The final TWILC column for 2012, and indeed, the last one full stop. We all know very few people bother their arses reading this website, never mind the column, but we go out with a look back over the Bank Holiday weekend, which took in a spot of golf, the leaving night for Nathan and Darryl, and took a trip to the Green with the seconds on Sunday and saw a thrilling encounter.
The weekend dawned in familiar fashion, with the curtains being cast open to reveal yet another pissing wet morning. Despite the forecast suggesting that things would improve, the further east you went, the wetter it was going to be. The net result – the twos trip to Bangor was gassed early doors, and the ones would ultimately be frustrated in East Belfast by a rogue downpour. Nevertheless, the alternative option was relatively agreeable, the first tee at Royal Down Royal being open for much of the morning, and with the clouds giving way to some pleasant sunshine, a quick text-around was organised to see who would be up for a round of golf. It quickly became apparent though that many of the usual suspects for this sort of action were big girl’s blouses. The list of excuses presented themselves as follows – DK, playing cricket for the thirds who were still on (100 percent permissible excuse), Wonkle (couldn’t arrange the necessary pass-out from the wife, despite the fact that he was meant to be playing cricket all day in Bangor; instead, he opted to stay in the good books and took her to IKEA. No further comment on this is required, the actions speak louder than words), Jeffrey – indicated he was off to the Polo, which was a novel excuse, but we later established it was some event in Belfast, Conkers – playing hockey instead (arguably worse than going to IKEA with the Mrs), Glenda (would have played, had he been awake before we reached the 14th hole later that day), Catko and Noo (didn’t have the courtesy to reply, standard). That left myself and Boothers as the only real men who were awake, didn’t have to suck up to the Mrs and were not going to spoil their Saturdays playing or watching a girls game. Boothers probably wished he had employed one of the above excuses mind you, as he proceeded to play some beautiful golf, but only after on just about every relevant hole, he had played at least 3 off the tee! But it was a pleasant way to start the weekend and left us ready for the evening’s entertainment to follow.
The farewell evening was good steam, despite the fact that I managed to completely ignore my own intentions to take it easy. A decent crowd turned out to see the lads off, with a particular shout out to Doggy for arranging the night and the drinks promotions etc. His sidekick on the organising committee was Conkers, who was tasked with the job of arranging for plenty of ladies to come along. On arrival shortly after 7 there weren’t any, but Conkers assured us that they would be there in some numbers later on. At approximately 11pm, there was one lady present. The barmaid, Kirsty. And she was minging (I mean, of course, in terms of her alcohol intake……). Conkers was at a loss to explain this quite clear dereliction of his duties, but all was not lost as Doggy manfully stepped up to the mark, whipped out his little black book with his extensive network of female contacts, and did manage to rustle up some sort of a crowd of girls. Not a statement we have heard much this season, but well played Dogg….
During the evening, we had cause for further celebration as we learned that the club Chairman is to become a granddad. Recently wed son, and club captain, Simmo has wasted no time getting out of the traps, and all at the LCC congratulate him and Louise on the impending birth of their first-born, the happy event to take place before the start of the next cricket season (good timing Simmo).
Also in attendance for the night, and normally very good news for the LCC bartake, was the one and only Spaniel, making his first foray of the season to the Cecil Walker pavilion. He was not best pleased on arrival to note the lack of the fairer sex in attendance (he had been on a McConkey promise by all accounts) but he did not let that stand in the way of him achieving his usual Saturday evening goal, that being to get steamboats in the shortest time available. With him in tandem with Dazzler, it was a step back to the good old days at the LCC bar, and it wasn’t long before all sorts of ridiculous concoctions were being dispatched to all parts. Not the ideal preparation for the second XI game the next day, but it seemed like a good laugh at the time. Indeed, the 2s present unanimously agreed that upon arrival at the Green the next day, should skipper Glenda lose the toss and be asked to field, we were all getting back in our cars and going home!
As things transpired, this scenario played itself out almost rather predictably. Glenda lost the toss, the knob, and we had to field first. There were just about enough clear heads to prevent a mass walkout however so out we went for 50 overs of fun. Catko opening the bowling was a sight to behold, though Conkers at the other end showed very few signs of the after-effects of the night before and bowled well. However, it probably came as little surprise that these two characters were on the shortlist for the final (ever) Monty award. Catko grassed one off my bowling, normally enough to have an excellent chance of winning the award, but in fairness his chance wasn’t a dolly so even though he by and large fielded like a twat, he doesn’t win it. Conky on the other hand, was offered an opportunity that 99 times out of 100 he would catch. As the ball went up in the air, straight down his throat at cow, most spectators were probably of the view that there was a greater chance of Carl Williams’ middle name being Bertram than Conkers dropping the catch (hold on, wait….). However, drop it he did, to the more than mild amusement of the watching Dogg, Nathan and Dazzler who had made the trip up to watch the action, and he deservedly wins the Monty on this occasion. As for the Jonty, there was probably more of a chance of the said Bertram getting his prayer mat out, pointing it East and extolling his love of Muhammad than any of our lads being in a fit enough state to pull off a bit of fielding that would justify the Jonty, and for the first 49.5 overs of their innings, that indeed was the case. However, off the last ball of the innings, Andrew Haire needed to hit a six to get to a deserved ton (well, deserved if you ignore the two that Catko and Conkers grassed). He got hold of, and under, Conkers final delivery and the ball sailed to deep midwicket. There, right on the line, was Mark Berry. Now, a couple of seasons ago, you wouldn’t have used stolen money to back him bagging the chance, but Dingle Junior is different gravy in the deep these days. He calmly checked where his feet were, set himself, and judged the catch to perfection, with perhaps an inch or 2 to spare. Not spectacular, the nonetheless a good effort and feeling in charitable form, he is the final recipient of the Jonty.
Our run chase was an interesting effort, in a game that ebbed and flowed, with at one stage it looking like we would rescue victory from the jaws of defeat, before we managed to reclaim defeat from the jaws of victory. I pulled a fetlock, and received the expected level of sympathy from my teammates, and also from that big bollix Russeller, who charitably recorded it on his phone and later posted it on twitter. Don’t worry, that sicknote number 7 will get his!!!!!
So another season is drawing to a close, a frustrating one for many reasons, mainly weather-related. We leave with the quote of the day from Comber, not from any of the players, but rather a spectator. Before the game there had been rumours that this individual might make a cricketing comeback next season, a rumour quickly dispelled by the individual’s son, and then by the individual himself, but not before this line was uttered – “you can lose the legs, but you never lose the class”. Brilliant stuff from Cecil Allen – whose boys have been a great addition to the LCC this season and found out that some Premier League teams are picked on merit. For the last time, this is TWILC……….OUT.