9 January 2015: The Twitcher is Back

The Twitcher is Back!!! Yes indeed. Can’t keep a good man down, as the actress said to the Bishop. The Twitcher is back to enlighten and entertain, and in some rare cases, abuse. But no-one in our fair village of course.

It seems like an age since we last talked; well, you listened possibly while I rabbited on. After a spell in a Siberian prison for a small, perhaps even insignificant demonstration in Red Square, in support of the Bolshoi Ballet’s cake sale, I came to understand that the key to the meaning of life is in fact Cricket. Yes, nothing like a set of rusty prison bars to focus the mind and all mine could conjure was the sight of Dale Steyn, thundering down the pitch to decimate an innocuous Australian, flailing his bat helplessly at the oncoming bouncer. The rest is history of course. Our own thugs at the top of the heap, verbally abusing the rest. Glorious game, cricket.

Which brings me to the subject of this return to Clarens News. In short, the need to share a cricketing highlight from the glorious annals of this noble sport on our own oblong, er, square. I quote verbatim from a missive recently to hand from a foreign Sporting and Hunting Correspondent, RW ‘Belcher’Agar:

Dateline: Friday 26 December 2014

Subject: Clarens Brewery Eleven (?) Win Famous Victory on Clarens Oval

Release date: ASA bloody P

The second in a 19 match series between the Clarens Brewery and Agar Brewery was played on Boxing Day, a tradition that originates in the pre-dawn of this famous sport, perhaps more accurately, religion. The Agar Brewery lost the toss of the double-headed coin and was put in to bat. The sneering joviality of the Clarens Brewery captain, Aiden ‘Fifer’ Pollock, confirmed the great satisfaction of the home side as they limbered up for the conflict.

Clarens Brewery fielded two robust youngsters from their Academy on the Square, sons of long-time imbibers at the aforementioned Brewery. These young legends tore into the Agar Brewery’s batting line-up (suicidal at best!!) with Ross (6 years), Grandpa (78 years), Georgina (14 years), master brewer Mike, Tom (16 years) and captain ‘Belcher’ Agar himself falling to the onslaught. The latter, in the great tradition of teams from Puddlington-on-the-Swamp, ran himself out for 3. This left the visitors tottering at 7 for 6, or, as the Australians are wont to say, 6 for 7. Agar Brewery, heads hanging low, was reeling and an embarrassingly short match was in prospect. Clarens Brewery was sparking on all cylinders and took time out to make a batch of Clarens Blonde. However, in the grand tradition of the Guinea fowl rising from the ashes, Agar Brewery staged a comeback: The captain’s nephew, Duncan (12 years old) struck an exquisite 8 colossal runs while brother Donovan (31 runs, and possibly a sneak inclusion from the ranks of the Proteas) as well as Brian (16 years), who struck back with 10 invaluable runs. Agar Brewery looked smug at their modest score of 56, some 11 more than they scored in the first match of the series, in April 2014.

Clarens Brewery, acknowledging the tumultuous applause of the capacity crowd on the terraces, started with a flourish and had the scorers sweating as they ticked along merrily, losing only the odd wicket. Your correspondent must report that this situation was occasioned by the appalling fielding of the Agar Brewery team, which included an ‘own goal’ from the captain in the first over and dropped catches in the deep by Tom, Brian, Grandpa and yes, the captain, again. A missed run-out by, yes, you guessed it, the captain, added yeast to the wound. As Clarens Brewery supporters sipped champagne in the VIP boxes and threw strawberries at the fielders, Agar Brewery’s heads were bowed. Clarens Brewery’s team of valiant (and quite good-looking) heroes raced to within spitting distance of the Agar Brewery’s negligible score, with only half the overs bowled. However, in a reversal of fortune, Agar Brewery brought fast bowler Brian into the attack to bowl the second of his two overs with as much fire as he could muster. Brian, normally very relaxed to the point of sleep, was pumped to the gills and determined to lift his team to victory. He steamed in and stopped Clarens Brewery’s race to victory in its tracks, picking up 4 wickets to leave him with a 6 wicket haul. Clarens Brewery was teetering on the brink of an unprecedented disaster and was down to their last batsmen, still needing 5 more runs. However, in the great tradition of the heroes of old (April 2014?), their surviving batsmen (dropped twice by, you guessed it again, the Agar Brewery captain) duly knocked off the remaining runs in singles and Clarens chalked up their second win in the 19 match series.

The umpire, duly rewarded by the Clarens Brewery for his partial and selective blindness, called time and Donovan won Man of the Match with a fine innings characterised by timing, placement of his strokes and the cleanest socks on the oval. Other notable events in this stunning victory by what was unanimously agreed to be the better (best?) team was stellar bowling and fielding by both sides, notwithstanding occasional visits to the Clarens Brewery by both teams. Also noteworthy was secondment of Agar’s Jessica to the Clarens Brewery team to even the numbers, giving the Agar Brewery its only taste of victory on the day.

For the record, Clarens Brewery, humble in their second series victory, have refused promotion to the national first league on the grounds of other commitments, including the tasting of Clarens Red, 1912 and IPA. Agar Brewers were left to reflect on missed opportunities and what might have been. Both teams retired to the Brewery forecourt to have a nice cup of tea. Stay tuned for match 3 in this tumultuous series, with rumours flying about the recruitment of ‘ringers’ by the Agar Brewery for the next encounter!