Picture the scene. Last Saturday White Coppice’s inspirational captain Tony Moore came over to me in the changing room.
“I can’t play next week Magsy so I’d like you to captain,” he said. “I’ll try and get a team together mate so you’ll just be in charge on Saturday.”
I’d have been more excited at the prospect of getting my legs waxed. Tony has been a man mountain this season – scoring 329 runs. If he asked me to climb out the trenches and go over the top with him, I would.
“No problem Tony,” I said. “What can go wrong?”
One player emailed on Thursday to say he was leaving the club, Abi Bates dropped out after pulling her calf and her brother Harry suffered a dislocated kneecap against Fylde.
On Friday night, Tony contacted to me to say he currently only had eight players, but Ross Dixon was coming back early from holiday. I just needed to pick up him up.
Fast forward to 12.45pm and the magnificent nine rolled into Hoghton’s picturesque ground.
Farmers were spreading muck on the surrounding fields so it was like playing next to a sewage plant.
The first job of captain is the toss and Hoghton’s captain Matt Parkinson produced a £1 coin.
“Heads,” I said confidently. “Heads it is,” said the umpires. “At least we’ve won something this season,” I joked.
What happened next is slightly confusing. I thought I invited Hoghton to bat first. However minutes before the start, Parky came to our changing room door. “You did say you were batting?” he said. “No,” I replied. Then the umpires chipped in. “We both heard you say you were batting Chris.”
I apologised for any confusion and Hoghton batted. I gathered my team and gave my best Churchillian speech about never has no much been asked of so few.
Hoghton racked up 267-8 after 44 overs when Parky decided to declare.
“It means you’ve got 46 overs Chris to get the runs,” said the umpires. I nearly wet myself.
I swished my way to 47 before hitting a return catch to Parky as we were all out for 109 to lose by 158 runs.
I was so proud of the players. We picked up two bonus bowling points. Although we’re still bottom of the league, some things are more important than results.
One team-mate is my near neighbour Jim Lawrence, who sent me a message on Saturday night. “Many thanks for the opportunity to play again, It’s an absolute privilege to play with such great blokes and a team with such a long and remarkable history.”
Never have 20 words meant so much.