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.