Bures & District Cricket Club

Yorkshire Tour 2004

(Report by The Skipper)

The third Bures & District Cricket Club Yorkshire tour took place over the weekend 11th, 12th & 13th June 2004.

Apart from the inconvenience of two hold-ups on the A1, the advance party of Patrick, Roger, Chris and the Skipper arrived at the Crescent Hotel Ilkley in good time for a couple of pints of Black Sheep prior to dining on fish and chips and then back to re-hydrate after the extended car journey. The prospect of success at Harewood House on Saturday was strengthened by Patrick choosing to captain the Bures side for this fixture. An enthusiastic McKenna introduced a new style of pre-match captaincy hitherto unseen.  Nothing less than 110% effort would be sufficient and the reminder that there was no ‘I’ in the word team.

Saturday breakfast was taken just before the 10.00 am deadline and we awaited the arrival of the Norton mobile conveying a brace and half of Nortons and James Lee.  The team was slowly assembling and we departed to Pool for lunch.  With eight cricketers intact there were more to arrive but arrive they did in their own particular style. An aged Espace emerged from the horizon and our ex Land Rover consultant disembarked jubilantly.  Apparently the “Tin Can” had just passed an MOT without a hiccup and will continue to be a formidable Cropper chariot for another 12 months (I never knew rust had such mechanical integrity - Ed.).  So we had nine players.

Skipper McKenna was anxiously directing the remainder of his team to our lunchtime venue and we rose to attention to greet the arrival of Paul McKenna (Kidder), Keith McKenna and the First Lady.  After formal introductions most of the team stayed on the terrace and lunched on hot roast beef sandwiches with thick cut chips and beef gravy whilst the McKenna entourage retreated to the comfort of the dining room. Upon our arrival at Harewood House the Kites turned out to greet us.  Unfortunately, the skipper, still a little wet behind the ears, forgot to use a double-sided coin and we were duly inserted in a 40-over format.

James Lee and Chris Ayres made a positive start supported by Tom at No. 3.  James played some classy strokes but perished to a yorker, attempting to drive.  Chris Ayres began to look very good but was dismissed by a very useful catch at wide mid on.  Mark Norton whacked some lusty blows and found the boundary quickly. Chambers produced a poor two and Lee Norton demonstrated his ability to remain at the crease long after all the others had departed.

Entertaining journeys to the crease were produced by Kidder McKenna and Nigel Norton both of whom allowed nerves to give them statuesque rigidity which made troubling the scorers difficult. Last but not least, Roger Chunnoo strode to the crease with the confidence of Montgomery mindful of Skipper McKenna’s instructions and having the intuition of a seasoned tourist. True to form, Rog produced an absolutely faultless golden duck, perfectly executed. The innings closed at 72 all out after 32 overs.

After a tea of sandwiches and cakes, Bures returned to the field and their opening attack was skipper McKenna and Chambers C.  The first 10 overs produced a wicket and about 16 runs and it was felt time for a change. Now or never and unfortunately there were very few runs with which to speculate. Mark’s first over of 14 was only surpassed by Tom at 16 and the game took a different complexion.  Five wickets fell by the time St. Georges reached their allotted total and we retired to the Travellers’ Inn to enjoy more Black Sheep and those wonderful dale views. Despite our less-than competent performance we were warmly welcomed and invited to return in 2005. Are we a nice bunch of chaps or do St. Georges just enjoy winning?

In view of our finish slightly earlier than scheduled, plans were made for dinner. Messrs. Norton M and L and James returned to their rooms to catch a glance of television in the hope that the Celebrity Get Me Out of Here mud bath would be repeated. The McKenna entourage, Nigel, Roger, Tom, Chris and the Skipper dined on steak and lamb and explored the Crescent cellar in the process. Very tasty indeed! The First Lady and Mr Keith McKenna retired and the entire squad assembled for more beer and an inspection of the night life of Ilkley.  Nearly everyone returned for a nightcap in the plushly refurbished bar of the Crescent Hotel and bar staff were kept on their toes until 2.30 a.m.

A full English breakfast was an essential start to the following day followed by an excursion to Ilkley Moor for a morning’s constitution.  Lunch was taken at the Cow & Calf and then on to the Olicanian Striders for our second and final contest. The Skipper suggested that the home side might wish to bat and bat they b…….... well did!  After 20 overs 145 runs were on the board! Tom stopped the rot with four useful wickets and Lee Norton collected two. Patrick and the Skipper both enjoyed a brace and the Olicanian innings closed at 224 for 9. The Striders chose an all-spin attack and James Lee batted aggressively and competently producing 28 before perishing to another yorker.  Patrick produced a lusty 31, Chambers C. a supporting 25; various extras and misfields allowed the visitors to amass 104.

This report would not be complete without a mention of the innings of Keith McKenna (aged 68). Keith had been coerced into playing by Patrick and struck two fours and a single to complete his innings on 9 not out.  A great day for the McKenna boys to be on the field with their father and of course the delight of the First Lady was there for all to see. Sadly no sign of our old foe Mr. Stodge who has apparently been staring himself out in the bedroom mirror for the past seven weeks, with no sign of weakness nor retreat on either his part nor that of the mirror. It is hoped that he will have finished this contest by the time next season's fixture comes round although knowing his resolve as we do, I would not bet on it!

We returned to the pavilion for refreshments and the prospect of seeing Beckham’s Boys in action. Bures did not produce a remarkable performance.  We were very warmly welcomed and the Olicanian Striders continue to show an admirable approach to friendly cricket which was a great pleasure for the Bures team.

So the Tin Can hit the road and the Norton wagon departed. And then there were four. After a tiring weekend the deep leather sofas of the Crescent Hotel provided a brief respite to our aching joints, soothed by further glasses of Black Sheep and lager. The hotel restaurant was closed Sunday evening so the local Turkish Diner alfresco was the only option to satisfy our hunger.

It is not the winning that counts it’s the taking part and a very good time was had by all.  Special thanks to Keith McKenna, Kidder McKenna, Nigel Norton and Roger Chunnoo without whom this great weekend would not have been possible.  Perhaps even greater thanks should be extended to Chris Chambers for organising the whole weekend and agreeing to organise a 2005 tour next season! Sometimes, you can't keep a good man down!

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