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Number 14

So close but oh so far...

Number 14

#14: JOHN MARKHAM - 118 and JARROD NEILSON - 93 vs Gladstone Park. 1st XI. 2004/05.

This was one epic game of cricket at Gladstone park – a small, quick ground – a batsman’s paradise – with the added spice of an ex-Gladdy icon, Danny Viani, now captain/coach of Lakes. This was always going to be interesting.
Lakes won the toss and sent Gladdy in to bat. An interesting decision in hindsight.
We bowl ok, but we get to tea only taking 3 wickets. Fortunately, we have bowled nearly 50 overs, but the issue is, Heath Shephard is 20 not out. We all know what he is capable of. After tea is a massacre like nothing we’d seen before. Gladdy end up on 4/392, with Shep 188 not out – he has gone at
nearly 6 per over himself after tea – I can’t recall seeing a more brutal innings. It was an AWESOME display of SKILL and POWER. Some 6’s he hit did not go higher than 10 feet.
We trudge off the ground, lick our wounds and pray for a miracle. Muddy hasn’t let the massacre effect his spirits though. He’s still up and about. I always loved that about Muddy.
The following Saturday is a HOT day. Chops looks spent in the warm-up. He informs me he underestimated his morning run - a 5 km run became a 10km run. Not ideal.
Rat opens the batting with Mad Dog. Mad Dog and J Duffy are exchanging words every 2nd over. I can’t repeat the discussions on this forum, but it’s a heated battle.
Rat is going nuts. Anything pitched up outside off is going for 4 or 6. His lofted cover drive is a thing of beauty today. Gladdy has no answer. We are flying, and before we know it, we’ve knocked 150 off the chase just 1 wicket down. Rat then goes out for 93 (eleven 4’s & five 6’s) – my word he deserved a ton. I walk over to the old little visitors change room to congratulate him, but he is lying on the floor – his face purple. The tank is empty.
He’s in no mood for a chat. I let him be.
Within minutes, 1/149 becomes 4/152. The old Lakers collapse – it’s always there, lurking in the shadows. I hate it so much. 392 again seems miles away.
Enter CHOPS.
He takes the attack up to Gladdy and in typical Chops fashion, he is busy from ball one. Every ball is a scoring opportunity. He gets solid support from our middle order – partnerships of 37 (Muddy), 22 (J Lo), 81 (Justy), and 31 (Harro). We are now 8/343 with Chops and Scotty in total command with a stack of overs still remaining. We’re gonna chase down 392!!!! I can’t believe it. This will be a win for the ages.
Our main concern is we’ve run out of fresh gloves for Chops. He has sweated up an absolute storm. There’s a row of 14 sweat-soaked gloves along the boundary. “They ain’t drying. He’s gonna have to bat bare-handed if he wants more gloves. We’re empty.” says Justy. But Chops finally succumbs for 118 – thirteen 4’s & six 6’s. It was vintage Chops.
I join Scotty, still with 50 runs to get. It’s a long shot but I know my role. I just need to be there while Scotty does what he does best. We get to 370, but it’s not to be. All out for 370 off just 70 overs!!! What could’ve been…….

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