By Matthew Fisher
Forget Headingley 2019, Sheriff Hutton Bridge 2019 is what it’s all about!
I can’t start this column with anything else.
On Saturday, we won the Yorkshire Premier League North title for the first time, winning at Harrogate.
I played in the game as part of my recovery from my dislocated shoulder and broken thumb. I bowled eight overs without taking a wicket and hit 44 not out as we chased a revised target of 145 in 46 overs.
I even got to hit the winning runs, and it was such a special day and one I won’t forget in a hurry.
Myself and my brothers have all played there since we were really young – me since I was seven. Adam and Mark drive from London and Cheltenham every weekend to play, so that shows how much it means.
The work that goes in at the club from all the volunteers is unbelievable.
My late dad, Phil, fitted into the volunteer mould perfectly.
He would coach the junior teams we were in and feed the bowling machine for anyone who wanted it. He would help out with the ground as well.
If he was still here with us, he would be so, so proud of this.
We don’t pay any players apart from the overseas we have. And even then, he could be getting more money elsewhere. We just run the club on fundraising.
So to win this league is massive for such a small club.
When Adam, my eldest brother, started, he won the National Village Cup when he was 16. That was a good team, but I feel like the club has come so far since then.
Adam’s been vital in that being captain for the last five, six or seven years.
We are the first York and District League team to win this league since the changes Mark Arthur (Yorkshire’s chief executive) made to the structure of league cricket in Yorkshire, moving to the Yorkshire Premier League South and North.
THAT WINNING MOMENT!! What club cricket still means to players!!
9M_Fisher&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=&quot;https://twitter.com/KarlCarver_29?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&quot;&gt;KarlCarver_29 at the crease today winning
HuntersYLN&lt;/a&gt; for &lt;a href=&quot;https://twitter.com/ShbccCricket?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&quot;&gt;ShbccCricket pic.twitter.com/f7gEIYzWbJ
— Sheriff Hutton Bridge Cricket Club ???? (@ShbccCricket) September 1, 2019
We now play in the mini competition between the four league champions from our league, the South, the Bradford League and the North Yorkshire South Durham League.
The final will be at Headingley I think, which would be great to play in if won the semi and I was available.
Our second team also had a good win on Saturday to help keep them up. They’re only in the league below us – the York and District Premier League – and that’s still a very good standard. Their goal was to stay up, and they’re quite close now.
The club is in such a great place.
I’m now hoping that I will be able to put myself in contention for Yorkshire’s Championship game against Somerset at Taunton next week, which I will come back to a little later.
But we have to talk about that truly amazing Test Match at Headingley last week and a sensational innings from Ben Stokes.
There’s a lot of talk going around about which Test was better. Headingley 1981 or Headingley 2019.
Given I wasn’t born in ’81, I can’t make that comparison. But the one I can compare last week with is the Edgbaston Ashes Test in 2005. And I think this one was better.
The legacy of that Test will be brilliant for Yorkshire as a club.
I think there will continue to be big Tests like that there for years to come. But if there wasn’t, people would be asking why just purely on the back of that game.
I went to the first day and then I watched the final stages of it on Sunday at my cousin’s birthday party. They were having a BBQ.
My aunty and uncle had put on a great spread, so we felt a bit rude that there was myself and my two brothers and then a few more watching around my phone.
When the food was ready, it was about 20 to win. We felt a bit bad, but you can’t miss that. It was a bit of history!
It was an unbelievable knock from Stokes.
I was there at Headingley on the Tuesday for a practice day, and Ben was doing a running session. He didn’t bat that day, but he was keeping up on his fitness.
After that Lord’s Test, if it had been me, I would be in recovery mode. But he was back out there – two days after – doing a pretty intense session. His fitness levels must be incredible.
There was no surprise to see him bowl his 15 overs on the Saturday and then back it up with that innings.
His bad time at Bristol a couple of years has given him a bit of a kick up the bum.
I’ve never really seen him as someone with a bad attitude, but something like that must make you realise what you’ve got.
He just doesn’t take anything for granted now by the sounds of things.
The momentum is with England, but I don’t think it will get the Aussies down too much. They have real character within their squad. They stick at things and have big hearts.
Losing when they could have won to go two up will affect them, no doubt, but not as much as it might do with our countries.
There are frailties in both batting orders, but I just see two good teams battling it out from now.
Old Trafford is a pitch which actually might suit the Aussies’ attack a bit more. It will produce pace and then spin later on.
I just expect it to be a fantastic last two Test Matches.
Returning to Yorkshire matters.
I played in the second-team against Surrey at York last week, and it went pretty well.
It was nice to get back out there. I bowled 14 overs and took three wickets when it was red hot on Tuesday, so it was tough conditions.
I had to play with my left thumb in a splint to protect it when I was batting and bowling. Other than that, I haven’t had to wear it doing every day things.
It was just in case I got a knock on it before the six weeks were up, which was Saturday and that Sheriff Hutton Bridge game.
We also have a Yorkshire intra-squad game this week building up to the Championship game against Somerset next Tuesday, which should help. Fingers crossed, I can be in contention for Taunton.
Going down to Taunton, the pressure’s not really on us given we are third and 30-odd points behind Essex and Somerset in first and second place.
If we can go down there and turn Somerset over, play some good cricket, then second is very realistic. If Essex then start losing as well, you never know.
For us, we just want to have the best of every game and see where we end up.
We were tight for relegation last year before a few wins at the end bumped us up the table. So it’s nice this year to not even have that in our minds.
We know Somerset have never won the title before, so that’s massive pressure. And anyone who is top of the league, that’s pressure too.
It’s just us creeping under the radar.
The only disappointment is looking back, there were a couple of games at Headingley earlier in the season where they were rain affected and we were ahead of the game, Essex in particular. We could have been even closer.
That’s not an excuse, it’s just the weather letting you down.
All in all, we’ve played some really good Championship cricket. And we don’t have the experience the other two teams above us have. They have a lot of players over the age of 25. But for us, there’s a few who haven’t played loads.
We have always talked about this as a transitional period where the younger lads are getting experience on board, and hopefully in a couple of years, or maybe even next year, we’ll be a Championship winning team.