2S HIT MAXIMUM WATTYAGE WHILE WOMEN INVADE YORKSHIRE
After last week's season kick off for the girls, this weekend saw a Sunday double header, with Watty's all-conquering 2nd XI starting their season with a home game against local rivals Edgworth, while the women travelled across the Pennines for a game with New Farnley. Now last week, with it being the first ever women's game at Totts and the general excitement of international superstars present, we possibly went a tad too far in our report. So this week we're toning it down a little ...
Your roving reporter was actually able to get out and about this week, and so I took a trip down to Crompton Meadows to see how Watty's boys would cope with life in Division 3. There was just time before departure to throw out a tiny challenge to our lovely neighbours in Yorkshire.
As I set off on my meandering 2 mile drive to Tottington, the sun beamed through the clouds and all seemed set fair for a beautiful afternoon of cricket. The girls meanwhile were already well on their way and as team comedian Nicki Wilcox showed, they certainly had their game faces on. It also appears Ms Wilcox is not a great fan of the White Rose ...
I arrived at the Meadows in blistering April sunshine to discover a somewhat sensational scene. The lads had made a cracking start and had reached the dizzy heights of 130-1 from just 20 overs. Nick Marsh, joyously back in the fold after a potential summer lost to work, was already back in the pavilion, but not before hitting the first half century of the season for any of the Totts players. Well done, MiddleMarsh! Standing on the boundary, I was joined by none other than GOD himself, Gareth O'Donnell who had made his first trip down to the Meadows in some time. With Rowdy, Nick Fletcher, Micky Jones, Dasher, Dave Coffey, Kieran and others all in attendance, it was turning into something of a legends day! The sun meanwhile was getting warmer ...
As I slowly Meehan-dered around the boundary, the subject of our most recent "two overs at" website expose, the wonderful Mahmood Mamsa, was busy cutting the Edgworth attack apart, and brought up his own half century before launching into a devastating assault, clubbing 4 boundaries in one over. It truly was a glorious scene. Over in Harrogate, however, the girls were in the field, and had apparently decided to bring last week's weather with them ...
Back on the Tottington Riviera, I sauntered to the pavilion just as Mahmood fell to the thinnest of edges, and I rushed round to congratulate him on his tremendous start to the season. I'm not sure I've been called "Sir" so many times in such a short time, and certainly never "Sir Dr", but who's to complain? He's possibly the nicest man in the world! Outside 2nd XI co-vice captain Stoney was in a world of his own, and decided to walk right behind the bowler's arm at the most inopportune moment, prompting comedy guru Boris to pipe up with his first gem of the day:
Back in Yorkshire, the temperatures were again plunging towards zero, with the game taking place on the top of a remote, cold hill (Springhead, anyone?). However, team supremo and inspiration Jen Laycock was in bowling action, and helping to put a brake on a good start from New Farnley. Jen would eventually take three wickets in the home side's competitive total of 187-4 from their 40 overs. Here's Jen looking thoroughly excited with her day's work:
At Crompton Meadows I indulged in a Coke and wiped the perspiration away as the temperatures continued to climb. Out in the middle, a couple of quick wickets had brought the unlikely pair of skipper Watty and young Ry Marsh (I need to stop calling him that now he's turned 18) to the crease. Ryan signalled his intent by launching a 6 into the trees while Watty made his intentions clear by playing and missing several times in a row, prompting Boris to pipe up again:
Ryan continued to blast the bowling to all parts, and Watty continued not to, and the score passed 200 with 8 overs to go. I took a stroll round the ground, stopping for a brief 'hello' with new boy Crabbers, and nearly got taken out by a cover drive from Ryan, who was hitting the ball rather sweetly. Watty scrambled a leg bye and then took part in one of those moments which scream "village cricket": the bowler delivered what can only be described as a cataclysmically bad long hop around 8 feet outside off stump. Watty spent several minutes with a protractor and compass working out where to hit the ball (pretty much anywhere in Bury was an option) before winding up and absolutely thrashing the ball straight back at the hapless bowler - who dropped it, enabling the pair to scramble through for a single.
Back in Yorkshire, Totts women were batting and having been despatched from the crease, Lancs skipper Jasmine took up residence in the scorer's chair, where she sat basking in the balmy heat:
The Totts girls were struggling, but they did have a glorious innings from Sheila herself, who followed last week's unbeaten 42 with a classy 59, taking her season average just over the 100 mark. Considering the conditions must be as alien to her as a sponsored silence to Kieran, this is a remarkable start. Coincidentally, I had a chat with one of our 2nds who I shan't embarrass by naming: "You know, Paul," said Sail, "these girls have got it haven't they? They're not only great cricketers but they get what it's all about at Totty. We're really looking forward to coming down and supporting them next week". I couldn't agree more. Indeed we were only too pleased to help Jas achieve her target of raising £1,000 towards the Lancs CCC foundation following her abseil hundreds of feet from the Old Trafford pavilion last week. We're hoping she'll repeat the drop from the 12 feet high Totts pavilion next weekend!
After Watty departed, Ryan clubbed more runs to register the third half century of the innings, and Mick Durrans rolled back the years with two glorious square drives as the total reached 255-5, potentially a 2nd XI record. I thought it only fair to celebrate this joyous moment by enquiring whether Watty would set a new record as the captain who lost a game having racked up the highest total in 2nd XI memory. I needn't have worried. Speaking of worry, the redoubtable Si Marsh, who had been drafted in as wicket keeper, had been sat with his pads on for about half an hour - not content with last year's ridiculous forays down the order, one of the NMCL's finest batsmen had now styled himself as the best number 8 in Division 3, and was panicking about having to go in at the death!
As the innings ended I decided that I was risking exposure in the Mediterranean heat and headed home for pizza, while the lads and lasses continued to strive away. Unfortunately the news from Yorkshire wasn't good. Despite a classy innings from Sheila and a valuable knock from all-round star Jen Laycock, the girls fell around 20 runs short. Despite temperatures over there being somewhat Arctic, there was apparently a team-wide case of windburn. For the sake of public decency we can't publish the pictures here, but if you head over to Twitter you can see a few shiny faces (and hands, Charlotte Boulton).
Watty's boys made short shrift of Edgworth, knocking them over for a sub-100 total, and registering a huge win. It's certainly a very promising start, and we hope that when the men's action resumes on the Bank Holiday weekend, their form will continue!
The women's side return to Crompton Meadows next week, and after an opening weekend played in torrential wind and rain, and a very very cold day in Yorkshire, our ground team is already hard at work preparing an ideal surface for them to continue their campaign:
If you're still reading this, well done - see you next week!