Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of cricket would doubtless acknowledge that the most famous and historically significant event in the cricketing calendar is ‘The Ashes’ series; a keenly contested battle of bat and ball pursued between the national teams of England and Australia. At a local level, a similarly notable and fiercely fought event is the annual match between Morecambe and Heysham Masons, commonly designated ‘The Cinders’ or as one or two unkind souls have dubbed it ‘The Clinkers’.
This year’s match attracted a significant number of Masonic participants from lodges meeting at Derby Street, Morecambe, together with a large crowd of family and friends who had attended to lend their support. The terraces at the ‘Bus Terminus’ end of Heysham Cricket ground were packed almost to capacity with knowledgeable supporters of the game who were eagerly anticipating a fine display of the dexterous skills associated with this quintessentially English pastime. In contrast, the two teams had turned up for a ‘friendly knockabout’, a ‘bit of fun’ and ‘a few beers’.
Both teams gave a good account of themselves in their respective innings with a number of highlights (and lowlights) in terms of skill and application during the 15 overs a side limit. In a fine display of batting prowess, Bob Malcolm lost track of not only the ball but also his bat, legs and stumps! Joe Emerson and Keith Lowson batted with commendable fortitude, whilst tricky bowling was employed at both ends by Dav Morrow and Richard Westbury. A study of the match statistics made interesting reading with the highest scorer in the Morecambe innings being an anonymous individual called ‘extras’. Heysham’s batting star was Keith Lomas, with an unbeaten 20 not out.
Umpire Richard Dennison, who appeared to be applying the rules of ‘hurling’ to the match, had also apparently decreed that the whole duration of the game should be designated as a ‘drinks interval’. Fellow umpire Roy Norman seemed happy to concur and joined him for a chat at the bowlers end for most of the innings!
Speaking after the match, which saw Morecambe victorious with four wickets to spare, joint organiser and Heysham spokesperson Bob Malcolm attributed his teams’ narrow defeat to a combination of ‘a tricky wicket, poor light, a low tide, economic downturn and demonic forces’. He was also at a loss to explain why the trophy was unavailable for presentation and therefore declared that despite the result Heysham had retained the trophy by default! Fellow organiser Stewart Aimson, speaking for the Morecambe team, summed up the essential details of the contest by saying: “It doesn’t really matter as the bar is still open, the buffet needs eating and my daughter wants her nappy changing.” Clearly a man who knows how to prioritise.
Undoubtedly the most important and significant result of the evening was the raising of £168 for worthy causes and an enjoyable and fun event for all who took part. It is understood that there are plans to open the competition to wider participation in the future with the possibility of Lancaster Masons being invited to participate. More news to come regarding next years’ fixtures, as and when this story develops.