After his goodwill tour of Europe and Asia, BF00 returned to find his beloved Black Fish in disarray - reeling from a couple of thumping defeats, ravaged by injury, and facing the prospect of missing the finals. Wishing briefly that he could face such adversity with the same stoic indifference as Neil Craig, BF00 strode onto the dimly-lit court three with only one thought in mind: try to start a fight with those Air Supremes.
And so began the most awaited Marden Round 23 Court 3 grudge match in living memory. Buoyed by a massive crowd of Ly, Billing and Caroline (in her much lamented swansong), six Fish were available for the first time in months.
Any expectations of a toe-stepping, oversized-singlet-grabbing, brain-explosion-inducing niggle-fest evaporated in a tense first five minutes of tight, quality basketball. As the Fish found it increasingly difficult to penetrate the offensive key, the possibility of a boilover began to hang heavily over the Black Fish bench.
(Warning: ridiculous metaphors ahead)
But, as any Black Fish afficionado would know (and I know you're out there), such situations are the fertile soil from which Black Fish spirit sprouts so magnificently, like sturdy vines from Alex's beloved terra rossa, ready to bombard the opposition with quality long bombs like so many glorious cabernet grapes. And from that point on the hapless Supremes were no more than pathetically ineffective phylloxera species perishing in the face of the pesticide that is the Fish's impenetrable zone defence and sharp-passing offence.
It was textbook Black Fish match strategy: Solid inside work from Rodgers and Vasilunas, slightly crazed full-court intensity from Noutz, slick passing and annoyingly effective defence from Nissen, graceful offensive manoevering from Edwards, and destructive long-bombing from 'Hamas' Whittle.
The Supremes, as is their way, reacted to their imminent humiliating defeat by resorting to ill-considered and unimpressive acts of violence. Michael Chang, one of The Supremes' fabled insane duo, was particularly noisome. Regretfully the collision which resulted in an injust double technical foul resulted in no visible injury to the little pest. Many in the crowd will look forward to a re-match next season.
In the end, it was a moral victory for the Fish as they cantered to a 43-28 thumping of their little foes.
And in summary:
1. BF still in the hunt for the finals.
2. Air Supreme take it up the arse, doo-dah.