(The Mighty) Greys Anatomy.
A troupe of impeccably coiffured, unreasonably beautiful American doctors scan the scene that confronts them in the South Wing of The Constant Service Emergency Medical Unit. A broken and dejected cricket team. Almost everyone conscripted to play on this fateful Sunday seemingly struck down with illness, injury, chronic lack of sleep, even chronic-er hangovers or a mixture of all four. The blondest and tallest of the doctors turned to her colleagues and, with a look that strained through the botox to just about reveal itself as one of fear, shook her head slowly from side to side. Surely these weary men couldn’t perform today. It just wasn’t possible.
The Shadow, but a shadow of his former shadowy self, had, along with Jerry been suffering from a virus (or some illness thing anyway); Alex still nursed a finger that had almost been ripped clean off in a fielding incident from the previous week; The Zonk claimed, typically, that he had barely slept and was also just suffering from his usual namby-pampyness, and the trio of Zack, Big Dunc the Spy and HatRick had attended celebrations so long into the previous night that they had pretty much missed out on sleeping altogether. Heads were very firmly in the shed…..but things were about to get worse.
The Greys turned their collective head to the South Wing doors as they were flung open. Robbie Economics was wheeled in wearing a full body-brace, his broken limbs suspended in the air by metal wires connected to a frame above his bed. It was obvious that he wasn’t going to make it. Had Dunc The Spook pushed him out of his 3rd-storey flat window to ensure his own place in the team?? We’ll probably never know.
The beautiful doctors, who still had perfect make-up despite saying they’d all just worked like, really really long shifts through the night and stuff, started to cry. This ashen-faced team of crocks and flops that they so adored just weren’t going to make it. Emotional music played in the background (despite their being no obvious source of sound – it was just sort of ‘in the air’)…something by Snow Patrol probably. BUT THEN…..(that bit of the song comes in where timpani drums start playing and it changes from being really wet and sad to kind of slightly defiant)….hairs of the dog were sunk, tubs were thumped, backs were slapped and rousing speeches were made. Our eleven heroes rose from their seats, beat their chests and, as one, burst into a chorus of ‘More Bounce To The Ounce’ by early 80s electro-funk sensations Zapp and Roger. Despite having never rehearsed it, they sang it perfectly, with harmonies and everything. Doctors orders be damned! These mighty warriors would not be cowed, and to prove it, even though Colemans Hatch was like, a really long way away, they elected not to drive there but…….to MOONWALK!
As they watched their fearsome opposition arrive, fully naked in a reverse moonwalk conga-line, the Colemans Hatch XI realised that they were in for a tough game. The Greys batted first and Jerry and HatRick fell pretty quickly, both clean bowled. This might not sound that impressive, but in the state they were in these guys were doing well to stand up, let alone walk out into the middle wearing all the correct clothing. They are the most honourable of men – they should be talked about in the way people who read The Sun talk about our ‘brave boys’ in the British army.
Anyway, Alex and Biff did some run scoring, putting on a fantastic 50-partnership and hitting some great shots to boot – Alex whipping one lovely hook shot over his shoulder to the boundary (should have been PSM nom’d!). Skipper Line, in usual solid fashion, went on to get another half-century and build the foundations for a big team score.
Agent Double 0 Dunc’s handsome face briefly lit-up the wicket, but, showcasing the mixture of hot-headedness and vulnerability that make him such a hit with da ladeeeez, swiped across the line at a straight one and was bowled.
Evil and the Zonk were the next pair to snuggle up and get all cosy in front of the fire, putting on 90 runs together and, i must say, enjoying every moment of it. Evil walloped a few fours, including one particularly impressive bash through the V. Zonk displayed his usual array of back-foot slaps and whacks on the way to his highest Greys score and very proud he is too! Smugness levels 89% – almost unbearable. Unfortunately one of the Hatch bowlers pitched one up, requiring the Zonk to go forwards. Unsurprisingly he was bowled. Never mind, you can’t have everything – as the saying goes, “God doesn’t give with both feet”.
Never mind indeed because wickets falling just brought more accomplished Greys batsmen to the crease (when it comes to batting, right now we roll deeeeeeep). Enter Zack and Telstar who continued the free-scoring, The Shadow working away some trademark pulls and Zack hitting two incredible 6s! The second of these most audacious of straight hits was quite frankly, huge – clonking into the trunk of a far away tree – but the first one was a thing of such rare and exquisite beauty that i just can’t fucking believe it wasn’t voted PSM! I can only presume that much of the team didn’t see it – either that or they are a bunch clay-headed gibbons with absolutely no sense of aesthetics or understanding of where the beauty is to be found in this most artistic of sports. Philistines!
To add to the Hatch’s frustrations, our last pair, Ally G (who, notably, caressed a lovely back-foot cover drive towards the fence) and QB played some fine cricket to take the Greys total to 274! Surely an insurmountable score even on this small ground where boundaries are easy to find.
Now was the oppositions turn to bat and the Hatchlings really came out of their shell. Walloping the ball from the off, these guys were gunning for our total and they would have got off to an absolute flyer if it wasn’t for some truly outrageously brave fielding from the Zonko (how’s that for modest?!??) who stopped two certain fours and got a hideously bruised hand in the process. It’s a man’s game.
Thankfully the glut of wickets that some brain-box had prophesied in the previous weeks match report, arrived at last for Alan! His haul included a wonderful clean-bowled and the wicket of one of the Hatch’s openers who was looking very dangerous. Mis-judging the awesome pace with which Alan had banged-in a shorter one, his victim top-edged and sent the ball high up into the clouds where it collected a layer of ice; as it fell at twice the speed of sound, the Zonkinator positioned his heavily bruised hand (remember!) beneath the ball and made light work of the catch. He didn’t even whine too much afterwards about how much it hurt him – mummy’s brave soldier!
Gallagher’s third arrived immediately after his second, and a more awe-inspiring piece of cricket you will rarely see on the amateur circuit (again, not sure why this wasn’t voted for more than my catch – starting to think the Russians are interfering with our PSM democracy – we’ve been hacked!!). The new Hatcher at the crease belted his first ball so hard that no earthly instrument of science could have measured its velocity. It flew, with a blue flame visible in its wake, straight to Biff at mid-off who took a catch that no human being had any right to take. If it weren’t for our captain being built like a sturdy oak tree, with skin as thick as a bronco’s hide, then surely he would be dead. But being a warrior Greysman, the only outward sign of pain he let slip was immediately throwing the ball to the ground and running to the pavilion to be treated with Biofreeze ice-spray. Its a man’s game.
Reunited in partnership, Zacky and For Whom The Tel Bowls came into the attack and restricted the scoring enough that the run chase started to look unlikely for our opponents – despite their opener amassing over 150 runs! Biff somehow could still grip a cricket ball well enough to bowl it AND take a wicket! Though, his injuries were obviously having some effect as moments later, in the field, he could only ‘fall ‘n’ crawl’ after a ball that rolled past him to the boundary. Alex came on and cunningly, using the sun’s low position in the sky to blind a batsmen, flighted one that took the bails whilst his opponent recoiled from the glare. Good Ben then performed heroics at the death, getting the oppositions centurion caught at extra cover by Jerry (who had recovered enough after a nap in the nearby woodland to do some fielding) and clean bowling another Coleman with an inswinging yorker to set-up an exciting last few balls. The Greys didn’t break the last Hatch partnership but had amassed the most runs by far.
Licking their wounds, our heroes returned home, phoning ahead to the lovely American doctors back at The Constant Service Emergency Medical Unit to prepare more beds and ready the morphine. They were battered, bruised and broken but they had prevailed! They slumped into their hospital beds and started to boast of their incredible and unlikely victory. Puzzlingly, the face of the handsome, kind of ‘lead’ doctor (though, essentially it is an ensemble cast), displayed a look of grave concern…….
“Look” he said, glancing down at his clipboard “I don’t know how to tell you this but…….you didn’t win”
“What are you on about, we got more runs than them” said The Zonk, looking down at his injured hand which he didn’t care about cus he was part of the winning team so it was worth it.
“Yes, you scored more runs but you were playing ‘Village Rules'”
“In ‘Village Rules’, in order to win, the team that bats first has to score more runs than the opposition AND bowl their ENTIRE team out. The team that bats second JUST has to score the most runs”
“But that’s fucking stupid”
“I prefer to think of it as just another of the many illogical idiosyncrasies that make this game the wonderful frustration that it is” said the doctor who seemed to know an awful lot about amateur cricket for an American health professional.
“if you say so, mate”.
The Greys drank into the night, safe in the knowledge that they won and that they are the best cricket team in the whole world. I can’t remember much after that apart from having a lengthy conversation with Alan about different salad recipes. Apparently a greek salad is much improved by baking the feta in the oven first with a touch of garlic and red onion! …….It’s a man’s game.