Shand series cricket is famous for its friendliness; players of all standards and indeed states of mind can get out and have a hit without feeling like they have to restrain themselves from breaking the jaw of the seventeen-year-old sledger on the other team that thinks he’s pretty good.
At finals time, however, things get about as serious as they are going to get in social cricket and on Sunday the Byron Full-Tossers arrived at Lomath Oval with their best squad, having been prised away from their other pursuits of surfing, philandering and separating tourists from their money.
Left Bank players mostly sit on their front porches with their rifles across their knees when not playing cricket, and always show up locked and loaded. Scruff won the toss and asked Byron to bat with the Oval glowing like Tony Abbott’s gloating smile.
Jade faced 12 of the first 15 balls and gunned down the bowling like extras on a Rambo movie, strolling off with 30 to his name.
Fired up from watching the Moonshiners on Saturday, the sprightly Phil (4–13) fleeced the top order with his dippy inswingers and some athletic work in the field by a dark streak on the grass that was probably Jase. Troy (48) was doing some damage at one end but Stewie (3–9) and Scruff (2–4) sent the rest of the Full-Tossers packing for 130. On what looked like a batsman’s day this looked as shy as a debutante’s first date.
No-one told the Tossers this, however, as wickets to new ballers Jade and Adam, a double for ‘Hollywood’ Frankie and one for skipper Ash reduced the Bankers to 5–48 in the first session.
Greg-O opened the batting and grafted his way to 30 but Jamie (2–14) and Christian bagged scalps as the Bankers staggered towards the total. Aaron (21) looked like he would win the day for the Bankers until he fell to a gleeful Janny, leaving nine to score from the last over and the last men in retiree Greg-O (43–n/o) and ‘Stonewall’ Phil. Jeff closed out the last six balls to bring the Byron Tossers home by four runs and eliminate last year’s winners Left Bank.
Next week the mighty Geckos face the Suffolk Swingers in the second semifinal.