Hard to believe that another tour is over and another awards night is done and dusted. These things are an inevitable sign of the ebb and flow of the seasons of life – successes, failures, opportunities grabbed and opportunities lost.
There were no fans lined up to wave us out of the hotel as we filed into the bus in Dress Kit #3, and none to greet us at the function centre
Again, I rely on an audio recording I made on my phone of the formal proceedings. [Ed. Yet again, in direct contravention of the team’s security protocols].
The Shimano Tackle Adjustment Award: Trapper looks like holding this award in perpetuity, or until the Selectors drop him like a hot potato.
The “Two Ducks Swimming” Award: Junior, for his pair in the second test.
The “Imodium” Award for the Most Runs: Puff, who terrorised the South African bowlers while scoring well over 500 runs at 90.50 with three tons. Is anyone counting 8 sixes and 59 fours?
The Nearly Made it Award: Apples, for nearly making it to 100 on debut. This guy looks the goods.
The “Run the Last One Hard” Award: UnLucky, for his rather unfortunate and apparently lax last run in the second inning of the 3rd test. Steyn and ABdV got all excited, but the game was already slipping from their grasp.
“I Made it to the End” Award: The Natural’s knees. Somehow he managed to trundle that magnificent wardrobe of a physique up to the crease just often enough to win the Third Test and therefore the series.
Most Wickets: Tatts again, with 22, more than double The Natural.
The Boerewors Appreciation Award: The Freak, aka BananaMan. While rested from the Third Test, he has managed to manfully make it through a tour of this meat-eating country without incident. Apart from that huge plate of the mushrooms fried in bacon fat, of course.
The Golden Glove Award: Wicky is the sole contestant for this, so why do we bother? He gloved 13, while The Captain bagged 6 to be best of the fielders.
The “Who let The Dogs Out?” Ball Protector Award: This was awarded to the fielders as a group for their general care of the ball during play, particularly when Faf dared touch it during play.
Best On Field Woof: Wicky clutched this award to his chest and let out a long loud howl. Much hilarity followed.
The Ball Magnet Award: The Freak, for not being required to take one catch during the series for the second series in a row! Even with only playing two tests, this is worth studying – it’s not like he’s dropped any.
The Best Explanation of The Rules Award: The Captain, for his concise mid-pitch lecture to TheSteynRemover.
The Accidental Tourist Award: Lucky, who was called into the team to cover for Junior. Junior recovered and took his place in the side covering for Hollywood. Lucky didn’t get a game and put on 4 kilos.
The Trying To Show Us Up Award: Brendan McCullum, for his triple ton against India.
The Least Achieved On Tour Award: Normally reserved for a member of The Reject Club, there was unanimous approval given when this was awarded to Darren, team psychologist. This might be a little bit unfair, as maybe he deserves some credit for the fact that no one left the tour due to their mental state.
The Coach’s Award: A second award to The Natural’s knees. They did the business on the last afternoon, when it counted.
At the end of the night everyone was just exhausted, and a bit overwhelmed. After the bleak days of the Indian and England tours, the team had set out under Coach2.0 to turn things around – and the 7-1 scoreline says “Mission Accomplished”.
Medical staff were in attendance, as several players needed a needle to carry their awards back to the hotel. The Captain was supporting his broken shoulder in a sling, but his grin carried itself off into the night.