The cold (lengthy) meanderings of HatRick’s uglier, meaner alter ego… BaldRick
Everything you know about the game is wrong. Forget the coaching. Forget those long winters in the nets. Forget those hard-won nuggets of cherished advice from Delbert or Double D…
It’s all absolute b*****ks.
Open your stance a bit…
It’s all in your trigger movement…
Play yourself in…
Take your time…
Play each ball on its merit…
Blah blah dee f**king blah.
‘Proper cricket’, you say?
F**k that for a game of soldiers.
Nurdling, nudging, quick singles… it’s all for yellow-bellied, spineless poltroons.
No I’m not insulting you, I’m describing you.
The only way you’ll ever get laid playing like that is if you crawl up a chicken’s ass and wait…
You all must have been born on a highway because that’s where most accidents happen
You’re the reason the gene pool needs a lifeguard
You so dumb, you think Cheerios are doughnut seeds
Enough of the niceties.
You can all GET IN THE SEA.
Hey batter batter batter, sw-iiiing batter baaatteeeer…
Oh, you want to know what happened in the game…?
Truth be told, I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.
Early evening. A lone photographer – face camoe’d up – squats down in an Argos birdwatching hide, well-concealed behind a privet hedge just across the road from renowned Hove-based gaming vlogger TerraByte Boggins.
He stretches down for his second camera.
A strange sensation – a knot – snatches at his ample belly…
It felt like a small child’s finger poking him, but this time from the inside out… weird.
[Beer and banter Chief, beer and banter – love the real HatRick]
“I haven’t eaten a live child,” he chuckles to himself. “God. I’ve been out here too long.”
He aims his 57-foot high-powered pap lens up at the second floor of the Victorian semi across the road until it’s almost touching the bloody double-glazing.
He focusses in close on Boggins in his chocolate Y-fronts devouring a Wagon Wheel…
Clack, clack, clack. Boom. Dinner money.
Quarter to 9 now. Like clockwork, Robor in his mustard He-Man pyjamas kisses a dogeared poster of Samantha Fox on the wall, brushes the glossy black-framed Ferrari Testarossa photo on the bedside table with his palm, before settling under his Gunners duvet.
That’s better. Cuddly Red Ted under arm.
He hugs his Newbery close to his chest with the other arm with the relish a young sloth might afford a particularly ergonomic branch. He smiles to himself like a small boy, half-singing, half-humming…
A flick of the switch blacks out his AFC Optique Led Illusion 3D Football night-light.
He dreams of runs…
Midnight now in Southwick. A young man with a handsome newly-coiffured beard hatches a simple unassailable plan.
“I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts,” he scans the page, puts the book down on the hood of his car – and turns on his iPhone.
“Nothing,” he whispers to himself as he surveys the season’s batting stats on his phone.
They haven’t even added him on the table.
“I’ll give them “just a bowler”… psk!” his voice is raised now as he stares out over the darkening gloom of the downs.
“Down the order. Again.” He’s bellowing into the mist now.
This time was going to be different. A volte-face of epic proportions.
They’ll see. Soon they’ll all see.
He reaches down to touch his blade. A guttural cackle stutters to life from his throat outwards, wild echoes hanging in the August night…
Soon they’ll AAAALLLLL see…
A slender turn. A deep inhalation, the musky aroma of linseed fills his mind-palette with boisterous ambition. An image of a swinging bat strikes his subconscious hard. His thoughts fly way up over the rope…
A soft kiss planted in the middle of the sweet spot.
Swinging round in one steady arc, Wahab nonchalantly sheathes his bat in the side panel of his adult cricket bag.
“Tomorrow,” he says defiantly. “I swing.”
3’O clock now. EO lets a small air biscuit slip out unchallenged into his empty uber. As he does so, he feels the now-familiar twinge in his back. How’s he going to get through another weekend of lifting his girlfriend over hedges in this shape?
As the gaseous vapours rise gently up filling his ample nostril, a tap at the window… a customer.
He reaches for the electric window. Too late.
In the rear view mirror his passenger is hit by the pungency of his trouser cough.
“My uber rating…” His muted wail swallowed by the wafts of tepid, sulphurous stink.
One man down.
Zack can’t sleep. His back’s keeping him awake. He remembers that timeless powerful strike for four at Denton. “It’s my shot,” he beams. “Silky smooth like a glabrescent gooch.”
They were right. It really was that smooth. But he’d have to keep it in the hutch for future glory.
And with that, Scrapper slips off, sweetly untethered from reality…
Two down. Greysman dropping like flies.
Saturday Whatsapp banter evolves to slow steady panic at the thought of nine…
Dan’s in! Excellent.
No. 11? Ben’s exhausted the list…
But wait, Chief’s got a mate. One of the dad’s from school, he says.
I wanna meet that dad.
All is well in the world of Greysdom.
Early morning. A man irons his cricket whites making sure to apply even pressure throughout.
Right up to the tip of the trouser leg, as always.
“Nice and proud,” Keith mutters to himself, surveying his handiwork. Starched and stiffened.
For a split second he wonders why he bothers. Why put the effort in when some of his team-mates don’t seem to notice, let alone care. One even wears a T-shirt for W.G.’s sake.
He folds his whites carefully.
They sit rigid on his bedroom chair like a proud stack of A4 card.
Still morning. Well… afternoon, just.
Biff is seated in the Constant Service in Hanover with his team mates.
“Hmmmm. Do I want a third pint?”
He battles with himself for a second or two, but ultimately, folds, swigging back the final warm inch of Harveys from his glass.
“Pint of Best please Al.”
Number three. Trucking.
On a deckchair in rural France, Monseur Le Clunq welcomes the first mouthful of crisp, cold Picpoul into his head.
“Delicieux,” he announces to no-one.
His mind drifts to his ever-extending palette of clunks and how his Sunday will be entirely devoid of them.
He gets up, half mimes his bowling action to get into the spirit regardless, then slumps back, defeated, into his deckchair, dislodging his wine glass and watching it empty its precious cargo of Folle blanche that saturates his plate of Foie Gras. He was looking forward to that…
A solitary tear plops unceremoniously onto his Speedos.
Dom – in fully dry-cleaned cricket whites (force of habit) – surveys the muddy Swansea meadow in front of him. His first step of the day brings with it a sickly squish underfoot as he plants his newly-whitened left Payntr plum into some of his own dog’s excrement.
He lifts up the cricket boot and smirks at the putrid patch of yellow ochre surrounding two of the spikes. He, too, will not feel bat in hand today. Beyond the unbearable FOMO presently overwhelming his senses, he pictures Robor greedily fingering the batting trophy…
A flood of vegan sick fills his mouth. He swallows it back down. He slaps himslef in the cheek. Hard. Don’t lose control Zonk. Not now.
“Stats, I need stats. Stats to calm my mind.”
He removes his shoe to begin the complicated clean-up with only a tent peg as apparatus.
“F***ing mongrel,” he growls out of the earshot of the dog.
But it wasn’t the dog he was talking about…
One by one the cars descend on Berrylands Playing Field. The outfield has been trimmed. The square looks decent. The weather is sketchy, but stable. Game on.
Biff falls in love – out loud – with the new slatted shelf in the Visitors’ changing room.
Some shelf, that.
Meanwhile, as Ben strides out to the middle, the chit chat coming from the Southwick skipper’s mouth is rendered fuzzy and muffled, just mere background noise.
He’s concentrating hard.
They arrive at the strip. Ben’s focus isn’t on the coin glinting in the sun periodically as it swivels playfully in the air above his head.
No. He’s eyeballing the Southwick skipper’s temples, with a kind of shamanic Paul McKenna stare, as solid as his logo-designing skills – if not more so.
“Have a bowl. Have a bowl. Have a bowl, Have a BOWL…” He repeats the mantra over and over and over in his mind. Over and over and ove…
“We’ll have a bowl,” says their skipper.
Bingo. Works every time.
Ben enters the changing room. “We’re batting.”
Biff’s excitement goes up another notch as he reluctantly lets go of the shelf. We’re batting.
For now, Biff is happy. But it’ll be a long, long way to fall when that ill-advised triumvirate of Harveys kicks in to cruelly relieve him of his wicket prematurely. Oh well. You can’t have everything. Life’s about balance. Hell… cricket‘s about balance.
Beer, ultimately, is about the opposite.
A good length, the glossy new ball zips past Biff’s redundant blade and the bails enact their familiar death dance mid-air. Bowled.
“Did it do anything?” He asks, frantically groping around for something, anything to blame…
“Not really,” replies umpire Alex, also slightly fuddled from his own triple-pint pre-match hit of Amstel.
Attention moves to Robor as he takes his place at the crease. Make yourself comfortable Rob.
Before long, a smooth four expands gloriously out from the middle of his bat.
Runs. Sweet, sweet runs.
He’d visualised it all, of course, in between a wet dream about Sam Fox and a weird off-piste mind-wander where he is He-Man playing centre forward for Arsenal. And Skeletor is in goal for Liverpo…
A moment’s concentration lost. Dropped. Thank f**k. By the power of Grayskull.
Lucky, but still here. A few more neat dispatches. Now he’s cooking on gas. The wicket’s causing the ball to ping about like a frog in a hot wok – but no matter.
“Chin music’s my faaaaavourite kinda music,” he roars (silently).
10 runs now… He wafts outside off. Dropped. The keeper’s not happy with that one.
Keith, in the outfield, winces at the drop, but a quick glance down at his epic solidified trouser crease brings him back.
Robor’s well and truly found his game now.
HatRick on the other hand is battling with himself under his lid. You’re set Rick. Stay calm Rik. First part done Rik. You’ve seen off the opening bowlers Rik. Robor said to do that. We agreed it in the middle. And you’ve done it.
Now, whatever you do, never ever ever EVER swing hard at the first ball of a new bowle…
Caught. Ballsacks. The last time I saw something like that, I flushed it. You absolute weapon.
A light brotherly fist bump as HatRick passes new recruit Matthew in the outfield.
“That wicket’s mental,” the only words exchanged in passing.
Blame the wicket.
Always blame the wicket.
Matthew, steady at the crease, takes guard. A quick single. A neat boundary. A few more singles.
And then, despite the palpable clarity of this game not in any way whatsoever being lawn bowls, a delivery bounces twice and then pea rolls inelegantly past his edge, dislodging the stumps.
No ball? No. No. No.
Still good-humoured, Matthew walks. Unlucky.
Jerry’s been racking up runs this season like a demented squirrel on meth storing up nuts for the winter. A… ahem… constant craving, one might suggest. And he’s not about to stop now… that is, if he gets the chance…
Keith lofts one high out of the back of his hand looping gently down towards Robor in a golden arc. Robor shows no respect, tonking it for 6. Whopper. Runs.
A few more. And then another, this time pitched up.
Robor strides forward, a hench punch clouted efficiently back at Keith.
“Shot!” one of us shouts wrongly from the boundary.
Everything goes slo-mo a bit like that Matrix film.
Keith’s leg plants into the trajectory of the oncoming cherry.
Seam up, the ball ferries down the middle, fizzing as it gathers pace…
But wait… What’s that standing proud against the wind?
Is that… is that… it can’t be… is that… a trouser leg?
That’s one stoic bloody trouser leg. Fingers up to the breeze.
Surely it can’t… surely it… it… won’t…
It does. It has.
Jerry’s halfway down the strip thinking of nuts. Run out. By a trouser leg. That’s a new one on Jerry.
Or is it?
On his return to the line of plastic white chairs, Jerry, still in good humour, tells us all – but mostly Alex – about the fact that this is not the first time that this has happened to him.
“It’s not the first time that has happened to me,” he says. Several times. To Alex.
Trev’s up next. Clad in leg guards last strapped on in 1971, he looks like a man who’s somehow managed to walk into two giant sticky Wrigley’s spearmint gum strips – one on each leg.
Ben’s trying to sell them to him. I think. ABC. Always be closing.
Trev looks like the newly recruited stormtrooper. The one who was back of the queue on uniform day. The Empire’s head clerk thrusts last season’s XXL trooper slacks under the kiosk window unceremoniously.
The trooper frowns as he looks down at the monstrous balloon-like assault chinos on the chair beside him, the edges yellowed from Jabba’s opium smoke, exhaled into the Deathstar’s shower block every Thursday night. Jabba loves Fresher’s week.
But no. This will not stand. As a true Greysman. I won’t let this happen to another of our Mighty stormtroopers.
I offer to give Trev my old pads. Cheap Slazengers, yes. But the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about…
The humiliation must end here. Well, the humiliation must end next game at the latest.
If Trev is selected.
The humiliation must end the one after.
Oh I don’t know! But it’ll end, OK?
No choice today Trev.
There he goes striding out like the f***ing awesome sporting bulldog that he is.
To hell with the unwieldy limb security. Two f**king digits up to the double act of miniature discoloured inflatable night club bouncers currently gripping his calfs for dear life.
The silence is broken.
“Kiriiii Eleiiiiison doooown the rooooad that IIIII have traaaaavelled!”. Biff really can’t sing.
And that’s not saying much coming from the frontman of a sub Z-list indie band that peddled a half-arsed catalogue of soppy wet shite until his hair fell out and then gave up – and bought lots of hats.
What a w****r.
“At least he’s singing to me and not calling me a f***ing c**t,” thinks Hatrick.
It’s all those pints of bitter. Gets you merry.
“Have one of my beers Biff.” he says.
“Are you sure?”
[Biff’s Fun Fact Time: Why was he singing that song? Apparently there were actual Greek settlers in Kerala. We all knew about the Portugese influence, but who knew that there were Greeks in India!? Turns out the Arabian Gulf allowed access for much of Europe. Hence Biffo’s choice of almost-song. The relevance being that Matthew’s second name is Greek and he’s from Kerala! The end.]
Back to Trev, his stems preserved by their sullied Cyberdog-esque puffer playsuits.
This is the final time those shins will benefit from such extreme protection, ultra-safe from harm behind what can only be described as rep-punishingly sizeable yellowing leg bulwarks.
No time to hate on your pads now Trev, there’s mighty work to be done.
Rob’s going to do it… cause somehow the cricket ball has managed to NAVIGATE ITS WAY PAST THOSE TWO F***ING EPIC STRAP-ON GREAT WALLS OF BESMIRCHED COLUMN CUSHIONING.
Well I never. Think of the Slazengers Trev. Think of the Slazengers.
Alex is beaming though. I’ve never seen him so happy. He’s positively gleeful to go in, just so Jerry stops telling him over and over and over and over (and over) again about the thing with the run out and the backing up and the bowler and the incredible regularity at which this strange dismissal has occurred in his pitiful f**king cricketing career (Beer and banter Jerry, beer and banter.)
Hold my beer, son.
Bosh! Crack! Sock! Blam! Thwock! Up yours ball. You c**t. Gee Batman, Fenton is muthabloody fiiiiiiired up like a crack-fuelled sports whore. He hungry for some of that run suuugar. And on the strength of this display – it’s feeeeeding time in Fentonville…
Boundary begat boundary begat boundary in a cacophony of rope-bothering frippery.
Right now, Al’s basically the f*****g Busta Rhymes of Berrylands and he’s on the f**king mic people.
For a few overs at any rate…
This is the difference between lager and bitter.
Lager’s got bubbles in it. It’s lively. Bitter is flat. Lager is funner.
The proof is right there for all to see. Yes, granted, there’s the hangover, but f**k me if that wasn’t 24 runs in almost as many balls. Caught at the end, sure, but live by the sword, then you better bloody well top yourself with it. That’s what I say.
A thrifty cameo, sponsored by Amstel.
Alex, with his smarts still about him, avoids Jerry on his return and gets back to scoring.
Back at the square Rob’s raging on like a run-ravenous Batador seeing the nut like a f*****g giant beach ball, pulverising Southwick’s bowling attack like a rabid nutjob frothing at the mouth for ultimate dream-fulfilment.
Doof! Clack! Ping! Doik! Yet another maximum, this time an epic flat one over mid-wicket. Cwwoooaaarrr!
He’s on his way to two jugs here…
That one’s for you Sam.
Paaaaaaaaaarp. And the horn, she blows.
Some slick moves on sports’ only true dancefloor have bought Robor 50 slender runpoints in the Mighty Greysbank. Boink.
But he’s not finished. Not today.
[Back in Swansea Dom finishes cleaning his dog’s anal expulsion from his spikes. He puts the shoe back on, stretches and resumes his walk out of the tent. Squish! Another canine arse snake, this time on the other Payntr, turned straight out of his dog’s grotty sphincter and now tightly glued around the spikes of his other cricket boot. Robor’s closing in Dom, Robor’s closing in….]
Up the other end, QB holds his bat high like a f*****g knight of the round table. A two. A bloody six! A four! Another 2. This is a run joust to remember. It’s spellbinding stuff.
Until it isn’t.
One of Southwick’s fielders snaffles a gallant lofted swing.
Another killer bit part in Roborbob’s epic biopic.
Now, to the next Mighty Grey’s emissary. The Silver Shadow steps out, emanating form like it’s his God-given right to perform. Once more into the fray, radiating tremendousness like the Angel Gabriel’s f*****g chicken tenders after a week-long bath in Ready Brek.
Robor may be thwacking it all about the field, but Tel’s tidying up at the other end – nimble like a fleet adolescent foxlet – crafting and grafting, yet still grinning wide as Bob gets busy over there.
A flurry of left-handed nurdles, nudges and audacious flicks, followed by the crowning moment of unique Shadow-cast alchemy – the variety of gumption that only a giant such as Shadow can summon, instantly transforming moral fibre into cold hard runs.
“Five more!” shouts Biff to Robor. Nearly there.
Robor hangs Griffin-like on the edge of glory, like Lady Gaga in a tripe dress, kind of. Not really. Not that. Like an angry penguin diving for the last remaining sprat in the match pool. No, not that either. A coke-addled arctic grizzly, pawing – nay thrashing – at a muscular Salmon as it surfaces in the river’s endless commotion.
Robor surveys the future like Jon Bon Jovi strumming his Stratocaster on a desert cliff. A blaze of glory, yes, but this cowboy has no intention of going out.
Just five. A handful. A quick single. A two. Another single. Another… And the ton is his.
100 meaty fat ones in the belly of the run beast. A mighty, mighty innings!
Terry, overawed by the Man-God before him, presents a leg. LBW. No matter…
One more solitary ball. In comes the Chieftain. A single.
At 225, we land. A strong total on a tough wicket.
Tea is the same as every other tea. Exactly the same. Let’s be honest, they’re all the same. Wait, no, this one has crisps. Seabrook… practically psychedelic, that.
A bitter battle for wall space ensues.
And then, to the field…
Southwick are clearly not going to f*****g mess about here.
Immediately Baker swings hard for two hammered fours. Ben, unperturbed, encourages a nick, the cherry safely planted in Alex’s gloves. Bonza. One down.
Dan, in frightening form at the other end, mixes it up like the Cricketing cut chemist and soon delivers his pace parcel – Higgs mistimes and skies one. Beneath it, Biffo draws it in like a pro at mid off, the Harveys buzz now a distant memory, replaced by glory. Two down.
QB’s going utterly bananas now. He’s moving the small red globe in the air like a freaking bendy German sausage maker infected with Chronic Bendyitis. It’s too much for me. It’s too much for another Southwicker too, who again, goes airborne. Way up…
Bathed in the afternoon sunlight now poking through the clouds – God’s spotlight shines down – Robor takes the grab over his head in the outfield. Tidy. Three down.
And now, Ben’s practically gone quantum. Ward clean bowled.
Next, Biff snatches another, a carbon copy of the last.
It’s all getting kind of fuzzy…
Big Chief, unable to bend down for fear of awakening the poke of the vicious little rugrat in his belly, spins the ball like a f*****g yoyo. Ben is served up with at lively catch at gully.
Look out. This could be over quick.
Their keeper arrives at the strip and he’s looking keen to crack on. Ben fires one in, the wicky swings a mighty Thor-like swipe. Time blurs, reality cracks into shards, life becomes a whirring swirl of nothingness shifting down to glacial speed – and then rocking back to the max.
Is that Sonic The Hedgehog on PCP, heading straight towards HatRick?
Has the Kuiper belt flung loose one of its flaming rocky space bullets to take out any future generations of Flynn?
A small sonic boom is heard throughout Sussex as the matrix trampolines its rosy canonball. Hurtling forward, seam like a raging buzz-saw homing in on HatRick’s man-bag, it throttles at epic speed like a plum magnet in hyperdrive.
Hatrick, reactions shot from years of getting wassacked, stands stock still, startled.
“I can’t… get… out… of… the… way…”
Hands go out. Body folds double. It’s sticks.
Mothertrucker, dude, that hurt like a butt-cheek on a stick.
More importantly, Ben’s only gone and got himself a five-for!
Benny is so unbelievably hot right now. Just like Hatrick’s hands.
The skip tosses the ball lackadaisically to Jerry, like it’s a regular occurrence. Jerry, looking like a kid who’s just discovered lego and pic’n’mix – both at the same time – promptly lays down the God Damn laaaaw, throwing down a beauteous nut ball smack bang in the cross-heirs. It strikes a Southwickerman’s pad…
And then the appeal. Oh, the gorgeous, extraordinary, heavenly appeal…
Jerry swishes his fringe as if he was Andrew Ridgeley poolside at Club Tropicana. He drops so sweetly down on one knee like he’s proposing to the whole bloody world, flings his arms aloft in perfect unison, as if worshipping the very fabric of nature itself…
In that nanosecond Zack’s back cracks; EO in a garden somewhere feels immediate relief as he thrusts his ladyfriend up, up, up into the sky, towering high above the nearest hedge; a deep smile arrives on Wig’s dog’s face for no apparent reason; Johnny’s field lights up, bathed in blinding sunshine as he chainsaws his finest twirly sculpture yet; in Myanmar, the Kid cures an animal with his hands alone; Robbie’s motorbike buffs itself; a Pine Marten soars majestically over head with a banner reading “JEERRRRRYYY!”
Jerry can’t contain himself. He’s shaking uncontrollably like he’s just been chosen to represent the entire Milky Way in an inter-Galactic appealing contest. And won first prize.
The world stops spinning… the universe stops expanding. On the field the cameras go 360. Everyone, everything on this field right now… IN. THIS. MOMENT… is transfixed – even the families playing rounders in the corner of the ground are sobbing intractable tears of sheer unbridled joy – all of us eyeballing Jerry’s shining moment like we’ve just seen the answer to everything…
And it’s so damn beautiful.
Jerry’s face momentarily gets younger. For the briefest of ambrosial moments… that handsome young boy is back, brimming with unshakeable dreams, unstoppable ambition, waterfalls of pure, overflowing hope…
The finger had no choice but to go up…
The moment over, all that is left is one juicy wicket maiden. Frightening.
As the Greys double palm each other deep in the ring, Jerry, still stranded mid-pose arms aloft on bended knee, is left – alone – with the sudden recall memory of that first KD Lang haircut. The one that instantly called all of those dreams a day.
“Muuuuum, don’t show her that magazine cutting… I wanna look like Iceman off Top Gun!”
“No dear, KD Lang.”
Back on the rope, a storm is brewing. The Grandmomma of twisters is winding up its force.
“It’s my time, now,” thinks Wahab. As he taps his bat on his back foot, a look of cool, stony determination in his eyes, he addresses the bowler.
And what follows is completely insane.
Two sole defensive strokes in amongst a litany of rampant swingyness. A barrage of swing or be damned. Maximum. Airshot. Maximum. Airshot. Maximum. Airshot. The Greys are all at sea. Wahib is grinning wildly as he swings again. Again. Again…
Try as he might, Jerry can’t find the magic again, despite chapter upon chapter of near-misses. It was an epic spell that included that angelic widening of the doors to heaven – but to no avail.
Also, unable to strike again, Chief retires to the boundary. The kid’s started poking again… there’s talk of both A and E.
Surely we’ve got this. Surely…
Shadow takes the ball. Two maidens… But. Still. Wahab. Swings. On.
Effectively too. He passed fifty a while back. The margins are closing. The conduit is still open. Southwick can still snatch it with the mighty Wahab at their rudder, their stoic hard-hitting journeyman.
Swing. Miss. Swing. Miss. Swing. Six. Four. Four. Miss. Four. Miss. Miss.
Surely there must be a some kind of protective bubble over the wickets!!!!
Either that or – as Occam’s Razor would correctly suggest – the GREYS CAN’T BOWL STRAIGHT.
The Greys bums’ squeak audibly in the outfield.
Matthew is called to action, ending Terry’s brief but seismic spell. Accurate, a good length. It’s in the air. Robor circling underneath to snaffle another.
Last man in. Almost there…
As his fellow Southwickers fall around him, Wahab stands strong in the eye of the hurricane, flailing his blade like a rodeo horse who’s drank too much coffee. And then had another coffee.
Keith, still in supremely strong whites, pairs up to him for a final stand.
Robor takes the cherry – and with some serious wheels, keeps it tight. HatRick introduced at the other end… Fast, but off centre.
Wahab connects and leathers him for a one bounce four over cow corner.
Next ball he takes one in the ribs. But still there…
Rob’s back on now. If we lose this one, four Greysmen have already said they’re leaving the team. Two are giving up cricket completely. Bob flings the ball wicketward, Wahab swings hard again, it pitches a foot and a half from the stumps…
How on earth???!!! The nut bolts directly skyward, hopping over the wickets… Impossible.
190. 192. They’re closing in. Fast.
But Wahab will not fall to a Greysman today.
“Ruuuuun!” he screams recklessly from the non-striker’s end, seemingly desperate for the strike.
Keith knows it’s utter madness. We all know it’s utter madness. But he runs. They both run.
Keith doesn’t have a hope. Robor walks the ball to the stumps. Game over.
Wahab, 96 not out. Well batted.
An epic denouement.
Not quite so mighty, but The Greys are, nonetheless, victorious.
Hey batter batter batter, sw-iiiing batter baaatteeeer.