Like Tony I was in at the start of the new season in Yorkshire Premier North on Saturday but my watching began a few miles down the A19 at Clifton Park in York where the other promoted team, Clifton Alliance, welcomed Scarborough to their lovely ground. Scarborough, once the big boys of the league, finished just one place off relegation last year and Clifton must have felt they had been dealt a reasonable first hand.
Taking shelter from a northerly breeze I was in position to see the umpire throw the cherry to Scarborough's opening bowler, Jack Holt, a couple of minutes before the appointed start time of twelve noon and as early as the second over overseas player Jack Beath was on his way back to the pavilion followed in the next over by Hayden Bradley who played an August shot in April and was caught at mid on. 10 for 2 and time to dig in and count the extras as Kristian Wilkinson set off on his quest to bowl ten no balls in the innings, something he achieved and to which he added a wide. Before I left after an hour's play Drewery and Gilham had mounted a rescue and with skipper Hopkinson coming in at five hitting 47 CACC were all out for 196. I spent my time in the company of George Drewery, father of Greg and secretary of Londesbrorough Park CC from where his son has been recruited. Dad would be very pleased with his son's 58 on debut.
The excellent league website shows that Scarborough initially made a very poor fist of getting the runs and at 94 for 7 Clifton must have thought an opening win was in the bag. Good partnerships for the eighth and ninth wickets saw the East Coast men recover, 67 for Ben Elvidge and 54 not out for Holt and they crossed the line with a couple of overs to spare.
Clifton Alliance CC
Next stop Easingwold and a catch up with Tony and Jennifer and to watch the Academy recovery Tony has described. The Academy 's innings was over shortly after three o'clock, a little early for tea and I started back towards the Lower Ure Valley using a route which took me through Alne where Ouseburn, with several new faces and under new skipper Adam Fisher, were in the field against the hosts. A chance to chat to Jim Rose, Ouseburn's chairman and he filled me in on some of the new players. Particularly impressive was Ben Mackrill, ex Goldsborough, who took 3 for 12 off 9 overs and was at the crease when the winning runs were hit, 49 for evergreen Sam Parker and 44 for Fisher and a seven wicket win to start the new campaign.
Via the Aldwark toll bridge I headed for Lightmire Lane where it was tea time with Alne II having made 193 for 6 off their 45 overs. Ouseburn's reply started slowly, too slowly for some of the watchers but 68 for Ben Jones and a run a ball 74 for Harry Hartley Metcalf and an undefeated stand of 131 between these two saw OCC home by five wickets and four overs unused.
Yesterday was a lovely sunny day, the best for two weeks and with the prospect of chilly times in the week ahead I forsook cricket to do some gardening whilst listening to commentary online on the Hampshire v Yorkshire match. This was not good for the blood pressure as the smug Hampshire based commentators showed no embarrassment about their team's reprieve from relegation last year and not even the disclosure that over 80% of their wickets this season have been taken by South Africans disturbed their equanimity. Bah humbug. And don't mention the ECB's 'resting policy', either to me or Joe Root.