Today we were out at Stapleford, a team that plays in the South Notts league despite being practically in Derbyshire, and a hell of a long trek out from Newark for our plucky band of ever hopeful, always doomed second eleven cricketers.
I had a feeling it would be a grim ground, and boy was I ever so right. The pavilion roof was edged with anti vandal spikes, the changing rooms had no windows and barred gates were everywhere, giving everything a bit of a "Porridge" feel, and there was a skate park upon which sullen youths sat not actually doing skating or anything, but just looking "a bit rough."
With the weather being wild and grey, the non human wildlife was in short supply, but a short wander away from the park was a bit of heritage lurking, and the famous sandstone cliff that gives "Sandicliffe Motors" its name.
Opposite this, was a chapel that Wesley himself had apparently preached at, and up the hill, a spire dominated the view, peaking out from some trees. This turned out to be the chapel and folly of Stapleford Cemetery, a graveyard rather similar to Newark's with its Commonwealth War Graves, and a chapel straddling the main path. Splendid views back over the cricket ground were obtained up here, and if you needed a gravestone in a hurry, there were two masons based on the road outside.
Certainly our team could have done with one, as we were already 4 wickets down on a green wicket by the time I got back, and I had to get my pads on virtually straightaway as our batsman were wiped out by the rustic looking two big chaps that opened the bowling.
I could have been angry with our batting efforts, but as I expected to last no more than one ball myself it would have been rather hypocritical.
As it happened, I lasted two. I just cannot bat at all.
So, were shot out for 28, so hopeless that our opponents decided they wanted to forego tea to wipe us out even quicker. But before we could get out there to have a bowl at them, our attention was taken by a bunch of drunken underclassers winding up for a fight a backward square leg.
I didn't know what it was about, I would have needed a Star Trek style "Universal Translator" to understand them - oooh, patronise patronise! - but cans of Kestrel Super were being brandished, threats were being made - the women sounded worse than the men - and a hairly drunken gentlemen was being told that if he was seen again "he was a dead man".
Anyway, having worked very hard on bowling quicker, I surprised myself by telling the skipper that I was going to open the bowling for us, me, myself, I, and actually nearly knocked over both their opening batsman in between bowling the usual full tosses and stuff. So it wasn't a bad idea.
We only had to bowl four overs before they got the runs. Tea was now offered, but a few of our lads just didn't want to hang around, and took doggy bags of egg rolls away with them.
Me, I was happy to stuff myself.
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 20.08.16