Last day of the vigoro week before I wrap it up. I hate dragging this out any further when there is Newness to get back to pronto, but this is an important day to cover, because in many ways it was my favourite part of the whole carnival.
I’ve said it so many times this week I’m almost sick of it, but one more time everyone, join in the chorus: I looooooooooove these kids! Today was the Juniors Division playoff between NSW and QLD. Half of these kids had never played a game a week ago, and here they are in a playoff for the titles. We were all so proud of them before the game even started.
They went out to bat first, and I don’t know if it was just nerves or paying too much attention to us seniors this week, but they got rolled a bit and ended up with only 28. They all dropped their heads when they got out and I was a bit worried that they’d fully pulled an Us and made a bad start from which they’d never recover. But not to worry, because then they went out to bowl.
OH…MY GOD. This innings. They went out there and just went BANG. Ripped through QLD one after the other. Bang – bang – bang. It was AMAZING. Super dooper, top notch bowling. My trusty, usurping apprentice juniors cricket scorer was still on the job, so having the ball-by-ball here is incredible to behold…the first 11 balls of the innings went: wicket, wicket, 4, wicket, wicket, dot, 2, wicket, wicket, wicket, wicket. Those two just absolutely blazed through them (no pun intended). QLD were 9-8 at one stage, just totally routed. Credit to them, they got out of jail in the end and with a strong tail wagging performance managed to reach 47. But while NSW were on here…they were ON. I can’t explain how fun it was to sit there and watch it unfold, and I can only imagine how good the burgers felt on the field getting it done. It reminded me of when I was a junior, and we once had an umpire come up to us post-innings and say that we were so in the zone that we never even looked like losing.
I mean…I remember back in 2011 when a similarly inexperienced junior burgers team went up against QLD in the first game of the week, and were set a target of over 90 to win the game, and by God those kids went out there and batted their hearts out and came THIS close to pulling off a miracle. I remember the excitement, the heart-in-mouth anxiety I felt sitting there watching the burgers perform completely out of their skin, watching them do the impossible. That is exactly the feeling I had today watching the kids here, and in some ways I think I loved this even better, as this team is twice as inexperienced and I have been in awe of their efforts for days now. Plus they’re a great group of kids. Seriously, that bowling spell was the highlight of the entire week.
Unfortunately they were still 20 odd runs behind, but once again to their eternal credit, they went out there and dug in. They really had a bat, with all of the kids chipping in all the way down the order, and they built a competitive total of 73. That was a really good batting innings to finish off the week, and I think it was a fitting reward for all of the effort they have put into training and practicing their batting in such a short space of time. Being a junior walking out to bat vs QLD is the scariest thing in the world, believe me. Kudos to them for how well they handled the pressure. So QLD had a target of 50 odd to chase, and chase it they did. Well done to them, they were the better side on the day. But once again, the NSW Juniors were amazing and we couldn’t be more proud of them.
It was all anyone could talk about. I’m glad it’s not just me! But anyone, from ourselves to the emotional QLD seniors who came over to let them know that the future of vigoro was in safe hands, to presentation night later that day when everyone who got near a mic was falling over themselves to praise our kids and the entire Juniors Division. Actually that’s what I noticed about the entire preso night, especially after chatting to random QLDers throughout the night…we all just felt good about ourselves. About the impressiveness of the juniors, about the civility of the seniors…just about vigoro in general. And I think that is especially important for us New South Welshman. Going into the week we’d never been this disorganised, this much of a shambles, or this thrown-together as a team. We were two half-teams joined together, really. No numbers, no coaches, no plan. I don’t know about anyone else, but I went into the week not really sure how it was going to go, and not sure about my levels of motivation for vigoro, if this is where things were heading. It’s hard to get up for it when things seem to be falling apart. And now? Now I’m counting down the days until next year’s carnival. I’m still kind of refusing to return to normal life, and trying to prolong the experience as much as possible by continuing to talk about Ipswich, privately, publicly, and here on this blog. I never wanted the week to end. And I was reminded all over again, emphatically, just why I love vigoro so much. There’s really nothing like it.
So bring on September when we can start doing it all again. But in the meantime, it’s back to the grind and back to doing Something New. Stay tuned, regular programming will resume.