Jack and Jonesy might be mates
Three months later…
It was mid-summer in Mount Thomas, and Jack Lawson was sitting in the pub of Mount Thomas, whilst most of the Mount Thomas police force – off duty, of course, - milled around, chatting and doing other things suitable to pubs.
But a notable absentee was Tess Gallagher, who had not joined her colleagues in the pub for some days now – and Jack was puzzled as to why, but figured it was no of his business.
But Jack found out, when Evan Jones, looking dejected, flopped into a chair near him and didn't bother him at all.
Something must be wrong, Jack thought.
"Hey Jonesy." Jack greeted him.
Jonesy grunted in response.
"How are you, mate?"
Jonesy turned to face Jack, then snorted slightly, and turned away again.
"Good. At least she isn't with you. Small comfort, I say."
While Jack thought that Jonesy meant Tess, he couldn't be sure…
"I mean, Tess." Jonesy explained. "She's got a boyfriend."
"Well." Jack's face was carefully neutral. "That's nice for her."
"No, it isn't!" Jonesy told him. "He's not good enough for her!"
"Err, who is he?" Jack asked curiously.
"I don't know – Tess won't tell me – she won't even admit she's going out. Keeps on saying it's none of my business."
Jack laughed. "You don't even know the guy, and you can't stand him. You know, Jonesy," Jack began, trying to cheer the miserable Constable up. "Next time Tess tells you to mind your own business, tell her that her dating life is your business, because on the off chance she might be dating a madman, you don't want to wake up one morning to find your photogenic Sergeant replaced with one…less so."
"Oi!" Ben, slightly outraged, said from nearby.
Jonesy managed a weak laugh.
"She'll tear my head off. Or at least laugh. It's something, at least."
"Well, I think we need to find a hobby. Take our minds off Tess and her date-mate."
"Take my mind off Tess?" Jonesy asked. "You're nuts, but you may be on to something."
The next morning – Saturday morning, to be precise, Jack met Jonesy outside the Imperial. They then set off walking downtown, a very odd pair indeed, but superficially, they just looked like two mates.
Then, something happened completely by chance – Jack and Jonesy, stumbled, quite literally, into Tess Gallagher and…someone else.
"Oh, hello." Tess greeted them happily. She then turned to her companion, whom Jack thought, to Tess, would be quite attractive.
He was tall, dark-haired, and had a light, easy going nature about him as he smiled slightly. In short, he was, to ladies, extremely handsome.
He was also familiar to Jack, but he couldn't place it, so didn't bring anything up. At any rate, the man didn't seem to recognise him.
"This is my friend and colleague, Evan Jones."
The mystery man extended his hand to shake Jonesy's, but Jonesy did not extend his had in reply. The man frowned for a second, but politely said. "Pleased to meet you, anyway."
"And Jack Lawson."
Jack extended his hand and shook Tess's mysterious friend's hand.
"Just so you know, I'm an ex-convict."
"And an Ex-Cop." Jonesy put in.
"I'm pleased to know half of you, at least." Mystery man said, eliciting a smile from Tess. "I should introduce myself – I'm Doctor Josh Carmichael."
After, Jack and Jonesy decided to try and join Mount Thomas's cricket team. As fortune would have it, a game was to begin later that morning, and the coach, Bill Bradley, was in a pickle, as the Thomas brothers, his most successful pace duo, were away for a family wedding, leaving Mount Thomas's bowling stocks seriously thinned on the very day they were to face their hated rivals, St Davids.
Whilst the rest of the team practiced – the match would be held in Mount Thomas, Jack and Jonesy, not expecting to play that very day, asked to join. The coach asked if they were ready for a tryout, and Jonesy and Jack said: "Why not?"
Because of his need for pacemen, Bill asked them to try that out first. Jack was given a set of keeping gloves, and crouched down, waiting for Jonesy to unleash his first ball.
Jack hoped Jonesy had a better aim with a cricket ball than he did with a dart.
Jonesy began a slow trot, then the trot quickened to a canter, then sped into a full blown charge like an angry bull, before he twisted his body around and slung the ball into Jack's hands.
Ball after ball, Jonesy unleashed the disappointment and anger he was feeling through the ball and onto the pitch.
Bill stopped them after about three overs. "Okay, Jonesy, Jack, switch sides."
Jack didn't bowl as fast as Jonesy, but he had the ability to generate extra bounce. The majority of Jack's balls lander shorter than Jonesy's too.
"Nice work lads, you're in the team. Can you make the game today?"
"Sure." Jack and Jonesy agreed.
And so, that was how Jack and Jonesy found themselves. The Mount Thomas captain, Greg Holland, was tossing the coin.
Minutes later, he returned. "Alright, we've got a green pitch today, and St Davids must know were down on our bowlers. So I've thrown them a curve – they don't know about you Jonesy – which is why you and Jack are going to be second change. Which means, Bob ," Greg gestured to a senior member, a wily medium fast bowler, slower with age but more skilled with experience, "You'll take the new ball. Kyle." A young teenager, quick but inexperienced, looked up. "You'll be second."
The first overs ticked along. The pitch was hard, but the batsmen were occasionally beaten by good seam bowling. Still, after fourteen overs, the scoreline read St Davids 0 for 85. Two right handers - Russell Harmison was 34 Not Out, and his partner, James Mitchell, 49 Not Out.
"Alright, Jack." Greg told him. "You're up now."
Jack's opponent would be Harmison first. Jack ran in, and bowled the ball short and outside off stump. Harmison let the ball alone.
"Ah, nice one Jack." Mark Gillingham, the keeper told him.
The second ball cut into the batsman, who dispatched it past mid-wicket for a single.
Jack was now bowling to Mitchell, who demonstrated an ability to punish balls pitched on the off side.
So Jack declared his intention to come around the wicket, and pitched four consective balls on a good length, aiming just over off stump. Despite beating the bat three times, Jack could not breakthrough, which meant Jonesy took the ball in the sixteenth over, facing Harmison.
Jonesy's first ball pitched way outside off, sailing through to the keeper.
The second, Harmison expected much of the same, but Jonesy pulled back and bowled a leg-cutter, which flew over the stumps behind Harmison.
Jonesy's third ball was a slower one, which Harmison just managed to adjust his shot and kill the ball.
In the fourth ball, Jonesy pitched the ball outside off stump. The batsman shifted slightly, and in an attempt to drive the ball through point, got an inside edge.
Gillingham leapt to his left, and Harmison was on his way.
Sangay Akmal was the next batsman, a left hander with a good eye. Jonesy couldn't get his wicket in the next two balls.
For about eight overs, Jack and Jonesy bowled in tandem. Jack was bowling too short to threaten to hit the stumps, and as such had not managed any wickets. On the plus side, he wasn't conceding too many, and as the team huddled together after Jonesy's last ball of the twenty second over, when a skidding and spitting Yorker had forced Akmal to block, sending the ball ricocheting into the waiting hands of Chuckie Gilbert at short leg.
St Davids were 2 down for 125.
"Alright Jack, you're a fast bowler, but right now all you're doing is holding down one end. I'm taking you off and putting in a medium pacer."
The left arm medium pacer, Fred Johnson, began his bowling to James Mitchell, who by now had reached 70, and was looking in fine form.
Jonesy was pulled off after the 28th over, having bowled 7 of his maximum ten overs for Mount Thomas's only wickets of the day.
A host of mediums tried to keep the score down, but by the 35th over, with St Davids cruising at 3 for 223, with Mitchell into the 90's, that Greg had to change his tactics.
"Alright, Lawson." Greg rejected putting Jonesy on, who had been spraying the balls around later in spell. "Let's see what you can give me.
Mitchell reared back and delicately stroked Jack's first ball past cover for four. This boundary brought him to 99.
The field was brought in. The tension was intense. It was a matter of pride for Mount Thomas. They needed to save the run.
Jack's next four balls were dots, each one bringing cheers from the Mount Thomas supporters, and disappointed groans from the Saint Davids fans.
Jack began to trot along, but then, to the great surprise of everyone, slowed down and let a leg-break rip.
The ploy worked – it caught Mitchell completely off his guard, and he could only watched as the sitter was safely dropped by the butter fingers of Jonesy at Midwicket.
Jonesy picked up the ball and hurled it at Gillingham, disgusted with himself.
Greg thought that Jonesy might channel his anger in some useful manner, so he gave him the ball.
Jonesy never bowled so well or so terribly all game. 0, 2, 4, 0, 1.
Which meant Mitchell was back on the crease.
Jonesy charged in, and swung his arm – overstepping the crease. Whilst being called for a no ball, Jonesy lost his footing, which meant the ball popped short, slow and straight at Mitchell, who leaned back and smashed it over the helpless head of Jack Lawson at square leg for six.
Jonesy was now beside himself. He took an even greater angle. He wanted to see either the stump or the batsman cartwheeling. His ball smashed into the turf, and hit the top edge of Mitchell's back, sending Mitchell over and his bat flying into the air.
Jack Lawson ran from Square leg to Short Fine Leg, where he slid the last precious seconds, coating his whites with green, and was rewarded with the ball nestled safely in his hand.
Mitchell's departure signalled a turn-around in the fortunes of the innings. Jack managed to land a few wickets as St Davids were all out for 265 in 50 overs.
After 40 overs of batting, Mount Thomas were treading water, with seven down for 170. Jack and Gillingham built the innings with five overs reaping 40 runs, but then Gillingham and Kyle Walters both were dismissed, bringing the score to 9 for 240 off 46 overs
Jonesy took a while to get off his mark, allowing the St Davids bowler Lewis Stevenson to bowl a treasured maiden.
After 49.4 overs, Mount Thomas needed three to win. Jack was facing the penultimate ball. He stoked the ball past cover, running for a single.
But, as Jonesy reached his crease, he quickly made the signal to take another run.
Jack had his misgivings, but Jonesy was already coming back down the pitch. Jack took off as fast as he could, and as he reached his crease could only watch on helplessly as Irwin Falcon-Price scooped the ball up and ran out Jonesy just millimetres away from safety at the non-strikers end.