• Coldharbour 130 all out (Tom 4-26, Milind 2-2, Faggie 2-6) lost to Quokkas 133-5 (Milind 44, Lochy 33, Jigger 20 n/o)
    I like to think that the bemused look from doorman when presenting my ID on entering US drinking establishments is down to the fact that I don’t look anywhere near old enough to be born in 1974. Mrs Chez takes great pleasure in informing me that I am in fact dreaming and they are probably just struggling to come up with an original Chesney Hawks quip.

    I like to think that I am still young, but the reality is that I’m old and falling apart. Dodgy knees, ears, eyes, back…how does a right-hander get tennis elbow on his left side for crying out loud? Mind you, I don’t help myself. Attempting to bowl legspin isn’t perhaps the best choice for a man with Mr Burns wrists. Burning the candle at both ends is also not a great idea for someone pretending to be a `sportsman’, but when you take a holiday in the US with a Quorum of Quokkas, as I did last month, sleep is not exactly high on the agenda.

    You may not realise this, but whether you are young or old, you actually need the same amount of sleep and its important to reach the deep sleep stage, which is when the body repairs itself. It’s also when you get a chance to dream, which is especially important if the highlight of your sporting career is making a par on the 4th hole at Crookhorn golf club.

    I’m told that no one really wants to hear about what you had for dinner, what you were dreaming about last night or what you got up to on your recent holiday, so with that in mind I won’t comment on the Mrs’ home-made pho or what I was imagining as I last entered REM, but I will surmise our trip to the Indy500 for Tom the Yak’s 40th birthday by saying that having driven a 1937 Model G John Deere tractor, avoided a jersey handshake from the ex-boyfriend of a female Alice Cooper lookalike and witnessed the greatest bass solo of all time at the Kingston Mines blues club in Chicago, I simply can’t wait for the trip to the 2020 Daytona500 for my 40th. [Ed: you mean 45th don’t you Chez?]  

    There were many outstanding moments during our week-long trip to the mid-west, but during the match at Coldharbour Cricket Club we had one that you’ll actually be interested in. For those given the honour, The Champagne Moment can be a challenging award to present at the annual Quokkas dinner. The amount of calamitous fielding, horrific shirts worn by Skip and bizarre dance moves displayed on tour can make it difficult to focus on the truly brilliant incidents that have taken place. This year’s award looks like it might be difficult to adjudicate simply because we have too many magic moments to choose from.

    For those of you that missed the Quokkas Ashes, we had Binman `taking out the trash’ (aka Faggy’s bowling) in emphatic style and now this week, eight years after its inception in Kanjiža, Hungary, `Plan F’ finally came to fruition. How did it happen? Well, Milind, having absolutely no intention of missing out on some runs, simply ignored Faggy’s increasingly desperate calls for a run as he charged down the pitch…right up to the moment the young Aussie found himself standing next to his partner, who had yet to leave the crease…and never would. It’s what Plan F dreams were made of. What a massive shame we don’t have it on film, but this video of Australia’s Graeme Wood in action gives you an idea of the tremendous teamwork involved.

    More of our batting performance later, but with a sodden pitch, Skip decided to bowl despite us being one short in the field. Jigger, obviously getting directions from Kashif, eventually joined us, but by which time Faggie and The Professor had already taken three wickets in a terrific opening spell. Faggie took two wickets for just six runs off five unplayable overs. The Professor was a little more playable, but he could easily have had another wicket or two were it not for edges being confused for batting tape.

    I think it’s worth me mentioning at this point what crushing defeat it was of the Aussies at the Quokkas Ashes. No special reason, I just thought this paragraph was as a good as any. Funnily enough, whilst India was taking the Aussie National side apart in the Cricket World Cup, our five antipodean representatives all performed well. Along with Faggy’s bowling, Lochy was sensational with the bat and Conan showed what a terrific keeper he is by coping equally well with the pace of Jigger and my inaccuracy. Debutants Beersy and Dobby also looked extremely promising with ball in hand and out in the field, both taking several smart catches.

    Back to the Coldharbour innings. After that great opening spell of bowling, a change was needed and some runs on the board for our opponents. I dutifully obliged, placing the ball exactly where their Aussie wanted it, again and again and again. Never mind dreams, I was having a nightmare. Before my third over Skip said he was taking me off. “The game needed a few runs, but not this many.” I promptly found the edge, only to be denied by another tale of woe about batting tape.

    The scoreboard had certainly ticked over, but fortunately, at the other end, Tom the Yak knows how to bowl properly, and he demolished the middle order. Only a lack of remaining batsman prevented a first five-wicket haul…oh and Skip taking him off of course. Apart from that, the innings was pretty uneventful. An enthusiastic Jigger offered an array of bouncers and beamers, which were much appreciated by their number ten and jack, and the last two wickets fell to some nice bowling from Milind and Dobbie.

    Over a tea that included cream scones, chocolate and fruit muffins and Mary Berry lemon drizzle cake, we discussed the merits of St Elmo’s tomahawk steaks and White Castle cuisine, questioned whether Zampa would enhance the Quokkas bowling line up and learned of Skip’s substandard Championship Manager performance after assistant managers Lochy and myself were jettisoned. All fascinating stuff, but if we were to witness any of the Aussies’ complete obliteration by India, we’d need to knock off the 131 runs in double time.

    And we did. The internationally franchised drinking team put on a great display with the bat, especially from the classy Milind, who kept a very handy fast bowler at bay, before smashing the change to all parts. Having missed out on tour thanks to some less than partisan umpiring from Evil Dave, we finally got to see some quality batting, on what was a very difficult pitch. One drive through extra cover especially caught the eye. Guru, you finally have some competition.

    At the other end, Lochy was equally efficient, leaving the decent deliveries and dispatching anything short to the midwicket boundary with ominous frequency. Only a tremendous seamed delivery that took Conan’s leg stump and the previously mentioned runout slowed the flow of runs. With just 25 remaining, we were even given the opportunity to see Jigger bat. It reminded me a little of Courtney Walsh taking on Glen McGrath, with one or two Chris Gayle shots thrown into the mix.

    Conan asked what I thought Jigger had for breakfast. I’d be amazed if it wasn’t three shredded wheat sprinkled with amphetamine sulphate. I also wouldn’t be surprised if his dreams didn’t include Jack Russell’s chasing rabbits, but whatever the pre match preparation, it was certainly effective as he saw us home with a dreamy one bounce four.

    Right, I’m off to bed where I can dream of not being hit over my head several times by a Australian golfer that’s never played the game before.


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