MY idea of a dream holiday as a kid wasn’t some idyllic place abroad.
No, it was Scarborough and, most particularly, a hotel room overlooking the cricket ground at North Marine Road.
Year after year we went for a week to Scarborough. Usually in late July, the ‘works weeks’.
If Yorkshire were playing there, which they often were, that was a wonderful bonus for a sports-mad kid.
And I would look wistfully at those people hanging out of their hotel windows alongside the ground watching the cricket. For free.
I couldn’t think of a better holiday place to stay, anywhere. A hotel room overlooking the cricket ground. I could spend all day there.
But, dream on. Never managed one of those, of course, though we did once stop a bit further up North Marine Road which was next best.
I’ve not actually been to watch cricket at Scarborough for a over a decade now but went this week and thoroughly enjoyed it. Lovely place to watch still, meet up with old friends. Not too much changed in some respects but not as many looking out from hotel rooms though.
Of course, youngsters go on the outfield at lunch and get little games going; people have a stroll around. Then he caught my eye. The oldest ‘player’ I’d ever seen in a lunchtime on-field game.
He’s wearing his flat cap, white shirt buttoned down at the cuffs, grey trousers. Must be late 60s. Part of a granddad-dad-son threesome. None of whom, incidentally, are any good at all.
Anyway, grandad bats and gets out. Then, flat cap turned round back-to-front, he bowls to dad, batting on the boundary rope close by a sightscreen.
A few pat backs, a cover drive to show you could once play and then pop up a few catches and give your lad a bat. Not this one. Dad starts hitting these dolly deliveries into the outfield as far as he can!
Suddenly, he pulls the ball high over the sightscreen and into the crowd. Remarkably, he does this twice more totally ignoring the fact he might hit somebody!
On the fourth occasion, he sends the ball soaring into the holy of holies, the front of the pavilion where it bounces up, hits underneath the balcony and rebounds down. Yes, it could have hit somebody or landed in some old dear’s trifle.
I was amazed at his sheer stupidity. It wasn’t deliberate but it was senseless, with a complete lack of thought. If he could hit the ball wherever then he would do, regardless of any consequences.
On the last occasion, realising where the ball was heading, he puts the bat behind his back, sheepishly holding it horizontally.
When he eventually gets out, giving his lad a bat, he bowls (of a fashion) about half-a-dozen balls. But he hasn’t got him out. You know what comes next. He runs in off (and I counted them) 18 paces. Again and again!
It was all pretty embarrassing to be honest. At tea, out they come again and dad’s batting. Guess where he hits the first ball? Yes, high over the sightscreen and in among the pavilion guests!