By Steve Bindman
The domestic playing calendar started on Sunday ,January 10, with the traditional match up in the Dales with this year Appletreewick the home side against Malhamdale. This match (known as the winter tour ) has been going every year since 1984 when Malhamdale were invited by Ap'trick skipper Matt Mason to raise a side and Michael Briggs accepted the challenge and the first match took place.Since then the venue has alternated between these picturesque and in mid-winter quite wild locations .Appletreewick - in the foothills of the village and surrounded on all sides by mountains some of which had a thin snow coverings-is the more picturesque of the two venues.
Even though the match didn't last long , the weather kept changing - but there was quite a bit of sunshine and the rain -by and large - held off.
A Leeds contingent of cricket-watchers has regularly supported the fixture and of the original crew only Brian Senior-courageously risking going despite bad health at the time - was there to represent the city. I was privileged to play for the second year running for Malham as a guest player and to bowl the first over. There was actually more than 22 players and in the end what was normally a ten over match became 12 overs per side .Runs were hard to come by on a surface of total mud interspersed by complete squelch but a late rally by Ian Walker 9, and Paul Langdale 8* ( himself a Leeds man who used to play for Old Leodensians ) and then Tom Walker 9* took Ap'trick to score of 53 for 6 which must have been beyond their wildest dreams . No bowler was allowed more than one over but Bev Bolland managed 2 wickets.
It was Bev with 11 who made the largest and significant attempt in the run chase but after 8 of the twelve overs the score had not advanced beyond 20 and Malham wickets were falling regularly. I was pleased to be accredited with 6 runs and a red-inker ( not out, that is ) and the appearance on the scorecard of being the second top scorer for Malham but this was because byes were in turn ran runs from balls that should have been called wides. Malham score reached 30 and I was thus with the losers for the second year running. Paul Langdale and young Callum Mc Pherson both took 2 for 1 and Laura Langdale took 1 for 2.
Man of the match went to Ap'trick Mark Throup for reasons which was though they were explained several times I have yet to fully grasp. He scored 4 and played one genuinely good shot and one piece of good fielding-was that it ?! Few players wore whites or anything resembling sporting attire. There were frequent interruptions from other activities on the field of play which were definitely " not cricket ".Chaos pevailed over order. And yet somewhere underneath all that ,a somehow serious game of cricket was going on.
The folk who subscribe to this total madness are the most heartwarming ,kind and generous a bunch of lunatics as one could ever wish to meet and I certainly hope to back next year.
Typing with one figure by Brian Sanderson.