Almost perfect: The 2nd XI searches for a rare half ton
IPSWICH Last Man Stands cricket team 'The 2nd XI' has blasted its way to 46 consecutive T20 victories and is far from done.
While such a record would be remarkable in any sport, the run is rendered even more astonishing by the fact they exclusively play the fast-paced format which can go either way on any given day.
Currently ranked number 13 in the world and fourth in Australia, the crack outfit has won 305 of its 371 games over the best part of a decade of involvement with the progressive league, losing just 57 for an incredible win ratio of 82.43 per cent.
On two occasions the 2nd XI has climbed the LMS mountain to claim the Australian Championships, earning them the right to travel to South Africa and England to contest World Cups on famous grounds like the home of cricket Lord's.
The LMS phenomenon has also given high-performing members of the side captain Martin Henderson and Brodie Dwyer the opportunity to represent their country abroad at the World Champs and play the game they love among international megastars like Pakistan's Abdul Razzaq, West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Sri Lanka's Ajantha Mendis.
Henderson said while the streak was encouraging, it paled in comparison to the opportunities to, broaden horizons, see the world, meet people and have fun with close mates which LMS offered.
"It (the streak) is good but it's not overly important," he said.
"The tickets to travel overseas and move forward (from regional to state to national to international level), and winning grand finals are more important that reaching 50 in a row.
"It's great not to lose. I don't show up to lose. As long as you win the games that are important.
"That's what matters, and we have lost a few of the important ones over the years."
The 2nd XI generally takes home the Ipswich title but anyone can make a mistake.
Henderson said his team had made more than a few errors across some 30 LMS seasons and the losses were often stuck with him longer than the triumphs.
"There are at least three or four specifically that I can remember and I could talk you through exactly what happened," he said.
"They definitely hurt. We cop a lot back from the other LMS guys when we do lose because we dish it out when we're winning, so we deserve to cop it on the chin.
"Everyone has a good time."
Henderson said the Ipswich franchise placed particular emphasis on the social aspect and was more about having fun than playing for sheep stations.
"Obviously winning helps but even if we weren't winning we would still show up for love of the game," he said.
"I want to make it clear we couldn't move forward within LMS without all of the other loyal Ipswich teams.
"Our success speaks for itself but we have done that off the back of the other teams showing up and having a game, and getting into the camaraderie and having a beer after."
Ipswich LMS owner operator Andy Levett said The 2nd XI's streak was truly amazing because they were essentially a social team comprising a group of mates who were always enjoying themselves to the maximum but just happened to be outstanding cricketers.