I began my cricket watching last Saturday with a visit to Whixley CC, the nearest club to my house. A little over ten years ago the Score Ray Lane club lost their pavilion in an arson attack and for several seasons had to use temporary accommodation for changing and refreshments. A new pavilion was built in traditional style and opened by local MP Nigel Adams exactly three years ago today and the following year Whixley made the move from the Wetherby League to the Nidderdale.
Whoever was responsible for deciding that the first XI should be placed in Division 3 did a good job for they have bedded in nicely at that level. With the season approaching the halfway point the Cherrymen find themselves handily placed in fourth position. This Saturday they visit South Kilvington , currently second but only two points ahead of Whixley.
Last September Whixley took the bold decision to plough up and reseed their outfield and despite the arid spring and early summer conditions we have experienced in the Vale of York the field looks in fine fettle with these splendid nets the latest addition to the facilities.
Saturday's visitors were strugglers Thornton le Moor who batted first but could barely lay bat on ball against the opening attack of Dan Lever and James Smith. One or two eyebrows were raised when twenty year old Lever joined from neighbours Ouseburn this season but he has made the most of the opportunities the switch has offered. His eight overs yielded just nine runs and although he went wicket less he and Smith pegged the score to nine without loss before spin was introduced in the 12th over. When I moved on to Ouseburn after more than an hour Thornton had reached 31 for 2 but the combination of Pat Greenwood, six wickets, and Josh Forster, four wickets, saw them take tea at 54 all out off 31 overs.
Checking the website on Sunday morning I was staggered to find that Whixley had knocked the runs off in under six overs with that man Dan leading the way with 37 not out including seven fours. 15 extras helped things along to secure a nine wicket victory. Two miles away Ouseburn II were getting something of a shredding at the hands of an experienced Hampsthwaite II team who stand second in Division Four after nine matches. Star man here was opener Bartlett who hit 160 not out and with the first wicket falling to a run out it was left to the younger of the Lever brothers, Jack, to take the only wicket to fall and as Ouseburn rather wilted in the sun Hampsthwaite finished on 280 for 2. Most of Ouseburn's batsmen got a start but they fell just a shade over 100 short to leave them in mid table.
Yesterday afternoon I popped into Clifton Park for a couple of hours and watched Derbyshire II making a good reply to Yorkshire's 302 in which Jack Leaning had top scored with 76. A very good crowd here enjoying the warm weather, although we did have a little shower just before lunch. Plenty of familiar faces some of whom will no doubt be at Headingley on Monday when Surrey provide Yorkshire with an opportunity to refloat their championship challenge. This of course is one of nine matches next week starting at two and with floodlights available for use. I know this had divided opinion and it is certainly not convenient for those who travel distances by public transport, but I am happy to support an initiative that seeks to get more people watching first class cricket and will be bringing a flask of cocoa for the supper interval. I note that Durham are offering admission for £5 after five o'clock, expect a bit of a queue at about 4:55.