The Romany CC AGM will take place at Headingley 6.30pm Tues 13th March 2018- please save the date.
The Romany CC AGM will take place at Headingley 6.30pm Tues 13th March 2018- please save the date.
Mike played for the club from the mid 1980s until 2016. He died after a short illness on 29 September 2017. This is the tribute given by Tim Halstead at the celebration of Mike’s life held at Heart in Headingley on Tuesday 11 October 2017.
Mike the Cricketer
I met Mike in the early 1980s when we both played for the Cambridge Methodist Cricket Club. In case you’re wondering, the club had nothing to do with Cambridge, and very little to do with Methodism for that matter. We played on the fields up Stonegate Road in Meanwood.
When I joined the club I didn’t expect to start a 30+ year friendship with a left-leaning polytechnic economics lecturer – a bearded one at that. My sheltered upbringing hadn’t brought me into contact with anyone like that before. But I didn’t realise at the time that there wasn’t really anyone else like Mike, anywhere.
I was the wicketkeeper. Mike was usually at first slip – and that may surprise those who would have expected such a natural athlete to patrol the outfield at cover point. For over thirty years, most of our conversations were conducted over my right shoulder (and in his case, rather unfortunately, towards my rear).
In cricketing terms, Mike was an all-rounder – an elegant and effective batsman, with a highest score of 85, against Ledsham (a little while ago).
He was also a slow bowler. He might have said that he was a spin bowler. In his dreams at least he would turn the ball prodigiously. All I can say is that, as a wicketkeeper, you get a very good view of the ball and can see it turn – or not. After more than 30 years of close observation, I’ll stick with the description of “slow bowler”.
After a few years he and I went on to join the Romany Cricket Club, for whom Mike played his final game in the summer of last year, in the beautiful setting of Singleton, on the South Downs, on our biennial tour of West Sussex. We made a bit of a fuss of him that day and presented him with a photo of the occasion at our AGM last year. I have to say that, enthusiastic though we both were, neither of us would have laid claim to being great cricketers. It was fitting therefore that I managed to miss a stumping off the very last ball he bowled – which was a wide.
Mike never lost his enthusiasm for cricket, which seemed to me like that of a giddy 12-year-old boy let out of school for the summer. His passion wasn’t just for the game itself. It was for everything that surrounded it – the delightful village ground of Crakehall, the historic setting of Swinton Park or the rural charm of Yapham.
But it was the camaraderie that mattered too to Mike. The Romany Cricket Club has a diverse membership – it’s probably fair to say that many of its members lean politically in a different direction to Mike. He was never judgemental – he would listen patiently and accept that there was another point of view. He was always interesting and interested.
He and I had a little road trip in the mid 1980s, watching cricket. (It’s an acquired taste.) We took in Worcester, Taunton, Maidstone and Trent Bridge. We didn’t run out of things to talk about over four or five full days and evenings – or for the next 30 years, for that matter.
I would sometimes enjoy a little game with new players – look around the dressing room and tell me which member of our team you think is a professor who was awarded the OBE for his services to economic development. It was often a little difficult to convince others that it was the one who had spent the afternoon making juvenile jokes at first slip.
I suppose that’s just one way of saying that Mike wore his erudition lightly, humbly and modestly – and always with good humour.
On a couple of occasions in the last three years, Mike and Janie also kindly hosted out-of-season parties for club members at their home in Headingley. As you might imagine, they were warm and generous hosts.
Perhaps Mike’s favourite ground was the quintessentially rustic home of Lofthouse & Middlesmoor Cricket Club, up the valley, past the reservoirs, beyond Pateley Bridge, an area that Mike knew well. It’s a small ground, on the side of the hill. It was there that we would often get the biggest crowds of the season, though they were almost all sheep.
As a friendly, nomadic cricket team, we would sometimes struggle to get a full side of eleven players. To bring our own scorer would have been an unusual luxury. More often it was left to the batting team to score for both sides.
That would lead to the request that accompanied any change of bowling, “Bowler’s name?” shouted out from beyond the boundary. It was on one afternoon at Lofthouse & Middlesmoor a few years ago that Mike came on to bowl at the top end. There came the inevitable call from the scorers, “Bowler’s name?”.
“Campbell” came the reply from the fielders.
The wind was blowing up the valley, however, so we could hear the question on the field, but the scorers couldn’t hear the reply.
The question came again – “Bowler’s name?”
The same answer, “Campbell”, but only the sheep could hear it.
“What was that – Bramble?”
It took a little clarification from one of the fielders before the scorers got it right. And in so doing they neatly summed up Mike the Cricketer, with a passing nod to Mike the man.
“No, Campbell – as in Alastair, but without the spin”.
The inspired and inspiring captaincy of George Holden, and the benevolent presence in the side of Club President Peter Hockin, as well as the usual welcome from Colin Poole and all at Crakehall CC, helped us all to have a very enjoyable game, as always, at Crakehall.
George won the toss and inserted the opposition, and although they immediately started hitting some boundaries, having Keith Egerton’s spinning wiles to open the bowling with George, led to the dismissal of many of Crakehall’s young, fit, and crack league batsmen. 3 clean bowled by Keith.
George took himself off, saving some overs, put on Howard Elgot, who immediately got another wicket; plumb LBW with his very first ball. George himself then got a spectacular direct hit run-out, (with a throw reminiscent of Samit Patel’s at T20 Finals Day the day before). Howard then appeared to have bowled another Crakehall batsman, but it was with an over waist-high full toss, so ruled out as a no ball. However, he was soon back among the wickets with a very good low catch by Geoff Lawler (his first Romany catch) and another LBW.
Crakehall were 95-7 (better than we’ve normally achieved against them mid-innings). However , despite some steady and not too expensive bowling by the rest of our attack, Andrew Moore, Peter Hockin, Charlie Read, and your humble scribe, several hard catching chances or half-chances weren’t quite accepted- ( great efforts by Scott Munro, and young Charlie Read among them) so Crakehall recovered.
George came back and bowled Crakehall veteran Colin Poole, but Crakehall closed on 188-8 in their 30 overs. John Surtees had done an excellent keeping job, as keeping is never easy at Crakehall, especially on the kind of dull, grey day it was throughout.
After an excellent tea, as usual Duncan Read gave us an excellent start with hard-hit boundaries, but was bowled for 14, others found it tougher but Scott Munro made 10, and George made a superb captain’s innings 38. He was then, ironically, himself a victim of Crakehall’s own direct hit run out.
We were behind the required scoring rate but John Surtees hit several boundaries in making 24, before being unluckily bowled off his pads. It was difficult to deal with Crakehall’s opening bowlers brought back, and the target was out of reach, but to salvage some pride by not being bowled out, Geoff Lawler (4 not out) and your scribe (10 not out) held out to the end at 135-7.
(Crakehall then kindly volunteered to bowl an extra over so young Charlie Read could have a hit, which he enjoyed, and he hit some good shots and wasn’t out.) – Pleasant drink, as always, in the village pub opposite, after the game.
4th September 2017
Season so far Batting 2017 – All matches up to 27/08/2017
*Qualification – 3 completed innings
Season so far Bowling 2017 – All matches up to 27/08/2017
*Qualification – 3 wickets taken
Match Report – Romany CC vs Little Valley CC (at Old Town CC – Hebden Bridge)
Romany Loss by 20 runs
Little Valley CC 206-4
(S.Shazheen 93*, Soden 27)
(K Egerton 3-19)
Romany CC 186-4
(C Lloyd 102, K Egerton 26, H Williams 24)
(I Hussain 2-13)
Match Manager’s Remarks:
I think we were all unsure what to expect of this fixture as it is a new one on the card for Romany this season and in the opposite direction to where we normally find ourselves heading on a Sunday afternoon. We need not have worried as what we found in Hebden Bridge was cricket played very much in the spirit we all enjoy and an extremely warm welcome from another friendly little club.
When we arrived it was clear that the wicket and outfield had taken a bit of a soaking over the last few days, in places it was described as swamp like…and so captain Knight made the correct decision to let the opposition bat first to see what sort of total would be competitive.
With the side we had available we knew we would be a little short of bowling, but we fielded well in difficult conditions and in particular Harwood Williams, Charlie Lloyd and Andrew Moore (who recovered well from a tricky first over) bowled with good accuracy to restrict the scoring somewhat.
The oppositions no.3 batsman, Shazheen, however did take us on and was able to score quickly often advancing far down the wicket whenever the ball was dropped short of a length. In total he hit 16 boundaries in his 93 before sportingly retiring and allowing others to take up the challenge.
Spin did seem to be the most appropriate approach and Keith Egerton bowled a very tight line of left arm getting through his full allocation of 7 overs, only conceding 19 runs and taking 3 wickets into the bargain. Nick Hawkins and Matt Knight also held down one end for 6 overs between them.
After a decent tea, we began our reply. With Knight and Williams opening the innings. It did appear that the bounce of the wicket became less consistent for our innings and Matt took a couple of blows reminiscent of Brian Close back in the 60’s (I’m sure Matt remembers watching it on the telly in his late teens)
Matt (15) and Harwood (24) fell in reasonably quick succession having got us off to a good start with a 44-run opening partnership and Tim Halstead (in his first appearance of his 37th Romany season) also fell shortly after for just 1.
This brought together the Charlie Lloyd and Keith Edgerton partnership who put on 91 for the 5th wicket before Keith was caught for 26. Charlie continued his innings supported by Scott Munroe (6*) and accelerated to finish on 102 not out, with 4 consecutive sixes in the final over of the match.
Overall a good day, with two sides well matched in both capability and approach to the game. After the game three of our number were presented with souvenir bottles of beer from Little Valley’s namesake brewery in recognition of their efforts while we all enjoyed a well-deserved pint.
Thanks to all those who made themselves available for the match, and to Martin Grayshon for scoring throughout
Man of the Match: Charlie Lloyd, for his superb 102. Just eclipsing (topical!) Keith Egerton who gave a great all-round performance
21st August 2017
Another Romany Victory.
Caribbean CC 153 all out (30 overs). Romany CC 154 – 2 (29.4 overs)
After twice losing the toss I decided to ask our good friends from Caribbean to bat as we only had 10 men.
We got off to a great start when the electric pace of Haseen Bashir got an early LBW. Fortunately for us their other opener had to retire after a very quick 40 and didn’t get back in until almost the end of their allotted 30 others. The other Caribbean batsmen came and went at regular intervals kept under pressure from Shamiraiz (1-15), Zofi Akhtar (1-21) and Larry Audain (2-21). Keith Egerton (4-21) then ran through their tail, hitting the stumps at regular intervals. Two other bowlers deserve honourable mentions. Lloyd Thompson made his debut for Romany while on holiday from his teaching job in Qatar and Charlie Read would definitely have had a wicket stumped Read bowled Read if the umpire at square leg had been watching.
Tea was taken in the grand style with chicken, rice and beans prepared and served by Harwood Williams who had organised the game from the Caribbean side. Thanks so much, Harwood.
We opened our innings with Larry and Duncan Read and they both retired at 40 and 41 respectively. This was a terrific effort by both batsmen as the Caribbean bowling was tight and skilful. We reached 100 for no wickets and it was a surprise when Haseen eventually got out for a very quick 25. This brought in Freddie Read who unselfishly sacrificed his wicket in the last over to allow Zofi to regain the strike with three balls left and 4 runs to win. The next ball was straight-driven for 4 by Zofi. I was man of the match for an excellent 0 not out in the crucial last ball partnership.
13th August 2017
ROMANY CC MATCH REPORT V.YAPHAM Sun 2nd July 2017
BY Nick Hawkins (having been asked to write it on behalf of Howard Elgot-fellow elderly Barrister of this parish-as he had a v.busy week coming up with a tricky trial starting on Mon)
Not sure how many RCC matches featured Romany needing 6 to win off 2 balls and returning veteran El Presidente Hockin then trying to flick last ball over keeper’s head Jos Buttler style, but…
We all had a great time-team was a mixture of senior players – in addition to the President, Judge John Walford also returned, bowled craftily and gave us every chance with the bat, as did Matt Knight skippering, your scribe, Bowen, Elgot, Steve Hardy, welcome guest from Scotton CC, (via recent Barbados tour connections…) agile keeper and good bat, but we had fielded and bowled well including a direct hit run-out by said Elgot, and wicket first ball for your humble scribe, and restricted a good largely young and fit Yapham side to 193-7. New Barrister player Dan (new colleague in Chambers of Howard’s) sadly pulled hamstring in field but is nevertheless most welcome to Romany.
That we got close-188-9- was down to 3 younger players – two, Tom Egerton and Charlie Lloyd, (also from Scotton) I’m delighted to report enjoyed “The Romany experience” so much they have immediately volunteered to play regularly for us, starting this coming Sun-they bowl quickly, field superbly and bat well-brilliant club recruits-and our third star who has played well for us many times, Danny Fitzpatrick, who made well over 50 and got us very close indeed, out to penultimate ball trying to hit winning 6…
Yapham always make us most welcome and their new pavilion/clubhouse is great. Thanks also to Mike Bosomworth for support and umpiring!
Lovely weather, great fun had by all!
2nd July 2017
Great hospitality and a match played in a good spirit, but Romany fell well short in the end.
Markington had quite a few of their first team playing. Most of the Romany team had not played a first team game for many years. However we got off to a great start and Charlie Lloyd soon had Markington 2 for 2. He added another wicket later, but the scoring rate soon increased. Good bowling by our debutant Keith Egerton kept us in the game as did an excellent spell by Nick Hawkins, but Markington’s 189 all out off 35 overs looked a tough score on a pitch that had been uncovered all week and was of variable bounce – low or lower. Freddie Reid kept wicket beautifully and I’m sure that he and his brother, Charlie, will soon be playing in some first teams, even if most of us won’t.
Duncan and Freddie Read got us off to a solid start and we had reached 40 by the time Freddie was out. Duncan followed almost immediately, but the run rate slowed dramatically as soon as I came in and the rain set in. There were a few gloomy predictions that “This was it for the day.” But it wasn’t and I was soon involved in a run out with poor Tom Egerton. It’s always the fault of the batsman at the other end of course!!
After that batsmen came and went as I proved conclusively that it is possible to bat twice as long as anyone else and still not top score. In the end we hobbled past 100 before losing our final wicket and adjourning to Markington’s one remaining pub.
Thanks to all who played.
30th July 2017
MATCH REPORT SUN 9TH JULY v LOFTHOUSE & MIDDLESMOOR
Although we all enjoyed the game, in lovely weather, (as we always enjoy L & M), this result was a big contrast to our glorious victory at Bolton Percy on last Friday. It was (proposed by them and agreed in advance by Harwood, for the avoidance of doubt…) a 35-over game, and 164 all out in 34 overs was not too bad-though we’d hoped for 200+.
Romany was indebted to the collective Read family-after your scribe had won the toss and elected to bat, Duncan opened with a fine 23 before getting a really good ball which bowled him. Elder son Freddie went on and held the whole side together, making about 70-odd (haven’t got scorebook in front of me) and being out only when “going for it”, on instructions, with about 6 overs left, and running out of partners.
All others chipped in-new stars Tom Egerton and Charlie Lloyd at 3 and 4 (Tom perhaps somewhat unlucky on LBW decision) , lusty blows from John Surtees, and some scrambling by Geoff Lawler before he ran himself out, Adam Bowen seeking to strike out and young Charlie (CJ) Read confident shot off the mark – Andrew Moore another good not out at no.11.
Tom and Charlie L bowled really well with no luck at all for first 8 overs-the L & M openers simply gave no chances at all. Same story when Rob Smith bowled well, Andrew Moore no luck, Duncan tried an over then it was decided we should change keepers, John Surtees took the gloves so Freddie Read could bowl medium-pace.
At last, the first chance, with half the overs gone and L & M ahead of the rate-a hard one Duncan couldn’t quite cling onto-off his son’s bowling….
Your scribe decided, after Adam Bowen’s excellent bowling at Swinton Park, he should have a go and at last our first and only wicket-(caught, inevitably, by Freddie Read at deepish mid-on).
Young CJ Read came on to bowl with 4 needed and his first ball was excellent, but sadly a swipe off the next brought L & M a deserved victory with time to spare. It should be noted that Romany’s fielding never lapsed-CJ Read especially athletic at the top of the hill and Geoff Lawler very safe with a lot of stops to make.
Wonderful tea as always and a good drink afterwards up the hill at the Crown at Middlesmoor.
9th July 2017
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