UQCC Old Boys vs Antiquarians: A Very Greek Tragedy

UQCC Old Boys vs Antiquarians at Roy Henzell Oval, April 9th, 2016

University 270 off 49.2 overs defeated Antiquarians 268 off 50 overs.

UQCC OB Greig (C), Herring P, Rees, Herring R, Clarke, Rae, Peters, Rosbrook, Remedios, Wriggly (late), Shirley (no show).

 

Away games are never meant to be easy. Ask the Romans, who travelled over 1000 km,  parked themselves around the city of Carthage for 1000 days and then fought for every room in every house before finally prevailing over the locals. Leningrad turned on the same 872 day welcome for the Germans, turning to wallpaper paste, shoe leather and even a few broiled suspicious protein sources amidst intermittent Luftwaffe runs to keep the imposters at bay before the visitors could face it no more and simply left. However it is the Greeks with the most cunning of away victories, labouring 10 years on the outskirts of Troy before giving up, or so it seemed, prior to outthinking the locals who after a boozy knees up found a mole inside the walls. A hard one to spot too, even if it was a 10 metre high wooden horse filled with hirsute and no doubt sweaty Greeks. Then again if you haven’t seen a horse like that before, how would you know what it should smell like?

And so here unfolds our very own Greek tragedy, on the 9th day of the 4th month, year 2016 A.D. Perhaps 3000 years since the people of Troy celebrated a little too soon, yet the battle between the Antiquariae tribes of the north and the Universitae Allies from the south, shall hence be known as the “Siege of Henzell”. The tale in fact mirrors the ancient history of the word tragedy itself, depending on your historian of course. The musings of Aristotle had “tragedy” derived from the song of the goat, while other intellectuals point to a derivation from the harvest song of the cereal “tragos”, used commonly to appease sullen spirits and the ancient Athenian God of Wine and Beer, Dionysus. Indeed our journey north had a standout goat (stuck in the south), sullen spirits and beer, though was sadly let down on the intellectual front with even our greatest thinker, Clustafarkus coming up a little short.

On an oval battlefield now christened the Caloundrasium, McWhinnius The Cunning, had lured the Allies north with promises of bounty and wine when quietly he plotted to plunder the very reputation that had convinced them to make the journey. The Cunning is no stranger to war and he quickly set about confusing the unsuspecting Allies with unusual rules of engagement, beverages laced with poison and a sun that would never set. The Allies had prepared well for a battle of skill and courage, some even storing rations early that morning from the surrounding waters, however The Cunning laid siege to the valiant Universitae warriors with 600 deliveries, 4 innings and a solitary high priest to judge on life and death following entrapment, plainly from the ranks of The Cunning’s own army. Having enticed the honourable Universitae inside the city walls, so the siege began…

Assembling prior to the initial battle, Scipicus Ambulata, famed leader of the Allies and slayer of the great southern tribes with his infamous poisonous darts, cleverly negotiated for the Antiquariae to hurl the first stones, without making The Cunning aware that the chariots of General Clustafarkus and the reinforcements led by Pheidippides Wrigglus were yet to arrive. None the wiser, The Cunning agreed with Scipicus who then summonsed the armies of Sporadicus Lefticus and the bearded Pesticus Bespectacles to repel the best The Cunning had at his disposal. Which was indeed impressive, as none other than the monstrous Robert of McGhee led the attack, hurling thunderbolt after lightning strike at the defenders. Sporadicus used his usual cautious defence amid surprise attacks to partner Pesticus, who found openings in the Cunning defences to sneak small, yet constant victories. Such frustration is truly heaped upon opponents by the clever Pesticus. With McGhee withdrawing at the sounding of the 10th horn, the Sporadicus/Pesticus pair had slain 52 and retired unscathed to the rear.

Scipicus then fronted The Cunning’s archers, chariots and infantry himself partnering with Swaticus Righticus, brother of Sporadicus and an enthusiastic swinger of the broad sword, capable of clearing many a path to the fringes of the battlefield. Scipicus had to withdraw early, with a dart deflecting from his flashing blade and finding it’s way to his timber defences, causing a temporary rise in the Antiquariae spirits. However Scipicus had organised his meagre defences well and filling the breach was the goliath Dispatchicus Maximus, ruler of Strikeratesia and Son of the almighty Dorothya, Goddess of Flight and the much feared God of Power, Humungus Maximus.

In the blistering heat of the afternoon, Dispatchicus immediately caused great suffering to the Cunning’s wilting armies, tallying 40 victims with ease after a mere 26 encounters, forcing his retirement. Wilt he did also, and the imposing Dispatchicus made way for Scipicus’ cleverest manoeuvre.

Hail Dispatchicus! 1

Hail Dispatchicus!

Dispatchicus

hail3

Dispatchicus4

sixus

The Cunning had indeed recognised Scipicus was short of troops and had deposited one of his own Antiquarian spies, a “Tony-jan” horse within the allies ranks. Calling his bluff, Scipicus launched “The Tony Pony” against the Cunning defenders immediately an opportunity arose. Bamboozled at the tactics and wishing not to let on The Tony was one of their own, the Cunning tribes attacked Tony with relish and sent the defeated “Tony Pony” scampering back to the safety of the allies lines without suffering any further damage.

With the impeccable military preparation for which Scipicus had become famous, it was exactly at this point of the battle that the famed winged chariots of General Clustafarkus were due to swoop down upon the savaged armies of The Cunning and wreak havoc amongst the locals. Unfortunately, following his plunder of the city of Casino, Clustafarkus became stranded in the highlands of the Northern Rivers when his own winged chariot, The Golden Cessna, failed to leave the ground, apparently due to the loss of the ignition keys….

1. From the steady hand of Pesticus, Swaticus lays waste to the attack.

1. From the steady hand of Pesticus, Swaticus lays waste to the attack.

2. Pesticus records Dispatchicus in full flight, summonsing the Goddess Dorothya

2. Pesticus records Dispatchicus in full flight, summonsing the Goddess Dorothya

We digress, as striding into battle at this point was Tribatticus Hobbles, (named so for the trio of only the finest weapons he sources from all corners of the world’s web) to partner Dirticus Comoverus, generally an unknown quantity with the weapon in hand. With the Cunning armies now struggling to maintain their energy in the heat of the afternoon, a truce was called at the sound of the 30th horn.  Scipicus tallied 170 victories to date for the loss of only his own battalion and the mole Tony with the retired armies of Sporadicus (36 off 40), Pesticus (28 off 40), Swaticus 35 off 40) and the mighty Dispatchicus (40 off 26) ready to return at his calling and he was pleased…

It was now the turn of the allies to take the attack to the Antiquariae with the clever Dirticus and the legions of Paradoxes Remedialus to lead the attack. With Dirticus Comoverus cloaked in his usual combat headpiece protecting his uniquely decorated skull, he unleashed his serial assault of the shiniest, superbly stitched, slithering, swerving, serpents subjecting the unsuspecting recipients to sustained suffering. From the northern flank, Paradoxes, named so for his almost effortless approach to combat despite the lightening speed of his blows (or as legend would have it, named so due to  his obvious foreign demeanour yet passionate following among the local womenfolk) also unleashed his finest thunderbolts. Paradoxes struck early in the 6th encounter, paralysing the defences of the Antiquariae 1st Army with a blow to their lower armour such that the high priest could only adjudge them as defeated and to be removed. Dirticus was by now in full flight (unlike Clustafarkus who was still embarrassingly grounded) finding a gap in the embattled Cunning defences, destroying their timber embattlements. With both Cunning’s opening armies defeated after 10 encounters while suffering a mere 30 casualties,  Scipicus entered the attack from the south with Sporadicus, the unknown entity, from the north, confident the battle was well in control.

The Cunning had recruited well. Despite the early setbacks at the hands of Dirticus and Paradoxes, Scipicus and Sporadicus were soundly defeated suffering 56 casualties from only 6 attacks, Sporadicus in particular delivering what looked more like a serving of delectable fresh produce to the defenders rather than mortal blows of any consequence. Surprisingly, a single Sporadicus spear managed to avoid the flashing sword of the Antiquariae 4th Army general, smashing into his armour, trapping him momentarily and terminally such that the High Priest again gestured for his removal.

Scipicus is not known for withdrawal (except during the indulgence of inhaling fumes from burning recreational flora)  and after 16 encounters for only 3 victories and 86 casualties, he immediately changed the pace of the battle, calling upon his most beguiling armies, that of Decepticus Rotundus and Tribatticus.

Decepticus is well known for his ability to suspend time and motion. A confusing  combatant, Decepticus wills defenders into feelings of great confidence, almost arrogance, only to find that the skill and nuance of the Decepticus weaponry sees them convincingly defeated. Tribatticus likewise, tutored by the great Decepticus, launches subtle attacks calling upon the defenders to break their lines, luring them into unusual situations from which recovery is impossible and then defeating them soundly. And so it was, despite suffering heavy casualties early, Decepticus indeed brought error upon a rampaging Antiquarian, who was caught and destroyed on the fringes attempting an audacious impersonation of the Goddess Dorothya in the 20th enc. Decepticus maintained his rage, bamboozling the Cunning’s next battalion with a clever flanking manoeuvre whereupon the defenders attacked another of his imperious probes and found themselves stranded well beyond their secure battle lines. Totally exposed, Pesticus routed their timber embattlements, ensuring victory. Casualties continued to mount due to the impact of the decisive strike power of The McGhee who seemed to comfortably defy the guile of Decepticus. Tribatticus then followed up with a quiver full of indescribables before landing a spiteful, brutal blow deflecting from the hand armour of his foe for Pesticus to snatch another victory as darkness fell.

3. Swaticus, summoning additional candles, details the battle after dark alongside The Cunning's statistician Sorryi Mistabit while Paradoxes contemplates his late night companionship options...

3. Swaticus, summoning additional candles, details the battle after dark alongside The Cunning’s statistician Sorryi Mistabit while Paradoxes contemplates his late night companionship options…

With the second coming of the sun at the 30th encounter, the armies of Scipicus had conjured 6 victories yet suffered a telling 187 casualties. Both sides were battle weary and The Cunning had more tricks to play. Scipicus knew he had fire power intact (despite the absence of Clustafarkus, now embarrassingly forced to return to the capital on foot) and the 6 victories would make a final Cunning push difficult. During the truce, The Cunning’s armies encouraged indulgence with tables laden with nourishment, the region’s finest fermented beverages and demonstrations of relaxation, again to lull Scipicus and the allies into a false sense of security. Battle hardened yet travel weary, the allies could see the armies of the Antiquariae making the most of the almost Troy-like celebration and were instead cautious for the battle was about to begin in earnest.

With each army having endured battles to the 30th horn, Dirticus and Tribatticus returned to the middle of the Caloundrasium with the Universitae due to face 20 further battles by candlelight. The Cunning did not disappoint in the department of cunning, calling upon 2 as yet unheralded armies to commence the attack when The McGhee loomed large in the armoury with 4 enc remaining at The Cunning’s disposal. Dirticus struck spectacularly and calling upon all the energy of the aptly named Tribatticus Hobbles, dealt the Cunning 30 casualties from as many encounters  including a preposterous offering to Dorothya. When he finally succumbed, caught out in an outrageous trap in the deep western flanks, the allies had secured 212 victims.

Decepticus strode into battle and could only watch on as Tribatticus was also caught attempting a surprise attack. Sporadicus returned, albeit briefly, and in attempting an audacious counter attack could not return to the safety of the allies’ lines and was thereupon dismissed to the fringes. Pesticus returned at his frustrating best however Decepticus soon after launched another guerrilla like raid that ended short and in defeat, which left Swaticus to partner Pesticus in turning the battle. With Paradoxes wounded and unable to compete, Scipicus’ fire power was diminishing rapidly. Swaticus and Pesticus scrambled small wins against a determined Cunning attack before Swaticus misjudged a routine thrust and was found exposed on his right edge, enough for the Cunning to complete his dismissal with the approval  of the high priest.  With The McGhee back into the attack and the reinforcements dwindling, decisive action was required.

Enter Dispatchicus whose the blade lit up the skies for all to see (except perhaps Clustafarkus who, according to those assembled, all agreed that he would have struggled to see such extravagance with his head firmly yet precariously implanted in his southern low lands). Using the divine power of his impeccable lineage, Dispatchicus called upon Dorothya not once nor twice but thrice to capture 22 improbable casualties in only 11 encounters of which Humungus would have been proud.

At the sounding of the 20th horn and the end of the Universitae action, Scipicus gathered his remaining troops having suffered 10 defeats yet with a competitive 270 casualties. This would mean the next 20 encounters in attack required his depleted warriors, (a crippled Paradoxes, wounded Dispatchicus and himself carrying the barely healed scars of battles past) to achieve 4 victories without suffering more than 83 casualties. An 84th and The Cunning would conquer the allies in an historic victory, having ground the armies of Scipicus into the sand following 8 hours of withering combat. What could Scipicus conjure from his decimated hoard to escape with victory and their lives?

The Cunning had their finest defences in place, with the Universitae traitor Chatticus Wriggles and The McGhee striding into battle for the commencement of the final 20 horns, ready to dispatch any ill considered attack from the men of Scipicus. The penetrating, destructive and limited remaining forces of Dirticus commenced the attack again from the south with immediate effect. A wishful lunge from none other  than McGhee himself saw his castle destroyed, defeated after taking 39 casualties, a single (yet very handy) casualty short of his retirement, a devastating blow for The Cunning as they looked to close in on victory. Sporadicus remarkably found some accuracy with his more subdued weapons from the north, limiting further suffering. Dirticus achieved another stunning victory, again dismantling the defences of The Cunning’s 8th army as tension mounted. With both Dirticus and Sporadicus expended to their full at the sound of the 40th horn, The Cunning had suffered 2 further defeats with their weakest armies to follow, having added only 26 casualties, their total stranded on 213. To achieve an unlikely victory, they required 58 more from only 10 encounters. The Cunning would need every bit of cunning from here to out-cunning Scipicus.

Key events would now define the battle, the first being the entry of McWhinnius himself into the Caloundrasium, infamous club in hand (rumoured to have dispatched the small white heads of opponents 300 yards into the distance with a single strike). The second defining moment was the arrival of reinforcements for Scipicus. Sadly, however significantly, it was not General Clustafarkus riding into the fray to make amends but the humble, diligent and capable Pheidippides Wrigglus. With no time to spare, the ill equipped yet capable armies of Pheidippides were thrust upon his own brother Chatticus and the great McWhinnius.  The Cunning imposed himself on the contest claiming 20 casualties from 23 encounters yet a single moment of misjudgement saw his defences shattered by Pheidippides!  A stunning and highly improbable victory for the allies!

4. Pheidippides Wrigglus, exhausted having run 86 kilometres to battle, arrives at the feet of Scipicus to beg his pardon for, amongst other things, arriving with inappropriate footwear.

4. Pheidippides Wrigglus, exhausted having run 86 kilometres to battle, arrives at the feet of Scipicus to beg his pardon for, amongst other things, arriving with inappropriate footwear.

With Tribatticus forced to launch his remaining darts from the north and Pheidippides struggling to maintain his footing while launching unreliable spears from the south, the forces of The Cunning mounted a determined counter attack. After a further 7 encounters the allies suffered 38 casualties, leaving The Cunning only 20 short of victory and only 3 encounters remaining but with only a solitary army standing between victory and annihilation. With the army of Tribatticus exhausted, who would Scipicus call upon now to finish them off?  The armies of Paradoxes and Dispatchicus were disabled, Dirticus, Sporadicus and Tribatticus were spent, Decepticus with the scarcest of ammunition remaining and Pheidippides capable yet weary and struggling with the slippery, evening conditions…

Who else but Scipicus himself!

A quiet descended upon the battlefield as Scipicus moved through his battalions to the front of his lines. Careful consideration of the positioning of every company followed, depleted and exhausted as they were, Paradoxes, hamstrung and barely able to walk in the north, Dispatchicus’ shattered knees limiting his impact in the west, the armies of out-flankable Decepticus hidden on the fringes, Pesticus guarding the timber embattlements, the frightening accuracy and speed of Swaticus lurking close to Scipicus….

Scipicus begins.

A series of well directed and impossible attacks from Scipicus follow with the least capable of The Cunning tribes scampering through each skirmish, inflicting only 3 casualties at the 18th horn. Scipicus shows great faith in Pheidippides and asks him for one final effort, especially when he faces the emotional trauma of inflicting defeat upon his own kin, Chatticus. Pheidippides remains upright long enough to see out the next battle suffering only 7 casualties. With the sounding of the day’s 99th horn, of which 49 had sounded for The Cunning, a single battle remains. Scipicus, with weapon in hand, stared down the last army of The Cunning tribes who needed to inflict 10 casualties on the Universitae commander to achieve victory. Further adjustments were made to the defences of Scipicus for he was not be found out at the final moments to have weaknesses in any region or legion. All were reviewed for location and strategic capabilities with only subtle movements made to ensure the greatest chance of victory.

The attacks began with single casualties off the first 3 encounters. Spirits rose on both sides. Pesticus in particular, scarred after hours of hand to hand combat behind the allies’ timber defences, rallied the troops with an impactful blend of energy, enthusiasm and expletives. A single blow of authority now and The Cunning could almost taste victory. A single error would ensure defeat. Scipicus launches his fourth attack directly at the defences of The Cunning tribe who can only manage a single casualty with great difficulty. Chatticus remains on the battlefield, listening to the well lubricated, vociferous support from The Cunning armies. Only 2 encounters remain and Chatticus would need  the Goddess Dorothya to look kindly upon him, which was somewhat unlikely based on his training under the overly cautious and dour General Boycottius.  Scipicus launched another well directed and intimidating attack to which Chatticus can only defend staunchly, gathering another single casualty.

A single encounter remains, the tribes of the Antiquariae are roaring on the fringes, exalting greatness from their relatively unknown 10th army who requires the most telling of blows to be landed against Scipicus, a blow equivalent to that of Humungus Maximus taking 6 casualties in one hit. Scipicus surveys his battalions and commences his attack, taking aim directly at the vulnerable castle of the defender, who launches his best counter attack however it is feeble and on an attempt at a second casualty, Paradoxes launches a spear from the fringes that is retrieved by Pesticus, who at full stretch lying in the dusty remains of the centre of the Caloundrasium, finally dismantles the timber defences of the 10th Army. At last, the Cunning are defeated!

Victory is finally secured by the Universitae and as a typical display of gratitude and graciousness in triumph, Scipicus draws on the inspiration of the defeat of Spartacus, ordering the remnants of the opposing army to be crucified at suitable intervals by the roadside back to the capital and in a Carthagian display of generosity, sells the 50,000 inhabitants of the ancient city of Caloundra into slavery.

carthagian

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