The named team had a distinctly “environmental” feel to it: we had Forrest, Knuckles (who will be the new Forrest at work), the youngster Sticks and the older guy that looks like him, Twigs (have I got that right?). Aside from that foursome we had Herc, Mary, Boo Cake and I pulling on the fabled Hawaiian shirts. The other mob didn’t stand a chance (of losing).
We were urgently trying to get the first ball to be bowled, as Sticks and the 9th man, Schlang, still had not arrived. Given the fine for arriving late is payable on the jackpot ball, this would of course mean that a double gold coin fine was payable. YCFTN won the toss and sent the two Forrests in to bat first. They began beautifully, taking 20 off the first over, leading YCFTN to naturally assume that by the end of the four overs they should be on 80. Surprisingly though, this didn’t happen. Both Forrests holed out a number of times each, with Nathan Hoare robbing the larger Forrest of a couple of zaks, and their muppet wicketkeeper screaming at the top of his voice every time Nathan didn’t take a catch (which apparently passes for humour in his book). After four overs the pair had regressed to 16, but it was still a platform to build on.
With Sticks still not around, YCFTN sent in Mary and Boo Cake next. Mary started things off beautifully with a double zak, which led to 19 being scored off the first over. Given what had happened in the previous pair after the first, YCFTN was ready to bring this pair back in, but need not have worried. Mary was smashing them everywhere, and the Cake eventually joined in too. Together they put on 79, which left us at 95 and a spectator (Hersch) asserting that a team total of 100 was “in the bag”. He was quickly advised that was a premature proclamation.
By this time, Sticks had finally arrived, which let Schlang off the fineage hook. Sticks and his doppelganger, Twigs, were sent in next. Twigs decided to resolve the confusion as to who was who by batting left-handed. Unfortunately, the cunning tactic did not pay off. In the first over, he swung and missed a number of times against their left-handed loopy spinner and got stumped twice. The left-handed Sticks continued to masterfully keep the right-handed Sticks off strike for most of the first two overs, before finally letting him have a bit of a go in the last two overs. In the end, though, neither Sticks was able to trouble the scorers greatly, with Twigs getting a negative (cha-ching), the right-handed Sticks going zakless again, and the partnership amounting to the princely total of 7.
The final pair was YCFTN and Hercules. Herc got us off to a flying start* by getting caught first ball. YCFTN was no better, swinging hard and straight at everything that came down the pitch. That kind of tactic works in outdoor, but not so much when they have a top net installed. We struggled along to the point that the 100 was once again in sight. Unfortunately though, we were approaching it in reverse. YCFTN finally connected on a couple in the last over to bring the partnership total to 19, but the kitty was happy because Herc had a negative.
Our total score was 121, which we felt was at least defendable. Nathan Hoare opened up with his mate, and YCFTN decided to open up with Mary and Twigs, who went for 14 and 18 respectively without taking a wicket. YCFTN brought himself on in a bid to stop the carnage, but neither the slow swingers nor the half-pace skidding rubbish he usually provides worked, and he got smashed for 26. The Real Forrest bowled the fourth, and went for 32, copping a nasty blow that knocked off his wedding ring in the process. Their first pair made a total of 90, and the game was effectively over.
Herc got our first wicket in the fifth over, and as a result bowled the cheapest over to that point: 13 runs. YCFTN then brought on the only bowler who can bowl a bouncer that is also actually a half-volley, Knuckles (or Nooclays or Canuckles, depending how you pronounce it). The first ball he bowled was a beamer which was considered a fair ball, but after that he bowled quite steadily, picking up a wicket and only going for 9 runs. Sticks upped the ante once more, taking two wickets and only going for 5. Having been encouraged by the end of Twigs’s first over, YCFTN brought him back on. He got zakked once, but apart from that was pretty good, taking a wicket and conceding 13. Their second pair put on 40, which was amazing given that one of them couldn’t even hold a bat.
Their third pair was quite interesting because I have never seen a scorecard with so many “two dots” strung together. Boo Cake was finally introduced into the attack, and took 2/1, leading YCFTN to think he should’ve brought him on about 6 overs earlier. Knuckles then bowled a pearler of an over with four straight dot balls, but could only get a wicket through the good old Mankad (which of course costs one goldie). This effort with the ball also led YCFTN to think he should’ve brought him on about 6 overs earlier. Sticks was pretty unlucky not to pick up about 9 wickets in his next over, having a number of opportunities fumbled away by the Famulee’s finest fielders. There were lots of F’s in that last sentence, which is funny because there were also lots of F’s coming out of Sticks’s mouth as he walked back to his mark after the fourth missed chance. Forrest bowled a tidy over, picking up a wicket along the way, and we’d restricted the pair to 13, which was almost enough to steal a skin. Their last pair needed to score -21 or better to “snatch” an “unlikely” win.
Mary coughed up a goldie during over number 13, bowling 3 illegitimate deliveries (though that was jackpot-assisted). Herc then came on, and was probably as unlucky as Sticks with respect to the “assistance” he received from his fielders. All night the fielding had been pretty standard fare, with YCFTN doing an inspirational impression of Phil Tufnell at the back, and catches generally going down left, right and centre. The “highlight” of the night, though, belonged to Forrest, who made a nice pick-up fielding on the on-side, and then charged towards the top-end stumps before hurling the ball down at point-blank range with the batsmen well short of his crease. Somehow, the ball missed the stumps though, and everyone except Herc found it hilarious. The Cake only went for 4 in the penultimate over, and with nothing on the line, YCFTN closed out the 16th over, with their mob somehow managing not to take the skin despite only needing 1 run to do so.
We ended up losing by 40, which doesn’t sound as bad as it seemed. Our shining light was Mary, who knocked up a 50, and therefore according to Knuckles is due for a shocker next week. He took the 3 ‘tooth points with a +29 effort, Boo Cake taking 2 points with +23, and Knuckles may have snuck a point with a +1 overall. Of course, as Sticks points out, if we hadn’t been so keen to sabotage his efforts, he probably should have got it. That doesn’t show up on the scoreboard though, so he’s probably lying.
My perfect record has now been “taken care of”, as promised, and so there will be no more mention of that. Next week we play some more B-graders at 9:30 40 50… whenever.
Signing off for now,
Monners / Bonners / Mark / Steve / whatever else the scorers have called me,