We were up against the Warwick Todd boys, who had given us a tough workout last time around with the difference only being Mojo's rank full toss that a bloke dragged onto his stumps for the win.
The evening was momentous for several reasons, the first being two new chums making their debut in Da Famulee ranks - Boof's mate Matt and Andy (previously known as Umpire Andy I Question Your Seckshoeality) becoming numbers 88 and 89 in Famulee history, and the second being Herc's return from an enforced layoff while he has been studying the female form on Foxtels adult channel.
With me in charge we of course lost the toss of the coin and were forced to put down our beers and field (to the cries of "this clubs farrrrrkkkkked). Wanting to get the new chums into the action ASAP (mainly to give the rest of us a chance to warm up), I threw the ball to Matt, pointed to the stumps and said "bowl in that direction". I should have pointed somewhere down legside as Matt's first ball looped, swang and darted into the base of middle stump for a first ball wicket.
The crowd erupted and we were off to a flyer. Andy was next into bowl on debut and couldn't follow the captains orders with a first ball wicket... he also went against my instructions by sending down something which actually resembled good spin bowling, instead of the WaWa dip and fizz specials that I had ordered. None the less he was able to secure his maiden wicket for Da Famulee as well, and at the end of two the score was still in single figures.
Herc was up next and proved that the best way to improve your criggit is to have a lengthy layoff to forget all your bad habits. First ball cannoned off the batsmens leg and despite our loud and lengthy appeals was given not out. No doubt about the next ball though which demolished the stumps, followed by two dots and then a beautiful half tracker which the batsmen prodded straight back to a fieldsman somewhere. By the end of the over the batsmen were so confused that they ran themselves out and after 3 overs we were doing better than when we'd started with the scoreboard flashing away.
Having used up all the "newcomers" magic, I turned to the regulars and was duly rewarded with some mediocre efforts. Boof took two wickets in the next over (which luckily countered the two zaks) and after 4 the score was still in single figures on 9.
Good bowling (or was it poor batting?) in the next stanza by Forrest, Hersch (cha-ching for some wides), myself and Herc again (before he cooled down and fell asleep) saw the score contained well without too many memorable highlights other than Herc finishing with figures of 4 for minus 2 which was a soup-burb return.
The next pair were the "gun" pair for the Todds, and so Knuckles was called upon to disrupt their concentration with the threat of the mankad (BOOOOOO) ever present. He bowled without luck going wicketless but with plenty of dot balls, and this set a trend for their partnership with only 3 wickets falling during the four overs. Matt also bowled well without reward (1 for 21), but Forrest snuck a wicket (2 for 11) and Boof another two wickets (to counter two more zaks and ending on 4 for 23) saw the score on a containable 76 runs after 12 overs.
The next pair had the chance to set a competitive total, but due to briyyyyant captaincy (and the fact that we got to pick a dud to bat twice) those hopes were soon dashed. Hersch was first to sink the knife with vicious swing and fizz bringing 3 wickets and plenty of dots for a briyyyyant over of minus 12. Andy was up next and delivered the WaWa speeeeeshals I had requested. And he was duly rewarded with 4 wickets for an even better minus 15. I bowled next and was badly let down by my field*, but still sent down enough pies for a couple of wickets and I rewarded Knuckles with the 16th over... why? Because he's Knuckles!!! #;) And he didn't let me down either bowling a legside wide, but as the batsman had already lost about 100 wickets, they opted not to have it bowled again (despite the booooooos from Da Famulee). Suitably rattled, he took 2 wickets and the scoreboard had moonwalked all the way back to 47.
SURELY we couldn't lose it from here, and I pondered carefully how I would choose the batting order. In a stroke of inspiration (i.e. they were the two closest to the door) I sent in the first pair of Boof and Matt, and we were treated to some soup-burb bunt and run action. Boof was trying everything in his powers to induct Matt into the Da Famulee properly (i.e. by running him out) and was finally able to acheive it in the fourth over. In between there was some steady batting as the boys rolled towards a score of 33.
Forrest and I were up next and after the first 5 balls we were cruising on 14 and had tied the match up. Someone must have uttered "surely" in the background as after the next three balls we had moonwalked back to 32 and had to start all over again. However despite losing 6 wickets along the way, we managed a credible score of 36. Highlight of the match being Forrest charging the bowler who tried to lob it over his head. The resulting overhead smash from Forrest resulting in a zak which almost killed both the bowler and the fielder at the back net on the way through (while travelling at approximately 487 kms per hour!).
I sent in Knuckles and Andy (blardy umpires!) next in an attempt to lure out the Todd's gun bowlers and wasn't let down. Knuckles setting the tone with a second ball stumping, and both players running each other out briyyyantly during the course of the partnership. With the partnership on minus 7 after 3 overs, the cries of "surely someone will be cha-chinged here" rang out. We should have known better as the lads finishing with 8 runs and a partnership of "wuuuuuuuunnnnnn". Cries of "surely someone had a negative there" rang out and the heckling continued long after the boys returned from the court.
Herc and Hersch were sent in to finish them off and they did so beautifully with Herc registering a magnificent zak from the second last ball of the game to finish on a partnership of 23 solid runs. And so with another marvellous** victory complete, attention turned to the fines and questioning of Andy and Knuckles as to who could possibly have had a negative batting fine as SURELY they couldn't have scored 1 and 0 between them. Andy was convinced he had the minus and chipped in his goldy without waiting for the scoresheet to arrive.
The crowd soon erupted when it became clear that they had indeed made scores of 1 and 0 between them and Andy had to cough up again (under rule 3 section 21) much to the delight of those assembled. To the bar Da Famulee retired (well three of us anyway) to reminisce about the game, and listen intently to the results of Hercs exhaustive research.
And so let it be written that a new streak (currently of 1) has commenced as Da Famulee has resumed it's charge towards the Blardyfarken finals once again.
* May actually have been my bowling.
** May actually have been half-assed.