Spring is Sprung

For the uninitiated, the Tong CC Saturday side has had 3 new arrivals this year. Having lost Steve (Pencil) Phillips to Huddersfield Lockwood and Alan Crossley back to Gildersome we are pleased to welcome Gareth Bottomley, Dave Stockhill, Chris Higgs and their respective ladies to the club. Judging by their collective ability to fall over, they have obviously settled in well!

Having been a side noted for it’s leg injuries over the years it was hardly surprising that we lost Darren Holmes before the season had even started. Having missed the first 5 games of the season, it was good to see ‘Shackette’ back on the field again - even if he can only run in one direction.

Early games provided further strain for the availability’s list, as first Gareth (Buttocks) Bottomley decided to headbutt the ball at New Wortley and then Chris (Piggsy) Higgs pulled a fetlock and couldn’t bowl. Thankfully, Mick (Odd-Job) Spargo was always available to fill in with his enthusiastic drinking fielding!

The first game of the season against Castlehill was notable for 50’s from new boy ‘Buttocks’ and definitely old boy McCutcheon. ‘Ken McKinleys’ half century which included six 6’s could well have been in-line for the fastest in the League, but unfortunately nobody had a watch! ‘Buttocks’ rounded off his all-round day with figures of 3 for 9 in 5 overs, and was immediately removed from subsequent bowling line-ups by the skipper!

In what was a rain effected programme this win gave the club a jump start on our arch rivals - mention no names.

Week two and ‘Piggsy’s’ day. The usual cold north-westerly was howling across the expanses of Western Flatts Park, but to make up for this the groundsman had left the showers on ‘Mans temperature’. Not a pretty sight seeing naked teletubbies dashing in and out of the water whilst turning redder by the minute.

Highlight of the batting was Chris ‘Piggsy’ Higgs’s swahbucking display. His 80 included a six of ginormous proportions (as fitting his build), which he deposited in a garden some 50 yards down Greenhill Lane. Realising it was going to be ‘Piggsy’s’ day the skipper promptly tossed the ball to his great rotundness and told him to get on with it!

‘Piggsy’ would have got a rest had he not unfortunately bowled a half volley outside of off stick, for this was to have dire consequences for his change bowler.

Table May 1998

Up until now nobody in the club was aware of just how blind ‘Buttocks’ was, so perhaps silly mid-off was not his best position (what is? you ask!). There has also been a strong rumour going round that ‘Buttocks’, realising that he would never catch the ball decided not to try and get a hand to it as this would constitute a dropped catch and would cost him in the pocket. In the instant of pulling his hand away he forgot what was behind the hand and took the drive full in the eye. Thankfully, after early worries the eye is gradually improving and there was never any danger of damaging his looks!

As a footnote to this match, in which ‘Piggsy’, manfully bowling throughout from one end took 7 for 40, it was noticeable that cricket came first for the Tong players and supporters, as ‘Buttocks’ was driven off to hospital by the New Wortley skipper!

Week three, the first double weekend of the season and the return of the Jedi (or ‘Fat Boy’ Rule). After his marathon performance of the previous week ‘Piggsy’ showed his true fitness level against Otley by instantly pulling a fetlock whilst taking a quick (!?) single. This was to be a day when ‘Fat Boy’ ruled though, as the skipper batted his way to a remarkable 83 ably supported by nobody.

Having lost two of his strike bowlers ‘Fat Boy’ was forced to bring himself out of retirement and memories of that arching run and the bouncing curly locks came flooding back! They were just memories though, the run-up is somewhat shorter as is the hair, but that jagged movement off the seam (it hit something!) is still there. By the end of the afternoon our exalted skipper had returned the figures of 8 for 21 and the Otley skipper had concluded that there was a direct correlation between ‘Fat Boys’ ability to take wickets and his noise level!

Three wins out of three, top of the League and off to Cookridge for the first round of the Cup.

Either someone had turned the lights out or we were badly effected by the previous nights revelries, for the day in many respects was completely different. Though the skipper continued to show his all-round prowess, the team of circus jugglers that he brought with him did much to bring the opposition into the game. Dave ‘Smiler’ Stockhill produced his best bowling thus far in the season (3 for 20), with a particularly devastating second spell and the Cookridge batsmen decided to miss ‘Mushy’ Close’s straight one!

Having allowed the opposition to reach 111, it was then our batters turn to make a game of it.

Ever seen cobwebs develop on a cricketer? We have! ‘Reg’ (I’ve got too much on my plate) Woodhall swept to 4 in his first hour at the crease, 7 in eighty-five minutes before eventually waking up and knocking 13 runs off the next two overs. The final feat actually stirring the crowd who responded with cheers of delirium. Hence ‘Webby’ was born.

Seeing darkening clouds approaching ‘Ken McKinley’ and Steve ‘Herman’ Holmes set about the opposition bowling with gay abandon to produce a 5 wicket win with 6 overs to spare - then the heavens opened.

Week four and Whitehall ‘1212’. Glorious summer at last and the pleasant surroundings of Becketts Park with birds singing in the trees and couples fornicating on the grass.

It had been some years since we had last graced this square, and there had been some improvements to the facilities - there were now two metal boxes ‘lifted’ off the back of some container lorry. The toilets also left a little to be desired as it was found to be less smelly with your head down the loo! Quite who discovered this is not clear!

Anyway a ‘good toss to win’ and our skip put the opposition in, though ‘Herman’ it seems would rather have laid out on the boundary sharing 12th man Spargo’s beer!

At 9 for 4, 15 for 5 and 20 for 6 wickets we were heading for a very early Three Horse Shoes, but then the circus performers (ably led by Simon ‘Beaky’ Breakwell) decided to make a game of it and the first innings stretched out into the 39th over.

reg

‘Reg’, still in his ‘Webby’ mould and ‘Fat Boy’ virtually finished the game as a contest with a opening stand of 58. It was one of those days when the whole of the batting order would have fancied their chances against the Whitehall bowling. Perhaps we’ll bat first at home and reverse the batting order!

Game six and ‘Webby’ comes out of his shell against Pudsey Congs. Crashing the ball to all corners of the ground ‘Reg’ reached his 50 having hit 12 fours, each hit with correct technique! Well done ‘Reg’, lets have more of the same and a magic ton before the end of the season.

In the same game ‘Piggsy’ put in yet another heroic bowling performance finishing with 8 for 59. Having already acquired 21 wickets he must be well on his way to winning the league averages, not bad for a batsman who bowls a bit!

The game against Pudsey Congs finished on a somewhat controversial note though. A straw pole amongst the players would have given the fielding point to either Reg or Buttocks. For some reason the umpires saw fit to give it to a greasing little ‘Fat Boy’!

As a final note from the game, players and supporters will be pleased to hear that our scorer has now got the hang of making sure that the opposition scorer looses track of the proceedings when their side is batting. According to the umpires, Kirsty managed to dock 11 runs from the Congs total. Unfortunately for Congs, their scorer agreed with Kirsty’s total and so the umpires were ignored!

Meet the players:

“Webby/Reg” - an opener who can be a little slow off the mark. A classic batsman who always hits the ball on the ground, which is why he’s been caught out every week!

“Fat Boy” - could be attributed to half the team but is actually a reverent description for a player who greases up to the umpire for the fielding point.

“Mushy” - a close call this one since it’s a long time since we actually saw the ball spin!

“Buttocks” - again could be one of six, but is either a reference to a surname or the fact that we’ve been fined again.

“Piggsy” - the oldest 28 year old that you’ve ever met!

“Wolfgang/Herman/Shack” - depending upon the moment, this star of German ‘X’ films could be called any of the above.

"Shackette” - a limp(ing) figure of his former self, more obviously son of “Shack”

“Ken McKinley” - who nose who this is?

“George” - a recently acquired tag which has something to do with keeping - chickens, or young boys!

“Fagaroo” - a relative of the big cat family, rarely seen unless shopping for curtains.

“The basking Whale’ - the only member who looks hairier with a helmet on!

“Odd-Job” - a man for any crisis - favourite position 12th man on the boundary with a beer!

“Smiler” - a happy student who is obviously on something that we could all do with!

“Beaky” - yet to see the best out of him yet, infact ‘seeing’ could be the problem. A major contributor to the fines fund.

The T.W.A.T.S. are growing!

‘Tong Women’s Association Team Support’ has improved greatly this season with the import of new members. The increased linguistic capabilities of the club, with the arrival of Doris the Swede and Doris Arms-Park, will be of great benefit when visiting the primeval outbacks of Rodley and Meanwood.

It is heartening to know as we near a single Europe that ‘Get the f*** home’ is actually the same phrase in Swedish and Welsh!

Breaking news on the T.W.A.T.S. front is that Janet (Mrs Reg), has become allergic to Lucazade. According to an undisclosed source, when she drinks the stuff it has the ability to turn her into a chipmunk, puffing out her cheeks considerably.

Readers of the local press will be pleased to note that Marlene (Mrs Odd-Job) had yet another good holiday in Ibiza. Apparently she had some practice at getting out of taxis before she went this time!

Also joining this year are Liz (did you see me on TV?) Parker, who immediately claimed no relationship to Fagaroo  and Sue (I’ll look after your dog and whale) Slee. Apparently both were ‘pulled’ by their respective partners in pubs - has anyone seen Bob and Bill anywhere else?

tattler1

Finally, welcome also to Donna Smiler who should be given a bravery award for her support in cold climates. It’s also no wonder Smiler rushes home for a shower after every game!

Our thanks to all for the support given to the team, and should the pressure become too great before the end of the season we have our club counsellor and solicitor on permanent standby!

It’s a joke.

The village rector was so huge that when he came in to bat the umpire announced to the opposition that if the ball hit him infront then he was out LBW, but if it hit his behind then it was a wide.

Whilst from Brian Johnston the classic: ‘You’ve come over at a very appropriate time Ray Illingworth has just relieved himself at the pavilion end.’

All is not Fine!

The arrival of Buttocks to the club coincided with a decision to augment the end-of-season beer fund. This added pressure would appear to have been a factor in the majestic start the club has had to the season, had it not been for Cookridge!

Yes, the match was won even though we fielded a team of circus performers. On the day the Fines Fund was increased by the grand sum of £7.

Though the majority for fines have been paid with good grace, there have been one or two recent murmurings when it was suggested to back-date some of the fines. In particular that payable by anyone who bats in the first 5 and fails to score 10 or more runs. A good idea - lets go back 2 years and it’ll be a hell of an end of season do!

Heaviest fine so far goes to Reg. Bearing in mind that a drop catch normally costs a player 50p, ‘Reg’ managed to accumulate a fine of £1.50 for the same dropped catch. Having juggled and missed the ball 3 times it was deemed that this was infact 3 drops and he was fined accordingly.

Suggestions  for ‘new’ fines should be directed to Buttocks, who will be easily recognisable as the season draws to a close by the ball and chain we’re attaching to him so that he can’t abscond with the beer money!