The Pleasure squad of 12 arrived early on Sunday morning, fully pumped up for the final, and bolstered by the support of Mouse, Bullet, and Shooter. We were all surprised that the bus driver was a woman, and no sooner did we get on the bus, than our esteemed President sat on one of the boxes of pies, flattening them into a thin combination of pastry, meat filling and sausage rolls.
The team had a light 45 minutes or so warmup in the nets, where the best Bashers bowling of the day was seen. Peking dropped a nasty return catch and immediately went for the ice, however, on closer inspection Pope was dismissive that there was any damage at all. Swoop named Hardon as 12th man, but with fielding duties expected. Mouse and Bullet then ordered the first beers of the day.
By the time we walked over to the far field, Stats and family, as well as Prancer and Pee-cup, had arrived and other Bashers would make their way to the SRFC during the course of the afternoon. Swoop lost the toss, and so Korean and Hollywood were sent into bat. Prancer then took several minutes to explain the rules of cricket to Pee-cup (later Peking would try this as well with Shooter) with mixed success, although suggesting a knowledge and love of the game previously unsuspected.
Hollywood (36) and Korean (3) started solidly, with Hollywood taking much of the strike and hitting some glorious drives through long-off to kick-start the innings. Wides helped out as well, and soon enough the Bashers had got past 30 in the 4th over. Then Korean missed one, and was replaced by Terracotta (17) for a 50 run partnership over the next 10 overs. Terracotta was a bit off form, soaking up dot balls reminiscent of Fruitbox’s last couple of Business innings, but Hollywood kept the scoring going and hit an effortless six over long-on off the spinner that was loudly applauded by the Bashers on the sideline. Truffles and a few others arrived about this time with a large box of ice and beers, even sprinting (if that is the right word for Truffles) across the American football field! Meanwhile, Terracotta was given out LBW as punishment for letting one hit his leg, and Hollywood chipped one to deep midwicket. That bought Shitshoes (31) and Post-Op (21) to the crease with the score at 87/3 in the 16th over.
Post-Op smote 18 off one memorable over from the Devils opening bowler, that included two tennis shot drives for big 6s, but his innings was cut short after 10 deliveries, when a chip shot got a boost by the gusty wind to give an easy catch to the fielder on the boundary at long-off. Pope (13) came out for a slick cameo that also included a six over square leg. Shitshoes also kept finding the boundary, courtesy of some appalling fielding that let through at least 3 fours through between midwicket and long-on.
Unfortunately, just as the Bashers were building momentum for a strong finish, Pope played on, and Swoop (1) was run out taking a suicide second run. That left Shitshoes with the tail, and he was caught behind trying to find a single to keep the strike. The Bashers had slumped to 151/5 at the end of the 22nd over, and Tantric (1), Peking (1*) and Toe (0*) only managed another 5 runs in the last 3 overs. Toe was struggled to connect, but that didn’t stop him swinging at every delivery trying to hit a 6! The Bashers finished at the break 156/8, still better than a run a ball, but the poor finish cost us a challenging total.
The Bashers did some catching practice to warm up during the innings break, for the first time this season, but it didn’t help our bowling. G’rilla (4.1-0-34-1) opened up with a leg side wide, and then was promptly hit for a straight six, followed closely by a four over square leg. Although Swoop (3-0-21-0) put in a tidy spell into the gusty breeze, the Bashers never got the momentum back after such blatant disrespect of our opening bowler. G’rilla did come back to take the first wicket in his next over, a good catch by Terracotta in the covers, as the Devils had got to 20/1 after 3 overs. They kept scoring aggressively, and had got to 47/2 in just the 7th over, when Post-Op (5-0-39-1) and Pope combined to take another wicket. Terracotta (2-0-30-1) came on to bowl, but had injured his leg chasing down a strong drive, and had a bit of a extras meltdown bowling into the strong gusty wind and ended up stretching out a 13-ball over, but he did pick up a wicket through another good catch by Pope at point. The score was then 62/3 in the 8th over.
After his lengthy over Terracotta was replaced in the field by Hard-on, who put in a good effort chasing the ball at deep square leg. Unfortunately, the Bashers didn’t pick up another wicket, as the Daredevils piled on an unbroken partnership of almost 100 to cruise to victory. Shitshoes (3-0-25-0) and Toe (1-0-6-0) toiled for a breakthrough, but it didn’t come. With only 6 to win, the Daredevils on the boundary were calling for a 6 to win from their captain. G’rilla then bowled two wides, before he was hit for four to fine leg, and the Daredevils won their second consecutive D2 championship by 7 wickets with 5 overs to spare.
After a team photo, a mammoth fines session began at the SRFC, where it took an age to get supplies of beer (due to the foamy pouring of the SRFC staff). It wasn’t long before the bus driver showed up, and a very vocal Bashers contingent headed back to the Camel. The bus trip consisted of more beers, the squashed pies that had been fermenting in the bus all day, some more fines (getting harder and harder to explain and understand), and Terracotta leading the team in some very exotic songs. The Bashers stayed on at the Camel, joined later by Tank, until G’rilla was last man standing at 12.37am (according to his wechat boast).
Thanks to all the Bashers supporters who came out to the ground, and well done to the Bashers Pleasure XII – 2014 Division 2 Runner’s up!