Ruby, Ruby, Ruby
By John Richardson
The season ends not with bang but a Korma.
Our last game of the season was due to be a home game against Barwick in Elmet, alas the weather had other ideas. Morning rain refused to clear and every phone app failed to see it clearing till late afternoon.
Both teams had nothing to play for, Barwick having dropped out of title contention a few weeks ago and Milford’s recent improvement in form had seen us rise to mid-table obscurity. So there wasn’t much enthusiasm from either side to get the game on. Not that the rain ever really stopped.
The covers did their job and the occasional brighter patch of cloud raised hopes. The Batty family provided teas this week so we took them early. More like a late lunch. Very nice they were, the famous Wilson Pork Pie among the selection. A couple mugs of tea and a couple of full plates later both sides decided to call it a day. The captains shook hands and the season was over.
Bit of a shame, a long time since the last match of the year has been a washout. Though not a great season for the 1st team there has been some notable performances. The batting has been the standout with Ben White leading the charge. The abandonment of today’s game lost him the chance of overtaking Garforth PC’s James Stockton, his total of 671 just 7 runs shy.
Though Ben was the top run scorer he did not have the highest individual score of the season, that award went to wicket keeper / opening batsmen Alex Ward with a fantastic 136 not out against Rufforth. Overall the team had scored 14 fifties and 3 centuries over the 18 league games. In addition to Ben & Alex the half centurions were Sean Nesbitt (3), Harry Jackson (1), Stu Morley (1), Joe Barr (2), Matty Paul (1), skipper Paul Hebden (1) and veteran Billy Thompson (1).
There have been some fantastic knocks over the season, Joe Barr’s regular middle order contributions been a delight, Sean would have strolled the 1st team batting averages had he managed to play 3 or 4 more games, Matty Paul another who scored runs whatever team he was selected to play for.
Those who have seen the team bat this year may have different ideas of the best innings of the season but for me last week’s performance by Harry Jackson was the best. His 59 not out away at Thorner was class. The wicket was horrible, the bounce totally unpredictable, he grafted away the way an opener should do. Very reminiscent of Stu Morley except he hit the ball with his bat not his pads and scored off his legs !!!!
Bowling hasn’t been our forte this season. We seem to have a string of bad luck with all our first choice bowlers. Sam Thomas the first to break down once again dislocating his shoulder, Steve Winspear the next to fall. A series of little niggles finally concluded with his Achilles Tendon getting tweaked at Rufforth. Write off this season Steve and start a fresh in 2019.
The last of our bowlers to fall by the wayside was James Bramley, he joined the sick bench after damaging his thump at first rugby practise. This meant he couldn’t make the qualification for the club bowling awards, falling 2 wickets short. As a result Joe Raynor was the only other bowler to challenge Sam for the 1st team awards. Much improved this season Joe has had to shoulder the responsibility of leading the bowling attack for much of the 2nd half of the season. Still he wasn’t able to overall Sam in the standings.
It kind of sums up our bowling this season when the winner of the 1st team bowling award is a player who only played 2/3rds of the season at best. Sam was the only bowler this season to claim a Michelle (a five wicket haul). He then had to sit the rest of the season with fingers crossed hoping no one else would catch him up in the bowling averages.
Fielding has been a mixed bag and Joseph Barr has snaffled the most catches in the outfield this year, early in the season the ball seemed to be attracted to him like a magnet. Most entertaining in the field has been Matty Paul, Matty doesn’t seem able to take a straightforward chance, much preferring the hard ones. Reflex slip catches and massive skyers seem to be a speciality. He made a great contribution to the fines tin in the season but never backed out of going for a catch.
Teas provided at home games have been universally smashing, putting to shame some of the efforts we have been given when away from home. The traditional jam & cream scones seemed a favourite along with the new must have – the fruit kebab. Thanks to all who kept the scorer fed, also thanks to all of you who trudged up to the scorebox with my mid-innings cuppa. The club ‘WhatsApp’ group coming in handy to place an order.
If the results haven’t been as good as last year and we have no silverware to show for our efforts this time the team and club environment is as good if not better than last season. The banter on social media in the run up to the weekend can be hilarious and the post-match ribbing certainly makes sure no one gets a prima donna complex. To cap it off the curry night after the last match was once again a splendid club event. Thanks to all of the young lads who organised it especially Sam, Ben & Alex.
So that’s it for 2018 and thanks for all of you who have read these increasingly rambling reports. Next year will be our last in the Wetherby League as we hopefully head for pastures new in 2020. So fingers crossed we have a bit more luck with injuries and can go out as champions……