The team assembled looking refreshed and energised (or was that completely rooted from the oppresive heat?)as the coin was tossed into the air, and I called heads to commence the cricket action for 2006. The coin landed and started rolling towards
the open doors, obviously trying to escape out into the balmy 37 degree evening air. Luckily for me it melted before getting to the door, and as the head side was the only distinguishable feature from the molten remains, I sent us into bat.
As YCFTN, I quickly consulted the players comfort reading on Tony Blardyfarkens a/c system (which read "it's too farkin hot in here") and elected to bat first to take advantage of the 400+ degree conditions. Actually I batted first as I was dying for a beer, and wouldn't have survived 16 overs in the field without one!!!
Looking around me, I observed many players without a beer and was torn for choice as to who to bat first - finally opting for Willy/aka Pabs (because he had a beer and I didn't the bastard) and Kerry (because he was standing closest to Willy/aka Pabs).
And so they strode to the wicket, full of energy (and in Pabbsys case, a hat full of hair) and took to the bowling, swingly lustily for at least the first two balls. The Mod Squad proceeded to drop more catches than a South African 2nd XI, and Pabs took full advantage registering the first zak of the New Year (at 150 to 1 odds) on his way to a fine score of 19. Kerry (soon to be nicknamed) batted well, but was without luck losing 2 wickets in the last three balls but still came from the court with a hard earnt 3, while Pabs scored a swashbuckling 19 in a partnership of 22.
And so in went Mojo and myself to continue the catching practice for the Mod Squad. After my second win for the night, Mojo was sent to the strikers end and we proceeded to display every variation of the straight drive - from the lofted one straight back to the bowler, the one lofted to the bloke standing next to the bowler, the one lofted to the bloke at the back net, and then the mishits that went along the ground... straight to the bloke at the back net. After four overs of fine bowling*, the final ball couldn't be bowled quickly enough as the "batsmen" tired and we struggled from the field with 7 runs apiece to move the score to 36.
Boof and Bukkake (or should I say McKarky?) were up next and they were intent on swinging the willow early. Boof shaving down for the start of the year and Bukkake opting to wear a blue muscle shirt, rather than the traditional summer singlet.
The bowling was soon dispatched to all corners of the court with a fine zak to McKarky and some deft touch from Boof prodding the side nets to conserve energy. McKarky providing two highlights for the night with his overhead smash for 3 runs, and the reverse sweep that completely missed and instead struck him in the boob region - resulting in a mighty appeal from the back net that was unrewarded.
Two overs in and they were flying on 22... then someone uttered surely and a McKarky charge and swingfest saw the lads come from the pitch with 15 runs to their name - Boof scoring the lions share and Boocake only two balls away from a negative!
The final pairing of Mary and Knuckles (both daringly kitted in headbands discovered in McKarkys bag) went to face the music... literally as Tony Blardyfarken reverted to the 20-20 initiative of playing songs to pump up the crowds. Except in true Tony B half assed style (a la the air con system) he had accidentally turned on the PA system from his office and the chick music he was playing (Laura Branigan - Gloria for the music buffs) was piped softly into the arena.
Knuckles got the year off to a flyer by being controversially stumped** and the score moonwalked backwards, before a late rally and some big hitting saw the sexually questionable pair come from the field with 27 runs, a nawsty case of tinea of the forehead and a team total of 78 runs.
Yes that's right, a thoroughly mediocre 78 runs - SURRRRRELY they couldn't lose it from here.
And so we went onto the field and I discovered that courtesy of Reubens selection policy, we were playing with 5 keepers, 4 spinners and 8 duds. After his inspired batting performance, I handed the new ball (an actual new ball - and probably the one that we'll use for the rest of the year) to our opening quick bowler... Willy (aka Kleenex aka Pablo aka Cher with his flowing black locks). And the big fella didn't let me down (despite asking me for 6 fielders at the back net), starting with a scintillating over and captured the elusive Famulee double - first zak and first wicket taken of the new year. He could do no wrong and ended with -3 from his first over and we were away to a flyer.
Kerry was up next, and continued the fine bowling with a wicket and a dropped catch and over of 3. At the completion of his first over, Knuckles annointed him with the nickname "Dubyah" which presumably stems from his initials KW, rather than his penchant for starting wars against Iraq.
Mojo was up next and not to be upstaged by Pabs, promptly claimed the first hat-trick of 2006 with his first 3 deliveries***.
In fact he could have been 4 from 4 if it were not for McKarky falling asleep behind the stumps waiting for the top edge from the next ball to come back down to earth. Adding insult to injury, the umpire declared there was no edge to rule out any chances of a cha-ching for the rest of Da Famulee.
Mojo was so disgusted he then took another wicket, and with his next ball delighted the crowd as it clipped the edge of the bat and Bukkake put it down - CHA CHING!!!!! Mojo finished with 4 for minus 17 and was left to ponder what might have been a "6 fa" in his first over.
Boof rounded out the first pair with another soupburb over of dipp and fizzzzzzz (taking 2 for 1) and so after 4 overs they were reeling at minus 16 runs and the rot had started.
As the next pair came to the wicket, I threw the ball to Pabs to continue his fine spell. Bevo was watching on at the back net and declared "could be a bad move by the captain", and I immediately knew that Pabs would have another fine over!!! And that he did with a wicket first ball and went on to complete his spell taking 3 for 5 from his two overs. I followed up and jagged another couple of wickets and then it was Knuckles turn.
He commenced his spell by kicking over the stumps in his delivery stride, after confusing his run-up much to the amusement of those gathered. It was soon followed by the first fielding blooper of the season, with a morvellarse run out. A straight drive smashed back at Knuckles was deflected off his foot, into Boofs ankle standing alongside him, and then trickled back between Knuckles legs and into the stumps - HOWZAT we appealed!!!!! The umpire calmly said "Not out idiots" as the batsmen had held his ground at the bowlers end... however with the ball lying next to the stumps and everyone standing around laughing in amusement at Knuckles misfortune, the batsmen called Yes for a sneaky single - only for Mojo to pounce and whip the "bails" off in a flash to complete the funniest runout of the season.
McKarky closed out the second pair with a fine last over of swinging fruit, taking 3 for minus 13 and a wicket 2nd last ball to condemn the bastmen to a negative score of minus 4 and a team score of minus 20.
Somehow Da Famulee were further ahead after 8 overs than when we started - SURELY!!!!!!!!!
The next pair came to the wicket and promptly took to Mary's bowling, before the newly crowned "DUBBBYAH" put the brakes on with two wickets and three legside DUBBYAHS (Cha Ching!). He then exploded in the field in most un-Partridge like fashion, by effecting runouts and catches - all promptly greeted with cries of "that's a Dubyah" whether it was bowling wides or taking wickets with the ball.
Approaching the end of the 12th over, they had scraped back into a positive score, before McKarky jagged a DUBBBYAAAAAHHHH runout on the last ball, and after 12 overs, our long time rivals had crawled back to minus 2. Thus needing 80 runs to equal, and 81 to win.
And the last pair went swinging with Mojo taking two more wickets but being caned for two zaks to finish with 6 for minus 9 - only outdone by McKarky Bukkakes figures of 6 for minus 17. Mary finished off bowling his "doosras" (aka regulation leg spinners) with the dip and fizz that the Great Man himself would have been proud of, but going unrewarded in a slogfest.
The last over began with the pairing needing 42 to win and Knuckles with control of an unlikely victory in his hands... and everyone on the court yelling "SURELY" as he marked out his runup. One very un-Knuckles (i.e. wicketless but accurate) like over later and it was all done - a paltry total of 50 runs to the Mod Squad and an unthinkable 38 run victory to Da Famulee.
And so an action packed night of cricket with highlights galore to take us to 3 wins and 0 losses to start the season. Incidentally equalling the best ever season starts and halcion days of seasons 4 and 5 (a long, long time ago - feel free to hum the rest of American Pie here).
Surely we couldn't break the record next week could we????? #;)
* May actually have been due to schissenhousen batting rather than the fine bowling.
** Knuckles was the only one who thought it was controversial - the rest of us loved it!
*** May have actually been complete looping hand grenades.