It is a great shame for Elsecar that they could not have had decent weather for their big day last Friday. But, as Andy Ivill said to me, you plan these things for mid-August to give yourselves the best chance, and it is down to luck after that. Nonetheless, there was a big attendance in the marquee, the auction did well, and a lot of money was raised for the club and for McMillan. 
Binura Fernando in his match-winning spell 
A study in concentration 
After all the rain we had on Friday, it was quite remarkable that we got play in all our games on Saturday. Obviously, as has been the case several times so far this season, the groundsmen were not able to do as much work on the grounds as they would have liked – it was a case of do what they could and hope for the best. 
 
After cooking breakfast, we went over to Barnsley on Saturday morning, then drove down to Tickhill for the second innings. It was, unsurprisingly, a ‘bowler friendly’ pitch, and the home side were all out for 123. Unlike one of my old colleagues, I did not think that would be enough – needless to say, ‘Mystic Dunk’ was much closer in his prediction than me. 
 
I had a very interesting chat with Tickhill chairman Mick Ford. He is much happier than he was at this stage two years ago, and his team have done very well. They have looked a solid middle of the table side throughout, invariably competitive, and whilst not yet threatening the leaders, they have never really looked like being in the relegation battle. Mick was telling me that the club has set up a ladies section, which is going very well. They have held a soft ball tournament, which was very successful, but the ladies are keen to use a proper ball. With this on top of their successful junior set up, the club ticks all the right boxes in terms of ECB participation priorities. 
 
One issue that Mick mentioned was ground security. The club are to fit security gates to prevent unwanted ‘campers’ on the ground. Apparently, unless actual damage is caused by them in gaining entry, the police are unable to take action, and removing such visitors then necessitates a costly legal process. I wondered if there might be a message there for other clubs. 
 
Elsewhere, leaders Doncaster Town returned to winning ways with a comprehensive win over Aston Hall, whose tenure in the league sadly looks in real danger. I shall be sorry if we lose the Green Lane side, I have always enjoyed my visits there, and there are some very good people at the club. But if the worst does happen, I would fully expect that like Doncaster and Tickhill before them, they will come back stronger. 
 
Tickhill and Treeton were both at home last Saturday and are again on the 31st – so Kirsty and I had been a bit undecided about which to visit on which day. Making the decision that we did, meant that we missed the extraordinary finish at Washfield Lane on Saturday. Treeton did not get off to the best start in chasing 234 in 46 overs, but Sam Drury and Chris Cobb pulled them right back into it. Even so, 18 were needed off the last over, and three sixes by Vinnie Ogden provided a real ‘grandstand finish’. 
 
We spent the day at home on Sunday – most of, anyway. Gavin and the family came round for tea as usual, but Gavin said that he’d like to go and watch the vital Rovers game against Wakefield first. What I did then has prompted some debate! Rovers started poorly, recovered slightly, then in the second half went from bad to worse. So much so that when the visitors scored their sixth try with about 13 minutes to go, I really could not take any more. I found it too painful to watch. Both Gavin and my old pal Terry agreed, and we left – as, to be fair, did many others. But a few people, both football and rugby supporters, have been quite horrified and said to me, ‘I could never leave before the end – no matter what.’ Can a true supporter leave early? Whatever, I shall be there for the crunch game against London in a fortnight – another day, another chance – but I can’t say I look forward to it at all. 
 
There was of course excellent news from Hanging Heaton during the afternoon, as Collegiate knocked out the reigning champions on their own ground. They are the first team from our league, or the old Yorkshire League, to reach the national t20 finals – a tremendous achievement for both club and league. I do look forward to being at Derby on 22 September to support them! 
 
On Monday, my friend Richard and I went to Scarborough to watch Yorkshire v Notts. The main interest to me was to watch the former Northants batsman, Ben Duckett. Sadly, that did not last long. He has huge talent, but is just not producing the goods at the moment. But that did not spoil the day. Steve Ward, Ray Knowles, Keith Haynes, my fellow long-suffering Rovers supporter Len, and another of our drinking pals, John, were all there, and we had a good long natter – which is why I go (that and the breakfast beforehand!). 
 
On Tuesday there was much work to do – both cricket and at home. On the cricket side, there was preparation for our disciplinary hearing on Thursday, and the preparation of Sunday’s cup final programme. I found out during the day that, very sadly, Andy and Chris Froggett’s dad had died. I knew that he had been very poorly recently, and I sent a message of sympathy to Andy and Chris. I had seen Mr Froggett snr at Field Lane a number of times, and he was a lovely old gentleman – Andy referred to him as ‘Thornes No 1 supporter’. 
 
On Wednesday, I had a useful meeting with Collegiate chairman Richard Ibbotson at Abbeydale, before moving on to Oughtibridge to inspect their ground ahead of their possible promotion to our league. I met with club chairman David James, who impressed me with his dedication and his vision for the club – they have had two successive promotions already, and if they win their remaining matches (they are on a seven-match winning run) they will be promoted again. It is a good, well-tended ground, and I believe that the club as a whole would be a fine addition to our league. After that, Matt Summerhill (who is the club vice-chairman) and I had an hour’s discussion about League issues in pleasant sunshine. 
 
Yesterday morning, I was at the university, and after a late lunch/early tea set off for Wickersley for the disciplinary meeting. I will not say much about that, because it would not be right, other than to say that everyone conducted themselves in a proper manner. It was very gratifying that, afterwards, Doncaster chairman Bill Zuurbier made some most complementary remarks about how we had conducted the hearing. 
 
Tomorrow I am going to Oakwell to watch the Barnsley v Luton game, and after another visit to the Olde Post Office for tea, I hope to go for a couple of pints and excellent company at Woolley! Then on Sunday, I shall, of course, be at the Viking Cricket Cup final at Elsecar, and I look forward to that very much – at least the weather should be better than on my last visit to Armroyd Lane! 
 
Till next week, 
 
Roger 
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