Last Thursday, our illustrious secretary, Steve Ward, had the honour of being asked to score for England under 19s against Ireland under 19s in the one-dayer at Loughborough. The day did not dawn brightly, but soon cleared, and a full day’s play took place, with well over 500 runs scored – at least he was not sitting twiddling his thumbs!! Steve is undoubtedly one of the top scorers in league cricket, and it is good to see him get recognition he deserves. 
On Friday morning, I was able to make the final adjustments to our new website so that it could go live later in the day. I prepared a press release and waited for confirmation that it was live. In the meantime, I took Kirsty for a coffee and dropped her off at the hairdressers whilst I went to the fishmonger. I tend to go there with an open mind, see what they have got, buy what takes my fancy, and then decide what to do with it. He had some nice pieces of halibut, so I decided to treat us, and Kirsty found an interesting recipe involving bacon, new potatoes, peas and cider, so I had a go. I think I may well do that one again …… 
 
I got confirmation that the website was live by lunchtime, and got the emails sent out. The website has taken longer than I had hoped, but I really think it has been worth the wait, and we have had some very complementary comments already. With its full mobile and tablet compatibility, it is a whole world better than the previous site, and it will help to raise the profile of our league. Not only that, but it is much easier to use and less dependent on links that break down! I would not hesitate to recommend its’eeze, who did such a good job of building it for us. But, if anyone has any thoughts on what we might do to improve it, or add to it, please tell me! 
 
On Saturday morning, we set off to Swansea for one of Kirsty’s cousins’ 50th birthday celebrations. We stopped off at an old coaching inn we know for a ‘full English’ – just to fortify me for the drive! We made decent time, and I was able to have a little nap on arrival – as well as filling the first innings scores into the Weekly Bulletin. We had booked a house for the night for six of us, including Kirsty’s sister and husband, and her niece and boyfriend, and we all went into town for a drink beforehand. I can’t visit South Wales without sampling a pint of Brains’ SA Gold, but I managed to do so, and it was well worth the effort. 
 
I kept up-to-date with the results whilst we were out. The league table has compressed a little, with Doncaster losing at the top and Hallam winning again at the bottom. Collegiate are now within twenty points of Doncaster with seven games to go – perhaps we might yet get an exciting finish to the championship race! I am sure that the fight to avoid relegation will go to the wire. With two successive wins, Hallam now have a bit of momentum, and are only ten points adrift of Aston Hall. I am concerned for my old friends at Cleethorpes – their defeat to Wickersley means that they are very much in the danger zone. 
 
The following morning, I completed the bulletin, after which we drove down to the Mumbles to find some breakfast. I had not spent any time around there before, but the Gower peninsula is a lovely part of the word, and I consumed another full English whilst looking out over Swansea Bay – well, I was going to be driving all the way back up to Hull!! I don’t do as much long distance driving as I used to, and I noticed how much busier the motorways seem to be – that and the interminable ‘managed motorway’ speed cameras have totally taken the pleasure out of this sort of driving. 
 
We got back in time to pop into see Gavin, Lucy, Millie and George, having missed our usual Sunday afternoon and early evening with them. George is now six weeks old and was unfortunately showing signs of the tummy trouble that plagued Millie in her first year. Millie herself was irrepressible as ever; I supervised her bath and Kirsty got to read her night-time story, which was lovely. On Monday morning, I met Lucy and George for coffee in Beverley. George was booked into the doctors and was later diagnosed as being constipated. I gather that the treatment is working and he is now much better!! 
 
On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, I was at the university to invigilate the English exams for foreign students. They will not be allowed to continue with their courses if they fail these exams, and there are very significant financial consequences, so they are under a lot of pressure. Most of them are Chinese, and their government heavily subsidises the cost of them coming to this country and their degree courses. But if they fail to graduate, the government makes their parents repay everything. 
 
After the Wednesday exam I had a coffee with Nigel, the chief invigilator who taught me the ropes when I first started there. Nigel is a lovely bloke and we have always got on really well – even though he is a Stoke City supporter. Gavin joined us, so the conversation was mainly about football after that. My team is Luton Town, and our manager ‘deserted us’ for Stoke midway through last season. It hasn’t really worked out for him there yet, but although he will never be forgiven by the fanatical supporters, he did a great job for the Hatters. But the Championship now awaits, and I look forward to that with a little trepidation. 
 
The African Plume has returned to give us some record temperatures. I love the warm weather, for me it is what makes the cold winter’s days worthwhile – but I don’t have to work in an office with no air-con all day, and I can understand that it’s all a bit much for some people. 
 
Today has been a cricket work day, and I did the programme for the Sunday’s Vitality Club t20 Area Finals at Cleethorpes, which Steve is getting printed for us. Tomorrow morning, I will be going down to Rovers for my first Community Trust Board meeting – and after that I’ll be back at the fishmongers! After our fish tea, I shall return to Craven Park for a Rovers Volunteers’ Night. Albeit that Rovers are a professional outfit, there are an army of volunteers who, like me, give up their time for the club – and it is only right that they are recognised. It makes you realise how much of sport at all levels depends on the volunteers who give their time so freely. 
 
We will spend some time with the family on Saturday, rather than travel to South Yorkshire, because on Sunday we will be going to Cleethorpes. The YSPL is in the same t20 area as Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, and the area finals are rotated around the four leagues. This will be our first turn to host, so I think it is right that I should be there. Cleethorpes have much experience of hosting these events, and their facilities make them an ideal choice. I must thank Andy Haith, James Osmond and Howard Swain, who have all gone out of their way to make the day a success, and, weather permitting, I am sure it will be. 
 
On the same day, Doncaster are at home to Wakefield Thornes in the semi-finals of the Viking Cricket Cup, whilst Whitley Hall travel to play holders Woodhouse Grange. Notwithstanding that there has to be a loser at Town Fields, I wish all four of our clubs the very best of luck as they seek to make further progress in these two competitions. 
 
On Monday I shall have a day off, and I shall be going to the Goodmanham Arms with my drinking pals – an event that is always eagerly anticipated by all! 
 
Till next week, 
 
Roger 
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