Since we weren't sure where the hell Stanton St John was, Skip told us to be at Manny Road at 12:15. He arrived somewhat past that time, missing an impromptu game of footy against Bill's tennis netting (the sign says not to practice cricket but doesn't mention any other sport). When Chalky arrived we had ten, the South African contingent not showing up - presumably in shame due to recent revelations. Skip seemed certain that he had named a squad of twelve and that Major Beilby would be meeting us at SSJ complete the eleven. Delusional captaincy at its best.
SSJ being about ten minutes away, we arrived quite early, especially as the game was to commence at 2:30. This gave one car load the opportunity to go to the pub, while the other found how to get to the ground. Dave Frame had a sleep. Eventually the two groups converged and some catching practice turned into "He's in the deep!" The rules of this game are quite simple - you f'ing stay out there until you catch a ball travelling at terminal velocity. Skip displayed enough bottling skills to get himself a job in a brewery, while Raj attempted to protect him spinning fingers - despite being a wrist bowler. Dave Frame slept.
When the opposition arrived, we found out that it was to be a timed match, an abomination of the game designed to allow one side to play for a draw. Ideal for a team comprising numerous children and a Belgian female. "Arse!" we thought.
Tony Mc was overlooked for the vacant opening spot, in favour of Chalky, who having been dismissed asked Tony for advice about opening. "We don't know." was the reply. Skip and Carlos briefly flayed the attack before braincramp set in and wickets started to fall, forcing Dave Frame to wake up so he could bat. He and I were able to see off the tiring opening bowlers, to be greeted by the sight of smallish children lining up to bowl. In between deciding what sort of bowlers they were, they occasionally bowled a straight delivery, but mostly didn't. This allowed us a twat them around the park - a proposition which appealed to Tony Mc (in more ways than one). Raj's sprintwork failed him again, having not understood that "On the last ball of the over we're looking for a single" carried with it an implicit "Unless the ball goes straight to a fielder". We made 147.
After tea, we took to the field knowing that it was probably going to be a draw with the kiddies getting some helmetted experience out in the middle. Skip's plan to make an opening bowler out of an opening batsman appeared doomed, but Tony Mc (aided by the breeze and slope) responded well to bowl a number of maiden overs (not maidens over). He also enjoyed the sight of a keeper not adjacent to the stumps. At the other end Rich bowled far better than last week, but couldn't get excited about dismissing kiddies. Mat bowled enough overs to let SSJ back into the game, while Raj extracted as much turn as he could from the deck, i.e. none. Dave was rewarded for staying awake with a chance to take all the glory at the end but couldn't. One of the kiddies and the Belgian female blocked out to an exciting (not!) draw. "Arse!" we thought.
Curry numbers were down due to the footy. As there were only two of us, I feel I should treat Raj's tales of his stupidity when it comes to Greek women in confidence, so I won't mention them.
Did I mention I made 47 not out, taking my Manny Road average to 122?
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