It was packed to the gunnels with tourists.
We had already seen a glider being towed in the air at Sutton Bank, a splendid viewpoint on our journey and other attractions also made up for the lack of cricket.

Moorland scenery at Danby.

Our next call at Danby proved more fruitful with a game in progress and visitors Goathland in some trouble at 24-3. Despite a couple of fours soon after our arrival another four wickets fell very rapidly and it soon became apparent that the game would not last too long. Opportunity for a few nice pictures however and almost a hat trick with two more wickets in two balls.

Looking towards Danby village.

When the very young schoolboy at number eleven went to the wicket the end seemed nigh, but he managed to survive while his partner hit a few more boundaries to take the all out score to 52. Danby are top of the league and you could see why, although  Goathland were obviously fielding a weakened team.

The young number eleven awaits his turn.

Moving on to an old favourite at Castleton there seemed to be a better game going on against Grosmont, who managed to bowl the home side out for 136 and looked pretty confident when they set off in pursuit of the target. A welcome call at the neighbouring Eskdale Inn saw us well refreshed as we journeyed on towards Westerdale, now in a different league having moved up to the Langbaurgh League.

Two views of the Castleton ground.

Here again we were thwarted by a road closed sign and had to give that one a miss as we diverted back to the moorland road going west across the lonely moors populated only by a lot of sheep.
Our final call after a very scenic journey was at another new ground to us at Broughton, not far from Stokesley, also members of the Langbaurgh League.

Two views of Broughton and Kirby cricket club.

Here the game was moving towards a conclusion with magnificent views of the Cleveland Hills. Visitors Moorsholm making short work of a target of 138, with several overs to spare and losing only one wicket in the process. One straight drive for six smashed the pavilion window and involved a lot of clearing up, as the evening sun lit up the neighbouring hills. A wonderful end to a rather special journey, where for once the scenery proved more than a match for the cricket.