So, the day of reckoning was upon us – Sunday 27th was the date and served as a farewell game for 2 Bashers players in particular, of which one was AWOL and their families’. Tim ‘Tiny’ O ‘Connell was to take to the field for the last time for Bashers in Shanghai.
Pre Match – The preparations were underway when i arrived EARLY to the Camel at 10:40’ish, Truffles had devoured his lunch and Sicknote was waiting for his, confident it would arrive post-haste and could finish in time for the arranged ’11 a.m. bus. He needn’t have worried, the only thing the bus was earlier than upon arrival at 11:30 were the pies, pre-ordered at 10:50 which arrived, luke warm and microwaved, at approx 11:40. Still…gave all 20+ bashers and ‘kin time to lubricate themselves a little more with nectar of the amber variety! Ample amber nectar containers were also packed in the esky along with reserves for what was perceived to be a thirsty day ahead, eventually.
Arrival at SRFC (or whatever they are calling it now) – tension was sensed by Post-Op as a gingerly figure approached (Poppy) for a toss which differed from that posted on the blog (thankfully, although i hear Bullet resurrected the River later on in the fines session) – without a coin in sight, a bashers member card was launched into the air and a call of ‘member side’ was made by the fiery Queenslander – alas, he chose poorly. Post-Op elected to bat first and the Bashers + Geisha’s + Mini Bashers made their way to SRFC Far field where the showcase was to be…er…showcased!
Music started, kit adorned, It was Tiny’s Testimonial XI to bat, Latex’s Invitational XI into the field. Weather was ‘Bright but a bit cloudy’, Temp = roughly, upwards of 35C or 95F for you weird ones…
Tiny and Manoj A Trois to bat. Poppy (i think) to open the bowling for Latex’s Invitational.
First 10 Overs: Without the benefit of the scorecard, and from fading memory, I remember boundaries from both batsmen…lots of them. Ceaseless cheering and applauding as boundary after boundary came and went. As the 10th over approached, murmurs from the scoring area mooted that both batsmen were in their late 40’s (score, not age) and closing on their half centuries, through some destructive and incisive batting helped along by some ‘questionable’ catching and fielding from the Latex XI side. At the bottom of the 9th (for you Tank) Tiny managed to blaze a straight drive for 4 to bring up his half century greeted by a rapturous applause from both the spectators on the sideline and the spectators on the field 🙂 – – – and so to the 10th over, it was the turn of A Trois to make his half century, to another bout of hysteria from the sidelines but a more laboured applause from the field, obviously sensing that more was to come after the break!
Score was roughly 120-0 Drinks – In the spirit of Bashers on Bashers cricket, and perhaps to save the risk of heatstroke, captains and batsmen came together and decided to introduce a ‘retirement at 50’ clause, which was more than ok with everyone.
Second 10 Overs: #3 and #4 into bat for Tiny’s Testimonial XI – Sicknote and Post-Op. Sicknote took the strike to a determined looking Woody (Sicknote had enquired whether a helmet was necessary…) who nonchalantly whizzed two balls in quick succession towards the noggin area of Sicknote! Then, to mix it up a bit, Woody bowled a normal delivery which Sicknote chipped up in the air, easily caught by Korean. Still, it was the breakthrough Latex’s XI was looking for. Out to replace Sicknote came Truffles, eager to improve on his last run-less outing with the bat. Post-Op’s first action was strangely resembling an on-drive, albeit on the full which went, quite sharply, straight at Parrot’s awaiting paws…unfortunately for the Parrot, there was no time to set himself and the ball spilled to the floor…4 runs saved though! That was not the first incident of the Post-Op/Truffles innings catching practice, which resulted in some tentative looks from captain Poppy as drop after drop accumulated!
Worse was to follow, Truffles was eagerly looking for ‘the fielder’ to pick out, the one we could take ‘2’ to without much bother, and boy oh boy did we find him! In the holy form of “Pope Benedict Collins’…not one misfield for 4, but two, consecutive attempts at stopping a simple pull shot failed to the delight of the jeering crowd! I have to say, that the second 4 run giveaway attempt at stopping the ball was made more bizarre by the aptly jibed ‘Sydney Harbour Bridge’ comment from his captain, Poppy! Not to be outdone by his two previous frail attempts at fielding the ball, another pull shot made its way to the Pontiff’s area of operation and was a little bit tamer than the previous two – it was greeted by the loud call of ‘I GOT THIS’…only to mis-field yet again, greeted by rapturous celebrations in the Tiny’s XI camp, and most of his co-fielders too! The shame of being ‘switched’ then ensued in the following order, Korean taking up the responsibility.
It wasn’t long before Post-Op became the 3rd retiree from the Tiny XI and Dag’s joined Truffles in the middle. More boundaries ensued, Truffles helping himself to some buffet style stuff before holing out for a mid-30’s score putting Tiny’s XI in the dizzying runs total of 200! Out went Spanky, and living up to his name, hit the biggest 6 of the day, nearly taking out the spectators! Spanky, Dag’s and Grilla seeing the overs out with some solid work to set the mighty total of 236, leaving Latex’s Invitational XI 237 to take the glory.
Tiny – 50 and retired
A Trois – 50 and retired
100 Partnership opening wicket
Post-Op – 50 and retired
Truffles – 30+ and going well
Grilla – Off the mark for the bashers!
Spanky – Biggest 6 of the day (might get the dubious 6’s commission involved with Spanners epic slog in the 2nd innings on that one)
Sicknote – reminding us we are still Bashers!
Latex Invitational XI Innings: Now, I really don’t remember too much on this one, so i’m hoping a member of the Latex Invitational will do their innings more justice and/or remember who actually did what as i’m guessing below: I recall 11.85 per over required RR. Here go’s…Ringer and Scott “Starfish” Brown took to the crease, Post-Op to open the bowling. Ringer took his time to settle in knowing he has the ability to be a game-changer, practicing his swooshing at the first 3 deliveries, but getting batt on ball with the 4th, leading edge in the air into no-man’s-land landing about 6ft in front of the troubled batsman. Fifth ball was a little shorter and wider though and was duly dispatched – square cut for 4. The sixth played down to 3rd man for a single. 5 off the first over, nearly 7 runs shy of their target.
Captain Post-Op decided to play around with his bowlers, eager to get all involved, and soon Inquisition, Spanky, Grilla and Dag’s had taken the ball and doing a good job (i thought) with keeping the run rate down.
Leppa bowling some quality foxing stuff and managed to out-fox Scott Brown who was dancing down the wicket but forgot to make contact with the ball leaving A Trois with a simple stumping, which was executed emphatically!
Drinks at 12 (I was running late so wanted to play through…selfish Post Op) and the score was 121-1, captain Poppy out to the crease to join Ringer.
‘Dag’s’ was the call from Post-Op, to resume the innings and bowled a tight first over. Bullet was then bought on to tackle the mighty Poppy and Ringer who looked like they had the bit between their teeth, dispatching a few boundaries before Poppy ‘Popped’ one to deep square straight down the throat of opposite captain Post-Op. In the air long enough for Post-Op to decide that in order to make it a fair game, a spill would be the order of the day, so Poppy remained at the crease….i’m sticking with that!
Dag’s carried on with his second over and trapped Ringer with a beaut of a swingy, loopy yorker which collided with Ringers stumps, the breakthrough we needed!
Out comes Spanner, the right arm windmilling warm up a sign of intent as he strode towards the crease. This was not at all bravado as the aforementioned Spanky 6 of the day was rivaled on one occasion, of which there were a few occasions where Spanner dispatched all who bowled at him. Things were looking up for the Latex Invitational! It was time for the Gear, Sicknote and Birdshit to work their magic. Some solid bowling ensued! Spanner unfortunately didn’t time one well enough and holed out to the Gear in the deep gully area. This bought in the Pope.
Pope and Poppy at the crease. Bullet had mentioned that if Pope came into bat, he wanted to bowl at him, after the over bowled by bullet where there was a dropped catch, captain Post-Op declined the Bullets request. But, having said that, bowling himself two of the last 5 overs for 30 odd, he probably should have listened! Pope dispatching and Poppy dispatching everything bowled at them as they chased down that enormous total, which at the last 5 overs remaining was not looking so enormous!
That is until, and step in superman fielder Birdshit…Poppy looped one of Post-Op’s deliveries into the realm occupied by the man, reflexes of a mongoose, poise of a Flamingo – Birdshit! Swooping like a Peregrine Falcon one handed to collect the ball…Poppy, and most likely the hopes of victory were walking back to the pavilion!
Leppa and Tiny to finish of the 19th and 20th. Leppa was tidy, too tidy for Latex’s Invitational, and not enough came from it to leave them with any chance of scoring the winning runs from the last over, to be bowled by Tiny. A fitting end to a great day for all associated with the Bashers. A tidy over of graceful, proper bowling and that was it. Tiny’s Testimonial XI defeats Latex’s Invitational XI who I believe did make the 200 mark while chasing which is a testament, not sure to what exactly, bowling or fielding shortcomings or sheer batting prowess!
Fines – the reason i’ve bored you all to death is because I didn’t attend the fines session. I hang my head in shame, but it was a miracle I was able to make the game frankly! Anyhow, i’m sure it was epic!
I would like to take this opportunity to state what a pleasure it is to have met and played cricket with Tiny, met his lovely wife and best scorer/bashers drinker in the club and of course, little Tara. Again, for Latex and Smoochy – Tom being the first Basher I spoke to at training one Thursday night and then meeting Smoochy on the same night at the Camel after. Couldn’t have asked for friendlier folk and got a proper introduction to Typhoon Thursdays! These memories will stay with me and remind me of my first days here in Shanghai and some of my best days to date here in Shanghai (Nanjing included too!) It’s is certainly the Bashers loss with you guy’s leaving. Fond memories made in the time spent with you all and I do hope to see you all again very soon. There’s something about cricket that brings the best out of people and indeed the best people with it.