Jamie Abbott previews the final match in the strangest and most unique of seasons.
Saturday sees the final match for the Club of this hopefully unique season to be impacted by a pandemic.
What a fitting way to finish; hosting a final with a chance for our 2s to clinch the Gordon Rigg Division 1 League Cup against Pudsey Congs.
I must admit I struggled to raise much enthusiasm for playing when the prospect of a greatly reduced season with no promotion or relegation was first suggested. However, looking back now I’m really glad it has been possible. The passion for playing some cricket shown by James Butterfield and all the hard work, he and others put in to enable a safe environment, has been fully justified.
The team camaraderie and good support we’ve received, even including some Rugby players, has been fun and appreciated. Reaching a final is also a fine celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the 2nd team winning the top Division title. There have been 5 members of that side in our XI this year too. As well as myself there is Darren, Ross, Brett and James. Sadly Brett is ruled out of side today for quarantine reasons after yet another of his many holidays.
Below are a few notes on my team mates…
Captain Darren, although annoyingly late for every match, ☹ is still a fine keeper and surprised everyone with his 3 maximums at Northowram Fields and even more so by buying a round of drinks for the whole team. 2020 truly is a special year!
George has made a welcome return to the Club and provided much needed impetus to the opening batting. Although his running between the wickets is always a nervous watch!
We weren’t expecting to see Danny Hunt in the team because of injury but he’s forced his way in through weight of runs, even on 1 knee!
Vice-Captain, Simon(Big Mac) McDermott is an important contributor in all disciplines. A big hitter, who bowls a heavy ball and is usually a safe catcher. if he gets his hands to the ball!
Ross has remembered how to bat in 2020 and continues his reputation of a being a punisher of sub-standard bowling and supplier of various confectionary!
Shahid hasn’t been at his best but can be a dangerous batter and will be desperate to perform well against his old Club on Saturday.
Butts has made the sensible decision to ditch his erratic medium pace and concentrate on the less demanding art of slow bowling. This could extend his career by another 10 years, don’t tell Eve!
Adam H, Ben G, Deano and Louis T have all shown potential that they can contribute at this level.
Haris has improved again this year, bowling with better pace and consistency. Thankfully, no games missed for IKEA trips, collecting a puppy or Bottomless Brunches!
Mini has made himself ‘undroppable’ after bowling with better consistency and showing a previously well-hidden talent as a short leg fielder!
Moving back to Pudsey Congs, I will share a few memories of playing against or at their ground. I think the 1st time I heard of them was when I did the tins when they played at Jenny Lane against Undercliffe in a Priestley Shield final shortly after they joined the Bradford League in the 1980s.
Probably my most memorable 2nd team game against them was a Shield match from 6 or 7 years ago when 2 brilliant run outs by Dan (Atko) Atkinson inspired a remarkable comeback win to back up a patient innings by Salman Syed.
I remember a 1st team match at Congs when Cilla was Captain when I was facing the last ball needing 1 to win and successfully scrambled a leg bye.
The Britannia Ground was also the venue for a Priestley Shield Final when Butts was Captain against Woodlands which witnessed the 2nd, and most recent, of my 6s! Here’s hoping for another good memory of a Congs encounter and for the Dons to lift the Covid Cup!
Enjoy the game!