Technology enables, and for the second year running the virus compels. that today’s Ebac Northern League annual meeting is held remotely, by Zoom or some such.
I offer apologies. Nothing untoward appears to have happened, though those wishing to plan their season – and please note that there is no need to plan ahead, since it’s impossible to plan retrospectively- should note that the fixtures will be on the league website from 9am on Monday.
Technology also means, as we noted a couple of days ago, that Tow Law Town’s posh new LED floodlights can individually be controlled via a phone app – and it’s for technological reasons that I pitch up this afternoon at Cliffe Cricket Club.
Cliffe’s marginally on the Yorkshire side of the Co Durham border, a few miles west of Darlington. In 1642 a Civil War battle was fought there between Royalists, led by the Earl of Newcastle, and Roundheads. Newcastle, unusually, won.
Cliffe Hall, just about all there is of the place, has long been home to the Wilson famly – best remembered among them Sir Murrough Wilson (1875-1946), described in his obituary in The Times as “a great Yorkshireman”. Sir Murrough was soldier, MP for Richmond and a director of the LNER – the second of the famous A4 Pacifics, 60002, named in his memory.
It takes blog reader Richard Scruton, however, to point out that Sir Murrough Wilson wasn’t the locomotive’s original name. It began life as Potchard. A potchard, rather appropriately in this context, is a duck.
The ground’s delightful, approached over the Cliffe estate, renowned for its teas and, not least, Mrs Peacock’s jammy flapjacks. The virus, also means that communal teas are still not allowed – and that sanitizer breaks must be taken.
What they’ve not got is anywhere to boil the kettle, there being no electricity supply, so it’s a little surprising that today marks the debut of the flash electronic scoreboard, the first in the Darlington and District League.
It’s made possible, says club secretary and second team captain Richard Mallender, by a heavy duty “leisure battery” topped up by a solar panel and operated via an android tablet. Got that?
They also have new sightscreens, still pushed around – aren’t we all? – though electronic sightscreens are doubtless in use elsewhere.
It’s a pleasant afternoon, the only disappointment (save for the absence of Mrs Peacock’s jammy flapjacks) that the Kookaburra scorebook talks on every page of a “bowling summery”. One swallow doesn’t make a summery? What’s to be expected from those Aussies?
Cliffe’s second team are bottom of the second division. Richmond fifth team, today’s visitors, are greatly youthful. Their many virtues notwithstanding, it may not be said that Cliffe II very obviously represent a youth policy. They start the day bottom of the division but post 191-3 from their 40 overs, chiefly thanks to opener Ian Hanmer (58 not out), Lee Waters – a quickfire 40 not out – and the skipper’s hard hitting 26.
Richmond struggle in reply. At one point 49-7, they’re all out for 131 and probably with one or two potchards to their name. Before the end I’ve disappeared for a few early Fathers’ Day beers with the elder bairn. A Cliffe hanger it may not have been, a lovely afternoon it undoubtedly has.