In the fourth and final league match of the season, the Varsity Cricket Saints gave it all they had, only to come up short on the very last ball of their very last game. But it was no disappointment, as the team nearly achieved the Herculean task of overtaking UCC's massive 173 run score tally.
Notching a combined 341 runs, the result was perhaps the largest game total in the history of the league, and absolutely the largest since the game was shortened to 60 overs about a decade ago.
SAC began the game fielding, and thanks to the absolute deadly bowling of openers and co-captains Dhruv Krishnan and Patrick Taylor, had their Blue men opponents reeling down four (of a possible 10) wickets, for the minuscule score of only four runs. Unfortunately, due to a series of dropped catches by our fielders, and weaker "bullpen" bowling, UCC wouldn't yield further wickets until a whopping 139 runs had been amassed. The Saints’ opponents, who finished the season a perfect 4-0, scored a further 34 runs before their innings ended close to three hours after starting.
The Saints hadn't had that many runs scored against ever in 15 years, so naturally the boys were rather demure during "tea" break, mulling over the fact they’d only scored 47 runs against the same team a mere two weeks before.
After opener, Basel Arsalan, stepped out of his crease and was stumped by UCC’s wicket keeper in only the second over, some spectators would not be labeled unreasonable in anticipating a similar collapse from the Saints.
Once again, captains, Dhruv and Patrick, picked up the team from the depths of despair, batting valiantly, until Dhruv was called for “leg before wicket” (LBW) with a brilliant 72 runs on the board, still ahead of UCC's run rate during their innings batted.
Patrick, with his next partner, Brandon Gomes, both knocked the shiny red ball around, negating UCC's fast, accurate, and exceptionally difficult bowling attack with dozens of single, double, boundary 4, and skyward 6 “homerun” plays.
Finally, one of Patrick's beastly smashes was caught at long off, forcing him to leave the field with the Saints score total at 145 runs. Unfortunately, time was running out on this limited-overs match. The next batters would need to make a remarkable eight runs/over remaining.
After Patrick's magnificent 82 runs, his partner Brandon scored a half century and then some (54), while maturely guiding the last batsmen (Jack Bahen - 10 runs; Brayden Kerr, Aydden Almadi, and Alam Farhan) toward that seemingly impossible goal.
Alas, on the 392nd ball bowled of the game (360 + extras), the Saints found themselves needing a miracle six run blast to finish this six hour affair. In the end, they fell just short (SAC 168 - UCC 173), but there is no shame in losing to another terrific team, and for having given the many fans in attendance, a show for the ages, and hopefully, indelibly wonderful memories for all the boys who played.
Story by David Kyle, Varsity Cricket Coach