- Match Report
FRIENDS’ DISAPPEARING BALL TRICK LEAVES WOMBATS UM-ING AND AR-ING
by Luke Ray
The minutes leading up to the second match of double header-day saw the wombats in a jovial mood following their first (not even) 20/20 win over Lalazar in the morning. Indeed the welcome yours truly received upon showing up at lunch with a case of beer brought a tear to my eye. (I think I may have found the key to cementing a spot in the side.) However before the amber nectar would flow there was one more match to be played.
Perhaps exhausted by the morning’s sterling display of tossing, or perhaps slightly distracted by the fiery (though by no means bad) concoction that was lunch, Captain Crayfish’s poor form with the coin meant that Friends would opt to bowl first – surely not a hard decision in the limited…er…limited form of the game.
Burkey and Whiskers took to the middle and Burke took to the first ball pulling it to the boundary for four bits. The two lads continued to grow into the spirit of the (some would say too) short form of the game, Whiskers at times tormenting the fielders with a slapdash display of ‘catch me if you can.’ Eventually they did just that, but not before he fulfilled his job as opener with a robust 35. Don’t worry Whiskers, somehow I think Sir Bradman didn’t have 20/20 in mind when he stated that cricket shots should along the ground.
With Whiskers back in the burrow out came The Mann. He was stoked to have found his Wommies top (the punishment for a lost one cannot be printed here) and ready to make like a barbie at the Embassy – chops, chops and more chops. Must’ve been Chinese on the menu today, back in the shed for a Peking duck
P.Shackleford followed Rob out to the crease, and followed him back to the pavilion again, bowled by the man will live on in his mind for a time to come – Umar. But more on that later. Your humble correspondant here completed the call for the emergency services, 0 0 0, judged by Spacey at (somewhere near) Square leg to be out of my crease.
Up next was Zulu‘. Not content to fight for team and country by stopping the ball with any part of the body he could throw at it behind the stumps, the Zoolander played a gutsy second to mr. equipoise Burke, that would see him there at the end of the innings. The pair adding 57 without loss for the fifth wicket with some good running.
Burkey’s innings came to an end next, bowled playing a similar shot to his first one 148 runs earlier: a pull, add an extra 20 or so degrees of slog and minus about 10 degrees of bounce. A powerful innings with the full textbook of shots including, dare I say it a couple of , gasp, slogs!!? (Go on admit it Burkey, you’re a slogger mate) Burke, 82 off much less than that.
Reggie, and Curly, not having much left to work with in the way of balls to go, put on one and none respectively, completing the somewhat anorexic scorecard that this reporter gets the feeling will become symptomatic of 20/20 cricket. All in all a very respectable total though: Wombats 8 for 154 off our 20.
Curly opened the bowling with the Reggie ‘Shinjuku Express’ Dawson. Barely had one ball been bowled when the batsman facing picked up the ball, examined it and started walking towards the umpire. Now anyone in the Wombats who has played more than a few games in this league wasn’t particularly surprised so much as keen to hear what episode 132 of the ongoing series “discussions with umpires” was going to be about. It seems that the ball (the only officially sanctioned test cricket ball made in India) was too dark. Requests to have the ball changed were duly noted and ignored by the umpire, and play resumed with Captain Chucky’s mind already in overdrive with this new ammunition with which to start sledging.
The opening pair did well, restraining the opening batsmen to a run rate more in line with the longer shorter version of the game. Though with Curly through three of his allotted four (3 overs, 0 fa 20) and Reggie finishing his without the fall of a wicket (4-0-17), on came R.Mann), and he had two batsmen back in the shed scrounging for curry scraps in two overs (4-2-32). We were all psyched up by the Captain’s barrage of ‘invisible ball’-related sledges, but Umar was still in….
Spacey, as he has a knack of doing, came on and took a timely wicket LBW with his Adam Dale specialties. No complaints from fellow wommies about his line and length, but I’m yet to ask his girlfriend. Killer and Whiskers also had a dig with the ball, and I think they would both have a big ‘here here’ for Curly’s comment in the previous match report that 20/20 is indeed a batsman’s game.
By the time Shacks came in to the attack the game was poised on a chopstick, we needed wickets. His first ball, by no means a half tracker, was met with a slog not off the middle, but with the shortened boundary combined with the fact that Umar was now ‘not seeing’ the ball pretty bloody well, it went for six over cow corner. As did the second. The third ball was, correctly enough, bowled a lot flatter and straighter. The six off that one brought up the number of the beast and was perhaps the best hit of the eventual 5 that he hit in a row. He claimed to not be able to see the ball, and now it had truly disappeared. Hats off to Umar, 30 runs in 5 balls, game over.
HARDY’S man of the match was Umar, and he got another bottle for best play of the day. Wombats player of the match went to S.Burke who just bought a wine bar. Considering Umar’s initial ‘difficulty’ with the darker ball, and Zulu’s batting and keeping in his sunnies, blindfolds are seriously being considered for that lately troubled middle order of ours…