ANYONE will tell you that at any local cricket ground, no one’s nicer or works harder than the tea ladies.
In many cases there’s no one - apart from some strapping, hairy-chested fast bowler - quite as formidable either. They’re an indispensable part of our summer game. Where would it be without them?
Can you imagine some blokes trying to sort out the teas? What a mess those sandwiches would be in and there’d barely be a salad worthy of the name.
Well, some tea ladies certainly acted beyond the call of duty last weekend. You might think they deserve an extra cream bun or two.
When Barnsley side Houghton Main travelled to Leeds to play Oulton CC in the National Village Knockout last Sunday, the conditions were poor. The game looked like being off.
However, the teams got their heads together and agreed to travel back to Barnsley and play the tie at Houghton Main instead.
“But what about the teas,” somebody piped up. “We’ve nothing arranged at our ground and they’ve got it all sorted here.”
With no more ado, the Oulton tea ladies decided that they’d pack everything up and transport it the 30-odd miles down the M1 to Houghton Main and set up camp there.
Which is exactly what they did - a marvellous gesture, welcomed by both sets of players.
Houghton Main - who won this competition to become National Village champions on a memorable day at Lord’s a couple of years ago - will whistle up their own tea ladies for the next stage.
They beat Oulton to reach the Yorkshire Area Final which they host on Sunday against Halifax side Warley.
He might not quite be in the demon bowler category but veteran Andrew Langdale is currently on a pretty remarkable bowling sequence.
He has taken the last 14 wickets to have fallen which is quite a run without someone at the other end chipping in with a wicket.
It began when he came into the attack for Sheffield Collegiate with opponents Whittington just one wicket down.
Andrew proceeded to take the remaining nine wickets and at the cost of just ONE measly run - and that off a fortunate inside edge.
So engrossed was he with his own wicket-taking he thought he had a chance of taking his first-ever 10 wicket haul - forgetting that a wicket had fallen before he came on.
“He was standing around waiting for the last batsman to come out and wondering why we were all walking off,” chuckled a colleague.
The next day, Andrew took his Invitation side Langdale’s Lovelies - or Not-so-Lovelies as someone described them - to play the Yorkshire Gents at Chatsworth.
He declined to bowl until finally, with the Gents five wickets down, he was persuaded to turn his arm over again. He then took the last five wickets making up 14 in all without one going down at the other end.
Such a lengthy run of successive wickets must be very unusual. By how many will he extend it this weekend?