A different looking (due to the returning rep players) Tigers third grade side rocked up to ANU South oval keen to get stuck into the students top order early, but their hopes were dampened by an unusually dampened outfield and pitch. Considering it hadn’t rained since Thursday, the drainage on that oval has to be as bad, if not worse, than the Kippax net area…calling it poor would be generous!
With the start of play delayed, the Tigers were able to practice their spectatoring, winding their way through the uni to North oval to watch a bit of first grade’s efforts. After a couple of trips back to the South oval to check on the state of the drying process, it was finally decided that play would get under way at 4.15pm.
With the outfield still fairly damp in some areas when play commenced, Bubba decided to give the Tiges something extra to play for by claiming he’d buy a schooner for anyone who pulled off a full belly dive in the outfield…an offer which was stored in the minds of a few of the boys for later in the day.
The students admitted that they were unlikely to chase the improbable target of 256 in a little over 40 overs, so only two results seemed possible…the Tigers needing some early wickets to have any chance of claiming the victory that would guarantee them top spot on the table and the chance of most likely hosting the students again next week in the semi.
Things started well for the Tiges. Benny Newman and ‘Postman’ Pat Jackson hit some good areas early. His extra pace and bounce aided ‘Big Ben” in claiming the breakthrough early on, with JP getting a grab at a short cover-pointish position. ‘Big Ben’ continued to rip some balls past the outside edge in his opening spell, but the batsmen weren’t good enough to get a nick on any of them, while ‘Postman’ was also getting a few past the edge at the other end…while they both also kept keeper Liam ‘Sherlock’ Holmes on his toes, who did well down the leg side on a couple of occasions.
Neither of the batters looked like scoring many runs, particularly the no.3…until JP came on for his first bowl since before Christmas. Justice wasn’t too happy about the batter wasting time in between balls, and let him know about it. The batter responded by hitting the next ball miles over long on for what was surely a six, despite the umpire only signalling a 4. Having heard about Adam O’Connor’s bowling and sledging episode in 2s the week before, where he asked a batsmen to “do it again” after being spanked, only to see the batsmen do just that and send the ball disappearing again next delivery, JP thought he’d see if he could have some more luck with the same taunt…and if not for someone in the cordon putting the next ball down he would have!
The lack of a quick follow up wicket led Bubba to bring himself on, and he immediately set about making both batsmen look like chumps!…but he couldn’t manage to get either of them out, although on a couple of occasions he did enough only to be let down by his team mates. The batsmen, particularly the no3, mightn’t have managed to hit Bubba for any runs, but he did manage to frustrate the hell out of him, which led to things getting entertainingly fiery at one point!
Adam O’Connor was on at the other end, and bowling really well, hitting great areas with some decent pace. A highlight was his intimidatory follow though and glare which had the batters on the back foot. He was unlucky that the Tiges were in desperate need of some quick wickets, and so his spell was cut short as Bubba took, what some might call, desperate measures by throwing the ball to Woj and Grover for some spin from both ends.
Both of these fellas have been working hard on their offies and leggies in the nets all season, and it showed as they finally got a chance and started landing the ball nicely. Both guys were loving having the ball in hand, and they were both unlucky not to pick up a wicket or two, particularly Grover who had a chance go down in the outfield after beating the batter in the air with his awesome flight. At the other end Woj was mixing up his pace nicely, but was coming up with nothing as reward.
It was during this bowling partnership that JP decided to earn the schooner that Bubba had placed on the line, but he was told that both of his full belly dives in the outfield were in the wrong part of the ground to receive the prize, and he never did get his drink!
After the second drinks break, the Tigers had one final burst, with ‘Big Ben’ returning to send down a few more thunderbolts. He too became frustrated at the lack of ability shown by the opposition sticks, and his lack of ability to get them out, letting out a roar or two in his short second spell.
With the students no-where near the runs, and the Tigers only managing the one early wicket, the teams called an early truce and the game was called a draw.
It was a frustrating day for the Tigers, but things may have been different if not for the five spilled chances. Heading into the finals next week, they’ll definitely be looking to lift their efforts in the field, with any errors potentially costly…but with an unbeaten record in the regular season, confidence will be high of claiming another victory at the home of cricket, Kippax, next week, to set up a crack at a title for the YELLOW and BLACKs! Hopefully they have lots of support from their clubmates, as they represent the club in the finals.
I can’t wait to bring you coverage of this third grade sides efforts in the finals, starting next week at Kippax 2…hope to see you there!
House of Hounds