TWILC

This Week In Lisburn Cricket enjoyed a long, noisy, enjoyable, but unfortunately unsuccessful Ulster Plate Final at Wallace Park were the chant of “You’ll never beat the Foxies” ran true once again for Lisburn CC.

Some times in sport, one team seems to hold the Indian sign over another. Tottenham Hotspur went through a very lengthy period when they knew that a trip to the hallowed turf that is Anfield, would result in no further additions to the points tally they had accumulated so far during the season in question (though they now appear to have transferred that particular problem about 50 miles down the M6). Ireland could never beat Scotland at rugby for many years, but always seemed to pump the Welsh. Add to your own particular list the names of Fox Lodge CC and Lisburn CC, because on Sunday, once again, the Burn fell foul of the team situated on the main road between Strabane and Londonderry.

Few of the more experienced Lisburn CC observers will forget the fateful day back in the year 2000 when Fox Lodge rocked up at Wallace Park for an Irish Cup tie against the ones, in what was perhaps the most infamous game of cricket to be played at the fortress for many a year. On that occasion, Lisburn posted a decent total (time and age have diluted the precise detail, but it was in or around the 200 mark). In reply, the Foxies slumped to about 80-8 and, if memory serves correctly, 100 odd for 9. Game over, Lisburn’s name into the hat for round number 2.

However, one Fox Lodge character had other ideas. M Walker. An hour and a half or so after some spectators had called it a day and had gone home satisfied with a home team win, the sounds of “You’ll nev-er beat the Fox-ies” were reverberating around Lisburn after M Walker had led his team to a quite unbelievable win. I think he smacked about 80 not out or so, batting about 10, as the obdurate number 11 finished in single figures. I thankfully have airbrushed most of this memory from my own mind, but I do remember Beefy dropping him at one stage but several sixes later, and the Foxies had pulled off an amazing win.

Anyway, a few years later, I think they did it again and although we may have pulled off a win in recent times, the song of the title alluded to in the above paragraphs was still very fresh in the mind of many Lisburn individuals when the team bus pulled in at approximately 15 minutes past the hour of noon. A coach load of thirsty Foxies arrived and, with the sun past the yard arm (is it ever not past the yard arm up there?) the Lisburn bar was prepared for a hammering. Indeed, one of the Foxies faithful looked as though he had been at a bar of some description for a rather lengthy period of time prior to play commencing, his bright red hat and demeanour lending credence to claims that this “friendly friend” had been poured into the coach after returning home at 5am that morning (and given that this gentleman in question was about 75, you can see that the tone was set for the rest of the day).

One thing you cant say about Nor Westers and their support is that they are conventional. I have played NCU cricket for over 25 years and seen or been involved with a number of team photos being taken before key matches. However, I had yet to hear the words that emanated from the lady in charge of the Foxies team photo as she struggled to get the team to maintain the correct facial image that would meet with her satisfaction. This particular problem was solved by her shouting back to her friend, in situ at the back row of the Cecil Walker pavilion, on one of the seats donated by his good lady wife, with the request not oft heard in these parts – “get them out girl, that will make them smile”. Marvellous stuff. She didn’t, by the way, but the team smiled nonetheless. So did the opposition.

On then to the game itself. Slim won the toss and elected to follow the route that had got his side to the final. Bat first, post a total, defend it. We did bat first and though we didn’t bat that well, we managed to post 181, a total which in 40 overs in a cup final in the Park looked like being one that might well be defended. However, at tea, the Foxies supporters maintained that this score would be nowhere near enough – “yon toetal is fafty too shart” seemed to be a popular line heard in the pavilion at the interval “yousuns wall struggle to dafend thon” was another. And so it came to pass. Despite an early breakthrough from Conkers and then another wicket falling in the 8th over, the Fox Lodge supporters promise that the lad McGuinness would “hit her to all paerts” rung very true, as he led his side home to increasing volume levels to an easy win as he did, indeed, her her to all parts of the Wallace Park. An easy win then for the Foxies, and their Indian sign over Lisburn refreshed for another wee while.

However, this was less of a day to dwell on the seconds inability to live up to expectations and bring home some silverware for the clubs 175 anniversary, but was more of an occasion to enjoy the atmosphere and the banter created by the away side and their support. While they were vociferous and at times a touch rowdy, there was always an undercurrent of good humour and banter, and their behaviour never at any time over-stepped the mark and it was fun to be part of it. They support their teams up in the Nor West, and the Foxies are welcome back in Wallace Park any time. They became the first winning side this season to enjoy a drink in the pavilion at the Burn after a cup final hosted at Wallace Park and they enjoyed more banter with their opposition, and the club was bouncing for hours after the match. Renditions of their favourite song were numerous, and the LCC boys came back in to sing back at them with the one shout of “Some Day we’ll beat the Fox-ies” being well received!

As the sun set, the coach was filled up with the victors and there were handshakes and promises of pre-season games all round as they left to make their way back up the road. Great days banter.

Not much else to report this week, other than perhaps to award the Monty. Didnt hear or see too much that would merit the Jonty this week, but the Monty was a keenly contested affair. After fielding well for 35 overs at Ballymena on Saturday, the wheels well and truly came off for the 2s on Saturday. I let one through my legs, Halliday kicked two at backward point and Jeff had a bit of a howler at long off from the bowling of Catko. However, by all accounts, we were usurped by the 3rd XI on this occasion. Their skipper Boris tells me that the Monty this week has to go to the gentleman with the gloves who, off a top edge, shouted at the top of his voice “Miiiiiiinnnnnnnnnne” and then proceeded to watch, statue-esque, as the ball simply landed about 10 feet away. This week’s Monty is….. Finchy! This is TWILC……out.

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