Hee hee hee...
Today I pissed off 11 other men.
On the second day of a two-day match we were in absolutely no position to win, with a very shallow batting lineup and 344 runs to chase. So the idea was to last out the 75 overs we had and try to avoid letting the other team score 10 points (and make them settle instead for 6). So what do we do, but lose two wickets in ten overs.
Which is not too bad in one-day games, but this was pretty terrible for what we were trying to achieve. So I left the field (from where I had been umpiring) and got into my pads. My job? As always, stick out there for a whole heap of overs, make them make mistakes, and try to keep the scoreboard ticking over. I lost my partner, 'Bullrider', early, which brought my favourite batting partner Beano to the crease.
For the next twenty overs or so, we played a dead bat game. We scored a few runs, sure, but everything else that came our way we blocked out. We survived through
lunch tea, then Beano was bowled out. Which brought Trowelly to the crease. Trowelly isn't a blocker, he's a hitter. He plays his shots well, and he scored a quick fire 36 before drinks.
During the session, the other team Tatyoon decided to try and put me off my game: I knew three blokes from school, two of which were in the slips cordon and in the best possible sledging area. I withstood every single one of their bowlers, and as I did, the 'keeper and slips were remarking how almost every single ball I faced was blocked. Politely. Almost as politely back, I shot a few one-liners back at them that were not necessarily funny, nor insulting, but they made me feel a lot more comfortable at the crease. (Practically every time I go out there I'm shaking and nervous, and it takes me about two overs to get into the groove.)
After drinks, I started again, and so did they. I lost Trowelly soon after, and the youngest member of our team, Alex, came out. All I said was "Stay with me." I was running out of partners - I only had one left after this - and we still had 13 overs to last.
However, I was bowled next over.
I had made 22 from 28 overs, and I came off the ground with a smile on my face: I was the wicket they needed the most that day, which isn't usually the case; I had all but prevented them scoring an outright victory (with 10 overs to go, they couldn't hope to get all 10 wickets); and some of the things they were starting to say to me in the slips were getting downright ludicrous. At one point I hit a square cut, and next ball I blocked it and informed them that I was back to "Classic CJ".
I have to give them credit for one over: four bouncers were bowled at my leg side - in a legal manner - which told me immediately "They've got my number". I handled them all differently, but I didn't go out. So they tried something different. I relished it all.
We lost the game, and conceded 6 points. That was the last game of the regular season. At the time I write this, I am unsure as to whether we have made it into the semi-finals: it depends on the result of another match. The team that has been even with us for most of the season needs to lose if we are to make it into the finals; if they win, we're out on percentage.
Edit: We're in the finals! Wickliffe lost by 5 runs, and there was no time to try and score an outright. We play the semifinals on both 23rd and 24th of February, and the grand final on 1st, 2nd and 8th of March. We're not looking good for the semifinal, though, as it's against a team who has only lost one match this season.
Edit again: After the first day, we're in a losing position. We have 344 runs to chase, with a fairly shallow batting lineup... I'm suddenly getting a déjà vu...