The Melbourne cup may stop the nation but the Nick Shand Memorial series takes the Shire, gives it a good whack with the defibrulator, and gets it back on its feet.
Sunday saw Lomath Oval shining like a jewel in a bellydancer’s navel for the 21st grand final between the in form Suffolk Swingers and the undefeated Geckos, and it turned out to be a match that reached more peaks than Timothy Leary and elevated more great performers than Marianne Faithful.
Hughsey of the Swingers won the toss and chose to bat.
Openers Owen and Zac saw off the pace of James and Drew but Brian’s crafty curveballs claimed the first scalp. From there Wortho, Lachlan and Max breached more boundaries than the Chinese in the south China Sea as the Swingers scored like Japanese tourists at the Nimbin Mardi Gras.
Hughsey and Tim made hay like Victorian farmers cashing in on drought relief, setting the scene for the return of retirees Wortho (48no) and Max (43no) as the Swingers battered their way to a lofty 187, a total that asked more questions than the counsel assisting the banking royal comission of the frontrunning Geckos.
The Geckos reply was frenetic and furious, James and Stuart both getting off to quick starts but falling to the irrepressable Rocket (3-15).
Drew raced to retirement faster than Malcolm Turnbull, leaving the industrious Trent to nibble away at the sizeable target. Michael’s fearless (and padless) batting got the Geckos to within shouting distance of the required total but wickets to Hughsey, Chi, Benno and Tim saw the last men in for the Geckos, James Watson and retiree Drew with 40 runs still required. The Swingers were pressing hard for their first Shand title and the tension was as taut as Beyonce’s blouse buttons.
James (16no) kept his cool, chipping singles and feeding the strike to Drew’s flashing blade. Ten runs were needed off the last over, James scrambled a three off the third ball leaving Drew (56no) to send the second last ball of the day into the skate park for the most famous of victories.
The trophy was summoned from the invisible comittee’s ivory tower in the ether somewhere above Mount Chincogan, acessed by a multi-dimensional trapdoor under Federation Bridge, charged with a superior red, and participants toasted Nick Shand and all the participants in another great season.
Many thanks go to the Echo, the Middle pub and Merlin the Mysteriuos and the Central Scrutiniser, without whose support and energy the comp would not rock.