#6: KENNY ATTARD – 8 catches, 1 stumping

ADRIAN LEE – 3/35 & 6/45 – VTCA 2nd XI GF. Vs Seddon. 2010/11.

We enter the 2010/11 GF after a monumental Semi Final win vs St Albans. This has been a unique season as Lionheart Res is out of order & so we have had to play AWAY every week, on a SUNDAY. And just to make the task a little tougher, we are playing Seddon on their home deck in the GF. But no complaints from us – it’s a nice ground for a GF.

Kenny is behind the stumps. Unbeknownst to me, he has entered the game with a broken thumb – an injury he suffered in the Semi. It would’ve been interesting if I had known. In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t know, as I don’t like carrying injured players into big games, but then I love what Kenny brings to the table. He is a competitive beast, never intimidated & always engaged in the contest. I’ll be fielding in slips which is always interesting with Kenny keeping – he loves flicking the ball to the slippers just as they take their eyes off him. I’ve been the victim a couple of times this season as he has motioned to throw the ball to gully and then quickly flicks it out sideways to 1st slip. Budge has had to duck for cover once or twice this season as well. Kenny keeps the slippers on their toes.

Seddon win the toss & bat. Tuddy, Liam Shanley, Adrian Lee and Mad Dog all bowl a treat. But it’s Kenny behind the stumps that is the talking point. He has been INSPIRATIONAL. Out of the 10 dismissals, he has been involved in 7 of them – six quality catches and a leg-side stumping off Tuddy. Before I know it, we have bowled Seddon out for 78. Liam & Adrian taking 3 wickets each. Tuddy and Mad Dog 2 each.

We reply with 151, despite losing 5/8 mid-innings due to a Lakers collapse.

Seddon are batting again and Kenny is involved in the first 2 wickets – he’s now been a part of 9 of the first 12 dismissals. Amazing. But I can now see he is labouring as he keeps looking down at his left glove. “You right Ken?” I ask him a few times assuming he just copped an awkward one. He assures me all is fine but he soon cops one flush on the broken thumb. Needing help to take his glove off, I fear the worst. Ken is in a lot of pain. A lot of pain. He’s holding back a few tears as his glove is eased off. His thumb looks a mess. It’s purple, blue, grey & swollen. This obviously just didn’t happen now, this injury is a week or two old. Ken then informs me, “I broke it against St Albans.” The pain does not ease and Kenny has finally succumbed. Off to hospital he goes.

We need to find a replacement keeper. Budge & I discuss the matter at length. We agree Budge is the only option to keep for the rest of the game. Which he does with aplomb.

The next day, Tyno asks me, “Hey Boon, you realise Frankie is in your team? You forgotten he’s a keeper?” How did Budge & I miss that? To not even realise later that night…. As soon as Budge arrives I say, “Hey, we forgot Frankie can keep.” Budge says, “Oh yeah.” We look at each other and marvel at our ignorance. I ask Frank, “Why didn’t you say anything?” to which he replies, ”You know what you’re doing.” Well apparently anyway. Frank must’ve been wondering, “Are these clowns for real?”

Amongst the chaos of Kenny’s departure, Adrian (AKA Mr March) is bowling the house down. Adrain’s ability to bowl with the old ball is his greatest asset. He proved that in the Semi. Laser-like accuracy with a skidding action – the Seddon tail is no match. He takes the last 4 wickets for 5 runs. What a match he’s had – 3/35 off 20 in the 1st innings, followed by 6/45 off 20 in the 2nd innings giving him 9/80 off 40 overs for the match. Surely he is Man of the Match……..

We bowl Seddon out for 114, leaving us just 41 to chase down in our 2nd innings which we do comfortably on Day 4. It’s Lakes first flag on turf. We are stoked.

Ken is back with us on Day 4 – thumb in plaster. But that doesn’t stop him accepting the Man of the Match Medal awarded by the umpires. It is a fitting reward for a herculean effort. The Umpires realise how important Kenny’s keeping was to this win. As Cooky and I have discussed jokingly on numerous occasions, Adrian taking 9 wickets in a GF & not being awarded Man of the Match is “a bit stiff”, but we all agree, Ken’s performance behind the stumps was the cornerstone of our win. How Kenny kept for an innings and then some, with that broken thumb, to such a high standard is beyond me. My only conclusion – he is one tough hombre.



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