Since my last blog, I have had my day in hospital, where I was very well looked after. I was waiting all day, but I had a book to read (which I nearly finished), so apart from having had nothing to eat or drink (very difficult for me!) that was fine. I had never had any kind of operation before, so it was my first experience of a general anaesthetic. One minute I was lying there chatting away, and taking a few breaths of oxygen, and the next I was being woken up. I was amazed to find I’d been out for about 40 minutes – and I woke up in exactly the same position I’d been in before. At first I couldn’t believe they’d done anything. After a few minutes in recovery, I was wheeled to the ward, where I was immediately offered Shepherds’ pie, followed by cheese and biscuits – no glass of red wine though! A couple of hours later Kirsty came to pick me up and I was home for a bit of supper and watched a couple of old episodes of West Wing – they just get better! The after-effects of the procedure are not very pleasant, but it is a small price to pay. 
Sam Drury hits out at Northfield Lane 
James Stuart bowls at Nick Oddy's end at Tickhill 
Having got my isolation out of the way, I spent Thursday morning with Gavin and we had a stroll into Beverley, with George in his pushchair, and went for coffee at the Beverley Arms. It was reassuring that, apart from having to queue to be seated and having to sign in, it was much as normal. 
 
On the cricket front, we had another confirmed Covid-19 case at one of our clubs – but their Saturday game went ahead as planned. The umpires were very complimentary about the way the two teams handled the situation and followed the relevant guidance. The disappointing aspect was that a small number of others, in ignorance of the facts, subsequently chose to make ill-informed comments. Thankfully, I do not touch social media, so I avoided having my blood pressure raised. As a friend and colleague remarked, if we are asked a respectful and relevant question, we will answer and explain. But accusations and opinions expressed in ignorance are damaging to the good relationships we seek to foster between clubs. The feedback I have had from several umpires now is that our teams have followed the ECB protocols for play very well indeed – so well done and thank you to all concerned! 
 
Last Saturday, Kirsty and I took full advantage of being out and about again to make our first visits of the season to Saturday cricket. We first visited Wickersley, where the visitors, Treeton, scored just over 200, and we were entertained by Sam Drury’s 49 off 32 balls. It was really good to get the opportunity to see and chat to several people who I have not seen since last year – it brought it home to me what we have missed this season. Ok, I don’t play, and I have not umpired for seven years now – but I do love just pottering around our grounds, watching the cricket, chatting to people, and even taking the odd photo. There was some rain just after the players had left the field for tea, so after having a few words with Simon Widdup and Carl Williams, we made our way to Tickhill, where we arrived just in time to see the home side start their innings. 
 
It was always going to be a tall order for an inexperienced Tickhill side to beat League champions Doncaster’s 248, and once Mark Cummins and Ross Diver had been parted, wickets fell regularly. But although a Doncaster victory was never really in doubt, there was an entertaining last wicket stand of 33 between Josh Court and Scott Lowe at the end. James Stuart enjoyed a superb game with 137 off 124 balls and 3-24 – he is a very talented cricketer. Before leaving I had a chat with umpires Nick Oddy and Neil Vaughan. I have a shared bond with Nick through our involvement in rugby league, and he is one of the loveliest men in our sport. 
 
Our family visitors were able to join us for tea again on Sunday, and I cooked the main course, which was followed by Kirsty’s magnificent Bakewell tart. We get a lot of entertainment from little Millie, who will be four in a couple of months. She has a huge amount of character already and will keep her mum and dad on their toes over the coming years – and keep her grandad amused! 
 
We hosted a little eating and drinking session for my Goodmanham Arms friends on Monday. Richard has been shielding since the start of this virus business and had not been out anywhere – so we thought it would be a good idea to ‘break him in’ again with a little private function before we return to the pub later this month. The weather was kind, the food, beer and company were excellent, and we had a great afternoon. 
 
Yesterday morning, I went into Hull for a coffee with Gavin. It was my first visit into town since lockdown, and you do tend to see things with fresh eyes after a long break. The Marina part of the city is so much improved through its regeneration over recent years, and we had a very pleasant potter round. It reminded me that the last time I was down there was in February when Duncan Jones, Rich Perry, Mike Linwood and I had a very enjoyable Saturday afternoon pottering around the pubs in the Old Town. 
 
After lunch, Kirsty and I set off for Sandsend, where we had booked an evening meal and overnight stay. I had arranged this several weeks before, not for a second expecting that our annual MCC game would be going ahead that day. But to the amazement of Steve and I, we were forwarded an email saying that MCC wanted to go ahead, and could we confirm arrangements. Alex Fletcher volunteered to put together a side and act as team manager, so we agreed to play. I received a couple of score updates by phone, as our team gained a comprehensive win. I suspect that ‘Fletch’ got a great deal of amusement out of the banter ensuing from his side beating a team containing five of his Whitley Hall team-mates. The quality of the opposition might, as he said, have left something to be desired, but our young lads bowled and fielded very well. 
 
Tomorrow we shall be on our travels again, this time to Treeton and Cawthorne, so I hope that the current spell of good weather will continue! 
 
Till next time, 
 
Roger 
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