The Sunday sun stood proud and Lomath Oval glowed like a flat screen set to ‘retinal damage’ for the eastern derby in the world’s unique cricket competition, the Nick Shand Memorial.
Byron’s finest Full-Tossers convoyed across the highway en masse and it was a bit like a polite sort of invasion as they staked out their sunchairs and hit the nets.
The Suffolk Swingers ambled in, some a little wet behind the ears (from the morning surf), and you could tell that with neighbour versus neighbour the game was going to have some edge.
Ash of Byron got it right on the toss and, with conditions perfect notwithstanding the famous turf’s tendency to snag the ball like a farmer’s friend on a woolly sock, chose to bat. Dutchy John (24) and Jamie showed some intent from the start as Byron jumped from the box like a greyhound on a live lure. Sixes carved across the sky in crimson arcs but the Swingers kept themselves in reckoning with good catching and scalps to Lionel, Christian, Jonty and Jamie (2/12).
The Tossers had notched 111 at drinks but, with not many wickets left to protect, they had to do what so many Byronites have difficulty in doing, namely pull their heads in. Jebez (36no) was the man for the job; despite Hughsie’s (3/6) late wickets he hung around and ensured Byron got full use of the overs and, with support from Zac (22), hit the Tossers to a towering 187.
The Swingers indeed came out swinging and although Lionel and Jamie got among the bowling at times, both fell before scoring 30. At 7–88 it looked all over but weighing down the bottom order were big hitters Wortho and Hughsie. They launched a series of big hits in the late overs and all of a sudden the man with the abacus was saying less than a run a ball was needed. Adam’s sliding catch ended proceedings when Wortho died by the sword on 24, leaving Hughsie on 49no and Byron with the win, albeit with quite a scare to go with it.
Next week Main Arm venture forth from their solar-passive dome houses to meet the eclectic Geckos.