It may not be the game they play in heaven, where apparently they prefer to dice with the fates of men and nations, but in the earthly paradise of Byron Shire as winter thaws into spring the game of choice is the Nick Shand Memorial cricket series.
Semifinal one matched the rugged and rednecked rural out-dwellers the Left Bankers against the postmodern neo-hippy socialists of Main Arm. Lomath Oval was lush and long as the Diamonds netballers on mad Monday as Bucko of the Arm won the toss and asked Scruff and the Bankers to bat.
Undefeated this year and confident, the Lefties openers Russ and Gazza showed they were out to have a piece of the bowling.
Russ smacked an early boundary but couldn’t get past Baz at short midwicket with his second effort, the veteran holding the hot chance and generally throwing himself around like a man possessed (which he probably is).
Bruce (37 n/o) spends his work hours patching up the wounded but with bat in hand he caused a lot of damage. Gazza (27) at the other end had people thinking they were back in the 1980s with some sprightly heaves over cow corner. Rob (27) was on the job, and Scruff (24), whose early form was as rusty as his complexion, like the Aussie air force began to bomb over the borders.
James (2–6) and Kyle (2–8) turned the game on its head with a flurry of late scalps and three run-outs put the ice on the innings for a slightly short and skinny 136.
Controversy courted the inclusion of James, erstwhile a Geckos player in the Main Arm team, but fortunately Mysterious Merlin and The Central scrutiniser were both in attendance and after consulting the invisible rule book, play was continued.
Main Arm have been wobblier than a Salvador Dali clockface with the bat this year but sprightly veterans Greg-O and Brian started like a couple of whippets out of the box, the first 20 coming off 18 balls. Rob’s warmup ball had Brian looking at the point boundary so thankfully he didn’t see the resulting carnage to the stumps behind him after a vicious inside edge.
Greg-O became the first of two wickets for Gazza and then Scruff emulated the feat as the Main Arm innings eroded like the pothole-strewn road infrastructure we all know and love here in the Shire.
Main Arm were sent packing for 67 and the Bankers will play the 2015 Shand final against the winner of next week’s semifinal between eastern oligarchs the Byron Full-Tossers and the soul surfers of Suffolk, the Swingers.