Your correspondent is sitting here tapping away with the sun pouring through the window. That surely indicates it isn’t a Friday or Saturday.
That’s how it seems to all club cricketers in the county this season, anyway.
A reasonable early part of the week threatens a good hard wicket by which bowlers can get rewards, but batsmen can score runs with a little hard work and concentration. And then the forecast is looked at on Thursday evening and it’s “all change for the weekend” and the weather deteriorates into showers, leaden skies resulting in grumpy groundsmen and players.
Teas might or might not be needed, frantic calls are made before the opposition set off and the umpires are informed in due time. All that happened again this weekend for several clubs, with Collegiate’s game against Cleethorpes being a high profile casualty, without a ball being bowled at Abbeydale.
This left Cleethorpes in third place while Collegiate dropped to seventh, as Barnsley’s win at Treeton took them up to sixth. Wakefield Thornes continued their fine season with a win against Whitley Hall who had shown good form into that game before losing by 13 runs in fore-shortened game. Victory widened the gap at the top as Appleby Frodingham were rained off at home to Aston Hall.
This abandonments gave Wickersley the chance to close the gap as they hosted Sheffield and Phoenix United at Northfield Lane, looking to repeat their solid victory earlier in the season. United have struggled since their club captain Azeem Rafiq was re-signed by Yorkshire, and is making a strong impression.
Those he has left behind started well having won the toss and after deciding to bat first, contributions were made all the way down the line up.
After an opening partnership of 64, due mainly to 45 from Suleman Saleem, the batsmen scored solidly. Homegrown skipper Bilal Anjam top scored with 56 off 46 balls and quick-fire support from the lower order gave United a final total of 247 in the last of their rain-reduced 42 over innings. Former Unitedite Mark Cummins picked up 5-31 at the end of the innings as quick runs were sought.
Wickersley’s reply looked well-paced, needing a run a ball. Dave Rodgers got there with 51 off 54 balls; Tom Knight scored 58 off 59 and Shahjahan Younis hit 51 off 49 balls. However it wasn’t quite enough as the United attack tied Cummins and the middle order down.
Yaqoob Yousuf (2-49) and Andrew Judge (2-49) kept their nerve and Wickersley finished agonisingly short on 239-5. United had turned their form around with a great win over an in-form side. United may be eighth, but are only six points behind Wickersley in fourth - so a win in the Steel City derby over Collegiate at Bawtry Road would guarantee at least one step up the ladder.
STANDINGS: (12 games) Wakefield Thornes 122; Appleby Frodingham 104; Cleethorpes 88; Wickersley 76; Whitley Hall 72; Barnsley 70; COLLEGIATE 70; UNITED 70; Aston Hall 60; Doncaster 52; Treeton 40; Rotherham 14.