Last Saturday I had a break from cricket to go and watch the Barnsley v Luton Championship game at Oakwell. Luton were two goals up in six minutes and played some lovely football in the sunshine – all-in-all it was a very pleasant afternoon. After that it was to the Old Post Office for tea, and then on to Woolley for a couple of beers with Mark and the Woolley regulars. A great day all round. 
Winning partnership 
Winning team 
We stopped over at Kirsty’s mum’s that night, and on Sunday morning I was up early to do the Bulletin. Then, after Kirsty’s excellent kedgeree, we went down to Armroyd Lane early to deliver the programmes for the Viking Cup final between Wakefield Thornes and Whitley Hall. 
The weather was brilliant, there was a good attendance, and we saw a magnificent game of cricket. The game ebbed and flowed, and with 41 wanted off the last four overs with just four wickets left, it looked as if the trophy was on its way to Baxter Field. But Thornes’ man-of-the-match Greg Wadsworth and his skipper Tom Froggett had other ideas, and they saw their team home with eight balls to spare. I commiserate with Whitley Hall, who played a full part in making the game a great advert for our league, and congratulate Wakefield Thornes on a fourth trophy in four years. 
As usual, I spent a lot of time pottering around chatting to various people, including the cup sponsor Jeff Wilson, of Viking Cricket, and his wife, Josie. Viking Cricket is a relatively new company who specialise in quality gear. As Jeff says, they may not be the cheapest, but they believe they provide value for money by making cricket equipment that lasts. Jeff and Josie are very interesting people and are good company, and it was great to meet them. 
Barnsley chairman Andy Froggett asked me the question of the week. Are cricket teas an outdated anachronism? In Australia they are not provided – players and officials either bring or buy their own. Andy makes the point that whilst some clubs, who are rich in volunteers, pride themselves on their teas, they are a millstone around the neck of others – particularly those who operate out of larger sporting complexes. Cricket teas do constitute something of a tradition, but that does not mean that we should not have a debate about them, and I am sure we will. 
I talked on the boundary about both football and cricket with Neil Longhurst – Neil told me that Whitley Hall had played five cup finals at Elsecar and won them all. For large periods of this game that record looked likely to continue. Paul Cummins was also there with his children – he is another that I know from Sheffield United in the old Yorkshire League days, and I had a chat with him too. 
I had not realised that Paul had lost the Elsecar captaincy a few weeks back – it is an unusual happening, and we have now had two such instances this season. I hope that this does not become a trend, but it does underline how competitive our cricket has become. Paul told me that whilst it has been difficult, he has carried on as a player at the club. I hope that we will also see Luke Townsend in action in our league next season – he is a good player and a decent man, and he would be a great asset for any of our clubs. 
Jason Meadows was doing a roaring trade at the bar-b-que, and I looked at the fare with some envy. I rarely take tea at grounds but, as our cup sponsors were our guests and I wanted to be with them, this was an exception. However (and with no disrespect to the Elsecar teas, which are very good), I’d rather have indulged in Jason’s cooking! 
I would like to again record my personal thanks to Elsecar, who hosted the day superbly, to Jeff Wilson at Viking Cricket, who I hope will reap rewards by the way of business from our league – there is no substitute for quality! Thanks too to umpires Adam Seymour and Lee Arbon – I am glad that they enjoyed their day with us. 
Sadly, there is so often someone who will try to spoil the day. Two decent hard-working league officials were harangued with foul-mouthed abuse. Neither was connected with this person’s ‘complaint’, they were just volunteers who do their best for cricket and should not be subject to this – worse still, there were also women and children present. This behaviour is unacceptable and the League has no intention of tolerating it. 
We travelled home on Sunday night – our usual Sunday family gathering was postponed by one day, and we got together on the Monday instead. On Tuesday morning, I had my annual optical appointment – like my mother, my distance vision has improved since I reached sixty, but my close vision has deteriorated. I need new reading glasses, but the good news is that I no longer need distance glasses at all. That afternoon, we made a return trip to Barnsley for Kirsty’s nephew’s birthday. 
It was back to cricket work for most of Wednesday and Thursday – co-ordinating arrangements for a forthcoming disciplinary appeal hearing, which is to be heard by members of the Premier Leagues Management Board; trawling through all Kirsty’s photos from the last two weekends and publishing the best on our Flickr page; and dealing with the usual email and telephone correspondence. Wednesday evening provided a break in the shape of the Rovers’ Heritage Night, where we wallowed in nostalgia by watching footage of two glorious cup final wins in 1977 and 1981 – temporarily forgetting this season’s woes! 
This morning I have had a very constructive meeting with our Umpires Association secretary Simon Widdup. In addition to being an excellent umpire, Simon is both very practical and knowledgeable, and is easy to work with. I am seeking to involve him more in our disciplinary processes next year. 
Tonight we will be popping into Darfield to watch some of the t20 challenge match between our league representative side and the SYSCL XI, and on Saturday we will be going down to Treeton. 
Till next week, 
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