COLUMN: IF THE CAP FITS: To play or not to play, that is the question

Christopher Eccleston plays William Shakespeare's Hamlet at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Christopher Eccleston plays William Shakespeare's Hamlet at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
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To misquote William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this was the question vexing me ahead of White Coppice’s game against Longridge 2nds on Saturday.

My daughter Imogen is currently in the midst of a series of football trials with Regional Talent Clubs (RTCs). She’s a goalkeeper, and in recent weeks we’ve been to Manchester United; Manchester City and Everton.

On Saturday we were at Liverpool, and I never like to miss her football. The problem was her trial was due to finish at 1.45pm, and our game against Longridge started at 1.30pm.

Captain Tony Moore agreed for me to arrive an hour late. As it was, I didn’t leave Liverpool until 2pm and I got stuck on the M6.

Back at White Coppice, Tony won the toss and decided to bat. The message to the team was simple: “Magsy is on his way so hang about.”

At 2.45pm team-mate Jeff Smith phoned me. “Where are you Magsy?” he said. “About 10 minutes away,” I replied. “How many wickets are we down?” I asked. “Six,” he replied.

By the time I arrived we were 73-7 and Tony was in the middle with Paul Dobson. At this point Dobbo was given out caught behind only to be recalled by a sporting Longridge skipper. The reprieve was short-lived and Dobbo was soon LBW.

I walked out to bat with Tony at No 10. Four balls later I was involved in controversy. Longridge’s young spinner Daniel Wilson threw one up outside my off stump and I squeezed down on the ball to the point that a tuff of grass lodged in the bottom of my bat. The ball flew to first slip and was caught. They celebrated but I said I thought it was a bump ball.

The umpires consulted and I was given the benefit of the doubt. It’s fair to say Longridge weren’t happy.

I got off the mark with a cut for two and as the ball was winged back to the wicketkeeper it hit me on the elbow. It was an accident but there wasn’t a lot of sympathy.

Tony played on for a brilliant 72 (out of 91 while he was at the wicket) and I was joined by No 11 Abi Bates.

It’s amazing how your mindset changes when you bat at 10 instead of opener. Jonathan Wilson bowled a full ball so I hit him for a straight six into the cottages. “It was a four,” chirped up one of the fielders. “It was clearly a bump ball.”

Two balls later I tried to repeat the shot but I ended up hitting it to mid-on, and we were 97 all out.

Longridge romped to a nine wicket win. It reminded me of another Shakespeare quote: ‘We have seen better days,”