by Gord Fleming
After a year-long layoff, sports fans were treated to the return of the HSRCL, as it kicked off its 23rd season, wrapped it up and crowned its champion on August 10th. As there are only two surviving teams, everybody already knows who’d wind up in the final, so nobody can think of a good reason to have more than a one-game season.
Carrying on without the benefit of any corporate sponsorship or paying customers, the HSR Staff and the HSR Staff Alumni continue a rivalry that dates back to the demise of the Original Two, the HSR Lords and the HSR Loon Islanders.
Dave Taylor, the only remaining player from the inaugural days of the original league reminisced prior to taking the field in his usual Silly Mid On position.
“We played with sawed off broomsticks and canoe paddles. We used Bisquick to draw the lines. There were wasps everywhere. Not to mention the puddles of Red Man chew all over the pitch. These kids just don’t know how good they’ve got it”. Taylor’s production has understandably tapered off of late, but he is still feared.
The HSR Staff Alumni team once again fielded an impressive team made up largely of Daves, led by team manager Gord Fleming and legendary but oft-injured bowler Mark Burns. The team was complete only after the stunning signing of current staff member free agent Justin Way.
Team Manager Gord Fleming had this to say:
“Our future plans keep getting thwarted by staff that just will not leave the farm team to join the senior club. We fully expected to land (star bowler) Shaun Donald in the off-season, but he surprised…well let’s face it, he surprised absolutely no one by returning to the Staff side for one more season. Nicking Justin was sort of payback”.
The match itself got underway under the “impartial” eye of Camp Ranger Kevin Bell, a first-time umpire who is on the injury list due to chronic back problems. With his bat out of the Alumni lineup, they would be in tough. At least the Alumni could count on a few calls going their way (thanks Kev!)
What followed was a low scoring bowlers’ duel, which featured the usual assortment of very wide bowls, several dropped balls and the always amusing everybody-run-blindly-into-the-woods-and-tear-open-your-legs-on-the-junipers-ball-search plays.
The highlight in the late going of this very close match was a stunning fake-out by bowler Mark Burns in the dying moments of the Staff half of the second innings. He wound up and followed through, but held on to the ball. The runner took the bait and ran from the box as Burns knocked the bales for the out. He paid for this sweet move with a blown knee and had to be carried from the field, nearly a hero. It is not yet known if this is a career threatening injury, but several threats were subsequently received by the alumni team by a woman claiming to be his wife Georgina.
The Alumni were unfortunately unable to capitalize on this bit of heroism, as the clock cruelly ran out on them with only four runs separating them from victory over their most intense – and only – rivals.
The Alumni team congratulated the Staff team on its hard fought victory, but indicated that it will be making some exciting off-season moves and promises a much improved on-field product next summer.
See also 2005 Reunion Weekend.