I realized that we were possibly in a spot of trouble when “Dodge” (if that is his real name) casually cover-drove my first two balls to the boundary. His bat had more meat in it than a 72oz. steak. We finished the first over having conceded 2 sixes and 2 fours – we looking a little worse for wear, but I consoled myself that we weren’t looking as bad their opener’s nose was. His hooter had been squashed flatter than a super-model’s chest, and was about as attractive.
Stanley opened the bowling from the other end and whilst he wasn’t up to my standards, he did a reasonable job in supporting me. At the end of the first eight overs, the opposition were five down for 90. My figures after four overs were a very unlucky none for 75, whilst Stanley had taken a pretty arsey 5 for 5. Worringly, there were a fair few byes being let through by Prof. As their only decent batsman, I had cunningly kept Dodge at my end for most of the time, and he had played a serious of lucky drives and hooks that somehow kept going to the boundary. Who knows how many they could have been if I had let him have a go at Stanley?
The match was evenly poised, with them half down for half the runs. Stanley was clearly benefiting from bowling down the hill and with the stiff breeze behind him. I had a quick chat with Prof. and said that I was thinking about making a change in the bowling. He agreed that it couldn’t hurt, so I decided to bring myself on from Stanley’s end. This switch involved bringing on a change bowler to allow this to take place. Jeremy’s dad had turned up just after the tea break, and had kindly offered to assist with umpiring. It is always good when parents take an interest in their kids, especially when they have as little talent as Jeremy clearly does. As a reward for his dad’s assistance, I threw the ball to Jeremy to have a trundle.
I quickly realised that this was a major mistake. I think I mentioned earlier that Jeremy may have imbibed a little more than was good for him during the tea break. Whilst he had sobered up a fair bit, he did look a little green as he stumbled in to bowl his first ball. I am not entirely sure what went wrong, but I think that Jeremy held onto the ball for too long. It landed about three metres in front of him, and bobbled down the pitch. The batsman, my aforementioned opposing captain Paul Keeting, launched it into space. It was probably the biggest hit since Dexy's Midnight Runners. Jeremy looked a little shaken by that, but it may just have been the effect of the alcohol. In hindsight, it probably was the beer, as he had a massive chunder next to the pitch right after delivering the ball and probably didn’t even see it disappear. Jeremy managed to finish his over without repeating either his projective vomiting or multiple bouncers. In fact, he managed to get the wicket of Keeting with his last ball, somehow caught by the guy at deep-midwicket. It was a fantastic catch – even better when you consider that he had a smoke in his left hand and therefore caught it just in his right.
The trick to our win would be to keep Dodge off strike. This would take some seriously good tactics, but I knew that I was up to it.