MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES
Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.
In his poem ‘To Autumn’, John Keats describes Autumn as ‘the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’. Well we’ve certainly had the mists but for this writer, November was the month of AGMs. Attendance at the Club’s AGM on 13th November was higher than it had been for a few years; a most welcome sign. Anyone hoping to make money on the ‘How long will the Secretary’s Report take him?’ sweepstake would have had little chance of lining his pockets. I presented a condensed version. In fact the whole AGM lasted only thirty-five minutes. No doubt to the relief of one and all. Short[ish] it may have been; however, important decisions were taken. Perhaps the most note-worthy of these was the election of Stuart Graham as 1st Team Captain and Andy Stokoe as 1st Team Vice-captain. Gary Hunter, who has led the Team in recent seasons, had informed the Club of his intention to step down from the captaincy several weeks before the AGM. Gary served the Club very well in that highly demanding capacity. Hopefully he will enjoy his cricket even more without the weight of captaincy on his shoulders.
The League AGM was held on 27th November at Blue Flames CC., Benton, Newcastle. Using the voice of the lady in the car [SAT NAV], I managed to negotiate my way through foreign territory and found myself at an ideal venue for holding a meeting for fifty clubs. The room was large but, unlike the inaugural AGM held in November2017 at Kingston Park, it was possible to hear every word spoken. As is historically the norm, the voting of the League’s clubs regarding rule changes did not always go the way that the Club wished. Thus, next season all matches will start at 1.00p.m. [12.30 for the last three matches of the season], the 2nd Team will play 40 overs per innings in League matches and teams will have 90 minutes after the official starting time to complete their team [i.e. a player whose arrival at the ground is delayed by up to 90 minutes may play in the match]. As the Club’s representative, I voted against all three of those proposals but was outnumbered in a big way. However, I did ‘get it right’ when voting in favour of the introduction of a Power Play operating in cup matches organised by the League. The compiler of the League Handbook [League Secretary Paul Lee] will have his work cut out to amend all of the rule changes adopted at the AGM. There was a total of twenty-seven motions voted upon!!! Most were carried!!! Make sure that you read the Handbook before the start of the season or you will not have any idea of what is going on.
It was at the Club’s AGM that I was informed that John ‘Rut’ Rutherford had been ‘whisked’ to hospital with what proved to be a pulmonary embolism. John was to spend twelve days in hospital. Happily the ‘blood-clot busting’ drugs worked well and John was eventually allowed home. For some of the twelve days in hospital the bed next to his was occupied by Ron Carr. Ron is a long-term friend of former Club batsman Billy Gibson and was a regular spectator at the Club’s matches when Billy was playing back in the 1970s. He also knows John well. No doubt the pair of them whiled away the boring hours in hospital putting the world to rights. I first met John in the Blackfyne dressing room at the first outdoor nets of season 1970. It was my first season at the Club and I knew very few of the players. I assumed that John was a long-standing Club member but was told by him that he and David Graham, who was with him in the dressing room, had been playing for Allendale & Westwood CC and that this, too, was to be their first season at Blackfyne. Later in that year I vacated my ‘digs’, got married and moved into my new house on Fairways. A short time later John and his wife Mary moved into their new house a few yards away from mine. Small world eh? We were to remain neighbours for sixteen years.The rest, as they say, is history. Over the following years we got know each other very well indeed both on and off the field. I am sure that readers will join with me in wishing John a speedy return to good health.
Moving on to domestic arrangements for next season. Kamran Mansoor has informed the Club [via Gary Hunter] that he will be plying his trade with Warkworth CC [Division 3] next season. I know nothing of that club nor its ground but anticipate Kamran breaking a few records there. On the plus side Callum McCabe will be joining the Club next season. His all-round ability will be a huge bonus.
December’s Cricket Quiz
More trouble and strife:-
[a] Which Australian spinner was banned for a year in 2003 after testing positive for a banned substance, which he said was a diet pill given to him by his mother?
[b] Which former Indian captain was banned for life for his role in a match-fixing scandal?
[c] Which former England captain skippered a highly controversial rebel tour to South Africa in 1989-90?
[d] With which former Australian captain is Ian Botham said to have enjoyed a feud lasting 38 years?
[e] Which England captain was fined heavily for the ‘Dirt in the Pocket Affair’ in 1994?
[f] Which Yorkshire captain was banned from lifting his side’s trophy after they won the County Championship in 2014 for comments he had made to Ashwell Prince in a previous match?
Answers will appear in next month’s edition.
Answers to November’s Cricket Quiz
A mixed bag:-
[a] True or false? Yorkshireman Bobby Peel was banned from the Yorkshire team in 1897 for taking the field drunk and urinating in front of his captain, Lord Hawke. True
[b] Why is David Lloyd called Bumble? Because he looks like one of the characters called ‘Bumblies’ in Michael Bentine’s TV programme of that name.
[c] True or false? In a mix up where both batsmen are stranded at one end of the wicket, the batsmen choose who is out. False
[d] The score is 8 for no wicket at the end of the first over. This over consisted of four dot balls and then two run-scoring shots. At the end of the over both batsmen were on four not out. How? The first batsman hits the ball into the deep; they run five including overthrows but that tally includes one short run; having crossed, the second batsman hits a boundary.
[e] The batting side needs one run to win. The fielding side needs one wicket to win. The fielding side bowl a wide but the batsman is stumped. Who wins, or is it a draw? The batting side wins because the wide occurred first and therefore the match is over.
[f] True or false? If an umpire miscounts and a batsman is dismissed off the seventh ball of the over, the dismissal doesn’t count. False
Finally, it is time for a few quotations. This month’s topic is, once again, Politics.
‘No country which has cricket as one of its national games has yet gone Communist. On this I found my trust that the new regime in Grenada will turn out to be not so extreme Left-Wing as predicted.’
Woodrow Wyatt in ‘The Sunday Mirror’, 1979.
‘It was his dream to build a kind of socialist cricket republic where all players would be equal. If he had had his way we would have stood up before the start of each match and belted out a couple of choruses of the Red Flag.’
Ian Botham, on Geoff Cook’s management of Durham, in ‘My Autobiography’, 1995.
‘Comprehensives don’t produce cricketers.’
Jim Laker, former England and Surrey off-spinner.
‘There’s no pressure in Yorkshire cricket. My mate gets up at half-past four every morning to go down t’pit. That’s what you call pressure.’
Steve Oldham, upon his appointment as Yorkshire cricket manager, 1989.
‘Did you see that, sir? That means war!’
MCC member at Lord’s when a green baize was placed over one of the Long Room busts, start of Second World War, 1939.
‘The gradual exclusion of white folk is a bad thing for West Indies cricket. ’
Len Hutton, the first professional to lead England overseas, in the West Indies, 1953/4.
‘It’s rather like sending in your opening batsmen only for them to find that their bats have been broken by the Team captain.’
Sir Geoffrey Howe, resigning as Conservative deputy leader, in the conflict over Margaret Thatcher’s attitude to Europe, which precipitated Michael Heseltine’s challenge for the Tory leadership, 1990.
‘It’s new bats that are wanted.’
Mrs. Thatcher on the same issue, 1990.
‘ A sportsman is like a soldier who is always ready to help the country.’
General Zia of Pakistan, pressing Imran Khan to come out of retirement, 1988.
‘I am always ready to serve the nation and the game.’
Imran’s response, showing signs of a putative political career, 1988. [Readers will have noted that Imran Khan is now Prime Minister of Pakistan - editor.]