The Little White Ball

SJFCC vs Jack of Diamonds 

Clarence Park, Thursday August 20. 

by Matt King

The mighty Fishers: 170 for 5 from 20 overs, Jack of Diamonds: 118 for 8 in 20 overs.

The mid-week season came to a close with Fishers’ inaugural day/night game, played under headlights at Clarence Park. With rain having postponed the fixture vs JoD from July, it was to be our first late-August evening game since records began. Or something.

Dawko lost the toss, which saved him from the difficult decision of choosing between whether to bat in the dark or field in the dark. Anyway, he had other things on his mind to worry about: how was Helen getting on lifting all those heavy boxes around in preparation for their house move the following day? What was she cooking him for dinner that night? Had she ironed the right shirt for the next day (he’d want to make a good impression with the new neighbours)? And, most importantly of all, had she remembered not to pack his slippers as he’d want them left in the usual place by the front door when he got home from a hard evening’s cricket? With his mind on such important matters, it was fortunate that he’d lost the toss.

Dame Nurse and Titfer Tatlock opened the batting for Fishers. It was a steady start, but too steady for the likings of those further down the order who were itching to bat, especially Boxer and Harris who were relegated to bat at 10 and 11 respectively having blatantly disobeyed Club Orders to be ready and changed for a 6PM start. (I can’t comment further here for legal reasons as a disciplinary inquiry is pending).

With the intention that everyone should get a bat in the last twenty over game of the year, we’d decided upon a self-imposed ‘retire at 20’ rule. An additional ‘five dot balls in a row and you’re out’ approach was mooted, but Dawko was concerned that that would undermine his whole batting ethos.

Julian and Stuart were both out on 12. Andy Watson wasn’t at the crease for long and managed a (now customary) reverse sweep on his way to retiring on 22. Dawko, after a (always customary) slow start involving only dot balls or singles for his first 11 balls faced, built to a crescendo and hit four boundaries on his way to retiring on 24.

King and Virji were both out cheaply in the same over. Reevo faced only ten balls on his way to retiring on 26. Given that four of those were dot balls, the mathematically adept amongst you (so that’s just Reevo then) will calculate that the potential options for his scoring pattern to reach 26 off 6 balls can be found through the formula ( 6 factorial minus 4 factorial, divided by Bungle). Anyway, it included an enormous 6 which was merely clipped to square leg and various boundaries to cow corner. The oppo put extra fielders in place to guard the led-side boundary, but Reevo just powered through them.

Bungle was out for 3 and then the steadying influence of Bob was joined at the crease by 6.05 Boxer and they steered Fishers to an extremely healthy 170, scoring 17 and 18 not out respectively.

Having had the forethought not to expend too much energy batting, Bungle and King opened the bowling for Fishers. Their plan paid off: Bungle dismissed one opener and King took two wickets in his second over, bowling both his best and worst balls of the season in succession.

Confusing the batsman with a rare non-no ball, Dave took a proper cricketing wicket when the ball was edged to wicket-keeper Dawko. Bob, Harris and Reevo all took one apiece, too.  The greatest cheer was reserved for Nursey (‘oh, yes it was”) who took his first ever wicket for Fishers. Two balls earlier, Julian had done his utmost prevent the duck being broken by theatrically diving and fumbling a catch that would have gone straight to him at third slip had he just stood still.  Instead, it fell (or not, more accurately) to another slip (Harris?) to take the catch that made Stuart a happy man.

Dawko took a neat stumping off Harris, but I can’t detail the other wickets as I’ve only got the abridged scorecard. Someone probably took a great catch or ripped out all three stumps or something.

During the course of the innings we switched to a white ball. The light was fading when we started and, unsurprisingly, it got progressively darker. The white ball helped; it made it easier for the batsman to hit and it made it easier for the six slips to watch as the three out-fielders scampered all over Clarence Park to retrieve it. The white ball was great except when, earlier on, once the sun had just set, it went up into the still-white sky; it was like trying to catch a bit of cloud.

It was a good performance to finish the mid-week season on. Everyone made a contribution in one form or another: Dave, Bob, Reevo, Andrew, Dawko and Julian all made runs; Bungle, Matt, Stuart and Harris got amongst the wickets; and Anil bought the white ball.

Man of the Match:

Lots of contenders here. To be honest, it could have been anyone (except Anil). If Julian had caught the ball, it could have been Stuart; if others hadn’t also retired and got one wicket, it could have been Reevo or Andy W (or Bob or Dave); if he’d not been dumped unceremoniously from the squad, it could have been Keith; if he’d got some runs or a wicket or, even, just a catch, it could have been Anil, but with 24no (including 18 from the last six balls), a catch, a stumping, two whacks in the face (one during the game and one before it for playing the night before moving house) and an impressive first season as skipper, it goes to Dawko.

Quotes Of The Day:

Andrew Watson: (whilst waiting to bat) “If I reserve sweep for 6, do I get two?”

Harris: (whilst trying to calculate if there was still any lingering chance of him getting in to bat) “Who’s on what?”
Phil: “Well, Sandsy’s on heroin and I’m on crack.”

Anil; “I’ll need to put my suit back on so my wife thinks I’ve been working late, not playing cricket.”

Dawko: “The beef Wellington had better not be over-cooked when I get home or I’m going to be pretty angry.”