Season 25, Number 9

The Gypsies v Leichhardt Wanderers

Timbrell Park is one of those places, much like Ivy nightclub at 2:30am, where you look around after a while and say “Geez, there should be a lot of talent, but what the fcuk am I doing here?” Despite the fact that the Gypsies finally had 11 players available, the sun was shining, and it was a very pleasant 25o, this iteration of the Peripatetic Derby had an ominous feeling to it. There was an ill wind blowing strong and steady across the ground that required the match be played without bails, and Chopper’s run of good luck with the toss has deserted him. The Wanderers’ Gumby skipper is aptly named after an outer moon of Neptune (Fotios) and his mental acuity is an accurate measure of how far from the sun that icy world is. Even so, he managed the correct call here.

Matt Gerber was a welcome return to the top of the order, and he laid into the first ball of the day dispatching it to the boundary, but it wasn’t long before Kenny (1) was given out LBW to the worst umpiring decision he’s ever seen in his life. A glare at the umpire and a hesitation before walking off and there was a suggestion he might be fined part of his match fee for dissent but given he doesn’t get a match fee the charge was not sustained. Instead, he suggested the club invest in ball-tracking technology or just buy the umpire some fcking glasses and cut out the middle man.

Varinder took his time to settle in at the crease and waited for the 2nd ball of the day before swinging hard at a ball wide of the stumps, or so he thought, and was bowled for a duck. I’d recommend a look at the Sportsbet video “local cricket problems” (found on YouTube) I think you’ll recognise a few of your team mates. The video at around the 50 second mark might be familiar to V.

Statisticians don’t have to look too hard to find a correlation between Varinder’s run-scoring and Gypsy competition points. The captain of course was very understanding and when V came off the ground his words of encouragement were “2nd ball duck you might want to start packing the kit; it’ll be hard for anybody to get under that”. Famous last words.

AB was looking hungry for runs, and a good little partnership between Bobo and AB ensued, aided by a couple dropped catches. AB has never tonned-up for the Gypsies, and he might have been the luckiest man on the field if it weren’t for the Wanderers’ first change bowler whose suspect action went un-checked by an umpire still clearly in need of optical assistance. Unfortunately Bobo fell after an enterprising 30 run partnership.

Praneil in only his 2nd game for the Gypsies and the first this year came out to bat in front of his huge home family crowd. He looked resplendent in gear safely protected by his fluoro pink bag, how he escaped a fine for that is an escape Houdini would be proud of. Top-scoring for the Gypsies in his last appearance, he’d talked up his prowess with the bat around the dinner table for the past 10 months. The runs flowed freely from the bat with his 3rd ball going for 3 thanks to some hard running. Unfortunately, he spooned a catch to backward square, and surprisingly the Wanderers took it. The family had packed the car and were on their way home before Praneil could even make the boundary rope. Disappointment all round.

Kitty has scored a few runs this year and with a couple of scores in red ink he’s in exceptional form averaging 32 with the bat. He and AB put on a further 30 before he called for a quick single, running to the danger end. Two words will be a red flag for the reader from that sentence: “quick” and “running” – neither of which is in Kitty’s skill set. It could only end in tears.

At 5/89 Chopper was needing a captain's knock to try and steady the ship. You’ll remember the advice Chopper gave to V, “2nd ball duck you might want to start packing the kit; it’ll be hard for anybody to get under that”. Seems not too hard at all Chopper, bowled for a Golden Duck. Of course fined for witchcraft. Ganesh, with the memory of 6 from his first scoring shot for the Gypsies fading fast behind the ensuing 2 ducks was looking for runs and found one, just the 1.

Craig had a couple of quick singles and was lucky not to be run out when the throw went to the wrong end, drawing expletives from the poor fielder’s team mates. But with his innings ending on 3 it brought our last batsmen out to the crease at 9 for 94. Hollywood once again declared 100 runs a certainty if Batho could just stay with him. And he’s right if you count his runs since 2012.

AB took up the challenge and began to nudge the bowling over the boundary, passing 50, 70, 90.. again with support of the poor Wanderers catching. At the other end Hollywood was doing his best Renshaw impersonation and before long had raced to 2. The last wicket partnership passed 50 and AB posted his maiden ton before he finally found a fielder who could catch.

A last wicket partnership of 56 set the Wanderers a target of 151. AB went in with the score on 10 and took it all the way to 150 - a defendable target and the only one nervous was Kitty who had the job of keeping the byes to 0 to avoid further fines.

The bowling began brightly with the snaring of two early wickets. It looked as though the Wanderers may have reversed their batting order based on the openers’ footwork. But as seems to be a pattern this season the Gypsies came up against some better players hiding down the order. Hollywood’s Lyon-esque tribulations continued with several of his pies launched into the long tussock grass located somewhere in the next postcode. At one stage 7 gypsy fielders found a WWII Japanese soldier, Amelia Earhart’s plane but alas no ball in the overgrowth.

With the total now looking eminently gettable, the Skip looked around for part-timers - then brought himself back on to bowl. But even he copped a caning as the Wanderers romped to victory, not helped by some dubious catching. V had the bowling figures of 2/13 (5) and there were numerous contenders for “worst throw” in one of the worst Gypsy fielding performances, except for the byes, which miraculously remained at 0.

But onto the important part of the day - the pub session. AB, knowing how the date votes worked made sure all 12 players at the ground were coming to the pub and kindly organised lifts for those who didn’t have transport, giving him an opportunity to get a maximum of 33 votes. Voting went as you would expect except for 1 person who didn’t think a maiden ton and personal highest score in a beaten side was worth three votes and he only managed to poll 32. The new Office of Property Steward has been a boon this year. Such innovations as having the kit arrive before the game (mostly), the introduction of post-match beer bar at the ground and now he unveiled a radical modernisation of the Date voting process by distributing pre-printed paper. Sadly, he had not thought it through and failed to include a “how to vote” instruction on the back. So on first count AB received 34 votes but with much discussion Kitty managed to find Gerber had given him 5, and wrote it on the back - he was forced to vote again while loudly protesting the nanny state rules where stifling his creativity. He then got it wrong a second time. After a third incorrectly filled card was discovered it was agreed Batho was probably the best player on the day for his maiden ton and the actual result was left in the hands of the Stewards.

After 8 rounds the Gypsies may be stone motherless if everyone else put their scores in. Sure to be an interesting time at the selection table yet again this week. Brian Lara remains unavailable.

The Gypsies 150 defeated by Leichhardt Wanderers 3/154