Before we look at this weekend’s games, I need to remind you all that it is now just 6 days to go to the start of our annual Beer and Gin Festival. As some of you will remember, this event used to be organised by our dear friend Simon Heginbotham, who sadly took his own life in 2018. Ever since he passed away, we have continued to hold the event in his memory and we always make an effort to raise a glass to his life and exchange stories of one of Baildon cricket’s most legendary characters. The event has come a long way since it was first held at the Baildon CC clubhouse (for the benefit of Baildon Methodist’s cricket club – it took place before the two clubs merged together). I have a few hazy memories of drinking Oakham Ale’s JHB (because it matched my initials!) and Simon’s anger at people asking for such outlandish things as lager or fizzy drinks for the kids!
Over the years we have added to our original set up and now serve all the beers (kept at the right temperature in cooling jackets) through proper hand pulls, with a sprinkler!. We’ve added a premium draught lager along with our very popular gin bar – both things that I’m sure would have generated an angry e-mail from Simon!
Despite his interests in cricket, travel, folk music and a wide circle of friends, Simon’s life was gradually slowed down and then overtaken by the horrible spectre that is depression. Everyone and anyone can suffer with mental health illnesses and it’s absolutely crucial that we continue to raise awareness of that fact. The importance of being there for a friend and taking time out for a chat, or recognising the need to seek help for yourself when things start to get too much, cannot be over repeated. Please speak up and know that you don’t have to suffer in silence.
Our 1st XI make the long trip to Carlton tomorrow, looking to arrest their recent losing run. To do so, they will need to overcome the league’s current 2nd place team. As I’ve eluded to in previous weekend previews, this is completely possible, but is reliant on a number of players putting in a strong performance in the same game. With three player’s having hit centuries for the ones this year, it’s clear that we have quality in our top six. For skipper Dwayne Heke to finish on the losing side after hitting 142 against Pudsey Congs last week, was almost unthinkable. Let’s hope that Joel Newlove, who hit a century in midweek against a strong Keighley team in a t20 clash, can take that form into Saturday’s match and Will Kelly can build on a number of promising starts and kick on to a match changing score. Likewise for our opening attack of Abdullah Khan and Umar Zahoor, who have been threatening all year to run through a side. Plus keep an eye out for the return of Jamie Abbott to hopefully bring a new dimension to the bowling attack.
The 2nd XI face the same opponents at Jenny Lane, having defeated them in the first game of the season, thanks to an excellent innings from Simon Mcdermott. Simon returns to the twos after a recent deployment to the ones and Darren Wilson will be hoping that he can beef up the batting order after last week’s disappointing match against Congs. Stefan Mather also returns for the twos after missing the Congs game where his recent good batting form was sorely missed. Birthday boy Ben Grimmitt (he turned 18 this week) will be hoping for a turning track and the possibility of bowling alongside “1st Team off-spinner” Josh Capper! Not my words but those of Hartshead Moor after he took 5 for 15 against them in last week’s Sunday XI fixture!
Leeds Sikh are this week’s opponents for the 3rd XI. We’ve been promised live DJ’s, home-cooking and a real ale festival alongside the match, so fingers crossed, those players who have been at Headingley over the past two days, don’t slip back into bad habits! For the first time this year, Dave Hodgson’s side will be looking to recover from defeat in their last game. Leeds Sikh have proved to be a very dangerous team over the years, with a number of attacking batsmen backed up by some canny bowlers. In the build up to next Sunday’s Pool Paper Mills Cup semi-final match (taking place at Jenny Lane on the Sunday of the Beer Festival), it will be important for the threes to get back to winning ways.
The priority for our 4th XI will be to build upon last Sunday’s strong performance when they defeated top of the league Rodley. They take on Muff Field at Belmont knowing that if they win their games in hand they can really start to threaten the top of the table. It’s always very hard for the team at the bottom of a selection ladder to show the sort of consistent form that can take them to the top of a league, but it is a sign of our strength in depth that the fours are able to look at the top half of the table and not the bottom.
On Sunday, Simon Mcdermott takes our Sunday XI to Liversedge for their third game of the season. This is likely to be their toughest clash so far as they will not be able to call on the likes of Will Kelly, Adam Dean and Joel Newlove to score their runs.