Brocklesby Park Cricket Club

THE RED FLAG

So what about the ground? Travel was still not easy, but one of our pre-war members, Charlie Turner, gathered together a few old members, plus some of moderate ability, and some schoolboys, calling the team Kirmington, all the matches were away. This was 1948, so that in what was 1949, we had a meeting of Brocklesby Park in what is known as The Hut in Hall Drive. This was a bit dry, but quite well attended. Unfortunately, we had two members who were rank left-wing and intent on showing it in every way. When it came to the matter of the ground, which was paramount to every other matter, one of them stood up and said that the Yarboroughs had plenty of money and spare labour and that they should put the ground in order to our satisfaction. This put a bit of a mockers on the meeting, as we couldn't discuss what to do in their presence; it might have got back to the Kremlin.

However, the matter was solved for us quite promptly, as a little bird carried the message to the Hall, and the secretary received a letter instructing them to ask for their resignations. The leader Dr Bedford, went to put South Africa right, and, apparently, he has succeeded, with a bit of help from Mr Mandela. The other member was Secretary of the Dockers, and has never been heard of since.

So we set about the ground, and whatever we did, has to be drastic. One of our members, the late Chris Riggal, owned a Pitchpole harrow, an implement with a rotating shaft, which rotated when full of grass, the tines rolled over and dropped the grass into neat rows. After this, we pulled zig-rag harrows about and set fire to them. This gave us a completely black outfield, and we played for several matches in black/whites. The whole thing had worked quite well apart from the odd scorched post, for the ouffield, that is, but for the wicket, it was a completely different thing. As W S Gilbert would have said, "Here's a pretty kettle of fish," for Chris in his enthusiasm had Pitchpoled the wicket and made an appalling mess of it, chipping holes in the surface. We tried many cures, but it took years to put it right. Fortunately, the wicket then was only 22 yards square, now it is nearly double that. We marled the square perhaps five times, from then to the present day, and this gradually had a effect. The motor roller also made a big difference, for in the days of the old towed roller, if it was wet, it left wheel marks, and if it was dry, it didn't do any good. We never encouraged Chris to bring his Pitchpole again. He was a large man who farmed at Croxton, his only claim to fame at cricket was that he was at school with the England Captain, Freddie Brown. If Chris hit a four he got more applause than most people do for fifty. He had an abundance of homosexual jokes and emigrated to Australia to marry a wealthy widow.


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