Monday, 5 August 2013

Playing cricket in Allendale

I accepted an offer to turn out for Allendale Cricket Club in their key game against Wylam. The day was beautiful and a resounding victory was achieved, which had not looked on the cards early in the day. Allendale are led by a great committee of cricket lovers, and with John Raglan's drive the Club has secured improved facilities, which the club are rightly proud of. Before the game I had my first net of the season, with a bowling machine to boot - very few club sides have this quality of equipment, and thanks to Councillor Colin Horncastle for making a lot of this possible, along with the other fundraisers.
The team features a great collection of players from all walks of life, all age groups, and a kind acceptance of a newcomer into their side as an occasional player. I could not have been welcomed more, particularly as it was my first Tynedale game of the season and it was a crunch match.
The day featured Allendale making 177, a score which many thought under par for a reasonable pitch. I batted [briefly] with top scorer Chris, a Whitfield farmer, before I attempted to hit one ball over the pavilion and duly was stumped. What was clear was that the pitch was not doing much. This changed when Allendale bowled: our opening bowler Amit was the difference on the day. He bowled with real pace, with a heavy ball that skidded off the deck. He was the only bowler all day to create uneven bounce and he ripped out the Wylam top 4 with figures of 4 wickets in 15 balls for 6 runs. Three of these wickets were bowled, with one sensational catch at mid off by Jack Raglan. The team were aided by a masterclass in leg spin from Swanny to mop up the tail, and to everyone's surprise the game was over by just after 6 with Wylam just under a 100 runs short. The result did not do a good Wylam side justice - it was just one of those cricket days.  A pint in the Golden Lion rounded things off nicely, although the bitter on tap was Wylam not Allendale!
A few points struck me during the afternoon. I was really impressed with the efforts to get the kids involved and there was both a net before and a game of quick cricket in the interval. There is a desire to get the local youngsters playing. This is clearly not unique to Allendale as the Wylam players made the same point when we chatted - but it is still good to hear, and not possible without the efforts of lots of local volunteers.
Also the club now have the opportunity to utilise the pitch for other events and are hosting their first wedding on the site in September. Coming soon is also the Allendale Show on Saturday August 17. It is always a great day and one of the best shows of the Tynedale summer; sadly I cannot be there this year. More details about the ground and chances to play cricket for young or old are found here.