Thursday, August 28, 2014

A season came and went to a grand final won by boring the opposition to death

Since the last update on the LoBaTs, a lot of very little has happened. Well, at least one year passed and depending on how you look at it, that’s either 365 days, 8760 hours or 525,000 seconds. In that time, the Lobats were resurrected and thrashed and then thrashed and thrashed.

In the spirit of this column, which fortunately nobody reads and therefore has no spirit, we will find a way to turn the very little that happened into a very long story. Here it is.

Last season came and went, during which a new captain was found at pretty much every match and often during the match. The team bounced between some spectacular performances whichever way you look at it. The season started with a thorough beating from our brethren in Canberra. This was followed by spectacular innings throughout the season interspersed with spectacular collapses. Then towards the business end of the season, a win that was crafted by getting the other team all out with only two runs to get ensured we made our way into the semi-finals.

The semi-finals came and went – as they do. No one is quite sure what happened. The other team featured a bowler that by all counts was the best bowler in the league. He was also their best batsman. He won the accolade of being the best bowler after bowling a ball early in the season to our opener that was absolutely unplayable, unless of course you had a bat in your hand and knew how to bat.

Yet somehow, after the opener made way for the rest of the team, we thrashed them and made our way to the finals. The finals was against the best team in the league. They had won pretty much all their matches. They were old foes or friends, we’re still not sure. They did however call one of our own grandpa during the finals. As we weren’t sure if that was a term of endearment or a sledge, judgement on whether they are friends or foes will be deferred.

The scene was set for another spectacular clash, one of titan proportions like that we had against the Kenyans many a season ago. This time instead of a very loud keeper we were presented with an opposition skipper who loves to lecture anyone and everyone on the laws of the game. Of course by this stage we were used to lectures from our own skipper that had told us not to show any mercy and to bat 60 overs without scoring a run, simply to show character. So the opposition skippers lectures were a welcome change.

But all this lectures had even put the birds to sleep, or may be they were just bored to death. It definitely wasn’t the usual surface to air missiles that used to get launched when we were bowling that were keeping the birds away. In fact, there was hardly and scoring in this match. Both captains ensured this with their long speeches that had everyone sleeping soundly – normally it’s only one of us that sleeps soundly before shouting ‘stay there, long way to go’.

In the lead up to the game, numerous emergency meetings were held in numerous offices across town about matters that had nothing to do with cricket. For instance, the Reserve Bank was having various talks on how to stimulate the economy, while others had various meetings on how to stimulate themselves further. On the day of the match, one of our players was seen giving a few tips on self-stimulation to other team’s skipper. This resulted in another lecture.

At the end of all these meetings, 11 Lobats showed up late to the grounds as per usual, only to be confronted with an opposition that had been there for 4 hours practicing and in the middle of a hakka. That was quite intimidating and serious thought was given to calling the game off and declaring the winner even before a ball had been bowled. Yet, in the spirit of cricket, calmer minds prevailed and it was decided by two spirited cockatoos that were picking worms on the park that the game should be played, before they got bored to death.

So our skipper was sent out to toss in the hope that he would lose his way to the middle and not come back. The skipper then promptly announced he was going to be twelfth-man. Normally this would have sent shivers down an already nervous bunch, but everyone knew what it meant, so no one even yawned. It meant everyone else was going to have to rotate on and off the field while the twelfth man did all the bowling and batting.

We lost the toss as always and the opposition batted. Fortunately the pressure of trying to remember all the lecture notes of their skipper was more than they could handle and they started gifting catches. Unfortunately, none of us knew what to do with a catch, having never even caught a cold before, and we had to rely on them walking on their stumps to get them out. Fortunately this happened for only 119 runs. Unfortunately that was 5 runs above our par score.

That’s when our skipper of the hour hatched a plan that had never been tried before in any previous incarnation of Lobats. He decided to wake us all up. He did this by taking responsibility and promoting himself to the # 3 spot on the batting order, which as you all know meant he was essentially opening. So when the inevitable happened and one opener unselfishly made way, the skipper came in and pitched camp in the middle.

Eventually, what felt like a couple of weeks later, we had slept our way to 114-1 with the main contributions coming from the one player in our side that has never let us down, Mr Sundries. In fact, this player won the batsman of the season award. At that point the skipper and the other opener selfishly got themselves out so they could get a start on the cold beers and handed over the uphill task of bringing us home to the remaining 7 players. Remember, our par score for the season was 114, so this was a massive task for 7 guys who were now sound asleep.

The cat had been set upon the pigeons and the fear was visible in the dressing room. Our team statistician pointed out how often we had gone from a position of weakness to losing in a matter of minutes. Fortunately the opposition were unaware of this and our top scorer, Mr Sundry, added to his incredible average and got us over the line.

The celebrations lasted well into about 3pm at which point the beer ran out. That’s when the skipper came up with his best suggestion all season. He recommended we head immediately to the pub and led the way, sirens blaring. In a state of complete intoxication, it was decided that the team would stick together for another season provided Sundries was available and willing to play for us again.

Unfortunately, given Sundries’ total score and season average, he has been graded at a level that would, well require the Lobats to play against the national side. So the case is being reviewed by the Australian Cricket Board as to whether the Lobats B12s can be accommodated into the international cricket calendar as Australia’s second national side.

Meanwhile, as with all good subcontinent sides, it has been decided that as a result of last season’s winning performance, serious changes were required to the side. It was declared that the loss ratio was not sufficient to keep the current structure of the team. In fact there were serious discussions as to why the finals was won so easily and why the team failed to lose more matches as spectacularly as it had in the past. It is understood that there has been a change to the leadership of the team.

And as always, this esteemed publication has the scoop on all this. In fact, your roving reporter has actually managed to score an interview with the new team captain. As you know, none of the past Lobats captains ever gave an interview to any publication - not because they struggled with English, or because they had nothing interesting to say, or because the lack of brains and trust and skill refused permission for them to speak about any matter to anyone – but simply because no publication could give a toss! So stay tuned for part 2 of this piece for the inside goss… It promises to completely bore you to death!

Pictures that will bore you to death...