• Hartfield 184-8 (Seagull 2-13, Skip 2-35) beat Quokkas 165 all out (The D.O.C. 54, Fudger 39)

    Engineering and cricket are probably the two most important parts of my life right now [Ed: not forgetting Mrs Seagull of course Chez………Chez?], so with a champagne super over helping England’s secure the Cricket World Cup (never in doubt), I took a great interest in the BBC’s coverage of the 50thanniversary of the moon landing this week. Whether you think the event was faked or indeed the moon is made of Wensleydale, you can’t deny that space travel, with only a Commodore VIC-20 for navigation, is the single most impressive feat of engineering in our history. Come the 30th century, it will perhaps be the only thing we care to remember about the 20th century at all.

    Personally, despite the strange shadows in the photos and the apparent fluttering of the stars and stripes flag, I choose to believe Neil Armstrong’s small steps for mankind took place 384,400km away from the earth and not deep within Area 51. Seeing conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel, being punched by a 72-year old Buzz Aldrin was enough to convince me that those incredibly brave pilots made it all the way to the moon back in 1969. Unless you think the unfortunate deaths of Roger Chaffee, Ed White and Virgil Grissom were also faked, then it’s clear as to the extreme lengths the US and NASA went to be the first to land on the moon.

    Although it was almost entirely a US success story, to achieve their goal NASA were keen to cherry-pick some of Britain’s best minds to help them beat the Russians. A dozen British aeronautical engineers brought their knowledge of fly-by-wire technology to the Apollo missions and a Welshman called Roberts, who studied just down the road from me at Southampton University, oversaw the data communications, fundamental to the landings.

    Some people, even more negative than I, like to point out that the only thing we got from space travel was non-stick frying pans, Sky Sports and GPS, but that’s not entirely true. Without the Apollo missions that brought the British engineers to Langley, NASA would never have been introduced to the beautiful game of cricket. This may have been a crucial turning point in the whole space programme. Indeed, if the British hadn’t formed the NASA cricket team, playing a host of local sides, the NASA engineers involved may not have used their time out in the field to consider the best way of landing that Apollo Lunar Module Eagle. Just think, without cricket we may have had a Russian cosmonaut leaping out of a LK-3 lunar lander instead of Armstrong and Aldrin.

    OK, so cricket wasn’t the reason why the US got to the moon first, but a NASA cricket team is pretty cool, and my understanding is that they were somewhat Quokka-esque too – no one could ever remember them winning either. Not completely surprising I suppose. When you have great minds focused on an incredibly important a job at hand, the cricket can often suffer. Whether that explains why the Quokkas are so terrible, I am not so sure. It may have not been 1969 when the Quokkas last won a game, but with fixtures few and far between this summer, our last victory does seem light years ago. With an always competitive fixture at Hartfield coming up fast on the horizon, we hoped to end the drought. We didn’t and here’s how.

    5-4-3-2-1…we have lift off and having lost the toss, we were asked to bowl. Evil Dave, taking time out from fronting the Idles, opened the bowling and came in off his Michael Holding-length run up. Unlike Whispering Death, Evil chucked in the odd slower ball to bamboozle his opponent amidst a terrific nine over spell of deceptively medium fast-medium bowling. Whatever the pace, a beauty of a ball was the downfall of one of the openers. At the other end, Jerry the Grey, in his last game before starting a sentence down under, struggled to dislodge the other.

    In the field we lacked spatial awareness and were our usual comical selves, epitomised when Skip enquired as to “what was up with Doc?” and suggesting he field “somewhere between Tom & Jerry”. A bowling change was in order and that brought Faggie, fresh from his stint at Glastonbury, probably behind a bar, into the attack. He was joined by Skip, dubbed the `medium paced egg’, who, despite ever eroding body parts was very effective, taking two lovely wickets, including clean bowling the stoic opener. Faggie, donning a new Merv Hughes look [Ed: he used to get some tap too] claimed an excellent wicket of his own, but with their combined 11 overs going for 70 runs, it was time for a bit of Chezampa.

    And for once I don’t need to regal tales of balls heading into neighbouring tennis courts, counties or orbit. Well, the first delivery was launched towards the outer atmosphere, but after that slight blemish it was some half decent slow bowling thanks to some completely unrequested tutoring from Milind. Hang on a second while I find the mouthpiece for this trumpet. The Seagull’s appearance in the bowling highlights at the top of the page is a rare sight, but the four over spell included turn, edges, the ball not being hit to all parts, a wicket from a wrong un and even a handily placed divot to help claim a second. Every dog has his day I tell thee and to protect a never-seen-anything-quite-like-it-before-bowling-average, I retired swiftly to the outfield, allowing The Yak to clean up the tail.

    You can only man the church fete tombola for so long, which meant The Professor joined the mission. Still donning his Dolph Lundgren He-man haircut, Prof grabbed the eighth wicket before losing his line and length, due to ‘a noisy playground swing’. A wicket from Tom the Yak ended proceedings, but by then Hartfield had somehow amassed 184 runs.

    Over a tea that, although not out-of-this-world, hardly touched the sides, we discussed the dark web, dark matter and the dark side of the moon, the issue of charging electric cars, the statistical nightmare of home runs scored at the Olympic stadium and whether Gay Pride had become an excuse for a bevy. All fascinating stuff, but with only so much time to perform another batting collapse, we needed to get suited up and out into the middle.

    Our two star batsman [Ed: a bit harsh, but possibly fair], The Minder and Faggie opened the batting. As I joined them out in the middle to umpire, I was grateful to Milind for explaining that should the ball hit his pad, it can’t be given out because it wouldn’t be in line with the stumps. Excellent advice, but not exactly requested. Both openers had to wait a while before a ball even came near them, as a series of wides got us off to a decent, but gentle start. Some canny bowling and a slow pitch caught Milind out, meaning I didn’t get the chance to ignore his pearls of wisdom. For the next hour it was just a steady jet-stream of beautiful drives rocketing their way to the boundary, as The D.O.C. showed us exactly what we have been missing while he has been messing about in Brighton…something about fathering a child or suchlike.

    Fudger, donning glitter eyeliner after a day out discussing docking at length in London, attacked with gusto and threatened to take us to our target in rapid time. That was until he gloved a bouncer to their keeper. Half asleep, after a long Hacienda revival evening at the Royal Albert Hall, I wasn’t sure if it had hit arm or glove, so decided to give our Australian batsman the opportunity to demonstrate the country’s new-found honesty. But rather than walk, he equated the loud noise to that of his Quokka cloth cap crashing down to the earth, and thus stood his ground. Why I allowed an Aussie to determine his own destiny, I will never know, but are after allowing him time to search his soul, too much time had passed for me to give him out. I let karma come to my aid, with him caught an over or so later, but that was only after he had plundered a number of boundaries, much to my chagrin.

    The Professor, in next, played round a straight one, bringing the Bow Tie Killer to the crease. He gave us an instant boost with some gravity defying Conan Smashes before falling to a beauty. The same bowler ruined my day, just as I was getting my eye in and then Skip fell to a ball he really shouldn’t have. Evil Dave was in next and when he flat batted a ball over the perimeter treeline for six it was almost if Prince Adam had been handed a sword by The Sorceress and decreed “By the power of grey skull, I have the power”. That power didn’t last though, and he was caught attempting something equally gruesome. With Tom and Jerry failing to trouble the scorers, the Quokkas innings ended as it had started, in rather gentle fashion, which meant we had somehow engineered a defeat, again.

    I’d like to think that many of the Quokkas had been distracted by the challenge of getting man to mars, but more likely it was just the tough decision of pork scratchings or cheese and onion crisps to go with the post-match pint that filled their minds.

  • Whalers CC 144/5 (Fruity 2/18) bt Quokkas CC 143 ( Amit 33, Alan 26) by 5 wickets

    Having scribed a few Quokka match reports over the last couple of years and now running low on ideas, I thought I ought to look at how our opponents do things and maybe `steal some inspiration’. I scored a few runs against the Whalers Cricket Club last season, so my ego couldn’t resist seeking out that specific match report. Sure enough, a half century, as part of a Quokka-best 171 partnership, was mentioned, but the runs appeared to have been scored by some fella called CMES. My first thought was that we must have had some sort of 16-bit home video console turn out for us (Ed: possibly better in the field than some Quokkas), but my friend Wiki assured me that CMEs were actually coronal mass ejections, or to you and me, solar events caused by huge explosions when magnetic fields become entangled, that hurl giant clouds of particles (matter and electromagnetic radiation) into space. Not your everyday number four batsman.

    I am sure you will know about these phenomena already, but for the sake of my barber who feigned interest in my `unusual cricket match reports’[see what I did there Tim?], CMEs take up to three days to reach our planet and cause geomagnetic storms that disrupt the Earth’s magnetosphere. The solar energetic particles can cause particularly strong aurorae (Northern Lights and Southern Lights), but also disrupt radio transmissions and damage satellites.

    Obviously the amount of radiation received by the earth effects our climate and although solar events such as CMEs do add to this total, scientists don’t believe these are the cause of the warming in our atmosphere over the last half of 20th century – that’s just down to us humans burning a shit load of fossil fuels that release gases into the atmosphere that trap heat radiating from the Earth’s surface to space. Having created a greenhouse effect and heated the place up, causing the ice caps to melt, we now have a big fucking problem.

    As you will be aware, the earth’s planetary albedo (the amount of energy reflected by a surface) is being reduced as the snow and ice melts. With less reflection of the sun’s radiation, more energy is retained in our atmosphere, creating even hotter temperatures. That melts more snow and ice, which means less reflection…I think you can probably see a pattern developing here. Think of it like a Quokka batting collapse. As every wicket falls, the quality of the incoming batsman decreases, that increases the likelihood of another wicket being lost and cycle continues at an ever-increasing rate.

    I bet you thought albedo was a congenital disorder characterised by the absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Which is interesting, because you’re concerned about the planet and global warming, right? So, you will have come across this term during your own readings? OK, so I hadn’t read around this subject either, but does our failure to do so mean our concern for the planet is not truly genuine? I am minded of this very question when discussing my barbers next visual art project, which he described as being `based on peoples’ genuineness and the token gestures we make to save the planet’ – kind of like Binman’s attempts at catching.

    Whether my love of cricket is genuine certainly came into question on Sunday, when I somehow deflected a very legside wide off the inside of my thigh back onto the stumps. It was further tested when the Whalers opening batsman repetitively smashed me over the London Wetland Centre and out towards Craven Cottage. I know I enjoy the game, especially when I score a few or bowl well, but it’s when you get a solitary run, and go for 16 off your only over that you really discover how much the game means to you.

    Having spent a couple of hours on the M25, thanks to an untimely M4 junction closure, I expected to be last to arrive at the Kings House Sports Grounds, but with The Egg still giving Evil Dave a guided hotbox tour of central London, Tom the Yak gave me the `honour’ of leading the side. Genuine Quokkas numbered five at that point, but with the overendowed Whalers providing us with the genuinely enthusiastic Amit Kash, Sohail, Viren and Amit Kumar, we were able to get things started.

    With Quokkas as rare as rhinos, I stuck two whalers in, hoping they weren’t rabbits [Ed: very nicely done Ches]. Actually, the young debutants faired pretty well against some half decent swing bowling. All four put bat to ball, especially Amit Kash, who gave us a good platform from which to fall off. In between, Kiwi Scott, also making his Sunday debut, was triggered from his very first ball, by me. During the drinks break, The Egg asked if I had mistaken him for an Aussie…I had. Not to show favouritism, I sent Amit Kash packing the same way when he played around a straight one. At the non-strikers end, Viren believed I had made an error of judgement. With 3 down and only 50 on the board, he might have been right…but not about the LBW. “A ball pitching in line, hitting the pad half way down, when the batsman is standing right in front of all three stumps, is, in my book, out mate. I value your opinion though.” [Ed: is that you being genuinely insincere Ches?].

    With Quokkas with talent being in short supply (Ed: has it been any other way?], I was thankful the next man in wasn’t wearing black Adidas trainers and at least asked me for a guard. Alan, making his Sunday debut, played confidently, smashing the ball through midwicket and cover on numerous occasions on his way to a nice quarter century. A devilish ball called time on that cameo, which enabled a devil of our own to enter the fray. During a short visit to the middle, Evil Dave hit a few lusty blows and with Tom using all the lessons I gave him in the batting cages at Sluggers World Class Sports Bar, the scoreboard began to tick over nicely. However, wickets kept falling, that is until Fruiti, hiding at 10, and The Egg, took charge and saw us through to the close of the innings. At 143 from our 35 overs, we were probably a few short, but it could have been worse.

    PHOTO-2019-07-02-10-31-08I don’t normally comment on opponent’s errors, especially as our own are so glaring, but one missed catch off our friend Special K’s bowling, does require further examination. A looping mishit drive hung in the air for quite a while, providing more than ample time for the cover point fielder to move the five yards into the circle to make the simple catch. However, for some unknown reason he chose to walk so slowly that the ball fell a yard short of his outstretched arms. I looked hard to see if Special K’s `never mind’ smile was genuine and I can only conclude that he is a far better man than me. If it had been off my bowling, I’d have cried like the IDLES’ Joe Talbot on the Park Stage at Glastonbury [Ed: that’s a set and a half].

    Of course I am now wondering if my own appalling attempt at a legside glance that lead to my downfall is being described with equal amazement in the Whalers match report…I do hope so and if their writer has come to our website for inspiration, it’s Ches (aka Seagull) not CMES.

    Over tea, we discussed the diet of Canadian geese, the possibility of a Whaler winning `bestest and fairest’ and methods of enticing greater participation from hibernating Quokkas. The promise of vodka jellies and chocolate orange marble cake at Wantage seemed to raise Alan’s eyebrows. The idea of two tours was met with mixed reactions. Japan anyone?

    Having seen that India were going to fail to chase down England’s total in the Cricket World Cup, we set out to prevent the Whalers doing the same. We were ever so slightly less successful. Evil Dave provided a fine opening spell, showing good pace and garnering a couple of good wickets along the way [Ed: are there bad wickets? Shut up Ed. In this new era of genuineness and honesty, I should point out that I’m now arguing with my imaginary editor]. The Yak, Sohail and Fruiti provided good support and another three wickets, one of which was thanks to a tremendous catch at first slip from Kiwi Scott. Sadly though, none of these were of their opening batsman, who during a fine innings of 86 never offered a chance.

    In the field we look pretty good except when Sohail prevented a certain runout by catching a ball destined to hit the stumps. Apart from that, there were very few occasions where I needed to provide hard luck platitudes through gritted teeth. Alan did a terrific job behind the stumps and had the good sense to ignore Virat’s advice to stand further back to help prevent his legside wides going to the boundary, instead suggesting that he “bowl on the offside”.

    At the death, Amit Kumar showed real talent with the ball [Ed: sign him up Skip], but at the other end 35 runs scored from just three individual overs from Kiwi Scott, Virat and myself, put paid to any hopes of a Quokka victory.

    Such is life. And with the glorious summer sunshine [Ed: are we allowed to be thankful for that now that you have explained global warming?] on our backs all day, an (very) amateur cricketer’s life isn’t too bad at all. I encourage all current, past and future Quokkas to sample it next week at Hartfield before the ice caps have fully melted and the ground is under three feet of water. Try to car share though.


Recent Comments

  • The burning question. Will co-captain Ami get to lose the to...
  • Absolutely brilliant Chez! Loved reading this and look forw...
  • Nice. Stop
  • Gidday.....Veterans Cricket Victoria { Aust } h...
  • The blood of my wicket is purely on the captains hands. That...