A Few Days In Scarborough, Including the First two Days of Yorkshire v Middlesex, 2 to 6 July 2016

Tony and Liz’s caravan. Not Jason Gillespie’s caravan. Why anyone might imagine it to be Jason Gillespie’s caravan, or why anyone might ask Jason for the location of his caravan, is entirely beyond me.

Our original plan was to spend a week or so in North Yorkshire, but Janie’s success with the Wimbledon ballot for 1 July and her desire to be back 6 July for the Hampton Court flower show, meant a shorter trip this time, just to Scarborough. Still, we’d have the opportunity to see Tony and Liz, plus take in a couple of days of cricket.

Despite our having raved about Cafe Fish on our previous visit to Scarborough in 2014, advice which Chris and Charlotte took and with which they concurred, Tony & Liz still hadn’t tried the place. So Janie booked it for the Saturday night as our treat for Tony’s birthday.

By booking our hotel early enough in the year this time, we’d managed to get a decent size of room at the Palm Court Hotel ; much nicer than the hotel we’d stayed previously and a joy to have the parking behind the Palm Court guaranteed as part of the deal.

Saturday 2 July

A relatively event-free journey – we set off in good time, leaving the flat very early and only stopping at the house for 90 minutes or so –  the “5 minute stop” Janie had promised she needed. Still, we got to Scarborough mid afternoon, so there was time for some rest before meeting Tony and Liz. Janie went off to get a swimming costume, having forgotten that the hotel had a pool. In the end, neither of us swam. I watched the denouement of the Querrey v Djokovic match from yesterday and called Janie to tell her the result while she was still at the shops choosing her cossy.

Tony and Liz came to the hotel for a drink before we wandered three minutes down the road to Cafe Fish. There we ran into Harry and Blossom Latchman, their friend Elaine and Geoff Norris, who were getting towards the end of their meal. Janie and I remembered (and were remembered by) the Cafe Fish people, especially proprietor William, so we really must have seemed like the locals on home turf despite being in Tony and Liz’s home town. Tony and Liz were a bit discombobulated by all this.

Unsurprisingly, we had an excellent meal at Cafe Fish; I think Tony and Liz thoroughly enjoyed it. They walked back to our hotel with us, having arranged for their cab to meet them at the Palm Court rather than the restaurant.

Sunday 3 July

A fine breakfast and good weather (albeit with a cool northern breeze) for our first day at the cricket. A pleasant walk from the Palm Court to North Marine Road and (as previously) a very straightforward matter to collect our visitors’ tickets and make our way to the pavilion.

Janie took this picture just before the start of play on Day One
Janie took this picture just before the start of play on Day One

There we were greeted by Robin and Jennifer Smith (whom I had got to know last year at Headingley) and also Tony (a former Yorkshire committee member I’d met last year at Headingley), plus the regular Yorkshire host Geoff Cope with his delightful dog Queenie. From the Middlesex side, Andy West was there and we were assured that Harry, Blossom and Geoff were around – they had taken sanctuary from the cool breeze behind glass, one level down.

That pavilion balcony spot is a great place to view the cricket. Yorkshire had won the toss and elected to bat. Most people thought it a good toss to win at Scarborough, but the ball seemed to do a bit; Yorkshire batted well and Middlesex bowled without luck that first morning.

At lunch, Harry presented Janie with her life membership of Middlesex, which was a lovely surprise for her. Mind you, as she managed to get the lunchtime conversation onto controversial subjects such as Brexit, feminism and commercial ethics within the space of about 20 minutes, “life” started to sound more like a sentence for everyone else than an award for Janie! Actually, joking apart, that Yorkshire group are an interesting bunch for proper conversation.

As always, the day passed quickly. Yorkshire looked well placed at the end of the day just shy of 300 with only 5 wickets down. We walked back to the hotel and like doing very little indeed in the evening, which is precisely what we did.

Monday 4 July

Brighter start to the day than yesterday. Again a pleasant breakfast in the hotel and then the walk to North Marine Road. A smaller group for lunch today, but for tea we were joined by Shirley Houghton (David Houghton’s wife) plus John Hampshire & his good lady. I didn’t realise that John Hampshire had been the first coach of the Zimbabwean test team when the southern African teams rejoined the international fold in the 1990s.

On Googling John Hampshire just now, I saw this picture on Cricinfo depicting John Hampshire and Harry Latchman in action together 45 years ago yesterday. Sadly, John is not in the best of health now. It was good to speak with him again at Scarborough – we’d also chatted at Headingley last year.

Fairly soon after tea it got gloomy and then it started to rain. There was a brief respite, but only brief before the light deteriorated again. Middlesex only two down but a long way from safety still.

We walked back to our hotel in the gloom, hoping to get in before the end of the Murray v Kyrgios match and before the heavens opened. We ran into Barmy Kev, Big Harv and another of the Middlesex regulars on St Thomas Street. We chatted for a while, in my case with one eye on the skies, declined the opportunity for a “swift drink” and got home just before the heavens opened. We took a couple of glasses of wine and some nibbles to our room and caught the end of the Murray match, plus some other interesting tennis on the box.

Tuesday 5 July 

We had breakfast in the hotel, then checked out and drove over to Tony and Liz’s place for “elevenses” and a look at the progress they have made with their house since our last visit.

In the end we didn’t get away until lunchtime, which lengthened the drive home a bit, hitting the rush hour towards the end of the drive. Unusually, we split the journey into three; I did less than half the run, the Daisy took over the wheel but was feeling fatigued by Luton-ish so we stopped for petrol and had one more changeover, such that I did the final leg.

We followed the Yorkshire v Middlesex match on the way home, along with the tennis.

Wednesday 6 July

On the Wednesday, I played a good morning game of real tennis after clearing my e-mails and then worked from home in the afternoon, catching the end of the extraordinary Yorkshire v Middlesex match on the internet radio. This is how it panned out, scorecard-wise. Who’d have thought it? Back to Lord’s in the evening for another “last minute sub” game of real tennis; two very good, close matches in one day – exhausting.


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