Opening Night

Readers, in the dark days of February and March, before the ritual of the clock change, may have look forlornly out of the kitchen window at the saturated ground and wondered how it would be possible for any decent bounce to be extracted from a decent length ball in April; but here we are, and the first ball will leave the high arm of George Macrae arcing it’s journey of 22 yards.  The members of Amalgamated Union of Pipe Welders and Wicketkeepers will place their offerings on the altar, and hope that the back holds out for one more season as they gather the ball somewhere around the lateral malleolus. Such is the lot of those card-carrying union members until sometime in June.  It is a wonder that they don’t strike for better playing conditions.

Season 2024 at Walsham Le Willow Cricket Club promises to be another barnstormer.  The winter has seen much activity; Chairperson Meyer, through the hard work of Ben Clarke, has a ‘5-Year Plan’; the spinning jenny of a mobile net is ready for deployment; new carpet has been laid for the static nets and the Annual Club Dinner has been hosted – complete with the end-of-pier joke reserved for such an occasion.

In the Junior Section, new teams have been inaugurated, with the U19 joining forces with Bardwell to field a side; U15s, U13, U11 and U9 girls and boys are ready for a season of fun; Anthony Macrae has cranked up the Mechanical Turk into action to figure out a full set of fixtures; and the All Stars and Dynamos start on the 10th May (be sure to sign-up).

At the other end of the demographic, the older, not necessarily wiser, cohorts are heading out under the leadership of Messrs Jackson, Campbell (N) and Ridding (L) – with hope that they all achieve their aims for promotion in their respective leagues.  The Saturday 2nd XI has the potential to be a stand-out for the Club, as it brings the canny mix of old-uns and young-uns together.

But the final word should be reserved for Mr Neil Baker, who will pack away his kit-bag in the attic of retirement this year.  He is is, without doubt, a huge part of the Club; great teammate and friend; wily left-armer and gallant cover-driver.  His presence on the field will be missed, but his place on the bench is reserved for him to cast judgement.