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Lindisfarne with Tyne Tees
Sun 16th Jun 2002
organised by Central Scotland

Car Count : 30
[ show pre-run info ]

Ask any top athlete and he will tell you that to be ill in bed on Friday and involved in the Big Match on the Sunday is not ideal preparation. So to a complete non athlete like me, it's sheer folly, but involved I was. At one point, I was congratulated for a diving catch, which was probably just a fainting fit. I must have lost consciousness, fallen flat on my face and woke up with people applauding and the ball in my hands. I told them I meant to do it.

With one group starting at Eskbank, near Edinburgh, and another from Coatbridge, near Glasgow and all meeting in Peebles, the Central Scotland Team gathered for the hour and a half trip down wonderfully twisty B roads to Holy Island for a meeting, a chat and most important, the second annual England versus Scotland Rounders match with Colin, Hazel, Graeme and the good people from the Tyne Tees area. Actually, the barbecue and chat were most important, but the rounders were probably more dramatic and more of a sporting event than us trying to out eat each other. Have you ever noticed that supermarkets sell "Barbecue packs" which have the meat stained pink? What's that about? How are you supposed to know when it's cooked?

Before we set off we held our annual "Best car in Region" competition in the car park at Peebles and for the second year we had a clear consensus about the winner. Richard and Eileen's Mariner Blue Mk1 was this year's winner by a country mile. Once again Stevie Wonder crept in around the back somewhere and slipped in one second place vote for my car. I thank you for that but sincerely hope you're not the one who has to see to drive.

Back to the Grudge Match. Central Scotland won the day in one respect. Of the 30 cars attending, 16 were from our area. You can tell from this cheap points scoring that we lost. I would point out that they only won because we were rubbish, which I suppose is a very good reason to win and doesn't make me feel any better about being what we in Scotland call "gubbed". Yes, we tried cheating. Yes, the "hand of god" made more than one appearance on both sides, mostly in the form of holding onto people at bases to prevent them running or moving the umbrellas which signified the bases or standing on the ball and looking innocent when it came near. The concept of dropping the bat before running as usual eluded some people who took it with them and others who launched it with unnerving accuracy at the head of the poor sap standing at last base (a full 20 feet away by the way).

My clever opening tactic of slicing my shot straight into the hands of the backstop whilst taking 3 steps of my "run" before going nose first into the grass ala Jurgen Klinsman worked perfectly, but I was still out. The rest of the team did slightly better but we were always behind. The more rounders savvy of us had figured out that if you were out first go you didn't have to run around like a loon getting hot and sweaty and could contribute to proceedings by shouting "In!!" when our side were out by a mile and later shouting "Out!!" with great conviction when one of their side could have stopped for a fag and still got to the base before we hit it with the ball.

We put up a valiant effort (another way of saying we lost) and went down 53-48. 

The magnum of sweet fizz was duly handed over to the victorious side ("duly" is a word for "with intense ill grace, reluctance and poor sportsmanship" isn't it?), who did the Formula 1 thing with it so we all got some (better than drinking it, that's for sure) and we immediately regrouped for the second game. In true "Scotland in The World Cup" style, now it was all over and completely meaningless, we played a blinder. Time after time we hit the rounders equivalent of that Archie Gemmill goal beating the fielders and clocking up the runs. Only when the double vision had set in did I miss my shot and having the bases loaded but no one to bat next we were out.

In the meantime we sold raffle tickets and raised over �, with Graeme Hakin getting the two � Moss goodie vouchers on offer and looking rather shocked at his adoring public booing and shouting "fix". Such is the lot of the Area Co-ordinator, that even when it's not your area, not your raffle and not your prizes, you still get accused of fixing it when you win. I should point out that all this was very light hearted and good humoured although he was still hanging by his ankles from a tree when we left. Thank you to Ian who very kindly bought us some Lindisfarne Peach Wine (14.5% proof)  from the Winery on the island (oops, I feel the real reason for the visit may have suddenly become apparent) for a future raffle prize for area funds.

This is one of our very favourite events of the year, played with good friends with mock ill grace and over the top patriotism (see those wigs!) while all the time being just a huge lark with nothing but broad grins all day (except for one twisted knee and two strained achilles tendons that is). People were already talking about next year's match - a decider no less - and that has to be the hallmark of a successful, fun event.

Bring it on!

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