Public service announcement for the Greys:
Following comrade Hatrick’s sickeningly brilliant report last week I feel it is my duty to recalibrate everyone’s expectations – so here’s mine:
Well OK, I’ll give it a go.
Many moons ago the mighty Greys found themselves under a gypsy curse, no doubt after QB knocked out a sub-par Subwoofer at a caravan park or Ricky ran off with a fortune teller’s daughter. This very darkest of Black Magic has resulted in an unfortunate lack of form against Cutters Choice.
The words of the curse drifted eerily up the streets of Hanover – Although no one could hear them over Evil Ben’s Evil daughter hammering a metal chair with a stick in the pub garden.
As the Mighty Greys amassed in the Constant and blissfully unaware of how the curse would become enacted, Biff spoke the fateful words “I think this is the strongest top 5 we’ve ever had!” – At this point an ill wind whistled though the Constant Service Garden and an evil cackling could be faintly heard (along with some Ska music missing some Bass).
We arrived at St. James’ and found only 9 of the opposing side – the sun was shining, surely this would be a done deal, or would it?
The first over clipped along merrily with 2 quick singles and a 4, the second over would be another story altogether…
Over 2 and Cutter’s Choice bowler Nick had 2 ‘losseners’ and his eye was in – a ball came down the wicket, Biff went forward, the ball came up and hit his pad to a riotous appeal from Cutter’s Choice.
Duncan, poor, Duncan who had no idea his actions were, in fact, being controlled by an ancient web of mystical powers beyond the comprehension of mere mortals – found himself, stood there, with his finger raised!
The curse had claimed its first victim – Biff, who took this on the chin and solemnly retreated to the changing room with only the merest whisper of discontent, how could he know what would happen next?
Decca “The Wrecker” Covill was in next, what could possibly go wrong? Wasn’t this the bloke who smacked 111 not-out at Hartfield 3 weeks ago? His first ball passed without event. Who believes in gypsy curses anyway?
The next over saw Jerry plug another boundary and then Cutters Choice bowler Nick, whose gypsy heritage we can only guess at, returned to the crease, ball in hand. Who was that old lady who had appeared on the boundary? What was she muttering? No one had time to notice as the sound of tumbling bails echoed round the ground. Derek paused only to say “great ball mate” before setting back off to the pavilion – Victim number 2 had succumbed to:
But now Hatrick, the reliable, towering, textbook batsmen took off to the middle, even with Delboy gone, who better to steady the ship? Did Rick ever even get bowled at nets? This will all be OK, won’t it?
No, it won’t – The curse had claimed its 3rd Greysman in 11 balls, how could this be happening? A vague air of panic and disbelief settled in the Grey’s camp – nothing was now impossible, would Zonk be struck by lightning on a sunny day?
Calamity! – the Greys were now 12-3 and only 4 of the 40 overs bowled, once again a faint cackle could be heard around the ground (this time with treble-heavy Jungle).
Duncan was summoned from umpiring duty to pad up, still reeling from his encounter with other-worldly powers he barely managed to croak “Where’s Biff?”
Luckily for the Greys our chief Shamen and spectator at large Dave Day arrived just in the nick of time quickly sacrificing a pint of Harvey’s to the Old Gods thus banishing the curse, or staving it off at the very least…
Jerry and Zonk both dug in and, with true grit, put on an extremely well received 135 4th Wicket partnership taking the Greys to 148-3. This innings included some fantastic shots (including several near-6’s and many 4’s on a very slow outfield).
A quick check of B’Telzzebub’s Necronomicon (a.k.a. the 17 for ’17) reveal that this is a record-equalling score for the wicket (count back required).
With only 9 overs to go Jerry was caught 14 shy of a ton – he returned to a hero’s welcome and another sacrificial pint.
Unfortunately, the vestiges of the curse must still have been coursing through Duncan as he came back from the crease without troubling the scoreboard.
The normally steadfast Alex also succumbed to the curse which manifested itself as a cheeky caught and bowled from CC’s Baxter.
With help from Tim & Robbie and a ritual slaughter in the pavilion The Grey’s own master of Darkness the Shadow saw out the rest of the game (causing only slight alarm that he may have been overcome by demonic forces when he ran QB out in the penultimate over).
Zonk was the next to go having collected a much needed & jug-worthy 51, his work done, having brought the Mighty Greys to 168 runs. An impossible dream 32 overs ago.
Evil and QB both made contributions of 4 and with 1 ball left to go Alan had been bowled for 1.
After a Hatrick-sponsored Tea, a quick dousing with Holy water (except Terry and Evil with whom it does not agree) The Greys were ready to take to the field.
An eerie silence descended as the first two Cutter’s Choice batsmen appeared. Had enough lager been drunk during tea to stave off the Curse’s return?
Early signs were promising – With a Wicket from Alan in the first over and a maiden from QB, things started well and improved with an extremely classy Caught and bowled from Quiet Ben proving that, cursed or not, he is able to catch – off his own bowling at least.
Alex caught their number 3 Duncan off a classic QB ball, and Alan took out Sam and Manik CC’s number 4 – an important wicket as he had decided to very rudely hit a clutch of 4’s and a 6.
Cutters Choice cut a much sorrier figure at 35-5 after 12 overs. Alan & QB had ripped through their top-order with enviable figures of 3/15 and 2/14 respectively. 4 of Quiet’s overs were Maidens, which we all know he likes to smash.
Then it was time for the Mighty Greys to make a virgin sacrifice, of sorts, and break the curse forever, offering up Evil Ben for his first spell of bowling.
The twin orphic powers of Evil & the Shadow, having foregone the holy-water at tea, shocked the batsmen with a beguiling change of pace to the previous overs.
This paid dividend for Evil in his second over – a slower-slower ball drifted out and found its way to Del keeping wicket and, before CC’s Pete had a chance to check if it was a wide, Del’s ninja-like reflexes kicked in and he was stumped!
Evil’s next slightly shakier over yielded another wicket – this time clean bowled, much to everyone’s surprise – including himself, and his family, who were at the ground but missed it.
Now it was Duncan’s turn to turn out for the first time no wickets but some slight-of-wrist magic that kept them guessing.
Finally Alex and Biff stepped up, nearly testing the limits of how many bowler’s figures you can record in a normal scorebook.
The final wicket was taken by Biff, who having engendered the terrible curse, was the only one who could break it, his 4th Ball flew of Ian’s bat and found an expectant Zonk waiting for it patiently.
The last man standing was Nick – it was all over, until next time.