And so to intriguingly named Cairns Fudge (y’know, Chris Cairns… and fudge!) who we recognised as one of the leading teams in the division after their fourth placed finish last season. So when Colin won the toss and put them in, we were feeling confident when we had them 15 for 3, Duncan taking 3 good wickets, including a catch behind, a catch to gully and one that slipped through to take middle stump. The Fudge fourth wicket partnership though, began to dominate, and Small played some powerful shots through square cover, using his front foot very well and beginning to dominate despite a couple of shots which another day might have gone to a fielder.
Colin brought Barry on to stem the flow, but this proved less than fruitful as he went for 16 off his first over, and 36 off this first 3. Next over he made the breakthrough, getting the Fudge number 4 caught behind by an excellent catch from skipper Mercer, although not before Small had reached his 50. Barry then took another wicket next ball, and could have had a third in the same over but the ball dropped short of Ben at cover. Ben decided to lie on top of the ball instead of getting under it, leading to lots of lame sex jokes.
Grant came on to replace Duncan and kept it tight without finding a breakthrough, and it became obvious that we needed to get the leading batsman out. He had given a few very tough chances, of which one we might have taken on a good day – but today wasn’t a good day as Barry missed a low chance at gully, Dave Henson at point and NiB at mid off. To put him off his rhythm it was decided that taking the pace off the ball might help. So it proved, as Putter’s first ball was pinged straight to OT at deep square leg. Unfortunately it came out the sun and was dropped for 6, giving the batsman his 100. Gradually, however, things started to go our way and we saw off the last few wickets, Barry taking 4 and Grant coming back to snaffle one – well deserved after a good spell. Ryan took the last two (including the 100-maker) to leave Fudge on 215 ao.
Despite some massive histrionics from some members of the team, it was a total that we could successfully chase if we batted properly, although still a tough ask. Unfortunately we got off to a bad start, with Ben out early on, leading to a stroppy walk to the shop. Tim “Bieber” fared little better as he edged one to gully, then Barry gave long off some catching practice and Ryan left a straight one before NiB got a good ball from Patel and went for an excellent 31. Ian then tried to pull a straight pitched-up delivery before departing LBW for a duck.
Colin and OT then put on an excellent partnership of nearly 100, including some excellent back foot cuts and pulls, which kept us in with a shout although we were always behind the rate. Eventually they both fell to wild swings when attempting to keep us in the game, and it left Henson, Duncan “don’t give him any more nicknames Ian you twat” Wooloff and G-Force Summersbee to see us over 175 for the extra batting point. This left us with 9 points in a losing cause, which at least proves that we made it competitive. The Fudge captain kindly told us that we were comfortably one of the better teams in the division so there was no need to be despondent (even if you did get a duck and offer no positive contribution whatsoever).
Man of the match went to Colin for an excellent 40-odd and three catches behind the stumps.OT and Duncan were also nominated.
Champagne Moment went to Grant’s excellent cut shot through point to take us over 175 for the point. Honourable mentions also went to NiB for a one bounce four over cover, Colin for two excellent catches behind the stumps and the squeezy jam and whipped cream which Kerry and Nick kindly supplied.
Pig’s Ear was well fought, ultimately being won by a triple combination from Putter, including a difficult catch, 2 overs for 24, but primarily a stroppy walk to the shop after getting out for 1. Other noms included Ryan leaving a straight one (“it cut in a long way”, said the Cairns Fudge pigs ear winner, who had not been bribed by Ryan at all), Ian’s throwing in from the boundary (one straight up, one straight along the ground).
A nomination which came slightly too late was Timmy Lane’s voting for these awards; “Tim, who are you voting for?” *Puts hand up*
Net result: Lost, but 9 bonus points.