Snow joke for Sowerby Bridge and Copley

“All of a sudden we were throwing snowballs at each other on the outfield.”

That was the reaction of Sowerby Bridge CC second XI captain Martin Mellor and his teammates when snow stopped play during their opening game of the season against Copley last weekend.

It’s fair to say that playing cricket in April on these shores often requires a couple of extra jumpers in the kitbag but the weather gods certainly pulled a fast one on the Halifax League sides.

Mellor, a decade-long veteran of Sowerby Bridge, said: “I woke up on Saturday and it was a bright, sunny morning so we were very hopeful of getting a game in. 

“The opposition captain and I did a ground inspection mid-morning and, while it was a little damp, we decided it was perfectly playable.”

The game duly started as scheduled and things were looking good for Sowerby Bridge as, having batted first, they closed out their innings on 213 for five.

They followed that with a good start in the field, taking early wickets to leave Copley 29 for three.

Things quickly took a turn for the worse in the 14th over of the innings, when the “polystyrene balls” made an appearance.

“It just went dark – a big black cloud sat above our heads and the wind died down completely,” explained Mellor.

Cue the aforementioned polystyrene balls. 

“Initially we carried on but the snow and hail got heavier and heavier, bouncing off helmets and the wicket. The umpire brought us off and within 10 minutes the whole ground was white.

“It was amazing really. We went from thinking we were going to buck the recent weather trend and get a full game in first day to all of a sudden throwing snowballs at each other on the outfield.”

Mellor added: “We put the covers on, thinking there might be a chance if it stopped that we would get back out but it pretty quickly became apparent that we wouldn’t.”

That determination to close out the game is indicative of both teams’ wider approach to club life and everything associated with it. 

The two clubs were among 19 across Yorkshire badly affected as a result of storms Desmond and Eva last winter and their resolve amid ongoing challenges remains strong.

Sowerby Bridge will play all of their Saturday home games at neighbouring Stainland this season while the club undertakes repair work at its Walton Street ground.

Mellor said: “We are determined to be a stronger club for the experience that we’ve gone through and trying to play on Saturday was just a part of that.

“It was important to get back to playing cricket as much as doing all of the other things that have been hugely important as well – taking up floorboards, gutting clubhouses and dredging fields.

“We’ve had enormous support from our local community and other clubs, not least of all Stainland in letting us use their ground and facilities. It’s about playing now.”

With approximately £60,000 accumulated through fundraising and grant support, Sowerby Bridge hope to be reinstalled at Walton Street next year but for now, the key thing on Mellor’s mind is what’s coming next, weather-wise.

“It’s [the weather] been great the past two days but the forecast for the weekend isn’t great. That’s just the way it goes!”

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Source: ECB

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