The Family was forced again to make numerous changes, more changes in fact than the Melbourne interchange bench. In a statement made earlier in the week to the press, it was cliched Kevin Sheedy 'ism "We've got about 24 or 25 blokes worthy of a spot in the team, they can all play, the know they can, so we'll keep rotating them until we find the right formula" paraphrased Reuben. After last night, I think he'll keep the rotation happening. Out went Mojo, venturing off on a round the globe left handed indoor cricketing tournament and in came the galavanting galopy, Gadj.
In what was expected to be a clash of the titans, the Partridge Family, sitting 6th of 7 with a 4-5 win loss result, took on "Engine Room", sitting top, with a 5-4 win loss result. There was no doubt that we were suffering for not chasing skins. Engine Room (was that the Engine Room of a Fiat Bambino, a Niki, one of those petrol driven scooters, a two stroke Victa lawnmower?) were some 24 points ahead of our good selves, with only one extra win on the board.
Our caretaker captain Sticks mentioned this in passing, with one part time captain shrugging his shoulders in agreeance, but also dismissing the claim that perhaps we should be looking at getting more skins. "Why bother, we'll get more points when we play our 37 catch up games" was the reply.
Weston ICA in it's wisdom, ran late again, meaning that Wazz was hurrying us up, shouting left right and centre and taking total command of the situation - shame no-one bothered to listen. Wazz, the man who inadvertently named WA WA was our umpire for the night. Schlang advised Wazz that we'd take the scoresheet from the previous game if Wazz liked. Wazz replied something to the effect that "they only won 10-4". Schlang and Gadj in unison said "we'd take anything".
Quizzingly looking at each other they parted ways and kept walking. Was it irony perhaps that we actually won 10-4?? Perhaps it would've saved time and effort to just call it a 10-4 win and go upstairs......ah ha, but that would've deprived us of the priviledge of seeing some SPESHAL cricket by the boys in Hawaiin shirts. Read on......
We decided to bat. Gadj told Wazz that we wanted to bat and he listened to him - god knows why. Obviously there was no time for formalities - such as tossing the coin. The real reason was (as per usual) blokes hadn't finished their beers.
Martin "Three votes" Beggs and Al "I've made room in my wardrobe for the Houndstooth" Duffy opened the talent from the Woolworths end and slayed the bowling to all parts. At one stage, I thought the guy at the back net was caught in one of those games you used to play at school, Brandy I think, dodging missiles being launched from the blade of "the bird". 62 resulted.
Many minds from the back net pooled together to think of how we could bat one pair for 62 and only make a team score of 62. It got the better of us, so we gave up. Especially because of their crappy fielding.
The second pairing of Luke "That's a very woody sound eminating from your navel" Hickey and Clint "That's cos I wear re-inforced lint" Fritz batted second in what can only be described as a ballet. Except not one of them ever moved their feet. The poked and prodded and made 40 odd. Goodness knows how. Sticks effort of spooning the ball back to the bowler was a highlight, seeing as he did well to reach it - thereby saving the opposition 7 runs. Is it any wonder we don't win skins.
Scott "I left my liver (and a Chris Mew) in Adelaide" Amos and Greg "Rainbow Warrior" Stephenson did everything possible to keep the score at 100 odd after 12 overs but managed only to get "Donkey Drop" Stephenson out 4 times - one in each over (consistency IS the answer). His two runs in 20 deliveries, something to behold (seeing that they bowled about 8 wides to him as well!). Luckily for the opposition, WA WA spooned a catch to the fielder, and successfully aimed right in the middle of both his hands. Now that's accuracy for ya. For the entire 4 overs, Wazz kept sledging WA WA with "he's a run machine" calls. And better still, Wazz would call out with "ooh" and "ahh" at wonderment when WA WA got the middle of the edge onto one. No wonder WA WA couldn't hit it, he was being bagged by the umpire!? As Fatty Vautin would say "what goes there?" Anyway Wazz, stop bagging WA WA, that's our bloody job.
With something like 130 after 12 overs, this was a score to be wary of. But unlike Australia, the higher the score, the more likely we are of losing. "We can't defend big totals" said captain Amos after the game. "Give us a total of 60 or 70 and we seem to perform better". Hmm, words of wisdom there we think?
Peter "Stop bowling it where I can't hit it" Bolton and Jason "Don't you understand, when I say "NO", I mean "N-O"!" Wright kept up the good work by batting inexplicably badly but yet making runs. No Looks comment after Two Dots Bolton missed two straight nudies AGAIN was priceless. "Ahh, you just can't beat batting with the tail" bellowed across the arena, shortly followed by girly swat laughter by all the boys in close vacinity.
Then the highlight for mine...... Herc batting, he hits the ball straight down the pitch and calls "NO, NO, NO" loudly enough that the people in the Boon pool hall downstairs would've heard, but mistakenly takes three steps out of his crease, admiring the shot from afar. Schlang, ever the wise man o' the team, races down the pitch, crossing with Herc and touching down at the keeper's end as the bails are taken off by the fielding team. Herc looks back to the umpire to see a gleaming Schlang and umpire Wazz laughing hysterically at him. Sticks' comment "there's a lesson to be learnt for all Partridge Famulee members, you just can't do that and get away with it" was spot on. Suicide cricket.
We'd made 162, a team high me thinks, although my memory of high team scores actually faded away after the AFL Grand Final commiserations on the weekend.
So many highlights in the field, so little space.........here's just a few......
* Herc bowls the ball, the batsman charges, No Look fumbles the ball in front of the stumps and it lands on the base, not breaking the bails, both batters take off. Marty looks at the ball, starts laughing but fails to attempt to pick it up - meanwhile the batsman are still running. Herc shrieks in a girly hysterical voice "run him out, RUN HIM OOOOOOUUUUUUUUTTTTTT" almost causing himself to go into "hissy fit" mode. Almost as if in slow motion with No Look still standing there laughing, Herschelle careers in from the side net, picks the ball up (still at the base of the stumps) and breaks the bails. Wazz raises his finger (the index version) and signals a run out with a huge smile on his face! That's a classic piece of "minus 5" work for you.
* Herschelle bowling, the ball smacked into the net, Sticks is the first to get hands to it but it breaks through his vice like grip, then Herschelle does the same, knocking the ball up and finally Big Bird, completes the three card trick by taking a one hander. A classic team catch.
* WA WA bowling, Sticks runs in from the back net for a "flier", he gets there, makes position and drops an absolute dolly, worse still, if he'd missed it totally it would've been a "no fine". But because he did get the very tip of his finger to it, it cost him a dollar but I think we cried about 4 dollars worth of bourbon and associated other alcoholic beveradges from the weekend out of each eye (all three of them - er, whoops!).
* Sticks again, this time, Herschelle fired the ball back to the stumps where Sticks was fielding, he turns around to defend his nads and in a fly kick type move, reminiscent of the Karate Kid, stops the ball dead with the inside of his arm. All that was left was the "paint the fence" call and a dodgy headband and I would've thought it was Ralph Macchio. Freaky! Wazz on the mike again "ugh, you're joking aren't you?".
* Herschelle fielding with the over called, runs in breaks the stumps and appeals for run out. Sorry mate, you can't get them out just cos they're leaving the net.
* No Look for kicking the bloke in the calf (or that's what he claimed as he limped off the field with a torn heartlidge in the back of his lower leg).
* Gadj for bowling indiscriminate fruit for two overs. Wazz again "you've bowled two overs of total shit Scotty".
* The entire team for playing "diagonal cricket" at one stage. Schlang bowled 4 feet outside off stump almost collecting the in close fielders, then Marty threw it about 6 feet to the right hand side of the fielders at the back net. Maybe they'd relaid the pitch at an angle but we weren't aware of it!
* Terrible bowling toward the end of the inning and Schlang having a hard time of it in close on the leg side for the leftie. The last four bowled to the cursed lefties strength and Schlang paid the price much to the delight of the rest of the Family who weren't him.
* WA WA's donkey drop/rainbow delivery which ran out of steam about head height of the batsman, dropping on top of middle and leg stump. Is there any justice in this game?
* WA WA's comments after the game of "minus 8, that's damn good for me" and "at least I know that I get every fourth week off" after lamenting that he's in grave danger of being suspended for three minus tallies in a row.
and finally, the piecetaresistance(?)
* Herschelle fielding in close on the off side get's a ball belted at him, it makes what can only be described as a "woody sound" hitting his box or thereabouts, it drops in front of him and instead of clutching for his balls, he does a backhanded tap flick to hit the only stump he could've aimed for, running the batsman out. Wazz summed it up for all of us by saying "that's crap". What was even more amazing was Herschelle saying that it hit him up toward his navel. I've heard of "Harry High Pants", but "Herschelle High Box"?
The opposition made 67 in reply, 62 coming off the last four overs when the pressure was off. A great win by the boys and full of highlights. Are we the new human highlight reel, maybe not, but funniest home video could definitely do an entire show on our exploits.
Gametime is 5:30pm next week and there will be an enforced change with Scott "Road Trip" Amos departing for a drinkfest in Melbourne.
The team so far looks like this...
* Herschelle (c)
* WaWa (playing to avoid suspension)
* Big Bird
* No Look
* Sticks (don't forget your baseball mitt)
* and, special guest star (in the same vein as Heather Locklear on Melrose Place) the regular specialist fill-in and Houndstooth dark horse - DB
With three regulars now unavailable (Gadj, Inzy and Mojo) for at least the next two weeks, the call may again need to be made for the prodigal family members to get themselves ready for a late call-up.
So until next time - be safe, be sure and remember that wherever you go - there you are.