ISIS CC 178-3 (Faggy 2/34) bt Quokkas CC 177-9 (Faggy 72no, Ches 37) by 7 wickets
A very long lazy Sunday playing cricket at the beautiful Oxford Queens College ground, not a cloud in the sky and a one day 30 degree heat wave, now tell me, does it get any better than that? Well it does actually, you win the toss, put yourself in and proceed to hit fours to all parts of the ground, until you find yourself 40 odd without loss. If Carlsberg brewed decent beer we might buy it.
In shimmering heat the hangover curing 2.30pm start at ISIS seemed to more than agree with openers Mantis (skipper) and Tom the Yak. With a mixture of drives and pulls they put on a fine opening stand before Mantis was rudely bowled round his legs for 20. Tom remained firm, which was perhaps just as well as half the Quokkas seemed to have got lost on a sightseeing tour of Oxford University. A few quick wickets might have seen us all out, fortunately we had a wily old boy bowling too full at one end and an even older old boy offering Egg-like flight, toiling away in the heat at other. But after ten eventful overs it was time for some much needed drinks.
However on return to play wickets did eventually start to fall, helped no end by trigger Ches sending Paul Laver quickly back into the much needed shade with another of his `correct’ lbw decisions. Rookie Shahzad followed him back into the hutch, caught in the not so deep before Tom eventually fell for a solid 20. After a few lusty blows he was joined by Satan and the less than impressed Rage, who felt being hit in the thigh might be a tad high for an lbw. Surprisingly it wasn’t Ches raising the finger this time. At 74 for 5 things looked a little sticky, but more drinks gave the Quokkas time to take stock.
Cometh the hour, cometh the Pat Rafter look-a-like and after an unusually slow and watchful start our resident tutu-wearing, Ashes-losing-side-supporter gradually started to open his shoulders, pulling, hooking and driving with ease. The scoreboard was turning over nicely and bowlers came and went, frustrated by some of Faggy’s wonderful late cuts and tickled glances. At the other end Ches offered some fine support, leaving anything decent and clubbing several full bungers for four. Hot work, thankfully more drinks appeared.
With four overs remaining and just short of a 100 partnership Ches hit out for 37. He was quickly followed by the Brazilian – wondering why all the fuss about the weather. In came the Gymnast, who looked in good nick before being run out by Faggie. Some gentle coaxing encouraged Shahzad’s mate to fill the number 11 slot, allowing Faggie a few more overs to reach a tremendous 72 not out by the close of innings. 177 for 9 seemed defendable.
Tea saw quite literally 18 different sandwich fillings, ten different cakes and a chef apologising for the scones (filled with fresh cream and strawberrys) being too crumbly. If Carlsberg did teas…oh, hang on I’ve done that one. Anyway a tea fit for a Quokka, that’s for sure. But could this fuel a win?
Maybe, but the ISIS openers had other ideas as they dug in for a long evening ahead. But it certainly was far from easy, with Paul Laver causing all sorts of problems with his pacey, just short of a length off stump line and Satan evilly skidding them through from the Clubhouse end. Quite a battle and one that Paul thought he’d won a few times with the edge being found, but sadly nothing sticking in the field. Evil Dave too beat the bat, but some fine defence, excellent leaves and quite frankly top class batting from their openers meant they held firm and the scored board ticked over at a steady rate.
It was time for a change. On came Ches with some Bertie Bassett stuff and Faggy with some left arm swingers. Amidst the bad, the terrible and the downright dangerous Ches thought he’d broken the partnership squaring up the opener and producing several appeals that burst umpires eardrums, woke the dead and drowned out the Queens of the Stone Age at Gastonbury. Sadly all to no avail. It mattered not however as Faggy struck his claim for all rounder status by destroying timber with an absolute beauty and at last the partnership of 95 was broken. Phew, where are those bloody drinks.
Into the attack came the Rage, supporting Faggy well with his tricky sliders, before Mantis mixed it up with both Paul and Evil returning. At this point the opponents were making very slow progress and it almost reached total standstill after their talented young opener was finally removed by Faggy, c&b. Game on? Well no, not really, their number 3 and 4 batsman appeared to be happy to block anything near the wicket and allow extras to see them home.
As the sun threatened to dip, frustration seemed to boil over after another delivery was signalled wide causing unrest in the slips. Duals at dawn and places to park bats were discussed, but quite frankly it was too hot for any `weal nawty’ behaviour.
Time for the skipper to join the attack and Mantis, bowling in sunglasses, at last broke the partnership thanks to a stupendous reaction catch from the Gymnast. It was certainly a `catch it or book yourself in for some shiny new dentures’ job and thankfully the dentist was not required. Sadly it was a mere consolation for the Quokkas for some terrific hard graft in the field, especially from Evil in the deep and The Brazilian behind the stumps. With just two runs needed and shadows deep across the pitch, Shahzad was given the tricky task of producing a double hatrick. Despite showing some genuine talent with the ball in those three deliveries, a solid drive saw ISIS home with four overs to spare. Oh well, at least we could at last get a proper drink. Cheers.