The result in yesterday’s nightball match surprised even veteran observers of the sport, with the Fulton Rangers defeating the Chalkridge Giants by a score of 11 (C) – 12 (B). “We hung in there,” said Gerritt Klammer, Fulton’s captain, who until yesterday had not recovered fully from a cut ear sustained during a non-conference match last month. But yesterday Klammer’s ear and knees looked to be in perfect condition.
And yet, it wasn’t simple. Chalkridge jumped out to a 2 (B) – 3 (D) lead in the first hour following sundown, with Hal Fairbairn leaping on top of a box and notching nine giveback points before Fulton’s Jean Sanders retrieved her punch-stick and dislodged Kevin Harvey, Chalkridge’s vice-captain and a four-time league scapegoat — Havey’s 2016 campaign is one of the most impressive in the history of the sport — from his position atop the ice ladder. Harvey fell. Fairbairn came down from the box. All of a sudden, the score was 8 (J) – 8 (J), or what is better known as a “nominal tie with westward tendencies.”
“You hate to see that,” said Harvey. “We spent at least forty-five minutes building the eastward case, and then we run into a Punch-stick Pass-out. We’re better than that.”
THE SLICE OF PIE
Within two hours of Sanders’s pass-out, Fulton had cemented its lead, adding a Bent Straw and a Loose Sweater. Chalkridge came back slightly in the all-important Slice of Pie period, sending Jeremy “Elk” Ilkovsky speeding up a ramp clutching only an unmanned glove. Ilkovsky, one of the great leapers in the history of the game, managed to land between a box and a basket. Now it was Klammer’s turn to worry. “No pun intended, but I felt weak in the knees,” he said. “If you’ve ever been on the wrong end of a bucket/basket combo, you know how quickly that can snowball.”
But it did not snowball. Fulton regained control with a nice judgment. Great excitement filled the Unavailable Pen, where players like Oliver Thompson and Gregory Garrison sat with their backs to the cube. And then, with a swift jump from Peter Warren, Ilkovsky’s double, Chalkridge was finished. “You can’t account for everything,” Harvey said. “And we’re not going to cry over it. We have two more matches Thursday and Friday, and then we go through Speed Days before we get to Moderate Seasonal Quarterfinals. We have to recognize that the standings may change, but that our champions’ hearts do not.”
Player of the Game honors were shared by Sanders and Sherry Berlin, who stood cover duty for forty minutes while simultaneously talking through three (D) covers.
Fulton next travels to Harden next Wednesday, with Chalkridge hosting La-Larrimore a month from Thursday.