On Friday night Kirsty and I went down to Darfield to watch the It’s Good to Talk t20 challenge match between our representative side and the SYSCL. There was a huge attendance, and as we arrived, our team were amassing an impressive score. In the end, they reached 217-7 with Sam Drury top-scoring on 66. But as the light deteriorated, the problems started. Unfortunately, the lights were not bright enough, and after a couple of delays to try and improve matters, the game had to be abandoned after six overs due to safety concerns. It was totally the right decision, and I said as much to umpires Lee Arbon and Mick Mann afterwards. I felt for Danny Morton, who had worked so hard to get the game off the ground. Nonetheless, a lot of people had attended, and the game was a success in raising more awareness of mental health issues. 
Crowds at Darfield 
Steve Foster in his inings of 85 
We stopped over in Barnsley that night, and went down to The Yard Bistro on Bawtry Road in Wickersley for lunch. I had a Spiced Lamb Burger with sweet potato chips. It was excellent, and I recommend a visit. We may even pop in for breakfast tomorrow ….. ! 
 
After that we went down to Treeton for their game against Barnsley. It was sadly not Barnsley’s finest hour, but it was another reminder of what an exceptional player Steve Foster is. Even on the wrong side of 50 (albeit I wish I was still his age!) he put in an all-round performance that would be the envy of anyone. I am sure he was annoyed to get out 15 short of a deserved hundred whilst trying to push the score on, but he then produced a devastating six-over opening spell that reduced the visitors to 14-5, from which there was no way back. 
 
It was good to see my old friend Keith Haynes again, and I was able to buy him a pint. I would have had one myself, having been advised that the Harviestoun Shiehallion was on – a rare treat – but sadly I was misinformed! Although Keith has retired as chairman, he is as active at the club as ever – as Kirsty’s camera has recorded! 
 
Elsewhere, Doncaster Town gained the twelve points they needed to secure their first YSPL title with a comfortable win at Wickersley. My congratulations to all at Town Fields – they have been the best side in the league this season. They have also proved, by coming back stronger, that relegation need not be the end of the world. 
 
On the subject of relegation, I was sorry that Aston Hall bowed to what was becoming inevitable, and their relegation was confirmed. I always enjoy my visits to Green Lane, and I hope to see them come back, stronger, in 2021. Tomorrow will decide who accompanies them – Cleethorpes, Hallam and Wickersley can all go down, and all face difficult away games in which they are probably second favourites. But I have a feeling that at least one of them will win, and I wish all three the very best of luck. They are good clubs with good people at them. 
 
I had more experience of the NHS in the three days from Sunday than I usually have in years – and once again it was bought home to me what an excellent and too-often maligned organisation it is. I sustained a really bad insect bite at Darfield, and by Sunday morning my leg was very red, swollen and painful. The pharmacist at Tesco took one look and dispatched me to the health centre. It was busy and we had to wait for over an hour, but we left with my leg dressed and some strong antibiotics that kicked in within 24 hours. 
 
Then on Monday, I had my prostate review appointment. I was seen bang on time by a very pleasant young registrar who politely asked if she could do a manual examination, and five minutes later I was back in the car having been told all was well. 
 
Earlier in the year, I had some tummy trouble, and my doctor referred me to a consultant. He was sure there was nothing sinister, but said he would send me for a colonoscopy just to be sure. That took place on Tuesday. Really the worst part is the fasting from 1pm on the previous day – I don’t really cope well without food! I was advised before I went in that most of the pain is caused by the air they pump in, so to ignore usual niceties, and just get rid of it! Which I did – and they were right. I was very well looked after, and the doctor who did the procedure told me immediately afterwards that everything was normal and healthy. So I went home happily to tuck into an early lunch! 
 
I was less happy that afternoon when I received Ray Knowles’ message of resignation from our committee. I fully understand Ray’s reasons, and he has my full support – but I am very unhappy about the abuse he was subject to that led to his decision. It is not the first time he has had to endure this, and I am pleased that we had decided to take the matter further. 
 
I have known Ray since the mid-1970s, when I was a young umpire in the old Humber Don section of the Yorkshire Council, and Ray was the wicket-keeper and captain at Askern. He was very good in both roles – he had to be, as there were some very ‘interesting’ characters in that team! Our ways parted when Askern left the Humber Don in the early 1980s, but fifteen years ago Ray joined the old Yorkshire League umpires panel and we became colleagues. Since then, he has played a big part in the successful establishment of our League, and we are very sad to lose him from the committee. But I have said it before and will say it again – volunteers do not have to take abuse, they will reach a point where they say, ‘enough is enough’ – and Ray has done that. The game is the loser. I wish him well, I thank him for all he has done for us, and I hope to continue to see him regularly in the future. 
 
I spent a lot of time on Wednesday going through our constitution and rules, tidying up and preparing amendments ready for our committee meeting and AGM, as well as doing the Rovers stats and programme article for tonight. I also went through Kirsty’s photos from Friday and Saturday, and published a selection on our Flickr pages as usual. 
 
I have never commented on politics in this blog before, but I have just read an interview with Tony Pulis. He may not be the most popular man in football, but he has forged a successful career; he is also blunt and has opinions. He was asked for his views on Brexit, and said, ‘there are too many people acting in their own interests and to hell with the country.’ Hear, hear. I think it is intolerable that some MPs have quite cynically ignored the wishes of their own constituents, and I hope they will pay with their jobs when the next election comes. 
 
Tonight I shall be at Craven Park to see if Rovers can build on last week’s win in France (it gives me so much pleasure to write that bit!) and secure their Super League status by beating London. They should, but we take nothing for granted any more! 
 
Tomorrow I shall be at Whitley Hall for the first part of the game there, then driving across to Town Fields for one of the more pleasurable parts of my job – presenting a trophy! 
 
Till next week, 
 
Roger 
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