Quokkas 171 all out (Faggie 52, Kashif 28) beat Coldharbour 140 for 9 (Evil 5 for 12)
It’s funny how a long summers night in Southsea can sometimes pan out. One minute you are getting a Rastafarian education from MC Ras Kayleb and tripping the light fantastic with light minded souls to the sounds of the Channel One Sound System, the next you are observing the four Jovian moons rotating around Jupiter from my back garden, doing the `Pepsi challenge’ with 27 variates of gin and discussing how poets possibly make a living. Surprisingly, our blind testing established that Tesco own brand tonic water was preferable to Fever Tree, the hipsters favourite, only Mrs Ches’ well proven pallet could identify overpriced gin and I’m afraid it will have to be answers on a postcard as to how poets keep the wolves from the door.
Poetry is certainly not one of my specialist subjects and I do feel that a lack of appreciation of the art undermines my culture vulture credentials; apparently attending a computer science lecture in the Hull University Philip Larkin building doesn’t constitute taking in the arts. With ample exposure to the wonderful Michael Rosen, Benjamin Zephaniah and Roger McGough, it’s now hard to understand why I didn’t continue to embrace phonaesthetics, sound symbolism and metre as I entered my teens. John McCrae’s ode to Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, in Flanders Fields certainly left in indelible mark, but after years of `clearing the fluff out from under your bed’, the serious stuff perhaps just left me yearning for more `chocolate cake’…ah, thank god, or should I say Jah, for that, I was wondering how I was ever going to transition from my usual ramblings into an actual Quokkas match report.
Where there is cake there are Quokkas and based on previous visits to Coldharbour, a sizeable chocolate cake would be the very minimum to expect from the outstanding teas. That meant, to no surprise, that we had a full quorum of hungry Quokkas available for the final game before the forthcoming tour of Hamburg. And some even arrived on time, but not Skip (who’d of thought the M25 could ever get busy Skip?) which thus allowed Faggie, desperate to give himself the opportunity to surpass Alex’s double hundred on this ground, to make his way to the middle before putting us into bat. That certainly seemed a smart move as The D.O.C. and Lochie thrashed 13 runs off the first 5 balls, showing there were runs available, and with Lochie falling to the sixth ball he (Faggie) was quickly at the crease. Which is where he stayed for the next 16 overs, quite literally destroying the last of our club match balls as he dispatched it to all quarters of the ground when racing to a splendid 50. The measured innings, fuelled by diabetes in bar form, included some terrific cuts, pulls, the odd smash and surprisingly to all some decent running too, all be it for his own runs. At the other end, The D.O.C. did his best to put Plan F into action and he and Skip made some nice contributions before Kashif took up the reigns and demonstrated some wonderful cut shots of his own, and some slightly less conventional leg glances.
At 102 for 3 we looked well set to post a defendable target, but there would be no fun in that, hence Tom, myself, Fruiti and Dave all committed harakiri in quick succession, leaving us at 141 for 9. It was unclear whether the Professor, sporting Kajagoogoo inspired highlights and a £12.99 balsawood harrow bat, still retains a master and thus did not need to perform seppuku, but he and Matt, our resident Soccer AM presenter, refused to emulate us lemmings and ensured the tail wagged firmly. Some crisp hitting from Tubes and fine stroke play from The Professor provided us with much entertainment and runs to boot with the scoreboard reaching a much healthier 171 before The Professor eventually fell on his sword to a fine caught and bowled.
Over previously mentioned chocolate cake, cream scones and a rather amazing blackberry topped sponge, we discussed the possibility of Bishop Charles H Ellis III joining us on tour to provide tips on appropriate personal space, questioned if you can identify crisp flavours without the use of smell and contemplated whether the world’s all-time best all-rounders would beat the world’s all-time best specialists. Personally, I struggled to decide who made the specialists team. I guess you have to include Glen McGrath to keep the natives quiet, but in attempting to avoid completing a quartet of fast bowlers just with West Indians, I did think about a swing bowler like Anderson to take advantage of any overcast conditions. However, can you really pick the Burnley Express over someone like Sir Curtly Ambrose KCN? If you are looking for someone with over 400 wickets at an average under 21, then Curtly’s your man, but I should point out that Jimmy actually has four more five wicket hauls (26 in total), all be it from 44 more tests.
Up until Sunday, over the same 15-year cricketing career, Evil Dave had yet to claim a single five wicket haul of his own, but perhaps that was down to him not bowling over thirty thousand deliveries and more importantly because it has taken a while to master the `claw’. Cleverly undisguised and completely visible and ridiculously obvious to batsman, this new delivery looks set to revolutionise the world of medium to slow seam bowling, by, well, somehow completely bamboozling those same batsmen. Whether that is true or not, I am unsure, but it certainly proved very effective as Evil Dave wrote himself into the Quokkas record books with a quite outstanding spell of seven overs, five for 12. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he also brilliantly caught two of those batsmen himself. Such a devasting bowling display all but ensured the match result, especially when it was backed up by The Yak (four overs for just seven runs) and The Professor (1 for 26 from 7 overs). Some buffet bowling from Tubes and myself kept it interesting, but the damage had been done and with decent cameos from Fruiti, Kashif and Faggie the victory was ours.
It would be remiss of me not to mention one of the finest over the shoulder running catches you will ever see by the Yak, dare I say it; poetry in motion, which was in stark contrast to Skips `effort’ shortly after, which combined tectonic plate speed of movement with the agility of a concrete bunker. When it comes to effort there can be no faulting Lochie, who chose to completely ignore all available medical advice by diving around in the field shortly after a hernia operation – they must be making these soft Australian’s out of firmer stuff these days.
I believe now would be a good time to kick start the Quokkas poetry corner.
Fast bowlers seem so hostile after beating my edge
They come striding down the wicket with a Paddington stare
I think deep down that they yearn to be batsman
I know, let me demonstrate a perfect front foot defence
I’m sure that batting education will be appreciated
Peace and Love. Rastafarian. See you in Hamburg.