As captain, I was ambushed as I walked past the court into making a call of the toss without time to think. Out of sheer stupidity I called tails, the coin came up heads… its always heads. And we lost the toss. We were sent into the field. Was this the beginning of another debacle?
Hersch looked keen so the ball was tossed in his general direction to start the proceedings. And a procession it was, however it was one for the other team, as their opening pair took to our bowling attack like Michael Jackson takes to an 11-year-old cancer patient. They put on 51. Forrest was the only bowler that wasn’t taken to with the long handle… much to his displeasure. Hersch 16, Forrest 4, Mojo 18 and Knuckles 13… had Stuart Macgill held a bowling clinic down here while I wasn’t watching? One wicket and 51 runs in the opening 4 overs. This was going to be a long time without a beer.
The next pair strode confidently to the pitch. With a solid platform, they could launch an attack, 300 even 400 runs was looking possible. They sent out their mascot and some other guy. The mascot being the 3 ft Tasmanian garden gnome affectionately known as Porl… or as I like to refer to him…Sweeping Jesus. This guy has one shot in his bag, a ‘whack’ to the leg side, and only god could take some of the balls 3ft outside off and take it to leg with the consistency that he does. I take the ball and have success second ball… 199 first class wickets, another couple of balls and another catch to bring up 200 first class wickets. I sense the opposition is reeling at this stage, so call for the heavy artillery. If they couldn’t handle my gentle off spinners… how would they go against the dip and fizz of….THE GREAT MAN?
Wa Wa wanders back to the top of his bowling mark, building anticipation with every second that passes by, sweat beads on the cold beers outside the court. He turns and trundles in, the ball dips, and fizzes, and then moves through the air and ‘the other guy’ just turns it for two. A couple of balls later, they play a streaky shot and manage to get the ball to the back net on the full. This fuels the fire in ‘the great man’s’ belly; the opposition feel they have broken him. The next ball comes fizzing through the air, the mascot thinks it’s a simple half tracker that deserves to be hit out to deep midwicket. With all the poise of a water buffalo on heat he dances down the wicket. As if by Wa’s will the ball dips as the gnome approaches… or out of fear from being smacked 37 rows back. The ball ducks under the bat and leaves poor porl stranded in no mans land, Blue whips the bails off and the team goes up as one. A slow motion replay was called for, but the boys in the editing room said the 8hr long play tape ran out just after the bat passed over the ball. Not much else happened that over. Sticks bowled without luck the next over beating the bat 5 times in the over, twice they managed to get bat on ball they got out, and the other ball was played off the shin for ‘one’. After 3 overs the pair had put on 2. Blues lack of match fitness was evidenced straight away. 3 of his first 4 balls leg side wides ‘cha ching’ not much else to report, another leg side wide and a couple of runs off the actual bat 0/14. The second pairs total 16. 67 at the half way mark, we were back in the game.
Their 3rd pair came to the crease, and with the game in the balance I decided to turn to my two strike bowlers Forrest and Wa Wa. Forrest claimed a wicket with his first ball. The decision was paying off straight away. But then he let me down, started bowling line and length and nothing else happened. Fruit takes wickets Forrest… I am suggesting a trip to the yoghurt section to for him to re- find his form. Go sit in front of a tub of Fruits of the Forrest, study it and then come back a better player. Wa Wa seemed drained from his Jedi mind control in the earlier over and couldn’t reproduce the same dip and fizz and the opponents pushed him around the field at will. Blue champing at the bit to prove that he still has ‘it’ came back with a blistering over. 3 wickets and only one leg side wide to finish with figures of 3 for 4. A good comeback. Hersch also came back, bowling with desire and passion that has long been missing from the game to take 2 wickets in his final over. The 3rd pairing only managed 13 and the awesome power of the Famulee was now taking its toll on Bushies. You can smash 5 maybe 6 of us to all parts of the ground, but we’ll come back… eventually, and if you haven’t got any more… then look out.
In a very dubious selection ploy, the Bushies tied their 7th and 8th players up in the toilets and called upon the services of Bevo and Shannon Noll. The pair were stung instantly for 10 runs for not wearing the required bush uniform. Mojo had first crack without any luck. Sticks came into the attack; Dice having studied the earlier replay of Porls advances towards Wa Wa replicated the footwork, the shot and the result… stumped. A tidy over for 5. I had nothing left; they bumped me around the field for 10. And then the final chapter, the final battle at the end of all great action movies, Knuckles versus The Wanderers. The early scenes passed quickly without much happening, 6 balls 5 runs. Let the games begin. Bevo gets caught out backing up to far, that’s a mankadt for you buddy and a fine for Knuckles. Knuckles is bouncing on his balls…. of his feet now. He moves into deliver his next ball and Dice counters the earlier mankadt with a deft duck away and steps out of the batting zone as knuckles realizes the straightest ball he has ever let go. The ball thunders into the stumps to no avail. Shannon has to tie up his shoelaces…, which he first has to undo. The combatants thrust any parry like this for the next 26 minutes as they try to gain the ascendency. Finally the last ball is bowled and the Bush Wanderers have made 108. A lot less then the projected 300-400 that was projected earlier in the match.
Half time, change sides
Needing 51 runs for the first skin, there were only two people in the side I could turn to, Forrest and Sticks. And with the simple instructions of get me 52 runs, and Sticks’ reply of “you suck” the chase began. The pair set about with gay abandon, which is a bit concerning when these two are involved. They took the first 4 bowlers apart and marched off the court holding the skin and 55 runs.
In a tactical miscalculation I bought beers at the end of the 3rd over and my next planned combination of Blue Hersch had to fall by the way side, as Blue was relaxed, slugging on a beer. It would be wrong to buy him a beer and then send him in; the distraction of a cold one sweating up on the sidelines would be too much. Wa and Blue were relegated to 3rd pairing.
Hersch and I took to court needing 18 and walked off with 23. (Footnote: I’m sick of writing this report already as you can tell by the decreasing lack of information). I hit 2 zacs, only to be run out off both. Damn you Forrest and your bat with a decent middle. Hersch managed a zac and didn’t get out. Nothing else was remarkable from the innings. After 2 pairings we were 78, requiring a further 31 for victory.
Blue and Wa Wa had the task of getting 13 runs for the skin. The opposition rallied at this point. The Great Mans sway was out of time, must be seasonally the wrong time of the year added to the gravitational pull of the moon, and the alignment of the planets all playing their parts in holding this pair back from achieving greatness. Blue was also unceremoniously mankadt by Dice backing up, what can only be described as ‘a little too far’, he was through his first run and on his way back for a second when he was given out. They fell 4 runs short of their skin.
With the championship pairing of Mojo and Knuckles on their way to the centre, we needed 22 runs for victory. Wa Wa passed by me, warning me not to think about, let alone mention that magical phrase…”Surely….”. So I didn’t, as captain I can take constructive feedback from my teammates. The win was sealed in the 3rd over. Dice came on to bowl the final over and took up with the comedy routine that he had worked out earlier with Knuckles whilst batting. They played their silly games, Knuckles gave him a couple of consolation wickets at the end, just so his pride wasn’t hurt too much and we were the victors and we took the points.
And for those that bothered to make the effort to wear the required attire including sweatbands. To those that didn’t, I question your sexuality.
This was my maiden victory as captain. I think my record now stands at about 1 and 8. I now feel that I am starting to over-achieve. Hopefully this novel with deter the selectors from ever making me captain again and I can slip graciously back into mediocrity.
Here endth the story...............................