Apart from their love of cricket and beer – and not necessarily in that order – Greenies Cricket Club has become well known for being proactive club.
So it was no surprise that on Saturday they held their inaugural Greenies Sixes Cricket Carnival Tournament at Smith Road Oval.
There were six teams battling out for the top spot. It involves six players, batting for five overs per side in what should be an explosion of big hitting and quick running. So just when you thought 20/20 could not find a shorter format, along comes sixes.
The experienced Evergreenies team, fresh from a run out at the Sarasota Sixes Tournament in November, were pre-game favourites, with the other five sides fielding eager but raw recruits.
A mysterious illness (Barwick Syndrome?) affecting skipper Matthew ‘Texas’ Walker threatened to take the wind out of their sails after their first game, a tense last ball victory over the Trident Terrors, led by Jimmy Aiken, and in truth they never recovered to fulfil their potential, despite Andrew Ledger putting on a good show throughout.
The SmithRaj Lions, led by Greenies stalwart Steve Smith, boasted some big hitters, and put their name in the mix with a brutal display of power hitting, scoring a gargantuan 82 runs in their allotted five overs, outgunning the shell shocked MCS Marauders.
The Trident Terrors next took on Hoggy’s Heroes, with skipper Paul Hogg blasting out and looking in ominous form.
Despite a good innings of 54, the Terrors were sunk by Hogg’s quick fire 28 off 10 balls.
The Beige Brigade, much fancied, by themselves if no one else, were the last team up and flexed their muscles against a beleaguered MCS team, who could only muster 30 before being all out in less than four overs.
The Kiwis knocked these off without breaking sweat to set up a clash with group favourites the Lions.
In the other pool, Hoggy’s Heroes took on the Evergreenies for a berth in the final.
The Heroes bowlers put on a fine display in restricting the Evergreenies to 45 in their five overs, with skipper Hogg claiming the scalp of his Evergreenies counterpart first ball.
Nick Sellars took the Evergreenies bowlers to task with a lightening 19, and the Heroes advanced comfortably to the final.
The bowling frailty of the SmithRaj Lions were cruelly exposed by a pugnacious Beige Brigade, who plundered six sixes in their innings of 68, including two back to back monsters by Warren ‘Wazza’ Urqhart.
This proved to be insurmountable, as the SmithRaj Lions struggled from the outset to keep up with the required rate and tamely bowed out of the title challenge, with the Kiwis advancing through.
With the wooden spoon deservedly pouched by the MCS Marauders – despite the sterling efforts of tournament top scorer Neil Akerman – after another abject defeat by fellow underperformers Trident Terrors, the Evergreenies failed to put on enough runs against a Lions team clearly still smarting from their earlier defeat by the Beige Brigade.
Opener Gerard Milne in particular feasted on the buffet bowling on offer from skipper Walker, smashing four sixes in an innings of 26 off merely eight balls.
With the game wrapped up well ahead of schedule, the scene was set for an intriguing final, with both teams performing well with bat and ball.
After winning the toss, the Beige Brigade decided to take on the Heroes with the bat, although openers Sean Cameron and Matt Bishop failed to get on top of some good bowling by Hogg and Sellars, and later on Mark Randall.
Urqhart again looked in menacing form, but ran out of overs in which to make an impact, collecting seven crucial runs in his two balls faced.
Clay Dupay backed up his bowlers by collecting three catches behind the stumps. A total of 51 was probably a shade below par, and the Heroes went out in confident mood.
Some good bowling from Marty Livingstone, Bishop and Urqhart kept things interesting, and by the end of the third over, the Heroes were only a shade above the asking rate.
However captain Paul Hogg was in no mood to keep the game in the balance and his arrival at the crease signalled the end of the Beige Brigade, smashing 22 off six deliveries to bring the Heroes home comfortably in the end, with five balls to spare.
After a hugely enjoyable day, celebrations and commiserations commenced.
Hogg was named player of the day after scoring 52 runs and taking three wickets for 20 in his allotted three overs.
Wooden spooners MCS Marauders will be thankful for top run scorer Neil Ackerman (65) for sparing at least some of their blushes, while Andrew Ledger also scored well with the bat with 52.
New comer Paul Neary of Hoggy’s Heroes surprised everyone to finish with top bowling honours, claiming four wickets for 28, with Urqhart sharing with both bat and ball for the runners up, the Beige Brigade.