|Rangers Vs Mustang Sallys
28thth October-4th November
|A grim view from the Players Pavilion
|Shandy was on a quest to balance the laws of the universe as he stepped up to the coin toss. Statistically this was the toss he was going to win after 3 successive losses. Peter Depuy flipped, the coin rose into the arid dry air, arched, fell in a flurry of rotations to the ground, bouncing on the hard Yeronga surface amongst the parched grass, the gold cast mammals of the dollar coin lay glistening mockingly at Shandy’s fuming face; he had lost again.
In a bizarre twist the Rangers were sent in to bat against the Mustang Sallys, who had been struggling in finding form. Out went the team’s engine room to face the heat, and not just from the sun, verbally too.
After an opening stand of 8, Mr Cricket departed as he tried to fend of a rising delivery after the previous ball failed to get shoe lace height for his much anticipated pull shot.
Varun’s reputation as the Rangers premier batsmen has preceded him as the Sallys bowlers turned up the heat in a fiery duel of wits, temperament and aggressive body language. The first round went to Fifty Cent as he punched a full ball past bowler and fieldsmen to register a 4 off his first ball.
It only got better from there as Varun slapped, spanked and caressed boundaries onto his wagon wheel chart, including a precision shot outside his off through midwicket for a glorious boundary that would leave V.V.S Laxman proud.
Dr Elliot meanwhile was playing a typical openers role, as he anchored one end of the wicket, giving singles to Varun, letting balls go through to the keeper and frustrating the bowlers extremely.
On the score of 74, Varun became a victim of his nemeses, the frightful forties, as he fell for stylish 43.
Shandy should spend more time on his acting abilities as his poker face gave the umpire the extra incentive to give him out LBW
A collapse followed in which the rangers lost their final 7 wickets for 70 runs. However Jamie put up some stiff resistance, something that had been missing from a lot of bastmen’s armament. His gutsy 11 was something to admire as he left balls, played straight, and made the bowlers bowl to him, allowing maiden after maiden go through.
And it was Jamie who provided a moment that will be etched in everyone’s memory, and one that will be Ranger folklore through the ages.
Luke Kohn was bowling some great deliveries and following them up with a lethal stare that one would associate with Merv Hughes of old. After a particular swing and miss from Jamie, Luke followed through to a few metres of Jamie with a stare of the toxic variety. Not one to take any abuse or sledge from his team mates, let alone the enemy, Jamie made eye contact, turned around on his crease and bent over to touch his toes, miming a stretch! The sight of Jamie with his bottom in the air, and Luke’s face right in its line of sight was somewhat pleasurable for the Rangers (What an oxymoron!) on the side lined who laughed and cheered Jamie’s act of defiance.
Having Jamie’s butt in your face even at the best of times is overwhelming, and Luke never got one remotely near the stumps again, and was taken off for the next over, rumoured to get some smelling salts!
Surface level, this was funny, however it was a batsmen telling a bowler that he wasn’t in charge, that nothing he could do could phase him. Jamie was out there to dictate terms, that was his pitch and no one else’s. A great principle for every batsman.
Another Ranger to put up a good fight was Poe, who took his time in settling in, picking off singles and slogging the occasional boundary which saw him as the teams 3rd highest scorer at 14 and set a record 9th wicket partnership of 9 runs with Dale Stevenson.
Amidst the falling wickets, Dr Elliot was still grounding his way along, and was looking to become the first Ranger to carry his bat in an innings until a freakish catch in gully saw Elliot fall for a tough 43.
Unfortunately for the Rangers a total of 151 was all the team could muster against the best bowling attack to date. The Sally’s physical presence and aggression and accurate bowling led to a build up of pressure and frustration for the Rangers.
With 18 overs left in the day, the team saw a great chance for a tough session, full of talk, encouragement and attacking play. However the Sallys had other ideas as they pierced gaps, picked up singles and waited for the bad ball which left them in a commanding position of 0-75 at the end of the days play.
With the closure of the Poe Award from last year, and Asa’s words resonating in Shandy’s head all week, a new award was instituted for the small things that don’t get into the stat book or in the Sunday paper. Often it’s these small acts that lead to pressure, wickets and that extra boost for the team and it was fitting that the inaugural winner would be Poe himself after an awesome day in the jungle, uh field, and his great batting in the lower order.
Breaking open the curtains on the Saturday morning left many a player doubting we would even play a game, let alone get to the field without using an ark as the rain came tumbling down. But the game must go on! Unfortunately Yeronga’s Super Sopa’ was being repaired, and the field resembled New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Any other team would’ve called the days play off and settled for shared points, but these Rangers are a peculiar people, evident of the Sally’s Captains facial expression when Shandy told him that the Rangers still wanted to play.
Onto the field the team ran, eager for some quick wickets, but more so for the Messiest Ranger Award, given to the person who’s whites would make one’s wife scream in horror as she pulled them from the clothes basket.
The next hour resembled one of the most enjoyable moments of the season as players leapt for impossible saves, dived for dribbling balls and fall over at the swing of a bat. Dale, who never even saw the ball, took it to another level, as the ball was thrown back to him to give to the bowler, he would catch it then fall to the ground in spectacular fashion, then to stand up covered in mud.
however it was Asa who took out the Rangers Messiest much to the jeers and applause of his companions after each 'slide into home' performances. Who did your washing that week Asa?
Another laughing moment was when Luke missed one from Undies, Varun from slips chirped;
“This guy should be on the cover of No Idea!”
Which left the fieldsmen behind the bat chuckling for quite a while.
In the end the Sally’s batted brilliantly in tough conditions, with Peter Dupuy playing well for his 68, and Luke Kohn earning a well deserved 106*. The only wicket that came the Ranger’s way was Undies bowling Peter of an inside edge.
Regardless of the loss, the Rangers found a new side to them that day. They found a new level of competitiveness, intensity in their fielding and game talk but more importantly, a new level of enjoyment that will always bring a smile to one’s face when reminiscing old war stories with old team mates in the club house BBQ garden, overlooking a white picket fence circling a lush field and turf wicket in the years to come.