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1st Dales Lodges Inter Lodge Cricket Match

Cricket 3Match report for the 1st Dales Lodges Inter Lodge Cricket Match

An idea that was spawned, partly out of jest, at a gathering of Senior wardens from the Dales Lodges turned into a glorious afternoon of cricket that brought masons and their families from the five lodges together, hosted, by the now, installed masters. The original idea conceived after a hearty pub meal on a dark January night, was to bring the fraternal group of lodges together in a social event that would strengthen the bonds of friendship between members of the lodges.

After several months promoting the event in their respective lodges, to a luke warm reception, the masters feared their idea would remain just that. However, as the morning of the 22nd July 2018 dawned bright and sunny, across our corner of the North Riding, masons began to stir. White’s that had been discarded in the loft for a decade were shaken out and donned, cricket bats that had last been used as a rounders bat at a family barbecue 5 years ago, were found and given the once over and moth balls were shaken out of long forgotten pads. In all, 35 cricketers, one scorer, two umpires and a scoreboard operator, turned up to Scruton cricket club between Bedale and Northallerton. The players were a mixture of current and retired district and club players, those who hadn’t touched a ball since leaving school, some who just fancied a go and a minority who turned up because they thought cricket was a type of picnic with beer.

The crowds gathered early to get the best seats, spectators from all the lodges coming to support the gallant athletes and top up their tans. The seating area took on the resemblance of Headingley’s famed western terrace, only missing the beer snakes and fancy dress. W.Bro. Heaton (WM Anchor) the prima donna of BBQ’s and with sous chef Thi, fired up his burners and set to work. A constant blur of activity all afternoon. The only way we could tell it was a human and not a machine producing the food were the shouts of “I can smell my sausage catching, but I can’t see it” and “bring me a Carling”.
W.Bro Mawer (WM Thornborough) started by explaining the format; no more than 18 fielders on the field at any one time, every player to bowl two overs, declarations to be made after 25 runs and compulsory sledging to all incoming batsmen. The teams were formed, the gentlemen of Lennox, Anchor and Thornborough XVII (LAT), were to take on the might of a combined Beresford Pierse and Falcon XVIII (BeFal). W.Bro Mark Pybus (WM BP) won the toss and elected to field, at which point the rest of the team decided they were batting first and walked to the pavilion (and the bar).
The match started, BeFal under the leadership of W.bro.Stewart Burrows, sent out their most wily and experienced batsmen to open. The atmosphere was electric and Bro.Craig Spence opened the bowling. His first ball was a cross between a full toss and a tennis lob, which, opening bat, W.Bro Tony Longstaff got underneath to send a lovely pop up catch to Mid-on. The match was one ball old and already the BeFal strategy was falling apart. The other opener W.Bro John Gregory, bedecked in helmet went on to make a solid 18 before retiring injured, after tripping over his own feet and nearly knocking himself out.
Other notable players were Conner Caswell and Bro. Gary Collins both retiring on 21. Another batsman full of promise as he strode out to move, what was at times a stagnant, scoreline was the Provincial Junior Warden himself, W.Bro John Murphy of Falcon. 30 seconds later and to a standing ovation from the western terrace he returned having scored a duck off the professional looking bowling of the yet to be initiated, Mr. A. Vincent of Lennox. Another player to feel the adulation of the western terrace was W.Bro. Mark Hall (Anchor), who fumbled so many catches the opposition nearly made him their player of the match.
A combination of batsmen taking their time to bed in and work out which bit of the bat is supposed to connect with the ball, regular wickets and declarations and tight bowling in amongst the wides, helped keep the BeFal total to a very uncompetitive 117, in which the extras top scored. Most bowlers contributed with the ball, if not by taking a wicket then by adding to the total with wides, including W.Bro Elliott (WM Lennox) who took a wicket, with his second ball ever in cricket. Harry’s clever bowling (it wasn’t a wide) combined beautifully with the lightning reflexes of LAT wicket keeper W.Bro. Mckenzie, to stump the novice Steve Morris who was still trying to work out where to stand to avoid the offside trap.

After a quick turn around for refreshment and suitable mockery, BeFal’s players took to the field. In strode openers W.Bro Jamie Edgar and W.Bro Mckenzie. It was a fast start with both batsmen and extras scoring quickly. It was looking desperate for BeFal, until with Jamie on 14 the rather inexperienced wicket keeper Bro. Bob Hobson, gave the understated appeal of “Are those bail thingies supposed to be on the floor”. The umpire, W.Bro Henry Thompson’s, finger went up and Jamie was out Hit Wicket. Wickets then tumbled in quick succession off the bowling of W.Bro’s Nelson, Burrows and Murphy, and it looked like BeFal’s improbable total may be defendable. Then came Bro. Sam Webster to steady the ship, and move the score on with boundaries, managing to find gaps through the 18 fielders and despite the slow outfield aiding the even slower fielders. Mr. A. Vincent looked dangerous for LAT as he bedded himself in, but in one of the more controversial moments of the match he was given LBW for 4 off the bowling of Chris Barker. There was a huge appeal which was a combination of fielders seeing the ball hit a pad, and fielders who cheered that Chris had bowled his first ball in four that wasn’t wide. The umpire W. Bro David Anderson, in what was a decidedly ropey decision, immediately stuck his finger in the air and to his credit, if not pleasure, Mr. Vincent walked. It was undecided who was most incredulous, the fielders or the batsman. Later the umpire who at times struggled to grasp the rules of cricket, let alone the nuances of LBW said “Everybody seemed to give a big shout, and I hadn’t had many decisions to make, so it seemed like the right thing to do.” The greatest irony of the moment: Mr. Vincent is a professional umpire in Durham.

The platform had been set for Bro. Sam Blackburn and W.Bro Charles Mawer to take control of the match. Both accomplished batsmen, Sam retired on 23 and Charles on 20. The total was reached shortly after with Bro. David Wright’s unique style developed hunting haggis in the Scottish glen’s and W.Bro. Pete Blackburn, who didn’t even bother with gloves. The game easily won by LAT with 12 overs to spare thankfully didn’t need a contribution from W.Bro Harry Elliott who was another to score a heroic duck off the bowling/rolling of Bro. Mike Smith.
The players were all clapped off the field amidst back slaps and handshakes as the spectators showed their appreciation for what had been a wonderful afternoon of masonic friendship. It only remained for the Worshipful Masters ladies to present a golden welly boot trophy to each of the lodges in the winning team, and to say a huge thank you to Scruton cricket club for the use of their wonderful ground and pavilion. The proceeds raised £308 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance, gave the cricket club some much needed revenue and strengthened the bonds of friendship amongst the dales lodges.