Match Report - U13 Walter S Gee Shield Round 3
Date of Event Manly Warringah Junior Cricket Association: Wed Nov 7, 2018 9:09AM

On the night of the 26th April 1944, during the second world war 74 years ago, one of the most daring kidnaps was taking place on the Island of Crete. A band of academic misfits, allied soldiers, led by Paddy Leigh Fermor, dressed as German military policeman, stopped the car of the commandant of the German forces on Crete, German general Kreipe, and whilst pretending the check his papers, jumped in, stole the pistol of the driver and then abducted the general, escaping into the barren treacherous hills of the island. So began a several month chase by the Germans, to reclaim their general. As losing one of your top officials is never a good look, especially, when it happened so easily and he simply vanished into the night. They didn’t want their foot soldiers waking up to find out that their leader had simply been nicked. At that time Crete, essential as a staging point for the German advance into Russia, was a focus of the Allied resistance. However instead of relying on traditional warfare they chose novel, innovative ways to disrupt the enemy, using ordinary people who could easily blend into the countryside in order to, spy, sabotage, run amuck and generally make life a real pain for the Germans. Chief among them was Paddy Leigh Fermor, self-styled on Lawrence of Arabia, a dangerous mixture of recklessness and sophistication, who sought to not play by the rules.

Now nearly three quarters of a century later, as our young combatants strode into the unfamiliar territory of the modern-day cricket game, known as T20, we, onlookers in the village, wondered how our team would approach the little known and little experienced. Would we too run amuck and play with dangerous recklessness?

The scene was the evergreen, but sufficiently bumpy, Lakeside Park, situated in Narrabeen, only 15,139 kilometres south east of Crete. Lakeside Park, so named because it is on the side of a Lake, or is it? In actual fact it is a misnomer. In reality the august body of water before us empties into the ocean and should therefore be known as a lagoon and not a lake. From this day forward we should claim Lakeside Park to be Lagoonside Park. Chief among parents’ first concerns, although many may not have realized it, was where to park, in order to avoid a ball smashing into their car window. For many the best option was behind the sheds, because not even Toby could hit it that far – could he? Next concern was, did I read Michael Kwan’s note about not bringing lunch for our team, opposition and parents correctly? A quick check of TeamApp, if only the Cretan resistance had access to such a tool who knows, reassured my nerves. In any event there was always Warriewood Square to garner supplies, it is again a misnomer, because as seen from Google Earth, it is really a trapezium. Henceforth it shall be known as Warriewood Trapezium. Better pen a note to the Northern Beaches Council. The resistance has begun!

Game 1 – Manly versus Penrith

Andrew strode out to win the toss while just northeast of proceedings we were buoyed to find a group Tai Chi class underway – calm and serene, almost evangelical on the edge of the lagoon. A good toss to win – we were batting. T20 – known as 20 20 cricket, but the marketing gurus had to use the capital T – which signifies both 20 and Tournament – masterful, as you can’t write 20 20 cricket, especially when you play it in 2021 – seems a bit old fashioned. In the tradition of T20 what now follows is hit and giggle.

We opened with Luke and Jake – a solid start, with the first wicket (Jake) falling at 15 on the 6th over. Luke fell shortly afterwords in an attempt to push the score along. The boys, Andrew, Roop and Jack faced with 14 overs left individually tried to bump up the run rate, with Toby hitting lustily, over mid-wicket, for a fine 22 off 18 balls. Unaccustomed to chasing the quick single after pushing it into the gap, we limped home for 80 runs at the end of the 20th. Blink and you miss it in this game. In fact if I recall correctly the Tai Chi group, were just doing their warm down as the final ball struck the Lagoonside pitch. With one of the best bowling attacks in the comp – we took to the pitch in an attempt to restrict Penrith in their run chase after a quick break. Enough time for the dogs Hiccup, Bailiey and Paddy to tear up the turf, in a display designed to fire up our bowlers. Wonderful start – the opener hit the first ball to cover off Toby where Jez took a solid catch. 1 for 0 off 1. Their second wicket fell at 7 – the other opener bowled by Gus, a cracking ball. Now 2 for 7 off 2. May it continue. But alas it was not to be. Fine hitting, if not a touch luck by the Penrith number 3 and 4, one of whom was nicknamed “Boonie” as he resembled a former test cricketer, saw Penrith race to 44 after 10 overs when their 3rd wicket fell. Roop bowled well with 0 for 11 off 3 overs and aided by some good fielding from all players including a sharp stumping by Billy, which in this correspondents’ eyes, give or take a rather hefty parallax angle error, was probably definitely out. Penrith reached our total in the 19th Over. The Tai Chi team was nowhere to be seen. It was a bit like when you eat fast food, promise of taste bud overkill, salivary gland massage, salt and sugar in copious amounts and when it was all done and ingested, you are left with wondering what was that I just ate.

Game 2 – Manly versus ACT

“When nothing goes right, then best to go left”. After a short 1 and bit hour break the ACT team had managed to find Lagoonside Park and set up camp to our right. Without fear many had parked their car close to the field, what this foretold was anyone’s guess. In what was really a non-event coin toss, we wanted to bowl and they wanted to bat, therefore it wasn’t a surprise that each team got what it wanted. After a lunch devoid of Dr Kwan’s dumplings, we moseyed onto the field with the shiny new orange ball. Hoping that Orange was not the new black. ACT came out and played some sensible cricket – a great display in taking the quick single. Their boys would drop it at their feet and followed by good backing up stole several, ok, far too many, not so cheeky singles. One of their openers got 32 of 40 balls and only hit 1 four in his innings. They reached 98 after 20 overs. Some good bowling by Toby with 1 for 13 off 4, and Arjun 1 for 17 off 4. Harry kept well, letting in no byes and Josh finished off with a tight spell. The end of the innings saw the trio of gallivanting dogs hair round the oval at breakneck speed, if only for a few minutes. “Fortune favours the brave”. We opened with Toby and Andrew in an attempt to assert early dominance. No such luck but certainly an inspired move. A good partnership between Luke and Jake took us from 2 for 1 in the 3rd over to 3 for 30 in the 11th. Jack got unlucky. It was always going to be hard to get 60 plus in the remaining 10 overs and despite our boys' attempts, we were never quite in it and fell to be 64 at the end.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” – said Teddy Roosevelt. Take heart, despite the 2 losses, I think our boys learnt some useful cricket skills, especially how to take quick singles and can reflect well on the T20 experience. Like the WW2 resistance team in Crete, mark my words, we will go onto bigger and better things. In case you wondering General Kreipe was smuggled to Egypt, then Canada, then finally Wales and was released after the war. As Abraham Lincoln said the “best way to predict your future is to create it”.

Normal transmission resumes next week. Bring on round 4! 

Last updated: Wednesday November 7, 2018 9:10AM