Last Saturday, after the now usual morning coffee with the family, we made our longest YSPL trip, to watch the day’s big game between the second and third clubs at Abbeydale. 
Man-of-the-match Satyajeet Bacchav bowls under the watchful eye of Jason Pitcher 
This sums up my Saturday afternoons! With Chris Froggett, Nick Gaywood and Brian Whitehead 
By the time we arrived, Collegiate were 39-5, soon to be 42-6, as Satyajeet Bacchav produced a devastating spell and left the home side with a lot to do. It was a great effort by Sam Hunt and the lower order batsmen to get the score up to 135-8 and give the bowlers something to bowl at. With no disrespect to the other bowlers, it was difficult not to reflect on the fact that Thornes have not been able to replace Steve Morgan – and they were deprived of another option with David Toft behind the stumps in the absence of father-to-be Tom Froggett.  
 
But it was to matter little on this occasion, as Thornes started their innings positively, and Toft’s brisk 41 put them in the driving seat. Although wickets fell too regularly for the liking of Chris Froggett, accelerating his laps of the field, Thornes were always ahead of the clock, and even at 97-6 they had the reassuring sight of Faisal Irfan marching out to guide them home with his vast experience and levelheadedness. I had always felt that this was a vital game between the two sides, who were level on points at the start of play, because the winners were able to keep within two wins of leaders Doncaster. 
 
It was a very pleasant afternoon for me, I enjoyed the company of Chris, Brian Whitehead and Bill Croft, and had a few words with the ever-enthusiastic Nick Gaywood. I also had a good chat with Alan Kettleborough, who was there with the three generations of his family – including Richard, who was taking a well-earned break from his World Cup duties. Richard was just starting his umpiring career and still playing for Collegiate when I did my first season in the Yorkshire League. I umpired him on several occasions; I went to see him in one of his early county matches, at Scarborough, where he introduced me to late late, great David Shepherd; and I have followed his umpiring career with interest. His decision at an early age to take up umpiring has proved an inspired one – he is definitely one of the best ever. The pressure that our international umpires are under as they move from continent to continent all year round, always under the eye of multiple TV cameras, magnifying any error, is a whole world away from that of my early umpiring heroes like Syd Buller and David Constant. 
 
After the game, Kirsty and I had a chat with Bill Croft, David Toft and umpires Mick Mann and Jason Pitcher – whilst I had a lovely pint of Hophouse 13 lager – I had never thought the day would come when I would use the words ‘lovely’ and ‘lager’ in the same sentence, but there are a few very good darker lagers about now! 
 
Whilst out for coffee in the morning, I had missed a couple of calls from Dave Sharp, and I later caught up with some email correspondence concerning his game at Tickhill, which had coincided with the Tickhill Gala. To cut a long story short, there was a lot going on, and one or two things were not as they should have been. I later received a message of apology from Tickhill chairman, Mick Ford, which I followed up with a phonecall. Mick did not need me to tell them what had gone wrong, the club were embarrassed, and had already put in place measures to ensure that there was no recurrence. I know that things go wrong sometimes, and that when they affect you they can be very annoying; but when there is no ill-intent and a desire to put things right for the future, I think that all we can do is to ensure that there is better planning in order to avoid similar incidents again. 
 
On Sunday we were just about to sit down for our evening meal when Kirsty told me that Steve Ward had been ringing. He called back after we had finished and told me that the Viking Cricket Cup quarter-final at Abbeydale had been abandoned because the pitch was dangerous. I subsequently received a report from Ray Knowles, one of the umpires, who said that the players were supportive of their action. The incident was very unfortunate and embarrassing for both the club and our league. Beyond that I will not comment further, because I am expecting a formal report from the club into the incident and the action to be taken, save to say that my fellow chairman in the North, Paul Harrand, who is on the cup committee, has been very supportive in offering advice but leaving the matter to our judgement. 
 
These incidents are inevitably time consuming, and I spent quite a lot of Monday and Tuesday on the phone and dealing with resultant emails. One very pleasurable call came when Chris Froggett rang to tell me that he has now become a grandfather – Tom’s wife Julie having given birth to Emma on Sunday at a very healthy 8lb 13oz. My congratulations to all the Froggett family! 
 
On Wednesday, I went across to Cantley Crematorium for Dave Beldan’s funeral. I was accompanied by former Humber Don secretary and umpire, Ken Featherston, both of us having served in the Humber Don with Dave for many years. Dave’s son, Steve, shared his dad’s love of cricket; he was a very good batsman in his own right, and even umpired with Dave for a while before ill-health caused Dave’s retirement. After that, Dave and Steve watched cricket together, sometimes coming to YSPL games, and Steve told me that he intends to be at Doncaster this Saturday. 
It was a very simple service but focused very much on Dave himself – as Ray said to me afterwards, sometimes these services are more about religion than the person who has died, but this was not like that. Terry Bentham gave the eulogy, and I told him afterwards that I took my hat off to him – it was not just that he did it so well, but having done three of these in the last six year I know exactly what it is like, and I could not do it with no notes as he did. Well done, Terry – that mind is as sharp as ever!! 
 
On Thursday I had a meeting at Craven Park, planning an event for the ‘thirty years at the ground’ celebrations – I have taken Kirsty’s thoughts on board and am throwing myself into it with as much enthusiasm as possible. After all, thirty years is a long time, and there are good memories – as well as those not so good! 
 
Yesterday, I finally got down to doing something I had been looking forward to (and I know this is sad!). We have at last got access to our new website on the test server, and I wanted to get onto it and add some stuff to make it as we want it to be. I spent all day on it and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It will be live soon, and I hope everyone will agree that it has been worth the wait! 
 
This Saturday we need to be in Barnsley for a family matter in the morning, from whence we will travel to Hallam for the game against Cleethorpes (via Shaws’ fish & chip shop), and probably popping over Doncaster after tea. Next Wednesday evening is our next League management committee meeting in Doncaster, and amongst everything else this week I have been preparing the papers for that. 
 
Till next week,  
 
Roger 
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