You know you’re in for an unpredictable day when Fruitbox a) turns up sober for a Bashers bus and b) introduces a returning Basher (Pigu) who was almost short enough to look Skiddy in the eye without seeming condescending.
The looming clouds didn’t deter from we’re-in-the-playoffs-let’s-get-Leisurely pre-match drinking or non-veggie pie-eating on the bus. Pigu told us all some crap about how Qingdao is great and that’s about all I remember. Big thanks to Bird Shit, Isabel, Omega, Nina, Tampon, Pope and any other TFC fine receivers for coming along to support in the rain.
Arriving at SCSC and begrudgingly squelching over to the far pitch we were not expecting a lengthy day of sport or entertainment — we were wrong.
Pussy opened up the bowling to three slips and two gullies. The feline randwa kept the economy looking good while not-genitalia-related Nuts opened at the other end to strike with the first wicket, a big looping edge that saw the slip cordon fighting each other to the ball. After elbowing Tango in the face, kicking Korean in the gut and boxing out Pigu (despite him being the only one to call for the catch), Fruitbox came out victorious, bragged about being Connor McGregor and the Bashers were elated.
It wasn’t long until their number 3 batsman came to the crease and smacked a big SHUIBALL! off Nuts that could easily have surpassed the shuiball distance limit (i.e. not landed in the creek) to crack some skulls on the astro-turf football pitches.
By this point, the rain was coming down heavy but Hangzhou didn’t want to waste their trip and Fruitbox, Korean, Tango and countless other Bashers were having a ‘masty’ to the thunder and lightning.
“That one was forked lightning!” came a scream from the slips.
“Imagine if somebody gets a 50, puts his bat up and gets struck by lightning!” said Korean, who was delirious with joy.
“That won’t happen because bats are made of wood,” chimes back another erect Basher from behind the stumps.
“Yes but the bat is wet,” one more stiffy chirps.
“Maybe we’re in the eye of the storm.”
I give up. These people have clearly never been to the north of England where thunder and lightning are a daily mid-summer occurrence. Oddball Kiwis and posh farts who probably grew up shagging sheep in the sheds so never saw the rain or were too busy drinking their mother’s milk at 19 years old to even know what water was.
Seven overs down and Skiddy made the bold move to bring in Tucker, who got panned in the critical playoff qualifying match a day earlier, and Bambi, who’d bowled about 12 overs all season for 100+ runs and hadn’t taken a wicket in 16 months. For the first time in recent history, Tucker opted to not bowl in sunglasses, which proved more economical than the Pudong game as he went for only seven an over, including a massive back foot pounding through the covers that went for six despite barely going five meters above the ground.
Bambi’s first ball shocked even himself, an absolute jaffa that wowed the crowds and Hangzhou batsmen. He followed that up with an off-the-pitch wide to make sure nobody mistook him as a bowler. The remainder of his two overs, that somehow went down as 1.5 in the scorecard, were a mixture of incredible wides or incredible deliveries, one of which was inside-edged by the Hangzhou big hitter to the safe hands of Korean, who’d diverted his attention from the brewing storm back to the cricket once more.
After being soaked by the rain and Birdshit and Omega’s kids with water pistols the umpire finally decided enough was enough. Off the pitch we trot.
Not long later the game is officially called off with not one person believing there would be any cricket played the remainder of that day. Despite a few moaning Marys wanting to head off home, we initiated a well-balanced 4-vs-6- football game which was impressively won by the coordinated non-caps… who had only four players. Well done Fruitbox, Tango, Pigu and Tucker for getting the only win of the day.
Post-football, it stopped raining and we had the worst game of sixes cricket ever, which comprised about 7 people in total and was hogged by Pussy refusing to give up the bat and some Hangzhou player hogging it even further.
Post-shit sixes game, it pretty much dried up and we could have finished the real game but the umpire had already buggered off after a quick payday. On to the bus to do fines for a game that lasted just 12 overs.
To say Nuts was unenthusiastic about being fines master would be an understatement, but he soon got into the groove.
“Drink.” he would calmly say to Skiddy as the skipper made his trademark fine rebuttals. And for once, Skiddy listened. The soothing tones of the latest addition to the D2 squad were somehow able to calm the Bashers’ dog-whisperer.
The highlight of the fines session, and probably the day, would be the ‘lightning round’ – an entire round of fines dedicated to thunder and lightning which later opened up to anything post-game and even Harry Potter. It lasted from while we were still on the bus until not long before the Huddersfield game started and Tucker unsurprisingly disappeared… I’m guessing that was around 8pm?
There were some esquisite fines but my memory eludes me, hopefully people can reminisce in the comments.
Key takeaways from the day:
Bashers are the only D2 team to not be beaten by Hangzhou during the regular season. One win, one draw gives the season series to the mighty Bash.
Shuiball! is now an official term, which Fruitbox managed to popularize after supposedly using for over a year. A shuiball! is a six which lands in the creek. If it goes beyond the creek or fails to reach the creek it cannot be defined as a shuiball! — the jury is still out on whether or not Fluffer’s off-the-tent shuiball! in the loss against Pudong two weeks earlier deserves full shuiball! status.
Be careful when selecting Nuts as fines master, he can drag the session out for hours.