Posted by Tony Hutton
Sunday 2nd July and we are surprisingly already half way through the cricket season. Today was originally a cricket free day with travelling to Scarborough the chief priority, to be in position for Yorkshire v Somerset on Monday morning. However, as you may have gathered over the years, old habits die hard and I could not resist looking for a match to break our journey somewhere along the way. This time my research really came up trumps.
It is quite some years ago since I last visited the attractive ground of Scarborough Beckett League side Wykeham which is situated just off the main Pickering to Scarborough road, with a fairly well hidden driveway which can be easily missed, but find it we did and this beautiful ground is still as attractive as I remembered so well. A huge half circle of large trees hides it from the road and the other side has an open vista looking across the fields to the Yorkshire Wolds. The one major improvement has been the addition of a new pavilion four years ago in place of the rather ancient structure on the opposite side which I also remembered.
What had attracted my to this spot was the information on the league's website that the semi final of the Home Guard Cup was to be played today. I imagined Captain Mainwaring leading his men into the field and when the scorer called 'bowler's name please', shouting to his bowler 'don't give him your name Pike'. Nothing quite like that although the home side's captain, as can be seen from the team picture, was an imposing figure alongside his youthful charges who made up the Wykeham Third team who were taking on Mulgrave Seconds from north of Whitby.
The Cup is only open to sides from the League's lowest division, the fourth, but I was soon hearing mutterings that the visitors might be guilty of bringing in one or two 'ringers' whereas the home side were whiter than white, playing their usual Saturday side. When only ten men lined up for the picture the scorer was told that he would have to play to make up the numbers. It was that sort of a day with a lovely atmosphere and everyone looking forward to a good contest.
Captain Mainwaring told me that the quarter final had been their cup final and his young side had excelled themselves in getting to the semis. He did not know how long the Home Guard Cup went back, and was uncertain whether it actually went back to the days of the Second World War when the Home Guard was formed. I did found out that the competition is sponsored by the Home Guard Club which still exists in Scarborough. Some time later I established that the competition only started in 1975 so that the romantic speculation of a war time start was knocked on the head. I was also proudly told that the club finally got electricity connected to the pavilion last season, which involved digging a four hundred yard trench all in one day which proved very difficult. However dig it they did and connected they proudly are.
I saw early wickets fall as the young men of Wykeham found their older opponents a bit too much for them but they had got to around 40-3 before it was time for us to continue our journey. All we got from the website a couple of days later was that Mulgrave had won by ten wickets. This means that Mulgrave II will now play Filey II in the Home Guard Cup final at Forge Valley Cricket Club on 23rd July with a 2.30 start.
After this delightful interlude it was on to Scarbrough which always promises so much both with county cricket and other entertainment such as the Spa Orchestra and the Stephen Joseph Theatre. We sampled them all but sadly the cricket at the other end of the spectrum rather let us down due to the weather. A further report on events at North Marine Road will follow in due course, but if you ever get the chance do call in at Wykeham some time.