Posted tagged ‘Hogganfield Loch’

Not in Wisden #14: Hoggy, Hoggy, Hoggy

August 1, 2015

Opening the innings with an apology to any cricket blog surfers that have been misled by the title and landed here hoping to read about Matthew Hoggard.

Hoggy was one of the heroes of the 2005 Ashes. Mister Reliable, he was a fine swing bowler for England. Alas, Alad, Aetc this blog is not about him but for any Hoggard surfer still with us try some whizz from bizz before chasing more Hoggy bloggies.

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Provanmillshire were the most successful team in the Glasgow and District County Cricket Championship (GDCCC). They had many out grounds, one of which was Hogganfield Loch or as it was more commonly called: The Hoggy.

Fans flocked to The Hoggy as it was festival cricket at its best. It is fair to say that spectators paid scant attention to the cricketing fare served up preferring the other delights that The Hoggy offered.

While the players toiled, sweated, bloodied and teared in the field in the stifling heat festivalgoers gorged on ice-cream and candy floss unaware that there was a GDCCC match on. Flying kites and feeding the swans was more exciting. Drinking from the well that was free and admiring the beautiful bees that happily bagpiped the air were a treat.  Absorbing the rays of the sun was better than watching the ugly cover drives of Provanmillshire’s  star batsman, Jazzer.

The more adventurous could venture onto the loch in a paddle boat. High drama could be fought on the low seas as tenement terraways became buccaneers and pirated other ships. What larks! hitting each other with the oars. The perfect storm was also got when the “big Boat” ferrying the sightseers round the loch passed the young team on the rowing boats creating waves that could drown a pharaoh. (See Exodus books 14 and 15 or watch the movie, The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston as Moses). This Neptunian nightmare of capsized canoes and delinquent swimmers struggling for safety made the summer day even brighter.

Another pastime at the festival was pitch and putt; a minituarised version of golf. My initial sighting of this infernal waste land with its unnatural topography of rough grass and sand dunes made me yearn for it to be concreted over. Give me a row of houses or a building site instead. It was at this time that a friend informed me that Johnny Miller had shot a 63 recently. Immediately I thought who is Johnny Miller and what’s he got against old people? This contemplation was soon forgotten after my first pitch. It wasn’t a bad shot. A bit sliced if I’m being honest but it did go a big distance. It was just that I was bored. No way was I doing this for 18 holes. This course was not for this horse.

Sandwiches. I had sandwiches with me. Far better to feed the swans.

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Times always change, don’t they? And not for the better. There is no more cricket played at The Hoggy. The GDCCC folded. There are no rowing boats, no “Big Boat” to take you round the island and no pitch and putt. The drinking well and café have gone as well; I shot a top score of 63 on the Donkey Kong machine in there. OK, I might not be on the leader board or make the cut but as you know I was a champion tennis player not an arcade games wizard.

The only thing left at Hogganfield Loch are the swans. From time to time I still go there to feed them.