|Yorkshire Premier League Championship Play off Blog
|St Lawrence's Mark Robertshaw enjoying his first net session
PLEASE NOTE: We have had lot of inquiries regarding the live streaming of Thursday's final. We will publish details of how you can follow the match on-line once we have been able to test the equipment at the international stadium, something we could not do until the Test match between Pakistan and West Indies finished.
Day 1: It would seem that the cricketing world is keeping an eye on Pudsey St Lawrence as they prepare for Thursday's first Yorkshire Premier League Championship play off final. James Smith's team were midway through their first training session in the intense morning heat when a Pakistan television camera crew made them their centre of attention.They had been covering West Indies' laborious first innings against Pakistan at the adjoining international stadium when St Lawrence's practice caught their gaze. They interviewed a number of players and officials. It can't be often that a St Lawrence practice has received such scrutiny.
Mark Robertshaw was the first St Lawrence batsman to get in some practice. He admitted after netting: "The pitch us great, it's a road. It was good to get some practice. Defending was easy but because I hadn't batted since the semi-final win five weeks ago, I found I got a little out of shape with my attacking shots."
It didn's take long for Robertshaw's straight defensive bat, featured on the front page of the All Rounder Cricket Bradford Premier League website, to attract comment. His former opening partner Alex Stead of Lightcliffe contacted Robertshaw by text and told him it was boring seeing him playing defensive, why couldn't he play something more attacking. We wonder if the shot above will meet with Stead's approval.
It has been great to see the interaction between the two teams since they have arrived in Abu Dhabi. Mamood Rasool revealed today that his 13-year old son plays for the Tofts Road club while Faisal irfan actually played one season for St Lawrence.
Players from the two clubs will be testing out their golf skills at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club on Wednesday. We will let you know who comes up to par.
It is good to see that we have two enthusiastic bloggers giving their views from Abu Dhabi. The Alll Rounders ECB Yorkshire Premier League South chairman Roger Pugh and Pudsey St Lawrence scorer Phil Raistrick have been hard at work. We are happy to provide links to their work. The award for the most amusing name for a blog goes to Raistrick for his St Lawrence of Arabia.
|Faisal Irfan attacks for Wakefield Thornes in their 55-run win over an Abu Dhabi XI
While Pudsey St Lawrence continued their preparations with their second training session, Wakefield Thornes played a warm-up match against an Abu Dhabi XI. The All Rounder Cricket Yorkshire Premier League champions won the 50-over contest by 56 runs and coped well with the 30 degree heat.
Thornes batted first and made 202 with left hander David Toft top scoring with 73, an innings containing nine fours. Opener James Woolfenden (37), Matt Jordan (31) and Faisal Irfan, the former Cleckheaton and Pudsey St Lawrence player, 28.The wicket at the nursery ground had good bounce and Thornes compiled a total of 202. At one stage it looked as if they were on course for a bigger score, but spinner Nasir (5-35) slowed their progress.
The home side were dismissed for 146 in their reply. Ahmed Hasnan posed the main thrteat to Thornes with 65, but slow bowlers Matt Varley (3-23) and former Yeadon, Manningham Mills, Idle and Lightcliffe seamer Mamood Rasool
(3-46) took the bowling honours.
Once again the action at the Nursery ground caught the attention of the TV cameras. Between overs in the Test between Pakistan and West Indies they showed action from the game.
Talking of the Test match, former Bradford League cricketer Richard Illingworth is one of the on-field umpires at the Zayed Stadium. He is standing with the former Durham opening batsman Michael Gough. Next stop for them is Dubai.
Tomorrow Pudsey St Lawrence will play their warm-up game against an Abu Dhabi XI on the Nursery Ground. Skipper James Smith is expected to use all 12 of his players. Thornes will have a final practice session.
The two teams will also be visiting the lavish Yas Marina Formula One circuit, They have the chance to walk or cycle round the circuit which was lapped 26 times by some of the world's top cyclists on Sunday on the final stage of the Tour of Abu Dhabi which was won by Mark Cavendish.
Three members of the St Lawrence team were showing the prowess on the golf course. Chris Marsden, Barrie Frankland and Adam Waite were getting in some practice for Wednesday when members of both clubs are teeing off at the YasI sland Links Golf Course. Marsden, a seven handicapper, showed his prowess but was beaten by Frankland with Waite bemoaning the loss of ten of his 12 golf balls.
YOU might have expected Wakefield Thornes’ globe-trotting overseas player Akila Isanka to be weary when he finally arrived in Abu Dhabi in the early hours of the morning.
He checked into the hotel at 2.30am and was on the bus and out for training with his team at 9.30am.
Isanka is currently playing club cricket in Australia and flew in via Brunei and Dubai before completing his journey by taxi.
Isanka is due to return to Melbourne on Friday in time to play in his club’s match this weekend.
It seems the talented all-rounder has been clocking up the air miles. After helping Thornes to reach the Yorkshire Premier League Championship Play-off final, he flew home for a short stay in Sri Lanka before heading down to Australia.
Shahnawaz Hakim Yousuf is the manager of the Zayed National Stadium where Thursday night’s final will be played.
He took time out from overseeing the Test match between Pakistan and West Indies to discuss the arrangements for Thursday’s final with Yorkshire Cricket Premier League chairman Alan Birkinshaw.
During the discussions he provided some illuminating information about the four giant floodlight pylons which will light up the magnificent arena in the Day Night clash.
Each one is 50 metres high and has a bank of 160 bulbs, each giving 2,000 watts of light. When they need replacing each one costs 1,500 dhiram which equates to around £350 each
Shahnawaz has agreed to be the man of the match adjudicator for the final.
The All Rounder Cricket Bradford Cricket League chairman David Young has been busy trying to ensure that the live streaming of Thursday’s final can take place.
Thanks to the help of Shahnawaz Hakim Yousuf and his staff it is hoped that a live test can be conducted at the National Stadium on Wednesday. David, who was busy trying to resolve issues until 3am this morning, has been receiving a constant stream of text messages from people wanting to know how they can log on to see it.
He said: “I ask people to be patient. We will publish the details just as soon as we have them. I have been speaking to people in both England and India to get it sorted out.”
Today has been a special day for David. He has been celebrating his 48th birthday and the St Lawrence team had a birthday cake delivered to his room.
Pudsey St Lawrence suffered a seven-wicket defeat against a strong NMC side in their warm up game. St Lawrence made 166 with good contributions from Mark Robertshaw and Matthew Duce as good bowling restricted them to 166 in
their 40 overs.
The home side romped to victory with 20 overs to spare and just three wickets down as they St Lawrence were given a wake-up call.
The two skippers, James Smith of Pudsey St Lawrence and Tom Frogett of Wakefield Thornes are keeping their cards close to their chest. Both have name squads of 12 for Thursday’s fin al with the choice of the final 11 being made at the ground.
Tonight the two captains met with match referee Chris West and the toss for the use of the home dressing room was made.
Despite his recent poor run of success with the toss of the coin, St Lawrence’s James Smith earned his side the right to use the home dressing room.
|This is what the teams are playing for. The White Rose Trophy which is flanked by the special commemorative medals which each player will receive plus the pink Dukes balls that will be used for the Day Night clash.
It is almost time for the big match. Preparations have been gathering pace with Yorkshire Premier League officials finalising the arrangements.
After burning the midnight oil on his birthday and putting in endless hours of work, league chairman David Young successfully trialed the live streaming for the final during a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
We have had many request from followers of both Pudsey St Lawrence and Wakefield Thornes to know how to access this. There is a link on the front page of the All Rounder Cricket Bradford Premier League website and is https://www.crichq.com/#fixtures/509757/match_info
Currently the screen just displays a countdown clock to the game. This will change once we start transmitting from the stadium prior to the start of the match which is 10.30am BST.
So how does it work. There is one fixed point camera attached to a television gantry which gives a view straight down the pitch from high above the sightscreen. Alongside the images will be the live scores and stats being generated.
Both teams will be travelling from their hotel on Yas Island to the stadium two hours before the start of play. Each team has its own coach and there is a further one for the 40 spectators travelling with the main party.
When they arrive at the stadium they will enter their dressing rooms which each have their own dining room and tunnel out to the pitch. St Lawrence will be using the same dressing room that Pakistan had for the Test match which finished on Tuesday and Thornes the one occupied by the West Indies.
The players will have a pre-match meal before undertaking their normal pre-match preparations.
The spectators in the official party will watch from the luxurious chairman’s box and will be served dinner between innings.
The magnificent floodlights are due to be switched on at 17:00 local time of 14:00 BST. It is expected that the floodlights, which take ten minutes to warm up, will be in operation for the entire second innings.
After the match the White Rose Trophy, restored to its former glory after being mothballed when the former inter-league under-21 competition ceased, and the individual medals will be presented by the chairman of the Yorkshire Premier League board, Alan Birkinshaw, in the chairman’s box.
Shahnawaz Hakim, the operations manager for the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, will select the man of the match.
Today was a rest day for the teams. Players from both clubs took to the golf course where Barrie Frankland again proved there are bandits in Abu Dhabi.
I understand a lot of golf balls disappeared into the water hazards at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Adam Waite might have been better suited joining those members of the team who travelled to the water park as he found water more often than them as his tally of lost balls mounted. His three wood into the water at the last was deemed his shot of the day by his colleagues.
Talking of water, St Lawrence supporter Mick Henderson is to be given a special role for tomorrow’s final. He has made such a good job of clearing up empty water bottles and moving kit that he is being offered the role of Hydration Manager – basically he will take on the drinks. But this job may come with a perk, officials are trying to arrange for him to ride on the buggy used for the drinks at the Test match. It has been suggested it is much better that he isn’t allowed to drive it.
Tonight the two teams and their supporters are attending the special barbecue being put on at the hotel in their honour.
|Man of the match David Toft receives his award from Yorkshire Cricket Premier League chairman Alan Birkinshaw
Picture: Mark Heald, The All Rounder Cricket Bradford Premier League
What a day. The first final certainly proved to be a big hit and judging by the audience figures it seems it was enjoyed every bit as much back in Yorkshire as it was in Abu Dhabi.
There were 12,000 computers tuned in at different times of the day and a packed clubhouse at Pudsey St Lawrence sat beneath artificial palm trees to soak up the action and the beer.
Providing the coverage was fraught with difficulties. It was the first time we had ever attempted such an operation and getting a high-speed internet connection at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium was certainly testing league chairman David Young's patience.
Once the appropriate technician had been found another problem arose. The broadcast would not work if we did not have somebody scoring the game on an IPad with the CricHQ scoring app. Once again it was something none of us had done.
Just before the first ball was bowled the local scorer for the Abu Dhabi Cricket Club appeared. He came to the rescue and the broadcast got underway.
But, just when we getting into our stride with St Lawrence secretary Richard Brown manning the camera and league development officer Alan Birkinshaw conducting interviews, the stadium internet dropped.
Calls were made, but nobody rushes, and eventually the technician fixed the problem. Interviews with Yorkshire Academy player Jarred Warner, Abu Dhabi Cricket Club and UAE Chief executive David East among others followed.
For the second innings it was decided that Alan Birkinshaw would add a little commentary and background to the pictures people were receiving.
Apart from the captivating batting from century makers David Toft and Mark Robertshaw one man was stealing the limelight, Hydration Manager Mick Henderson. He loved his frequent trips to the middle on thew drinks buggy. On one visit a player asked for some cream from the First Aid box. He opened it up to find only Mick's cigarette packet.
Two interlopers who also caught the attention of the stray stadium cats that appeared when the floodlights was on. The ginger one roamed around and was christened Ducey after St Lawrence keeper Matthew Duce, while we nicknamed the second one Toft as he seemed immovable.
One of the great features of the entire week has been the closeness of the two teams. Straight after the presentations they asked to have a combined team photograph with players from either side intermingled and then they all went and sat together in the Thornes dressing room where they shared a beer and chatted. Thornes stalwart Ronnie Hudson was one of those who was priveleged to see this first hand and admitted it was something from his own playing days that he would like to see happening more in the modern league game.
When we reflect on the final it is fair to say that the two teams have been an absolute credit. Wakefield Thornes are deserved champions of Yorkshire but Pudsey St Lawrence have plenty to be proud of too. The two teams have played the game with skill and in the right spirit and set standards on and off the field which will be hard to better.