What a beautiful day for the third official veterans game for the Morrell Bridge Trophy between The Mighty Yarras and the cream of Youldern Parkville CC.
Perfect weather (29oC without a cloud in the sky), an immaculately groomed ground and a pitch that played true (with only a few balls keeping low) – a great day for cricket
The Yarras had a star studded line-up arranged; however numbers were decimated in the lead up to the game: - Dartboard (called by a higher being) - Waldo (sick / injured / unwell) - Chris Aitken ( a long way to drive from Arnham Land after accepting a teaching gig for a few months) - Will Hone (sick / injured / unwell – but totally self-inflicted) - Tom Mullinar (our “young” player who was playing for the Yarras 3rds team – as one of their veterans!)
So we started the game with 9 genuine players – 8 of them were active members of the Yarras during the 80s and Sven Peterson being the youthful member of the team. Doing the numbers, this group of players had an average age of 55!!
Captain Ross McDonald won the toss and elected to bowl – he did not realise that 1/3 of the team were not turning up! He called his son (Ben), who came down to help, after getting home VERY VERY late. And YPCC provided a couple of young players to help with fielding – very kind indeed.
Talking about slipping into a pair of old slippers – the day seemed exactly like it was 30 years ago. Same banter / same jokes / same techniques – the only thing that was different was that it was all in slow motion!
Trembath opened the bowling and got a wicket in the first over. An un-orthodox dismissal - a catch at slip that came off the back of the bat, after it popped up off the batsman’s thigh!
Sven opened from the other over, and he was by far the quickest bowler on the day. He had the other opener caught behind with a beautiful in-swinger (to the right hander) – however the umpire did not hear / see the faint nick, and he was unrewarded
This pair put on a stand of 27 runs for YP, before Richards & Tolliday came on and quickly changed things. The Whale was bending it both ways, and doing a bit off the track. He bowled the other opener with a beautiful in-swinger – his 300th wicket for the Yarras. He ended up taking 2 for 4 off 4 overs - a pretty tidy spell!
Along with Bob Tolliday (or was that “Holiday”), who took 1 for 10 off 4, we got them to 5 for 44, before we saw one of the greatest catches in the history of the game – and this was from the oldest player in the team
Rod Mullinar had been bowling well, tossing the ball up and landing in the right spot (most of the time). The batsman jumped down the wicket and SMASHED the ball back to Rod, low and hard to his right (almost heading towards the non-striker). Rod stuck out his hand, and it stuck, without a sign of it popping out! A fantastic catch that gave him the “pain of success” for the rest of the day! Rod ended with 2 for 12 off 3
Although Andy H committed to ONLY fielding at first slip after the pain he endured last year, white line fever overcame him (again). As usual, he bowled seam up, tight and dangerous – taking 0 for 4 off 3. This time, he had to wear grey shorts to play as his son (Angus) had stolen his whites to play on the same day!
Wally bowled from the other end – normally it is medium pacers with a hint of leg cut. Now, it is far from medium and only a hint of off-spin! He took 1 for 8 off 3 (with a couple missing the track completely - one ending up in Bruce Richards’ hands at 1st slip)
Speaking of Bruce (again), there was another flashback to Como of the 80s. Bruce was a fixture at 1st slip then, and he showed why, as he took a well- timed catch of Wally’s bowling. In past years, it would have been a graceful move the take the ball – now, it is more like a large tree falling!
The McDonalds finished off the innings, with Captain Araldite taking 2 for 6 off 2 overs.
Overall, quite a dominant performance from the boys from Como, with YP all out for 83. As well as the bowling, the fielding and catching were first class – giving YP nothing!
Afternoon tea was well timed and much appreciated. Warwick (YP’s organiser) has been exceptional with his energy and enthusiasm for these vets games. And the rolls that he produced were perfect. The exciting thing for a number of the boys was that he had taken the plastic off ALL of the cheese slices, and had not adulterated any rolls with chilli powder!!
Refreshed and hydrated, the top order made light work of the target. Karamoshos was the only player to take full advantage of the “Cant be out first ball” rule, by pulling the first ball of the innings to the mid-wicket boundary. He seemed to get all the loose balls while Wally got the balls that needed to be kept out, allowing DK to get to 30 by the 7th over.
Harlock came to the crease, and this pair showed all the class & elegance that we have seen in the past. The only things that were missing were timing and the middle of the bat! However, this partnership put the result of the game in no doubt. Wally ended up retiring as well, while Andy made 20.
Roddy played a beautiful shot for 4 but was out shortly after. Roscoe and Dick both made runs, with Bloodbath hobbling to 20 on some really “dicky” knees, before he was out to Max Shepard. What is special about that? Apparently, this was Max’s first wicket EVER!!
The final highlight of the day’s play was another screamer in the field, this time to dismiss Ben McD. Neil from YP is associated with the same footy club as Roscoe and Ben, and his spectacular effort gave him equal “highlight of the day” (with Roddy) and bragging rights for winter.
The Yarras ended with 144 off their 30 overs, and a comprehensive win.
As usual, Warwick provided an overview of the game and (as usual) he gave an explanation for the naming of the perpetual trophy. And, as usual, he handed the trophy to the captain of the Yarras!
We all had a few beers and a few more laughs, before we took off – not before we promised to host next season’s game at Como Park.
Another great day to be a part of South Yarra Cricket Club!