The Nick Shand Memorial cricket series allows everyone to find their own level of seriousness but on Sunday it was time to step up a gear as the hedonistic libertines from south of the Shire, the Suffolk Swingers, took on the smooth sophisticates of Byron, the Full-Tossers.
Lomath Oval glowed through a light cover of cloud and was as freshly plucked as a Greek bride’s upper lip as the coin was tossed. Adam of Byron called correctly and invited the Swingers to bat.
Owen and Hughsey took up the cudgels and set a cracking pace from the onset as Owen (40) lashed out without fear or favour and Hughsey worked the ball around with a surgeon’s precision.
The score passed fifty before Eddie (2-20) and Adam (2/9) picked up scalps but the freewheeling Swingers middle order of Toby (31no) and Scotty (33) threatened to bat the Tossers out of the game.
The total bulged like Rebel Wilson’s libel payout until a late rally from Byron saw Dutchy (2/6) and Christian (2/24) bag two apiece and an outrageous piece of fielding from Jason, diving and whipping the ball in from deep midwicket, closed the innings prematurely to limit the damage to a still imposing 191.
The Full-Tosser’s reply stuttered at the outset when the lanky Scotty (2/8) removed Mehesh’s middle stump and Brian (1/4) curled one around Christian’s pads. The innings was threatening to fizzle until Adam (30) showed more form than Winx with a classy captain’s dig.
The Tossers needed more than a run a ball in the final session and the pressure started to tell as Jason, Jamie and Eddie went down with blades waving in the chase for a quick fix. Suffolk were as well drilled as the fracklines in the Queensland gasfields as wickets to Hughsey (3/5), Wortho and Tim (2/13) closed out the win for the ecstatic Swingers despite some late hitting from the defiant Jebez (26no).
Suffolk now have the task of defeating the endless batting line up of the gnarly country folk of Left Bank to hold aloft the ultimate prize, the Nick Shand Memorial Trophy in this week’s 20th grand final, a prospect that has sports fans quivering and hugging themselves in anticipation.