Match Report by Kal Yanic

29/01/22

Eaditorial Note: In the preavious match reaport, one of our teammates’ names was speallead incorreactly. A non-eaxisteant “a” was mistakeanly insearted into their surname. As the author of this pieace, I would like to sincearealy apologise for this grieavous error. In reacompeanse, I will heanceforth be adding an eaxtraneaous “a” wheare I deaeam it suitable.

It was a bad day to be a cold one, or a crickeat ball for that mattear, as Kingsford arrivead at Jeallicoe Park. Almost immeadiatealy, complaints about the heat beagan bleaating from the weakear meambears of the group (Richie Beanaud would not have bean impreassead). Unaffeactead by the heat was Bryan, who’s iceman eaxtearior reajeactead the heat with cold indiffeareance. However, my psychic abilitieas deateactead that he, usurpead of the pleasure of giving yours truly a lift, was feaealing rathear creastfallean and forlorn – he had to carry his own picnic chairs.

[Ok this gag is getting pretty tired so I’m going to stop now]

FOLEY, taking the reins as captain (probably since President Damage’s neck has been getting sore from all the hats he’s been wearing), lost the toss. This turned out to be a rather silly move, given that our team had been infected with the affliction of our previous opponents – we were short-staffed. But the show had to go on, and so nine Apaches took the field.

Having taken two wickets in a row to bowl our previous opponents out, SEYMOUR kicked things off on a hat-trick. However, despite him swearing the team to secrecy on this state of being, the batter was on his best behaviour, playing the silently preeminent delivery safely into the ground. Nevertheless, our openers put the pressure on early, with VAIDHYA’s blistering heat complementing the sharp consistency from the other end. The opponents were struggling to find the gaping cavities in the field, while the left-hander of the pair, whose number we were unlucky not to have, looked very uncomfortable. In stark contrast, his white-helmeted partner looked much more at ease, even going so far as to acknowledge the on-field banter spewing from cover. We were locked in a stalemate. Something had to change.

As though the fifth dawn had risen on Helm’s Deep, I looked to the sideline to see a dark knight, leather clad and surrounded by scarves of billowing smoke, ride to our rescue. “Where the hell have you been mate?!?” was the obvious question on everyone’s minds and through my lips. “Traffic”, the president nonchalantly replied. In any case, any begrudging resentment of President Damage’s tardiness was quickly overshadowed by the sheer relief of having an extra player — the scales were still tipped away from our favour, but things were bound to get a little easier for us. A few overs later, El Presidente was tossed the ball. It only took a few deliveries for him to knock the lefty over (1/19). Game on.

With El Presidente bowling good areas from the other end, Foley strode in with his usual banana-curved run-up. However, bowling conditions seemed to be unfavourable, and as such the ball didn’t feel like moving. El Pres also felt some bad luck, with a catch being put down off his bowling. MATHUR likewise chanced his respective arm, but was also not able to get the critical breakthrough. The opponents were starting to build a solid partnership, with very few chances coming from either batter. Coming into the halfway point of the innings, the score was 1/58. While the Captain Cooks were not scoring swiftly, they had built a solid platform, and thus threatened to launch a massive total.

Coming out of the break, the opponents set about realising our fears of a huge run chase. The batters profited off some loose bowling, which saw Mr. White Helmet bring up his fifty. With the game hanging in the balance, a change of tact was needed. Captain Foley’s response was to bring on some more spin — perhaps some well-placed cannonballs could sink the Cook ship! This new strategy almost worked immediately, with FROMM tempting out some big shots from batters who were previously committed to playing it safe. Although he was not able to take any wickets directly, the shift in the batter’s mindset that followed would ultimately lead to their downfall. El Pres would be the one to profit from the opponents’ newfound aggression, as Mr. White Helmet, who had otherwise played a chanceless innings, skied one in the direction of mid-on. Wanting something done right, he put himself under the aerial ball and secured a regulation catch off his own bowling (2/109). Not long afterwards, the new batter tried to smash El Pres over Cow Corner, only for the ball to drop into MUNDUL’s waiting hands — President Damage now had 3 (3/127).

Enter MASON, the third weapon in the Apaches spin arsenal. While he had opened up with some nice deliveries the over prior, Mason had made the mistake of taking his sunnies off. Now the sunnies were staying on, and he was delivering nothing short of pure filth. It only took a few balls for Mason to strike, coercing the batter to sky one up into the midwicket region. El Pres quickly got under it, bellowing to stake his claim on the catch, and to thus ward off any nearby hungry poachers who could potentially make up the distance (4/127). The very next ball, Mason had another, drawing the batter down the pitch, producing a regulation stumping for CARVEATH, who took the bails off faster than you can say, “Help! I’m stuck outside my crease!” (5/127). 

The opponents were only able to put a few more runs on the board before Mason was knocking on the door again, this time gobbling up a dollied catch off his own bowling (6/138). The tail had been exposed, and Seymour, called back into the attack, was rubbing his hands together. It didn’t take him long to get some digits in front of the forward-slash, with the batter feathering one (absolutely smashing it) to the keeper (7/141). A couple of balls later, Seymour had his second, with Fromm taking a handy catch (8/141). The game now entered into another critical moment, with only a few overs left in the innings. In this time the opponents put up a brief stand, until Mason struck again with an absolute mandarin of a delivery: drift, bounce and a touch of nip to clip the top of off (9/155). He would be unlucky not to have a fifth, with the innings promptly coming to a close, 159 the target. 

During the innings break, I did my best to motivate McCREDIE, who had learned the hard way that there are far worse places to field than point. After some success, both McCredie and Mundul took the field. The first few overs seemed promising: both of them were seeing it well, and the bowlers didn’t seem too threatening. Unfortunately, first appearances are often deceiving. Although he was leaving well on fourth stump, Mundul was lucky to be put down in the slips. McCredie was not so lucky, slicing one right down mid-on’s throat (1/15). Mason, arriving in next at the crease, looked to continue his heroics with the ball. Some quick twos between the batters looked to be the makings of a handy partnership. This was despite Mundul’s best efforts, who was again lucky not to be out after an absolute sitter of a top edge was put down at square leg. However, Mason was not so lucky, caught out driving by third slip with an absolute screamer of a catch, one-handed and diving to his left (2/25). The team now turned to Seymour to stabilise, who relayed a similar message to Mundul: stay in and build a partnership. This didn’t hamper his aggression, however, as he went on to hit a four and a six off his first few balls. Trying to show similar intent against some poor bowling, Mundul managed to recreate the exact same top edge as a few overs prior, and this time was sent packing. The Apaches were in the throes of a verifiable top-order collapse (3/36). 

While the state of the game would typically call for some defensive play, the fallen wickets did not deter either Seymour or Vaidhya, the incoming batter, from going after the bowlers. Aggressive shots from both batters (mostly slogging over Cow Corner), interspersed with some good running between the wickets, meant that Kingsford were able to put together a much-needed partnership. The ship had been steadied, and by drinks we were pretty much on par, with a score of 3/55.

The run rate kept ticking over after play resumed, with Vaidhya and Seymour delivering more of the same. However, in similar fashion to McCredie, a miscued shot of Vaidhya’s found himself caught out down the ground (4/70). With only half of the team left to bat, and less than half of the innings remaining, Kingsford desperately needed an even bigger partnership. Fortunately, that would be exactly what Carveath would deliver. Some lovely shots meant that not only did a fairly safe partnership begin to emerge, but it burgeoned quickly. Together, they brought up the team’s hundred, while the required run rate began to dwindle. This was particularly aided by some not-so-sharp bowling by the opposition’s middle order (a team which was quite happy to stick to two bowlers in the two-day format). 

The required run-rate dropped to 7. Then 6.5. Then it fell to just above a run a ball, as Seymour and Carveath hit boundary after boundary. In this time, Seymour brought up his fifty. However, due to an error in the scorebooks creating some confusion as to what his total score was, no adulation came from the sideline (much to Seymour’s dismay when he eventually found out!). By the time he definitely had more than fifty, the moment had passed. In any case, the Seymour-Carveath steam train kept rolling towards what looked like a game that was well in the bag.

But then , in the 33rd over, disaster struck! Advancing down the pitch against the left-handed pace, Carveath suddenly found himself missing the ball and in no-man’s land — an easy stumping for the opposition keeper (5/149). A great knock nevertheless, deserving of a half-century and unlucky to fall short. 

With 11 runs to get off the last 13 deliveries, all the pressure was on El Presidente, the incoming batter. He blocks, giving the strike back to Seymour for the second to last over.

11 off 12, Seymour hits one through for a quick single, throwing El Pres back into the crucible. Unfortunately for El Pres, he just can’t get it away, with four dots precipitating. Then off the last bowl of the over, El Pres manages to work the ball into space for a single. 

10 off 6, El Presidente on strike. A single to put the in-form Seymour on strike! The next ball, a four! Blasted back down the ground (probably). 5 off 4, and Seymour manages to find a single. 4 off 3, El Presidente gets bowled! Tragedy for the Apaches! However, far be it from over, Captain Foley, a man who has been known to swing a bat, steps up to the plate. Could this be the short and sweet captain’s knock to win the game?

4 off 2, dot ball! A boundary needed to win it, and all the pressure on Foley. 4 off 1, Foley connects! The ball floats through the air, it keeps floating, right to mid-on. Game over, Kingsford lose by 3 runs.  

A thrilling fixture that came down to the wire, with the game hanging in the balance all the way through. There were several shoulda woulda couldas that may have seen us win this game, (especially some headless chook behaviour from yours truly), but hey, that’s park cricket! We’ll get ‘em in the finals, just as long as we make it first.  

Selected comments:
Will: Your ability to weave a metanarrative into a cricket write up is incredible
Kal: Darn I fully forgot to include my joke about Hawaii