Monday, October 9, 2017

Royal old boys in a last over thriller against Melbourne

The old boys of Royal College from near (Sydney) and far (Melbourne and Brisbane) strutted their cricketing prowess on what turned out to be a fine day for cricket. And what a match it was.

But as always, the action starts well before the match. The Melbourne team was strong, with a few famous names. This created a bit of a stir in the Sydney selection committee. So the Sydney chapter strategists came up with a cunning plan.

Old boys flew in from Melbourne and Brisbane, many the night before. The Sydney boys organised some mild (sorry I meant wild) entertainment and showered the guests with a torrent of amber and red liquid. Then they kicked off the opening match at the crack of dawn, hoping the inter-state guests would still be sleeping and far from sober. Unfortunately the plan almost backfired when those who fell for the honey trap were mainly the locals.

Sudarshan helped put together a strong side. In the team was Aruna with the full support of wife and son; Chanaka who had to remove some cobwebs in his boots after they had spent the last few years hibernating; David Selva who was marathon fit and even ran to the ground just to warm up.

Dinesh De Silva was one of those poor buggers who appeared to have fallen for the honey trap and was complaining of an injury in the groin area (didn't dare ask for more info); Janaka had applied a bit of super glue to his keeping gloves to ensure the balls stuck and was seen struggling to get his hands apart.

Mahen who has perfected the art of spinning, was still spinning from the previous night when he arrived and we had to hold him in one place; Nimalan arrived with sirens blazing with his police escort, or some sort of escort; Shathikumar flew in just in time; Thaya Ponniah came with sprinting shoes to steal a few singles; and last but not least was super star Praba Siva, who generally has a no-fly zone enforced when he goes to bat…

Also in the side was Rajitha, who was told he was too good to be playing with the us old men and was put into the young boys side. He did however come prepared to fill in if required. That's a team man for you.

Missing in action was super star Radesh who we were told had commitments in India. We assumed it was his IPL duties. Upon enquiry, we were told to talk to his agent. When asked who his agent was, nobody knew. A bit of investigative work revealed that he did in fact have IPL duties - he apparently had an Indian Pot Luck lunch to attend to.

On to the cricket, please…

The day started with the skipper skipping out and tossing - an art he has mastered with years of practice, which is why he is known as a tosser among those in the know. Of course he won the toss and so we batted.

Shanthikumar was sent out to start proceedings with fireworks. Retiring after his 25 runs set the stage for the grand finale of fireworks from Dinnah, who walked out like Sir Viv, minus the chewing gum. The other side was seen sending fielders to neighbouring suburbs. Nimalan was seen on the phone informing the AFP not to be concerned about reports of missiles in the area, because he was on the beat.

The skipper, who was batting at the time made a quiet exit, after contributing a bit of useless advise to Dinnah, who simply laughed it off. That brought Chanaka to the crease who showed some proper cricket strokes while the big show was going on at the other end, with Dinesh a little agitated that he hadn't lost the ball yet. Eventually Chanaka and Dinesh gave way to classy batsman Aruna and big hitting Mahen. With Mrs Aruna and son cheering from the sidelines, Mr Aruna exposed his stumps with a bit of flair, only to find himself practicing a more orthodox shot on his walk back to the hut. His wife gave the obligatory 'aiyo', followed by 'what happened?'

Mahen, Praba, David and Thaya, who came in after, kept a solid flow of runs, running between the wickets like teenagers. It was a great contribution by all, getting us to about 150ish. Healthy total on a big ground.

Then it came time to take the field. A couple of young fit lads, David, Nimalan and Praba were happy to ride the boundary. Dinesh and Nimalan started the bowling and kept it tight. Nimalan was also running around the boundary like a 15 year old, rather than the 51+ that he is.

Then Praba and Selva took charge with the ball. Praba bowled line and length at good pace. Nimalan and Praba sent a couple of their lads back to the hut in a jiffy. Janaka was swallowing everything into his gloves behind the stumps. Catching was top drawer, with Aruna taking a great catch and later David running in from the boundary to take a catch at mid wicket. David put some of the younger boys in the other match to shame with some superb fielding.

With a few of their batsmen getting to 25, it went down to the wire. Dinesh bowled a tight 17th over. Then cool and calm Mahen and Shanthikumar were asked to bowl at the death. Mahen had to restrict them to 13 runs in the last over. They finally needed 7 off the last ball but only managed a boudary, leaving them 3 runs short.

All in all, it was a brilliant team effort, against a great bunch of fellow school mates. Well done everyone.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Grand Finals pandemonium - Who's the real slim shady?

If you blinked, and you probably did, you would have missed yet another entertaining Lobats season. So let's recap.

Let's start at the end, so we don't bore you completely to death. Lobat's made it to yet another Grand Final, except this time, instead of scraping into the finals somehow, somehow they were on top of the ladder and the team to beat. In fact that is the only reason they made the finals, because the semi-final was completely rained out which meant the Lobats were unable to loose in the semis. The skipper, of course, takes all credit for that semi-final win.

So the Lobats were the team to beat in the finals, and that's exactly what happened. They got beat. No, correction - they got hammered. And yet, they are still in with a chance of being champions. That is correct. You read it correct the first time. No need to reread what you just read, unless of course you find this column to be incredibly entertaining. Ok, no chance of that. So keep reading.

Let's be clear. The match is over. The Lobats dropped 10+ catches - no, correction - 20+ catches and found themselves 136 runs short, chasing a total of 237. Yet, they are still in with a chance of winning the match.

Yes, you read that correctly. No correction required there. If you are confused, let's confuse you further.

Here's how it went down. Our skipper tossed by placing a coin on the ground, standing on it and spinning himself until he got dizzy and fell over. Then the umpire looked to see if the skipper was on his head or tail. He was on both, with his tail between his legs. Our skipper dusted himself off and ordered the opposition to bat.

Unfortunately they took that literally. And bat they did. In hindsight, the Lobats skipper agrees he should have ordered them to bring their bats and get out. A couple of them even forgot their bats and kept sharing one bat. Although they weren't getting out, we had them only scoring two runs an over.

They were less than 60 runs after 30 overs and less than 90 after 45 overs. Then after a wicket fell, a fellow showed up to bat that we had never seen before. Our skipper, who was behind the stumps, walked up to the batsman and very politely asked him his name.

It sounded like he said 'Slim Shady' before he turned around to face the bowler. We thought nothing more, because our skip is known to be very friendly with the opposition in general. Some say it's because the skip is simply networking and career planning. Later in the day, Upul asked him his name again while fielding close, and it sounded like he said Shady Patel.

Confusion ensued. Eventually when the Lobat's were batting, or rather getting out, they decided they should help the poor fellow out by finding out his name and informing him. We were worried that he had spent his entire life not really knowing who he was. He could have been like that fellow in the movie Lion who got lost in Calcutta and ended up in Tasmania only to find his real name out 20 years later.

So the Lobats took it upon themselves to 'Ok Google' Mr Shady. They then walked around and took a few pictures of Mr Shady and plugged the results into various dodgy sites and a few international databases, including Interpol, Europol and Gujupol.

What ensued was pandemonium.

When a picture showed up on Facebook of Shady Patel who looked completely different to this Mr Patel, the Lobats skipper decided to halt proceedings. Our skipper skipped out to the middle and asked their skipper if he would skip off together to find the real Slim Shady. Their skipper told our skipper to skip off.

So we waited patiently till the drinks break and asked them to do a line up, so we could get to the bottom of this. We asked the real Slim Shady to 'Please stand up, please stand up, please stand up…' The problem was they were all already standing. So we tried a different approach. We said, 'Will the real Slim Shady please sit down, please sit down, please sit down.' They all sat down.

This was going no where. Then their skipper gave our skipper a lecture in the 'spirit of the game'. Our skipper, who is no stranger to lectures, politely told their skipper there was only one team playing within the spirit of the game and no one knew which team it was. In fact, we pointed to the fact that their vice skipper had yet to learn how to spell the word 'spirit' although he always had a spirited reaction to pretty much everything that happened or didn't happen.

So our vice skipper offered their vice skipper a few choice vice words that were echoed by Shane, in no unclear terms. This resulted in further spirited challenges to the spirit of the game. Further pandemonium ensued.

To put matters to rest, a senior member of the Lobat's club, whose name shall remain the same as it was from the day he was born, interrupted proceeding and suggested that the Mr Slim Shady in question simply provide a legitimate ID confirming he was indeed Slim Shady. Mr Shady, who after repeated calls of his name, realised we were talking to him, finally said he possessed no ID in order to avoid uncomfortable situations just like this.

Finally a decision was made to continue with the thrashing the Lobats were receiving and then to resolve this matter of the mysterious Mr Slim Shady at a different venue, in front of the village elders. And so it was. The Lobats found themselves 136 runs short, despite a spirited knock by Danuka and Jana. Yet the Lobats could find themselves being crowned league Champions.

Only the Lobats could achieve that result.

Never a dull moment with the Lobats. If you are as old as this correspondent, God help you, but if you believe you have seen everything there is to see in cricket, we recommend you come watch the Lobats. You will learn a thing or two, or probably not. One thing's for sure, it's just not cricket. Correction, it's not just cricket.  And the season ends.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Over 50s put in a Royal batting performance

Gents, great game.

Sudarshan organised a star-studded over 50s team for the 2017 Royal Thomian. Names on the team sheet included super stars and stalwarts. In the team were Mathi, Aruna, Shanthikumar, Dinesh, S.Rajkumar, Ravi, Gavin, Janaka, Channa, Sandesh and David.

Missing in action was our fearless leader Radesh - last seen in some dodgy part of the world on the way to no-one-knows-where.

On a nice balmy day, as MC Duke Hammer put it, the skippers skipped out to the middle, much to the dismay of the over 60s players who were still in the middle of their game. While the bowler was mid-flight, the umpire called a halt to proceedings and politely inquired as to the cause of the disruption. He was duly informed that the over 50s skippers wanted to toss and needed the pitch to do that.

The umpire quickly called off the security that was assembling on boundary and the toss was tossed. Exactly what happened after that is not yet clear. The Thomians won the toss, that much is clear. But when asked what they were going to do, they said they planned to either bat or bowl. Then their skipper skipped off and was not to be found anywhere. In the absence of a decision, while the TV channels cut to a commercial break, we decided Royal will bat and bowl, in that order. And bat we did.

Mathi and Gavin strolled out to the middle. Gavin called a quick single. But at the prime age of 50, sound travels much slower than it used to. So by the time Mathi got the message and drafted his response, the wicket had been broken and he had to head back to the hut. Shortly after Gavin edged the ball to slips. At our age, the ball also travels to slip much slower than it used to. Fortunately slips didn't look at all interested, but unfortunately the keeper tripped at an untimely time and got in the way of the bloody ball which got lodged in his outstretched glove.

This is when things got interesting. Dinesh strolled out to the middle. As we all know, Dinah is used to fixing problems other people create for him. His partner on the other end told him that it was all up to him and he better not let his alma mater down. He calmly took guard. The first ball he faced went to the left, then to the right, the it went straight past him and his bat, and fortunately his stumps.

That was that. Dinesh decided to deposit the next ball on the next grounds, where the Open match was going on. That confused those poor buggers who are only used to seeing one ball on the field. As you know, seeing two or three balls coming at you at our age is normal, especially after a night on the amber liquid.

We got the ball back and got on with the next ball. That too was launched into orbit, eventually landing on top of the Thomian tent. Spectators were seen asking for helmets at this point.
Suffice it to say, Dinah scored his 30 runs in 7 balls. That pretty much guaranteed to make the remaining batsmen look bad, no matter what they did.

Even the umpire agreed. Sandesh, who decided to restore order with some solid batsmanship, was relieved of duties by the umpire who gave his one and only LBW of the day. Shanthikumar, who is used to opening the batting, came in and played some swashbuckling strokes along with Ravi who showed what a proper forward defence looks like inbetween some sweetly timed boundaries. Aruna who looked as solid as a tree hit some scintillating cover drives. Raj contributed quick fire, finding gaps and over the top before a premature end. David said not to worry and joined the parade with a beautifully crafted 30. Channa and Janaka, who were playing for the over 60s as well, then finished off the innings although we ended up with a couple of overs to spare. We had 204 on the board. That was a solid effort.

It was now up to our bowling. We got off to a good start with Dinesh and Gav. Gav got a wicket early. Unfortunately that set the cat among the pigeons. It brought Richie to the crease and he appeared to be a bit upset with us. He clocked the first ball for six and then pretty much every ball after that. Before we had blinked he had his 30.

We thought that was good news until a few other Thomians decided to follow suit and also hammered the ball to all parts. But at the half-way point we were half-way there. They needed another 100 runs and we needed to get a few wickets. Sandesh and Gav swapped keeping duties so Sandi could bowl. The field was spread all over the place until the umpire started setting the field for us because he was not happy with our field placements. He told us fielders were not allowed to hide behind trees.

Finally, to our pleasure, the Thomians started running out of batsmen. We had Duke and Shan at the crease and we tightened the screws. At this stage, we needed 2 more wickets and they needed about 16 runs. It came down to the last couple of overs. The Royal flag was being flown on the boundary by the Opens captain who was also offering some sage advice.

The art of bowling at the death had fallen on Shanthikumar and Gavin, who ended up with 3 wickets and bowling honors. Unfortunately, it was not to be as Dukie found the middle of his bat (something he was convinced didn't exist) and clocked a six. He leapt in the air, much like Warner upon scoring a century, except only one-tenth as high and in slow motion. And it was all over red rover.

As one of our great presidents of the OBA said, no matter what the scorebook says, Royal wins all their matches. This was a great match and it was a winning performance - no matter what the scorebook says.  Now, if only we can locate Radesh!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lobats on the high road … Decision on a decision

Roma said to be there at 1. He got there at 1.29. The skipper had skipped bail and was on the run, no where to be seen. And his vice was none the wiser, but at least he was there. And so another season started. But we get ahead of ourselves. First things first.
Last season ended on a high. Somehow, no one yet knows how, the Lobats won the premiership and ran away with the silverware. Running away with the silverware is nothing new. They do that every time they go to a restaurant that serves food with anything other than plastic ware. Fortunately they rarely eat at restaurants, which is why they have very little silverware to show off.
Sorry, I digress. But then again, if I didn't digress this column would be no more than a sentence or two, so let's digress.
After winning the silverware last season, an emergency meeting was called by the you know who - yup, the Lack Of Brains and Trust and Skill,  aka Lobats. This meeting is yet to be scheduled.
The issue at hand is the team's unacceptable performance last year. As you know the Lobats pride themselves on never rocking the boat and allowing the opposition to win all games in the interest of maintaining the spirit of the game. So when our skipper, through no fault of his own, last year decided to somehow get us to the semis and then the finals and then, heaven forbid, win the bleeping finals, all hell broke loose.
At the highest levels of government, the skipper's head was called for. In fact, a special assembly at the UN was never requested. Nevertheless, skipper Nirav was summoned to a hearing and asked to explain himself. He had to defend his lack of actions and decisions but mainly his performance that resulted in the Lobats being 'graded' up two leagues. Fortunately at this hearing, no one could hear a thing partly because of Nirav's soft mumbling but mainly because of poor hearing of the audience. For those who could hear, it was clear there was no explanation. So a decision was made to make a decision soon. We're still waiting this decision because it's not yet soon.
In the meantime, skipper Nirav was sacked,  which in this team is a promotion but he was also suspended temporarily from the side which in this team is a bonus. Hence his name was not in the starting 20 line up that made the press a few weeks back. Instead a list of names of individuals that never did anything was put together and a team was formed.
Order had been restored. The issue of a skipper had to be resolved. When everyone volunteered, it was decided that a decision will not be made and all 11 players on the field would be captain. The guy who did the least and/or had the best reputation as a tosser would toss. This was because they were most likely to lose the toss, not aggravate the other side and not rock the boat. And with this the seasons started and the first match came and went and something happened that rarely happens.

Here's what happened.

The other team tossed. They were good at being tossers all of last season. A decision was made and we ended up batting. After our performance in the finals last year, it was decided that once again the openers would be sent out with strict instructions to do absolutely nothing so that everyone else would have something to do. This worked well in the finals. So that's exactly what happened.
Fonzy replaced Las at the top of the order. Las as you know was expelled from the side for showing good promise. He was send to a hard ship post to teach some natives the game of cricket. He is sowing oats in London. The poor bugger.
Fonz fitted right into the opening spot - after losing some weight in the off season. As per plan Fonz lost his other pretty much immediately. Chats came to the crease with a point to prove. He wanted to prove that you can actually bat with 9 fingers. He proved it. He scored some 60 runs along with a small contribution of 110 from Roma and another 40 something from Upul who showed up without whites, shoes, a bat or anything else for that matter. He played in his pyjamas.  The other batsmen were mainly salad dressing oiling the way to 292 for 8 declared.

The following week we bowled, and bowled and bowled. Finally we got one of the openers out after he scored a fifty and got bored. Our skipper ran over and congratulated this batsman - for what exactly remains a mystery. Some say that this was to maintain good international relationships with tossers.  Others say it was to not rock the boat. But what is for sure is that our skipper has and always will remain a mystery.
Then we eventually got the other opener out. He didn't get a handshake from our skipper, but was told that a milk shake was waiting for him in the dressing room. Then their innings got stuck when their batting coach who had been giving our batsmen ample batting advice during our innings, failed to bring out his coaching manual. He could barely see over the stumps and every ball we bowled to him ran the risk of being a beamer.
We decided to hand the ball to Shane, our new found mystery bowler. The scorers who had no trouble with every Sri Lankan name we threw at them, struggled to spell Shane and we had to tell them to spell it like it sounds. Obviously Shane is not a famous name in Kings Langley.
Slowly but surely we got to the end of their innings, thanks mainly to Ajaz and Prasanna with assistance from Roma. And that was that really. So we're now expecting the new skipper, who has yet to be announced and identified to be sacked immediately.
A decision on this is pending. Stay tuned, but for heavens sake don't hold your breath. The boat has been rocked. It decision time. Over and out.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Lobats are champions, everybody champions…

As you are well aware by now if you actually occasionally wake up in the morning, some amazing events have happened in the world of cricket recently that can't be explained scientifically or otherwise. But as always we will do so here.

Mark Nicholas recently made some appropriate and accurate comments about our lack of brains although he forgot to mention the lack of trust and skill, probably due to laziness or lack of sleep, which we of all teams understand perfectly. Unfortunately, the West Indies read those comments and felt insulted for us and decided to go win the T20 World Cup on our behalf. We appreciate the gesture.

However, while they were playing this minor tournament somewhere in a land far away, on our shores, the real cricket action happened, as you all know.

Similar to the West Indies, the Lobats who share many things in common with that hap-hazard bunch, somehow made it to another PDCA Grand Final to determine the champions of B something or the other. However, unlike the West Indies that make up for their limitations upstairs with mind numbing muscle and some skill, the Lobats showed the world how to do it with none of the above.

Also unlike the West Indies, the Lobats chose to bat first after losing the toss and being told to bat. What we did with the bat was covered in the previous column that nobody read, so it will not be repeated here. In case you did read it and forgot what was said, we did the exact opposite of what we normally do with the bat and we scored runs. What was amazing was what we did with the ball.

We headed out to the middle and stupidly one of the Lobats wished the batsmen good luck. Chani protested. He said we needed the good luck and not them. He was right. That good luck handed over to the opposition was going to haunt us for the rest of the day.

The ball was handed to Prasanna. He polished it and handed it back. We then spat on it and handed it back to him. You will recall he dismembered two keepers in the opening overs of two games prior. This time we were hoping Prasanna would fire one of those thunderbolts through the bat and onto the stumps. He, however, had other ideas. No one really knows what they were.

So Ricky behind the stumps again, with nine fingers, was a lot happier and seen patting himself on the back regularly for lasting more than one over behind the stumps. The ball was then given to Chani, who you will recall, was asked not to bowl in the semis because we needed someone with two legs to bowl. But in the finals, as we didn't need him to do anything more for at least another season, we gave him the ball.

He hopped in like a Kangaroo and got a wicket on his first ball. We decided to give him a second ball after that performance. But then the good luck we handed over to the batsmen kicked in and wickets became scarce, mainly because dropped catches became abundant. They inched their way towards the target while we kept our eyes on the sky because that was a tactic they had used on us earlier in the season that proved highly effective. The last time we played them they organised a thunderstorm that turned the grounds into a swimming pool. If that happened again, they would have won as they were above us on the ladder.

Then we unleashed our secret weapon Janaka who in the first innings showed all the boys how to run between the wickets and on the field showed how to run after a ball. He then provided a master class in how to take wickets without relying on fielders or umpires. All the boys were seen taking copious notes. And one by one, wickets tumbled as we headed towards the end of the day with overs running out and quite a few runs yet to get. They needed about 50 off 10 overs. This was still doable.

Then four sixes in a row were not hit. Instead we got the a couple of quick wickets and there were fire works and cheers all around, somewhere in the world as the newly crowned champions celebrated.

There was chaos out in the middle, as the team song was chanted - Mandela's a champion, Obama's a champion, Rav a champion, Ricky a chimpanzee, Prasanna a champion, Charuka a champion, Janaka the only real champion, Mike a champion, Chama a champion cook, Roma a champion texter, Chani a one-legged champion, Las a champion, Chris a champion, Peter a true champion, Upula a late champion, Chatu a nine-fingered champion, Jude a champion bar tender, Johnson a champion, Fonzy a future champion, and everybody knows Neshan used to be a champion.

They sang and danced for all of at least five minutes. Pictures all around. Video capture, sent all around the world via Facebook. It was a rain dance, because then it rained. And that was that. The end of another world event. The festivities are to be continued at Mike's bar and grill where hoppers and meat curry will be served to Champions and chimpanzees alike…  

Monday, March 21, 2016

Grand final - reading the user manual

A number of readers complained about the last column saying they didn't understand what it was all about. This was very surprising. Firstly it was very surprising that someone read it. Secondly it was surprising that anyone would bother to complain about the lack of comprehension, given that not even the author comprehends what he writes.

Nevertheless we decided to give this another go considering the outcome of the final.

So for once we won the toss but then had no idea what to do. The umpire informed us that we only had two choices, either bat or bowl. Our skipper quickly informed the umpire that we planned to do both. The umpire asked us to prioritise. This resulted in a huddle between the umpires and the two skippers. They let out a big cheer when our skipper conducted another toss with himself and it determined we would bat.

Now given the Lobats performance with the bat this season and most other seasons for that matter, this was reason for the other team to celebrate.

This is where things got interesting. The Lobats public relations manager sent out a press release saying the team's management had come up with a brilliant strategy. The strategy - which will be spelt out to avoid further   complaints - was to dispose of the openers as quickly as possible and get into the tail immediately.

This was the result of a former grand final winning captain sending out a very long email to no one in particular suggesting the team do something unconventional, which he said was the only way to not lose. He said a lot more, but nobody knows what else was said because everyone is still reading that email.

So this unconventional strategy was deployed. While that sounds a bit nuts, it actually makes a lot of sense, like all things Lobats. In case you are wondering about the logic, let's spell it out.

As you will recall it was the tail that got us home in the semis. In fact  it's the tail that pretty much does everything. So the openers were told to go out to the middle and get themselves out, which they did with incredible precision. Then Las and Chanster applied the brakes to the scoring, which is normally the job of the openers.

Runs eventually started trickling in when the opposition got bored to death and started allowing balls to go through their hands as they watched the grass grow, which they claim was far more interesting. We concur.

Meanwhile, your roaming reporter started roaming and he got lost. In the process he discovered the real reason the Lobats scored runs. You will recall in the semis Mikey got himself a new bat. You will also recall that the best thing about this bat was the set of instructions it came with that showed which way was up. You will also recall that this resulted in Mikey batting superbly and bringing us home along with Charuka.

Because of that performance, everyone in the team (except for the openers of course) was scrambling around Mikey as he read out the instructions of how to hold a bat to the entire team. Everyone was making photocopies of the instructions and now these instructions have been read more times than the bible, which you all know is the most read book on earth. Some of the boys took the instructions out to the middle and were occasionally seen studying it.

This resulted in another unprecedented series of events. The boys started scoring runs off the bat instead of counting on Mr Sundries to do all the scoring for them. The lads in the hut were dumb founded. They got so tired of cheering. Normally, our innings would be finished in about 20 overs for about 44 runs. We were now into uncharted territory, where the projected score kept getting revised upwards.

It went from 30 to 44 to 60 to 80 to 99. No one ever thought we would break the double figure ceiling our team has set for itself. Then through no fault of his, Romesh edged a couple of runs through the hands of the slip fielder and we had 101 runs on the board. There was complete silence in the hut. This was because Mikey had asked everyone not to move or breathe because he didn't want to see any changes.

The old guys had no problem with this command. They had stopped breathings years ago. The young guys, who all play like old guys, also had no problem with these instructions, because it meant they didn't have to do anything, which they have mastered over the years of being a Lobat.

Partnership after partnership developed, starting with Roma and Chama, followed by Roma and Rava, followed by Rava and Charuks. Drinks were being run on to the field by the sell out crowd of spectators - Chaths and Jude. Jude was offering a selection of whiskeys and wines out of the bar at the back of his car. Apparently Jude is quite a hit with the NSW Blitz crew - every time he gets pulled over for a breathalyser, he offers the coppers a drink of their choice and immediately becomes the life of the party.

Back to the cricket.

Charuks and Rav both started hobbling and then crawling after a few very gentle singles. At this point the opposition was wobbling, which again had never before been seen in a Lobats performance - at least to the memory of your roving reporter, whose as you know is equivalent to a baby fly.

We sent out a couple of stretchers which were sent back because the boys needed their wheelchairs. Eventually they wheeled their way back to the pavilion.  

Then Janaka and Prasanna went out. Janaka used all his experience to conduct a batting master class. As you know the team has about 3700 years of collective experience. What you didn't know is that 3500 years of that lies solely with Janaka. He was showing classical defence shots of yesteryear followed by beautifully stroked drives through gaps. But what was most amazing was his running between the wickets. He was turning back for a third when Prasanna was just leaving his crease for the first.

The young lads in the pavilion put down their bat manuals and started taking copious notes on how to run. They have promised to run like mad in the off season to make up for all the runs they left on the pitch during the season. We're expecting to read about these Forest Gumps in future columns.

This partnership blossomed to the point that Jana and Prasanna decided to shake hands at the bowlers end during a run. Unfortunately the keeper took the bails off at the other end and Jana headed back. Chaths quickly ran a shot of whisky out to Prasanna, but then the umpire called Jana back and asked Prasanna to scoot because the umpire preferred Jana's strokes. At that point, Chaths quickly grabbed the drink off Prasanna and ran to Jana and handed him the drink.

At this point, the boys tore up their notes on how to run between the wickets. Meanwhile all the spectators of the sell out crown who had never seen so many runs scored by the Lobats in an entire season, let alone one match, were all walking around the boundary videoing this insane. They looked baffled.

To make a long story longer, we ended up on 190+. Peter who had never had to count so high since joining the Lobats was now through his 20th pencil. He sent Chris out to the stationary shop to buy another five score books. The innings finally ended on the last over the day, with three balls to spare. That was a shame because the plan was to have a go in the last three balls. For once we almost batted out our overs. But as you know life happens while you are making plans. With the Lobats, shit happens.

Then Chama brought out a cake to celebrate our victory until the skipper informed him that the other team had yet to bat. We told the skipper to skip off and celebrated nonetheless. Even the spectators were given a cake to celebrate. They obliged and offered a bottle of wine and whisky in return. These were amazing scenes that brought a tear to the eye of your reporter of international disrepute, who was rolling around on the floor laughing - for no reason at all.

Day 2 - happened. Read all about it at a future date…

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lobats strategy for the grand final set to go like a Porsche

A special report has been drafted after the minutes of a special brains trust (sorry, that was lack of brains and trust) was leaked and lodged on wikileaks. The author of this article is now hiding in the Tibetan embassy fighting extradition charges to Timbuctoo.

You, however, get to enjoy reading about the strategy planning session for the grand final with only the risk of falling asleep mid-sentence.

Never before has a Lobats strategy session been recorded. But this was because the old buggers who have these sessions never remember what they just said, so it was impossible to record anything. The minutes of this meeting, however, show how great minds don't work, so this is a revelation.

It turns out that one bright spark on the management committee called the special meeting and laid out the following dilemma. He said that given the Lobats had been in reverse gear all season and had somehow made it to the finals, something needed to be done. The rest of the senior Lobats couldn't understand why.

He decided to use a metaphor to explain. He said the Lobats had been like a car that has been backfiring all season and a good mechanic needed to take a good look at the engine to figure out what was wrong and fix it. He said he had already done this and presented what he had learnt.

It turns out that the Lobats is a very old car. That of course is not news to anyone. What is new is this car was built after the first World War in Europe - Eastern Europe to be exact - most likely by men in black and white stripped uniforms who spent their days behind bars so they didn't leak any information on this car.

The car was one of a kind. Nothing like it had been seen before. It had 12 cylinders, occasionally 13, depending on the day. Being one of a kind, no spare parts are currently available. Now anyone who knows anything about cars knows that a car with 12 cylinders is great and such a car is likely to out muscle most others in a race. So the senior Lobats were feeling pretty good about themselves. Hi-fives all around, a few pats on the back and a few back rubs were seen during this part of the meeting.

This is when a bombshell was dropped. It was made clear that cylinders by themselves were pretty useless. You needed good spark plugs to ignite the fuel in the cylinders and push the cylinder heads up and down to convert the fuel into motion. This is where the problem was, he said. All season, only one spark plug was providing a spark, which meant the car had been working on one cylinder. The other cylinders had been doing their own thing - walking to the beat of their own drum and these drums had stopped beating years ago - mainly due to age.

This was incredible insight. It meant that we simply needed to replace 11 sparkplugs. As you know, the Lobats had a combination of sparkplugs from India (Gujurat mainly) and Sri Lanka. There is one spark from Australia but as you know everything in Australia is made in China, so we're pretty sure that spark is really Chinese.

But the problem is it's always a different sparkplug that works at different times in different matches. So it was suggested that we replace all the not so bright sparks, which meant finding another team to play the finals. The senior members of the club said that was not an option. So the alternative was to find a way to get the current sparks to spark.

To do this, the mechanic suggested that they compare the engine of the Lobats to the engine of a Porsche to determine how to fine tune the Lobat. There happened to be a nice blue Porsche parked at every game, so they decided to compare the engines of the two, side by side.

They opened the bonnets of both and realised the problem immediately.

One bright old spark shouted 'Uh huh, I found the problem. We don't have an engine!" Everyone else quickly pointed out that the old fellow was looking at the Porsche and not the Lobat. Then it occurred to them why the Germans didn't have a cricket team - they didn't know how to build an engine.

But this got everyone thinking. Now, as you know, thinking is not the strength of the senior team members. Swing first, get out and then ask questions later, is the usual modus operands. If the Porsche didn't need an engine and was the benchmark that all car companies aspired to, we simply needed to get rid of our engine all together. Finally logic prevailed for the first time in the history of the Lobats, which as you know is some 3700 years or so.

One of the senior members, who knew a thing or two about sports cars, said removing the engine was a great idea because it will make the car much lighter and it can go faster. Absolute genius. Everyone couldn't believe no one had thought of this earlier. That's always the case with brilliant ideas. True genius sounds simple in hindsight - just ask Einstein, or whoever invented the zip. Actually, who invented the zip?

All we need to do now is park the car on the top of a very tall hill and give it a small push. And that ladies and gentlemen is the strategy for the finals. Read all about how it turns out next week. Howzat!