Our inaugural Ladies-Day greeted us with hot humid weather; only 8 of our team present and 2 ladies. Every other captain might have panicked in a situation like this, but I calmly proceeded to lose the toss and got us to field in the blistering afternoon heat. Thanks to the accurate opening bowling of Wiesne and Tim, we didn't need more than 8 fielders; but soon enough Sam, Deb and Aron showed up to complete the team. As things were shaping up on the field so were they off. More and more ladies slowly trickled onto the pavilion so much so that we were starting to form our own "Ladies-corner" (Jason would make you believe it was "Jason's corner" given that he accounted for more than half the ladies present).
After searching for almost a season, we finally found our opening pair, with Tim swinging the ball both ways and getting two early wickets, while Wiesne was as economical as always. Deb followed them with his best spell of the year, and deserved more than the 1/32 off 7. Sam was very unlucky with two dropped catches from his bowling, and Julian continued with his wicket-taking form grabbing 2/23. They ended on 165/5 off 35 overs. Mention must be made of Benson's incredible agile fielding. Diving like a man preparing for the Olympics and stopping everything that came his way. I always knew the presence of ladies at the ground can act as a performance-enhancer.
Now to the all-important, amazing, best-ever Manny-road Tea. Ladies-Day was celebrated with three bottles of champagne, an assortment of quality sandwiches, Strawberry chantilly tartlets and Mini scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Not only this but Jason's wife, Alex, showcased her baking talent with some of her now famous brownies and other baked goodies. Add to this the company of a few lovely ladies, and you might simply have the best Tea that will ever grace a Manny Road cricket match. While all of my attention was focussed on the food, Sam and Deb on the other hand were circling the single ladies, (in the words of Jason), "like two great white sharks around an injured seal."
After an hour of indulging ourselves, Benson and Aron strode off to start our chase. They were hitting the ball sweetly but were both tamely bowled by slow offspinning deliveries. Jason, as always, looked as if a big score was on the cards, but soon hit a pie straight to their best fielder at point. I wonder when he will start delivering on his early promise. At 75/4 things looked a bit ominous, but Deb took the initiative away from the opponents with some well played, sensible batting. However he lost all of his sensibilities, when an elderly chap bowled a slow, very slow (and I can't overstate this), slow-knee-high-full-toss-pie, that was ready to be hit straight into the pavilion. Licking his lips, Deb went onto one knee, aimed for the right-corner room of the third floor, and had an almighty swipe. By the time his bat hit his ass with the full onslaught of his swing, completely missing the ball, the ball was still travelling in the air, and slowly hit the middle stump to dislodge the bail. Out for 41 to the worst pie since Bumby's sixer last year. Your captain started to play some shots, and with Tim, we chased down the score in the 33rd over. A well-deserved victory thoroughly enjoyed by the many ladies who came to watch. Fines were dished out by the ladies, with Deb getting the "shock-value" indecency fine for batting in his boxers, and Frank, getting the ?Chippendale? entertainment fine for stripping at 3rd man. Other fines are listed below. The day was ended with some quality curry at Bachita's, with me, Sam and Frank, keeping the lovely ladies company.
After three years at Manny road, watching all the girlfriends that has been brought to the grounds; debating, and arguing about the whole ?girlfriend who bakes or attends? debacle. And especially after seeing the ?psychotic elements? that Watto brings to the grounds; I have finally found the ultimate example of the perfect cricket-girlfriend. This is the "girlfriend who bakes, attends, stays at the pub afterwards, goes to the after-pub curry and shows a keen interest in cricketing matters, while leaving you alone to play your game in peace". My compliments to Jason who found one of these rare breeds. May we all be so lucky. Again Jason will make you believe it's not about "finding the right one", but more about "training the one you have". I believe the price he paid for the "training" was going to a chick-flick ("13 going on 30") on Monday. May we all suffer the same fate.
Fines for the day:
Lateness fine: Sam, Deb, Aron - 0.50
Indencency fine: Deb - 0.50
Dropped catches: Q, Sam - 0.50
Missed Stumping: Q 0.50
Chippendal Fine: Frank - 0.50
Out to the worst pie of the day: Deb - 0.50
Endangering the Dead pitch: Frank - 0.50
Harbour bridge misfield: Julian - 0.50
Fielding with his mobile: Junaid - 0.50
Q- Christening: Julian, Frank - 0.50 (Supposingly my new nickname from now on is "Potjie")
Awards for the day:
Supreme Baking: Alex
Brownie Appreciation: Sam
Champagne Moment: We haven't decided and the polls are still open, But why not call the whole day a Champagne-day.