|Rangers Vs Ashgrove Lemmings
3rd-10th February 2007
Having played The Lemmings twice and losing both games by less than 6 runs, the Ranger were looking to rack up their first win against them, and more importantly some serious points as the Premiership table was getting congested at the top.
After being revived from winning the toss, Shandy elected to bat on the flat green top of Balmoral SHS, where the winds carried the aroma of horse manure through the long emerald grass.
With Elliot out to church commitments, Asa & Paulie went out to greet the Ashgrove attack. (even though Asa had the same commitments!) Though it had been over a month since Paulie had played, he still looked great at the crease as he played shots all around the oval, whilst Mr Cricket, who had been unlucky of late, was staunchly finding form in the middle.
18 overs and 50 runs later Paulie was bowled by Big Jo Parker with a killer inswinging Yorker, out for a well played 35, including a three, which is more rare than a catch taken by dale this season. After contemplating the pro’s and cons of not informing Asa of his departure time for his church meeting, he was out LBW for 20 taking one on the toe from another Parker Yorker.
Shandy joined Varun in the middle where they established a partnership and played out to drinks, and then to tea putting on the clubs 4th century partnership, 113 for the 3rd wicket. Fitty was murderous on anything on his legs as he dispatched them to the legside boundary with finesse, while Shandy was wondering from the non strikers end why Fitty always got the pie balls and he was stuck with the good pills.
From the 5 batting partnerships Shandy and Varun have shared, Shandy was the first out 4 times, and he kept with tradition being caught going for the tonk, out for 54. His previous 2 scores had been 63 and 51 and established the most 50’s in a row by a Ranger batsmen.
And we can all thank Shandy for the following collapse. On hearing it was Joe Parker’s last over, the smartest thing Shandy could’ve done was to see him out, but no! Once he fell, Joe got another over where he bowled the ball of the innings to Fitty; swung into middle and leg to straighten to take top of off stump, the kind of ball you don’t mind getting out to. Varun finally exorcising his demons by passing forty to be dismissed for 62, his 3rd fifty for the season.
Then out went Poe, The Chad, Clintoff, Duncan, Undies (thanks to Jamie) and Aaron, the Rangers losing their final 7 wickets for 34 runs, after cruising at 2-180 to be all out for 217!
However the Lemmings had an uncomfortable 25 minutes to survive and it was Varun who did the damage leaving the Lemmings stumbling at 2-25.
Bad news greeted the Rangers after last weeks innings. Asa, who had taken one on the toe, went to the hospital to check it out after suffering some real grief during his church meeting. After 4 hours in the waiting room, he was told that his big toe was shattered! There went his season much to the dismay of his shattered team mates!
As he was sitting in the waiting room patiently a man with a wrist injury sat beside him, followed later on by a man with a bloodied mouth, to which Mr Cricket inquired of the cause of their injuries. The first man replied cricket, and the 2nd man dripping blood-cricket! Gotta love this game!
Varun was doing his own destroying in the middle as he ruptured the Lemmings batting line up while Undies was finding the form that made him one of the most devastating bowlers from last season.
And then it happened….
Varun came in, off his short run up to entice an edge from Nelson to Shandy, who dived to his right, which had Paulie, at first slip, diving to his left to cover Shandy, and Undies at 2nd slip, for some reason diving to his right. It kinda looked like someone bowled a bowling ball at the cordon.
Varun’s 2nd ball drew T Scholes forward to have a ripper of an off-cutter slice through his defence to take middle and off. Varun was on a hat trick! The guys were jumping up and down, hugging Fitty, high fives everywhere, the crowd going wild, the young teenage girls waving Varun related banners furiously in the manure laden wind, it was all happening.
3rd ball; the field in, Asa on the sidelines jumping up and down on one foot the best he could, the guys silently anticipating a final killer blow….. Varun comes trundling in, sends one down, a foot outside of off stump (ok, more like 6 inches) its full, and it starts to swing late, real late, a lot! CRACK!! The off-stump was knocked out of the ground! And the boys went wild! Varun Lal had claimed the Rangers first hat-trick! A murderous inswinging Yorker! A ball you just dont want to face first up, especially on a hat-trick.
In the huddle we were all jumping around and all of a sudden we see this young cripple hobbling/hopping/jumping on crutches out to the middle of the pitch, it was Asa! (or did this happen closer to the end of the innings? Oh well, it happened anyway!) So we all ran over to him to save him limping all the way to the pitch for him to join the celebrations!
Not soon after, the Lemmings were bowled out for 87. Varun claiming the best figures by a Ranger, and beating his own record 0ff 6-41 to capture 6-23 off 10. Undies bowled real well, making the ball move in every direction conceivable getting 4-56 off 11.
After enforcing the follow on, the Rangers really had to dig deep and avoid the danger of complacency. And it was pretty much what happened as Joe Parker, after his gracious willingness to walk in the first innings, deservedly earnt some big runs this innings as he went physco on anything loose.
After an opening stand of 67 off 12 overs, Welke was the first to depart, out for 14. 50 runs later, coupled with many a 6, Joe holed out to Undies in the deep, taking a great running catch to have the premier batsmen out for destroying 86. The Rangers have now coughed up 4 centuries (Frankel, Kohn, Chayne, Steinback), Dave Mill’s 91, Derka’s 94, Joe’s 86 and his brother Neil’s 85 this season! Last season we only incurred Corey Bryant’s century.
Going for some fast runs, the Lemmings went on the attack and unfortunately lost some quick wickets along the way. Jamie who had been taking a pounding (in the sundries column) came back to claim 3-39, inducing 2 stumpings and a marvellous catch by his brother Andy.
To prove what a great bowler he is, Jamie even forewarned Fitty at first slip to expect a catch this delivery. Lo and behold Jamie got the edge but Fitty grassed a difficult catch. Unbeknown to the batsmen this was a play we had been practising all year, the warning from Jamie, the dropped catch, Fitty laying prostrate on the ground not bothering to run after the ball, Shandy chasing it down after waiting for Varun to get up, Shandy collecting the ball, turning and throwing in the same movement to knock back middle stump to have the batsmen out as they came back for the 2nd run. What a play!
Interestingly enough, Shandy had only 8 dismissals for the season up to this game. (Thats what happens when the batsmen prefer to hit the ball for 6 then edge it) However that total almost doubled as he claimed 4 catches behind, 2 stumpings and a run out! Not bad for a days work! Also Andy now holds the record for the most catches in an innings by a fieldsmen, taking 3 smart catches.
With over half an hour left, Chris Pine gave the Rangers a sporting declaration, much appreciated by the Rangers. The total; 82 off 10 overs. Tough, but obtainable. But only if the bowlers sent down some pies in the process, and that is what the Lemmings did not do. Give me a bowler that can bowl Yorker after Yorker and I will be happy! That’s all they thew down! Yorkers! We had nothing on them as we capitulated to 7-65 off 12, Fitty getting 29 of them the hard way, mostly through singles and 2’s. Full wraps to the Lemmings in the way they played and the game they provided us.