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Ken Block Trophy
I was a little late for the start of this game and so arrived at Chiswick to find the Superstars' innings already underway. Shortly afterwards, at the fall of a wicket, Barry asked me to go and do some umpiring. So I strolled out to square leg and told Gary to go and get some pads on. He seemed a bit confused about this and stayed on the field for the next delivery. I seemed even more confused when he then started walking in as the oppo bowler approached the crease. Not just confused at the sight of Gary actually paying attention and walking in, but at the realisation that he was actually playing against us. And not just playing against us but playing for the Dodgers. In the Ken Block Trophy. With us already one down in the series with two to play. My confusion soon turned into disappointment and then anger at this heinous betrayal. 'Go and put some pads on' may be the last words I ever spoke to Gary Plahe.
Shattered as we all were by this Judas kiss of a manoeuvre, the Superstars managed to channel our outrage into a fierce determination not to lose, as if any more motivation were needed anyway. When Luis Figo moved from Barcelona to Real Madrid, the Barca fans threw a pigs head at him on his first return to the Nou Camp. Not having any pigs heads immediately to hand (although we've had a few pigs ears of performances this year), we just threw some abuse at him instead.
Batting looked difficult and boundaries were hard to come by as Jimmy, Diwakar (15), Barry (17) and Matt go us off to a solid if unspectacular start. But the bulk of our total of 128 came from 25 retireds from both John B and Sandeep G. While contrasting in style - John was boundary-less and grafting, while Sandeep was free and easy and brought his up with a barrage of fours - both found their own ways to get there. New boy Rob ('Dermot') Reeve added a quickfire 16 not out of his own. And it was pleasing that Plahe went wicketless in his three overs. Nevertheless it didn't feel like a huge amount of runs to defend although it turned out to be 10 more than we needed.
In reply, sometime Superstar NJ got the Dodgers off to a strong start with a 26 not out of his own. But he had to target the slower bowlers as Konrad (4-1-11-1) was miserly with the new ball. Rob was hard to keep out of the action with a run out and a catch before his own tight spell of bowling. Mark Williams also kept a lid on the runs, while James Hemingway chipped in with a wicket. And as the sun faded, so did the Dodgers hopes as Gary scraped his way to an ugly 25 at nothing like the pace required.
So in the end a surprisingly comfortable victory, levelling the Ken Block series and prompting many of our players to reassess Gary's treachery and wonder if he couldn't play for Dodgers more often.
Team: Gigg (capt), Hall, Patwal, Conway, Bishop, Goel, Reeve, Williams, Hemingway, Forman, Konrad.
Author: Dan "Gary who?" Forman.
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