“The hallmark of a great captain is his ability to win the toss at the right time.”
Due to a scheduled pitch of wicket at 0830am, the Bashers pleasure XI had to arrive promptly at the Camel at 0715. This, surprisingly, was actually achieved by the greater many. It was indeed the K’s for Leisure that held the bus up due to their (re)tardiness on their respective journey’s. The only issue of note was the maiden Esky-tipping-come-ice-wasting of the Bashers post-match beers by a new basher. You guessed it; now welcomed to the Bashers as Spillage. Welcome.
“The SRFC is more of a circle than an oval. It is long and square” – Trevor Bailey.
A quicker-than-expected bus journey to the SRFC meant an earlier than expected arrival for the toss. Pussy & Dongy greeted us at the ground looking like a shit double act that had just crawled out of a KTV in Songjiang 2 hours ago previously. Tucker and the Ambassador (to be explained) had finished setting up the boundary, which looked suspiciously misshaped, ill placed and overshot. But, as the saying goes, “seen as though none of you offered, you can all fuck off.” Now, one would now like to point out that cricket is actually very simple as a captain. You choose heads or tails, you win the toss, and then you choose to bat. Hey presto. With that in mind, Skiddy had informed us that he had discovered the basic responsibility of a captain, and won the toss to put the Bashers in to bat. Well done Skiddy.
“He was like an old lady poking with her umbrella at a wasp’s nest”
Korean and Pussy opened the batting. One problem – Pussy had decided to pick up Tucker’s new bat, that had an average of 0.5 after 6 games: yes, you read correctly: 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1. At 400 RMB per run, that is not a good return. Not surprisingly, Pussy was dismissed for 1 within the first two overs, being clean bowled by Hot Dog’s D1 opener, to raise further suspicions the bat did in fact have a hole in it. New Basher The Ambassador (an Australian government spy) came in to meet Korean at the crease. Just like a good Korean (BBQ), he didn’t last too long either, making just 1. From nowhere, what came next was to go down in Bashers folklore, as the Ambassador (named in hindsight) lived up to his (post-game) assigned Basher’s name with gusto.
“The Ambassador was a good solid rock upon which the Bashers hung their caps”
The Ambassador glided his way to 50, pushing the Bashers along nicely. Accompanied at the crease initially by Shit Shoes (5), Bashers reached drinks after 15 at 83-3. Then, a stellar 100-run partnership between Swiper and the Ambassador propelled the Bashers on and in with a shout of reaching a rare-but-serious total. Some textbook cricket shots kept the rest of the Bashers team entertained in the pavilion (apart from Pussy who was hungover, pretending to be asleep and being kicked on the ground by Longdong for refusing to go and do 3rd Umpire), before Swiper was eventually caught swiping after a classy contribution of 34. Such a foundation was expected to be built on, and Skiddy duly did his bit by going in and re-creating the fall of wicket of Swiper, by sending another catch down the same fielders throat in the covers for a duck. Tucker came in hot off having scored a PB of 1 with his new bat and rather strangely managed to damage the Hot Dogs opening bowler’s figures (alongside the Ambassador), scoring 10 off his final over of the spell. It is irrelevant how the runs were made, just that the cursed bat of Tucker now has a (slightly) more respectable average of 2: Tucker proceeding to have his stumps bulldozed over after a quick-fire 12.
“They came to see me bat, not you bowl.” – The Ambassador.
Spillage (2 N.O) then joined his Lordship at the crease to share the moment of the day: a maiden century for the Ambassador. A truly fantastic knock, which made half of the 197 required for a Hot Dogs win in the scorching afternoon sun. 105 not out, and he could have stayed there all day (well, maybe not with his knee brace that looks like a mechanical fixture taken from a Westworld set)
“The outfield looks more suitable for growing Carrots” – Andy Atkinson
The Bashers took to the vegetable field to defend the 196 set in the first innings. Warcry and Pussy opened the bowling, with Warcry making a rapid breakthrough in the first over: clean bowling the Doggies opening batsman for a duck. Contrary to common opinion, leaving a 100km/h in-swinger delivery on middle stump is not a cricket shot. After an ideal wicket maiden to get the Bashers going, Pussy did his best to balls things up by opening from the other end with 2 no balls, 2 boundaries and a wide for good measure. Oh, and dropping a catch off Warcry the next over for even better measure. 15/1 off 3 overs. Due to Pussy’s incompetence, Tucker replaced him at the Clubhouse end for a bang-average 4-over spell. Warcry kept some good line and length during his 4 over spell, before being replaced with Pussy to see whether he could make amends for his alcohol-fueled horror show to start with. Thankfully, he did, as the Ambassador caught the Doggie’s captain casually at 2nd slip off Pussy’s bowling: Pussy redeeming himself for a shocking first over. With the openers gone, Doggies put on a few more runs to reach the drinks break at 88/2, slightly ahead of the Bashers, but behind the required run rate for victory.
“I bowl so slowly that if I don’t like a ball I can run after it and bring it back”
J.M. Barrie aka Shit Shoes
Post re-hydration and fags inhaled, Skiddy brought himself and Shit Shoes on to reduce the average pace of the Bashers bowling attack to 27km/h. Shoes made an early breakthrough with some tantalizingly methodical bowling from the River end, having the Doggies #3 caught behind after some great work by Korean behind the stumps: not only taking a caught behind but stumping the poor lad as well. Unfortunately, as the Hot Dogs only had 10 men, we couldn’t claim 2 dismissals. Skiddy and Shoes kept up the (slow) pace for a while, before Dongy came in to take 2 back-to-back LBW’s to clear out some of the Doggies middle order.
“He’s usually a good puller – but he couldn’t get it up that time” – Brian Johnston.
“They give an LBW for anything that hits the pad”, one of the HD’s batsmen was heard when exiting the field. He is not wrong; actually. But, of course, if you proceed to cover your stumps with your pads, try to pull to the leg side, miss, and then the wicket-bound delivery hits your pads when Dongy is about to upend middle stump, that, good Sir will be given out.
“The game’s a little bit wide open again”
Square Root was introduced to the fold shortly after, and repaid the Skipper’s faith in him by bowling their dangerous looking batsmen for 40. Unlike the earlier leave on middle stump by the HD’s opener, trying to scoop a delivery around the stumps is actually a cricket shot, just not best-played when you are chasing down a respectable total and the ball is going to hit your middle stump. In between the wickets and mayhem there was time for Spillage to completely mis-judge a catch and get the sun caught in his eyes at mid-on (thankfully it wasn’t their most dangerous batsmen. Oh, wait, yes it was). With Dongy keeping it tight at one end, and Rooty doing his best to make it a tight finale at the other, the HD’s were in sight needing 50 off 6 overs to win. Thankfully Dongy “used his grey hair” and experience to reduce his economy to less than the required, and the Hot Dogs lost momentum, cantering to 176 off 28 overs. It should be noted that, if it weren’t for some lackadaisical running between the wickets of the Hot Dog’s middle order, the total could quite well have been reached. Rooty did do his best to help them out, getting biffed for 17 off his last over, but it wasn’t enough as Dong kept it nice and tight to secure a long-awaited Bashers victory by just 5 runs.
It was nice to see that Leisure had left us some beers, and after a louder, more aggressive fine session than normal with the reprobates for company, Bashers could celebrate a great victory with Sir Bolt (a loving father flying in to play a Leisure game with his son, but confirmed that he didn’t play with his son as a child) and the introduction of the ‘Mensa fine’: completely ignoring the finesmaster when he is trying to descend the bus into utter carnage on a peaceful Shanghai Sunday afternoon. The fines session was wrapped up on the bus, and most proceeded to leave the Camel early in a truly unbasherly style, with Skiddy, Swiper and Tucker supporting the sponsors by carrying on the party at El Santo.
“The viewers have got no interest in what I’ve got to say because they switched off four or five minutes ago”
Given that Pleasure play the Hot Dogs again this weekend in a rematch, one cannot help feel that the entry of this piece was truly fucking pointless.