Parklife: Amateur football column
A most unusual occurrence took place over the weekend, with a match delayed due to cricket.
There are many instances at the start and end of each season where a football match can be taking place with a game of cricket next door on the same field.
This has been known to cause problems with the scheduling and availability of grounds, as clubs juggle their football commitments with the start and end of the season of the “summer game”.
Evasive action from many a six-hit has been taken by football players and officials in April and September.
But a delay in the middle of February?
Caused by cricket?
After the torrential downpours of the last several weeks?
Rare indeed. Particularly as the cricket pitch which runs at right angles behind one of the goals at this Lancashire location, was protected by covers which would have done Lord’s proud.
The pitch was covered with those huge white moveable covers, with hosepipes emanating from each corner, ferrying rainwater to isolated areas away from the square.
No play was taking place, but a delay to the football happened anyway. As yet another wayward effort on goal sailed wide and high, missing the goal by the width of a small planetoid, the ball lodged under the cricket pitch covers.
As with several hoofed clearances had occurred earlier, all of which could easily have been accompanied by a cry of ‘Have it!’, the game had to stop.
There was no ball. The away team hadn’t brought a single ball with them and the home team had now lost four.
To my dying day I never expected to see footballers moving cricket covers, in the middle of a football match. In February.
Many a snigger went around the ground.
Sunday’s trip to another 3G facility provided an element of mirth and merriment. The home team’s club linesman had earlier taken part in the game but been substituted.
His removal from the game, to be replaced by another substitute who was previously running the line, did not sit well with him.
He made his feelings known to the coach and anyone within earshot for a radius of several hundred yards. More was to follow.
As a clearance by his team was launched towards the stratosphere, the manager told him to drop the flag and go to collect the ball. Instead of walking towards the gate in the fence, nearest to where the ball landed before rolling, he walked in the opposite direction.
A few seconds later, a car engine started. Another first – match ball retrieved driving after it! It was knockabout stuff.