The Slasher McKay Cup SBH 1982 v 1983, 4 March 2018 Coogee Oval
The grey sky and blustery wind from the south provided different conditions to what we normally play under as both teams took the field for the annual game. It was a relief to be out of the heat, and after winning the toss, 1983 captain David Scribner elected to bat for the first time in 30 years.
1983 began well with the openers looking and acting like batsmen. Wainwright and Milne turned back the clock and batted like it was still the 1980s. Solid defence, quick singles, and both batters looked comfortable and unhurried. Scott Milne was making his debut, and his technique and demeanour was such that we wondered if he was still playing competitive cricket. When asked he replied that he had not had a game since he left school at 16, “It never came up”. He must have very good muscle memory. With Wainwright he put on 40 runs before the 1982 bowler, David Price, also making his debut and not having played a game since the 14Cs, picked up the first of his 2 wickets. Wainwright fell for a good 25 and then Aikman and Anderson lifted the tempo. Aikman looked good, with bat that is, not so much his retro white shorts and floppy hat, and Anderson played a combo of big shots and quick singles on his way to 30 retired. Hirst, Scribner and Howard kept the run rate and momentum moving, and even the 1983ers who failed did so in the act of playing positive shots. Overall it was a well put together innings of two halves, as they built in the first 20 overs and then accelerated in the second 20. Scribner retired at 30 and Howard finished on 25 not out to reach a good total of 207. In the field the 82ers fought hard. Nabil took 3 catches including one bicep catch. David Price took a good catch under the pressure of crowd sledging, and Nick Proco was the only ring fielder who could deny the batters a single. David Joseph made his comeback in style and bowled barefoot to pick up two wickets and a catch. And Monte Chan energised the field when he came on, throwing himself around, and then bowled an over surprising for both its speed and accuracy. He picked up a wicket, and a few bruises.
1982 opened up with Ackerman and Warren and they did a great job, getting the team off to a good start. Warren played with patience and respect but Ackerman was imperious, swatting boundaries in every over. They ran well until Warren was run out, and soon after Ackerman cruised to 30 retired. Scott Donaldson joined Nick Proco at the crease and the bowling also changed, with Anderson coming on and bowling a nagging line at one end, and Milne tempting the batsmen at the other. So the run rate slowed in the face of good bowling, and soon Proco, Scott, Jim Hope, and David Price all fell to Milne (the guy who hadn’t played a game in 35 years). There was some good fielding involved in the dismissals, but now 1982 had lost 5 wickets for less than 100 runs, and 207 looked a long way away. Enter Stu Donaldson. Still recovering from Bali Belly and in pain with a stiff back, Stu dug in with Pricey’s mate Morry. They put on 45 valuable runs, with some excellent batting and running between the wickets. Excellent running, until Morry was run out for 15. David Joseph completed his return by putting on shoes, handing his tobacco pouch to Albert for safe keeping and joining Stu at the crease. He batted beautifully, and even his edges looked good, moving on to 18 before swinging too hard at a Perica yorker. Stu retired at 30 so now we had Ackers and Stu in reserve, ready to come in if we needed them. Obviously, we needed them. Atallah and Mentzines couldn’t get going with the bat, and although Nabil chipped in with a handy 12, the retirees came back in with the score at 180 and 3.3 overs remaining. But Ackers was born for these situations. He looked like Steve Waugh, but a bit more composed, as he knocked the ball around for 1s and 2s. Stu more resembled Clive Lloyd, the stiff back not interfering with the elegance and power as he continued to hit 4s. 8 runs were needed off the last over and we could sense the panic in the fielding team as Crispen Arnold prepared to bowl. Stu pulled the first ball powerfully to backward square leg for what seemed to be a certain boundary. But a guy in old white shorts and Gilligan’s hat made an almighty dive and somehow saved the boundary. Yes it was that man Mal Aikman again, putting his body on the line for the best save of the day. Still, the batsmen got 2 and a few more singles and a two left the 1982 team needing 2 off 2 balls. Crispen again dropped short and Stu unloaded on a pull, uppish but powerful. For some reason Scribner had moved Aikman to a regulation short backward square leg. The ball rocketed at his head. Some would call it self-preservation, others brilliance, but Mal got two hands to the ball and held a red hot catch. 1983 win by 1 run, with 1 ball to spare.
It is tough to lose such a close game but 1983 fielded particularly well, holding their catches and completing 2 runouts and a stumping. And 1982 batsmen put too much responsibility on Captain Ackerman and Stu Dono. The 1983 team seemed to play more like a team with contributions by all, even Jason Perica’s dog (the reverse swing was put down to excessive dog saliva on the ball). So while 1982 lost the game Aikman’s catch was an uplifting way to end a great day of cricket.
In the second innings Atallah was scoring for the first 10-15 overs. At that time the grandstand was on fire, with visits from Sticks, Richie C and Andrew Woodley (Oh to have had Woods playing for us that day). Monte Chan had started a discussion of Les Paul guitars with Richie and other music trivia, Woods was filling us in on 10 years in Bega, and Scottie was informing us how the teenagers illegally unlocked the yellow and red rental bikes, hence the impertinent and devious expressions on their faces as they rode around and on Coogee oval (not exactly the image of cycling utopia that Jim has been describing for 20 years). With all this going on, my own wife and kids arrived. But I felt confident I could engage in all this and score at the same time. And what difference would it make if I missed a few runs?
Thanks to the Captains Andrew Ackerman and David Scribner, and Jim Hope for organising. Once again a great day was had by all.
Man of the match was difficult as there were many strong performances.
1982 man of the match: Stu Dono, 46 and 0-17
1983 man of the match: Scott Milne, 13 and 4-11
Overall Man of the Match: Mal Aikman, 16 , 0-19, brilliant fielding and a match winning catch.
For the full scoreboard please click here.