One thing you couldn’t miss about the World Cup is the animation of the poor favela boy gazing wistfully at the stadium from a distant clifftop, and the certain knowledge that this is about as close as poor favela boys get to the action in Brazil.
The Nick Shand Memorial cricket series is, thankfully, a far more inclusive competition and local kids who want to get involved are far more likely to get a taste of the action rather than the taste of a truncheon across their skull. Lomath Oval was lashed mercilessly by icy wind demons on Sunday but that was not about to deter the salt-encrusted surf dudes of Suffolk, the Swingers, or the teak-tough rednecks of Left Bank, Scruff of the Bankers winning the toss and inviting the Swingers to bat.
Eli, playing as a tribute to much-loved mum and Shand supporter Lisa, who died last week, had both openers trudging back to the shed by the third over. Barney (41 n/o) looked dazed early but suddenly snapped into gear when joined by the hefty Owen (44 n/o).
They nudged, then caressed, then flogged the innings into shape, only Aaron (1–9) and Russell (2–16) escaped severe chastisement with the ball.
Heath (30 n/o), Luke and skipper Levi carpet-bombed the late overs to see the Swingers to a series-high 194 as the Bankers looked on as helplessly as Brazilian central defenders.
The Bankers nibbled away at the big target and when opener Aaron (30) was joined by Scruff (27) for a 70-run stand the Bankers were in for a big show.
Chi’s fearless lobbing curveballs undid the middle order, however, thanks to some quick glovework from Azza.
A defiant 45 n/o from Eli was not enough to get the Bankers home, the Swingers singing in the victory with a rousing chorus from the Barney Army, Wayno taking the last scalp with 31 runs to spare.
We are geting ever closer to the finals cricket fans, this series is one not to be missed
Next week the Geckos try to slip one past the incredulous Main Armers.