The Famulee line-up was subject to its usual late changes with WaWa being replaced by Sticks, who was then replaced by Mojo. The late changes were of some concern amongst local experts at Weston ICA as were the as yet unseen talents of the latest debutante Picasso (Pablo). The bar wench was heard to comment "Without the Great Man, surely you've got no chance" and the odds for Da Famulee had blown out like Lance Whitnalls gut in the off season.
As the Longneck was placed on it's classy plywood base and perched on top of the fire extinguisher in full view, the Bares drew first blood by winning the toss, and sent in two rookies of their own. Skipper for the night (No Look) decided to go on the attack and tossed the ball to McBain. In his second game for the Famulee, he seemed somewhat overawed and unable to control the Tony Blardyfarken speeeshal new ball (identifiable by the two inches of seam dangling out of it). A few wides strayed down legside to register the first fine of the night as the Bares set about a total.
Forrest was summoned to bring the pain down on the batsmen but he too tripped over the seam and sent a few more wides down.
It was time for Pablo the rookie to weave some magic and show just why he was selected to play at the top level (well apart from answering the email ad that is). And his first over produced a speeeeeeshal moment in cricket folklore. He set about bamboozling the batsmen with some right arm tweakers, and after tieing the batsmen to his crease dropped in the "Cobra" ball. It was hypnotic as it swayed through the air, full pitch, dipping late and fizzing all the way - the batsmen stood transfixed, helpless as it struck him on the foot without offering a shot.
Normally when a batsmen is struck on the leg in a Famulee game, a thunderous appeal goes up. But as it was not one of our batsmen on this occassion, the appeal took a while to get going. But it soon gathered full voice and ended in a tumultuos HOOOOWWWWWWWWWWIZZZZZZZZAAAAATTTWWWWWUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN as the crowd erupted. Pablo had claimed his first wicket and followed it up next ball with another wicket as the helpless Polar Bunny fell into his trap.
Big Al was strangely subdued in the field, as the obvious strain of the Houndstooth was showing. The big fella was under pressure on the three strikes rule, and decided to go back to the strategy that got him the jacket last season. He spilt the easiest of catches from No Looks bowling, and then proceeded to bowl at a furious line and length to get himself off to a good start.
No Look himself was on warning as he had not lost a wicket in two innings. He seemed distracted as well as his normal backhand flicks were going astray. One in particular was directed at the bowlers end, but went straight up at pace and would have just about hit the roof at Colonial Stadium.
However it was once again Morris "Swampy" Wilson that stole the show with the ball. With the seam now almost the length of the pitch, Mojo literally had it on a string and struck repeatedly to take 4 wickets in his first 6 balls to be on target for the best over in Famulee history. Alas the duds facing him were not good enough to get bat on ball, but an over of minus 17 left Da Famulee chasing ??? to win the trophy and more importantly bragging rights.
Up first at the plate were Forrest and Mojo and Forrest immediately set about destroying the attack - literally! A thunderbolt from Moorey's bat took a hapless Bears little pinkie off, and he immediately retired from the field. 1 down 8 to go, but unfortunately the boys were unable to reduce the numbers any further and managed to lose a few wickets amongst themselves.
Next up were McBain and Pablo, thrown into the cauldron to see what they were made of. And they didn't disappoint either with highlights coming thick and fast. McBain slapped a big zak and crafted a chanceless innings of 27 as Pablo set about pleasing the crowd. First ball saw him off the mark and the follow through on the quick single took him almost to the back net - much to the delight of the crowd. As did him mistaking the wrong line for the crease on the way back and costing himself about 5 yards on the next run.
It was fine old school cricket to watch with no bunt shots or quick singles to be had - it was all big slogs, and not so confident running between wickets but they still came from the field with a positive partnership to their name.
Next up were Hersch and Boof who needed 32 runs to claim an outright win. Hersch after watching Mojo at the plate, sensed a weakness in the bowlers with left handers and took it upon himself to score some cheap free runs by facing left handed. At one point he switched mid over from left to right, to further confuse the bowlers and didn't offer a chance all night. Boof in the meantime stayed with the regulation right handers and treated the attack with contempt. They shared the runs evenly and cruised to a sup-berb wicketless partnership of 56 runs for the win.
With the trophy surely secure, all attention turned to whether Big Al and No Look could avoid suspensions - Big Al for 3 negatives and No Look for three games without loss of wicket. It didn't take long for the skipper to lose his first wicket (chopping one on third ball) and he made up for lost time as the wickets kept on coming. He lost 2 in the first over and 4 all up but these were interspersed with a couple of big zaks in a glorious display of mediocre batting.
The attention was now on whether Big Al could score some runs. And score he did, peppering the back net at will and only losing one wicket (courtesy of a bunt and run from No Look). Everything the Bi-Polars tried turned to poo as Big Al celebrated his return to form with an almighty blast that Rick O'Shead off the top net and into the heart of the pizza sign. The roar that came from the Famulee players room was so electric that it was enough to raise goosebumps on every Famulee member in the arena... either that or the anticipation of the pizza kicking in.
The boys came from the field with a crushing 80 run victory to stamp their dominance on Famulee vs Bears matches and win the inaugrual trophy, and claim a free pizza to add insult to injury! The boys charged upstairs where it was revealed that Pablo had made a negative score (-1) with the bat. In accordance with Da Famulee commandments he was notified of a fine, but elected to cement his place in the team by shouting a round of beers instead of producing the gold coin - something that the boys assembled were only to happy to see!!! Pizzas were ordered and duly consumed as several beers hit the spot to celebrate the big win.
This weeks game see's more changes rung in to the lineup as players are rested and rotated to make way for Skip to make their season debuts.
Da Team is:
* Big Al
DB pulled out of last weeks announced team as he is busy pushing up on chicks at netball instead, and so McBain is promoted into the line-up. However the pressure will be on the big fella to perform, as he is now under the dreaded three strikes rule! Can he avoid another negative, or will the more experienced Famulee members conspire to ensure he falls victim?
Gee Dawg has also pulled out of the team at the last minute as he got an anonymous phonecall and has to 'work' late. ASIO phonetaps have revealed that he actually said quote unquote "I have to go and pop a cap in some homeboys sorry @ss". So the inform Big Al comes back into the team to replace Gee and continue his quest to regain the Houndstooth.
In other news, Knuckles is only two weeks away from his long awaited return, provided he can keep his thumb out of places that it shouldn't be. Schlangs school year will continue to keep him on the sidelines as Inzy continues to live it up on the other side of the globe. Rumour has it that Gadj will be in town this weekend, so if anyone wants to 'catch-up' for a few drinks, let Sticks know.
So good luck to those playing this week and you had better continue the winning form that the rest of the boys have shown, or you'll be dropped quicker than I can say "Essendon take it up the clacker".
Until next time, drive safely and goodbye for now.