In deciding to have a ‘Saturday off’ we made a good decision last week. After the rain on Thursday and Friday, I was surprised that four of our six games actually started, and amazed that we even got a finish in one. But it was obviously not a good day for cricket-watching! 
Gordon Prescott 
Alex Grimes 
Bilal Anjam 
Instead, we were entertained (and organised) on Saturday by my grand-daughter – nearly four, going on fourteen. If not yet an expert, I am now at least familiar with Frozen and Shaun the Sheep! Despite ‘trying it on a bit’ at bedtime, she was very good, and we had plenty of laughter. 
 
On Monday, we had ‘Roger’s full brunch’ before setting off to Brumby Hall for the visit of Doncaster. We always get a good welcome there, and missed our trip last season. I know Mike Campion, Ian Armiger, Salim-Uddin and Dennis Wadd well from my days in the Yorkshire League, and it was great to chat to them again. There was also the bonus of a chat with Eric Widdup and Nick Cowan each time we did a circuit of the ground – Nick always has an amusing anecdote and did not disappoint this time. Sadly, I am unable to print it. 
 
It was a tight game that could have gone either way. Unsurprisingly, the pitch was difficult early on, but a fine innings from Bilal Anjam gave the visitors a decent score in the circumstances of 146-7. Frod were going well at 86-3 in reply, when a brilliant run-out by Bilal ended Alex Grimes’ innings of 45, and they were unable to get the momentum back against the quicker bowlers. The young opening pair of George Cowan and Robert Heyes shared six wickets. But Frod have twice given Doncaster, arguably our best team, a very good run for their money, and if they can win their last two games, they can look forward to 2021 with optimism. 
 
It was also good to catch up with Gordon Prescott on the day. Despite his proximity to where I live, our paths rarely cross these days. Gordon is one of a rapidly diminishing band of umpires on our panel that I have actually stood with – Ian Dixon, Harry Fidler, Ray Knowles and Rich Perry are the others. He is a kindly and knowledgeable man, who is a witty raconteur. What a great chemistry master he must be! Gordon introduced a new umpires’ signal on Monday. A dramatic forward lunge and stamp of the foot – which we interpreted to mean that the batsman had made his ground by virtue of grounding his foot over the line. Sadly, Kirsty did not get a photo of this momentous event, but she did get a number of good shots to capture the day, which are on our Flickr site
 
This week I have completed our response to the consultation and player survey on the proposed YSPL/SYSCL merger, which is now published on our website. In this work, I have enjoyed the unfailing support of David Ward, and the way that we have worked together is a great portent for the new structure. A few people have said, ‘we have a great league, everything is working well, so why change it?’ The answer is that we will be stronger and better placed to meet future challenges; we can improve administration and communication, speaking with a single voice to our clubs; we can maximise possible sponsorship opportunities; and we will put ourselves on an equal footing with other Premier Leagues. From a personal point of view, I shall be sorry that the YSPL will cease to exist in its current form. Despite this year’s difficulties from factors outside our control, we have had five great years, and I have really enjoyed the journey. But what we are doing now is the right thing for South Yorkshire cricket. 
 
On Wednesday, I was very saddened to learn of the passing of David Capel. ‘Capes’ was one of my all-time favourite cricketers. Talented and tenacious, he always gave 100%. He was touted to follow in Sir Ian Botham’s footsteps as England’s all-rounder and, although he made 38 appearances for his country, his international career never really took off. Whilst, in my opinion, he had at least as much ability as Botham, he did not have that great belief and confidence that made Botham special. Capes perhaps thought and tried a bit too much. But he made over 17,000 runs and took over 700 wickets for Northants, and as a native of the county, was one of their most popular players – and a very decent human being too. A close friend of mine is a staunch Yorkshire supporter and we often went to games when the two counties met. Capes often seemed to save his best for Yorkshire – even his first championship wicket was that of Sir Geoffrey – and I think that my friend was relieved when he retired in 1999. 
 
Last night, in a classic top v bottom game at Headingley, Hull Kingston Rovers beat Wigan handsomely to record their first win since the opening day of the season. In these difficult times, this will be a huge boost for everyone at the club. I was not able to watch it live, so look forward to doing so whilst baby-sitting tonight! 
 
Tomorrow we intend to be at Crimicar during the first innings of the game against Barnsley, and will then go on to Abbeydale for the second innings of the potentially-decisive Western Group game between Sheffield Collegiate and Whitley Hall. 
 
Till next time, 
 
Roger 
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