One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs St Albans, Hospital Corner #2, Presidents, 21st November 2015
When Cardinals lined up against St Albans on Saturday, who was to know that balls would become such a talking point. Sore balls, dropped balls, balls almost frozen off, and ultimately, a well-contested win with balls to spare.
For a start, it was cold enough that wearing your balls internally was actually an option. There was 'apparent concern' about Laughts' balls after a trip to the vet earlier in the week, and the balls he showed to run nearly 30 metres and then dive to take a catch – even if he did ask for a Panadol – and his first big score of the season.
Fielding first and with Laughts already playing with his undercarriage down, we started dropping balls. Like the exact opposite of the Vienna Boys’ Choir, balls dropped all over the place. And that was before the immortal four drops in six balls – three of Flem’s bowling and one off Tim Murdoch’s – that saw Flem drop his bundle, an F-bomb and suggest that the whole legside field should replace the off-side field and vice versa. He looked like a cross between Hitler and a helicopter as he gestured for the field to rotate, though later claimed he was joking.
The sense of humour failure was understandable and not helped by Pierre Flavell. I guess when you’re a tubby bastard, lots of things can look like pies, even Flem’s bowling. And Flav certainly feasted on Flem’s offerings with a smorgasbord innings of 74 that featured eight sixes, three fours and only eight singles to nearly take the game away from us before Ralphie gave himself an over and knocked Flav over LBW first ball and help us wind them in a bit.
It had started well enough. We got Alabaster for one caught Laughts with the score at eight, and Read at 73. Flav arrived and went mental, going at 174. And while Flav was building the phone number at one end, Hampton was constructing the picket fence at the other, carrying his bat to finish 101 not out, having finished at the crease on 99 before two runs given as leg byes were awarded off his bat. After his Dad’s departure, Sam Flavell made eight, including a bigger six, before being enticed down the wicket by Flem and smartly stumped by Spencey. Stumpy Price finished 16 not out, including a top edged six that sailed to the very short third man boundary at the Hospital end, St Albans finishing 235 for four, and giving Cardinals a pretty massive task.
Ralphie was the pick of the bowlers, finally opening the bowling and finishing eight overs with two maidens to finish two for 16. Flem was the other wicket taker, finishing two for 59 off eight, including one maiden. Tim Murdoch went for 36 off six, Guy 38 off six, Fergus 28 off five, Phil Walker 17 off four and JK 25 off three.
On a lesser day we’d have not been up for the chase. But there was something about the way Laughts and Spencey went about the opening partnership that set the game up superbly. Laughts was his normal measured aggression at one end, while Spencey – having already kept for 40 overs, batted more than 20 more to score 32. At drinks we were pretty much halfway there, and looking like giving it a red hot go. Spencey got out knackered shortly after with the score at 124, Tim Murdoch came and went fairly quickly for seven, and Phil Walker for six. Laughts was next to go for 97, miss hitting the last ball of an over to point. Flem went for 11, and Bert for a vital two boundaries at an important stage. But Ralphie was smashing it and suddenly, we needed 14 off 12 balls.
In the end it was down to Ralphie and JK, Ralphie taking the measured aggression and JK rotating the strike at vital moments to get us home, with seven needed off the last, and a crowd building as earlier finishing games turned up and tuned in. JK accounted for one of the seven runs needed, rotating the strike off the first ball of the last over, before Ralphie predictably smashed one over cow for a massive match-winning six. JK finished two not out, and Ralphie a well-earned 47 not out, even if the 40s and 50s he’s getting this season are becoming about as predictable as Shane Watson’s 30s…
A win to Cardinals with four balls and four wickets to spare – though Bert made it sound far far better at the aftermatch at St Albans club afterwards... and then there was the winning raffle ticket that came up trumps too…
Man of the Match: Brenden Winder
Check out the scorecard from the game.