Sunday 23rd June 2019 saw the 2nd XI travel to the ever-lovely Centre Vale and beat close rivals Todmorden by seven wickets. That the total was reached in half the allotted overs was largely down to a ferocious assault by young Ben Parkinson who smashed 74 from just 35 balls from the top of the order. Having missed out on Saturday’s run fest due to having goal keeping trials with Gateshead, at times he looked like a lad on a promise. Or at least one who needed to rush home to practice saving penalties. After a couple of early wafts he started to time the ball crisply, particularly into, and over, the V with the highlights being a huge six into the school followed by a delicious inside out drive through extra cover. It was a stunning knock and all the more remarkable as he is having to balance his time between football and cricket. To keep two masters happy so to speak.
There was a time when it was normal to play two sports to a decent standard. Growing up we played football, rugby or hockey in the winter then, after a short overlap, turned to cricket, athletics or tennis in the long hot summers. Then out would go the factor two Piz Bruin, in would come wintergreen and off we’d go again. If you were any good you might play in on off-season tournament or two. These days, if you have the talent and are spotted early, being good at one sport seems to be an all year round thing. The seasons start earlier and finish later. The pre-seasons last months rather than weeks and the pressure not to get injured playing the ‘wrong’ sport intense. I’m not sure this is necessarily a good thing but that’s for another column.
So, farewell to the great all-rounders. Gone are the days when Dennis Compton could compete at the highest level at two sports and we shall probably never see the likes of George Formby again who won the Isle of Man TT and the Grand National on the same day. With a chicken on his head!