List A cricket is so unimportant to the world; the finalof the Ryobi Cup is on a Wednesday. When the final started, there were roughly 120 people in the ground, and you had to do two and a half laps of the G to even find any overpriced food.
But perhaps the reason that so few people made their way out to the G wasn’t the overpriced food, the weird Wednesday final or even the fact that most people don’t know List A cricket still exists, but because Victorian fans are so used Victoria losing finals.
They knew the result before they even went. Coming into the final, Victoria had lost six of the last seven Australian domestic limited-overs tournaments. They’ve lost Ford Ranger Cups and Ryobi Cups. Twice before they have lost to Queensland.
So when watching Victoria in this final, the few people at the ground, or the few more watching on Foxtelwere just wondering how Victoria were going to stuff this up.
They started well with the ball, getting plenty of movement and keeping the Bulls scoring pretty slowly. It was only extras who looked like scoring early on.
“Too many extras. We’re going to lose because of extras, aren’t we.”
Then young allrounder Jason Floros came in and actually started scoring. The first Bulls’ player to look like he could make any runs.
“Floros, bloody hell, what the hell is a Floros.”
In the Bulls final over, Floros went six, four, six. 16 runs in one over, let alone 3 balls, is huge in a match where only one other player scored at better than a run a ball.
“Now we’re going to be beaten by a guy who should be batting at number five for the Canberra Comets.”
While 147 in 32 overs seems an easy enough chase, the ball was moving around, Ryan Harris was in form, and there was the pressure of a final chase.
“147, bloody hell, we’ll never get there now, 120 is the most we could ever chase with confidence. And that’s in 50 overs. “
When Quiney left early, Finch got a dodgy lbw, and Hill and Hussey went to poor pulls, the total of 147 looked a long way off.
“I told you we’d lose. Our only chance of winning now is if the rain comes before the Duckworth Lewis kicks in at 20 overs. But the umpires won’t do that, they hate Victorians.”
Then Peter Hanscomb and Cameron White built a small confident partnership, they edged their way up on the total, keeping it at a run a ball-ish so that Victoria had the chance to improve their record in the finals.
“Don’t be an idiot, this is just giving us false hope, we aren’t going to win this. We’ll stuff it up, just wait.”
Then even when White and Hanscomb went out, Victoria kept up the pace as McKay started bouncing balls off the nylex sign and Sheridan looked good as well. They did so well that they made the equation five off ten with three wickets in hand. A winnable hand in any game. Victoria had finally done it.
“We can still lose, not sure how, but we will”.
From there, Victoria lost three wickets for two runs to lose their seventh final of the last eight.
“I can’t believe we lost that. Oh, yes I can. Of course I can, it is what we do, we lose finals like champions. No one loses like us. Mind you, it was the umpires fault, they hate Victorians, the whole cricket world is biased against us. Chris Rogers hasn’t played a Test since he became a Victorian. How is Cameron White not Test captain yet? Why is there a final anyway, we are clearly the best side in every game that isn’t a final, it’s bloody rigged mate. I blame New South Wales.”
If Cricket Australia really want crowds to come back to the Ryobi Cup, forget about playing the finals on weekends, tinkering with the rules or even getting the big named players to turn up. What they have to do is make sure Victoria is in every final, and that the final isn’t played in Melbourne.
If your team was playing Victorian in a final in your home town, why wouldn’t you turn up, you’d be all but guaranteed a victory and your chance to see the Vics embarrass themselves.