Westcott CC 262 for 3 (Yak 2-43) beat Quokkas 176 for 5 (Seagull 53no, Alan The Driver 36, Faggie 29, Skip 24no)
I hope you can forgive my self-indulgent match reports, including this one, but if you prefer, you can skip to paragraph five for the actual cricket. Writing about Coriolis flowmeters, a very time-consuming desire to unearth something better on Spotify than Mogwai’s Helicon 1 and my now pretty successful attempt to ‘complete’ Netflix, means I get out about as often as Steve ‘slap my face please’ Smith. The upshot is that there’s a lack of photogenic activities to use to whore myself out on Instagram, thus what little I do, which is probably only of interest to my mother, usually finds its way into these match reports instead. This achieves the purpose of not only letting her know I am still alive, but appeasing my vanity at the same time.
For the sake of me mum, at this specific moment in time I am sat in a rattan armchair on the balcony of the Il Tempo di Hera hotel in Selinunte, with the late Sicilian summer sun slowly setting on the horizon. This is creating a lovely silhouette of the ancient temple ruins positioned in front of me. Mrs Seagull has organised the trip and there are more Greek archaeological wonders than a Carthaginian hoard could reduce to rubble, literally.
Third bottle of Dreher in hand, my jaw is now starting to ache a fraction due to the ear-to-ear smile I’ve been wearing all afternoon. I have definitely chosen the lobster bisque rather than bean soup here. One more birra and I might have the required lubrication to exchange Naomi Klein’s explanation of the rise of disaster capitalism for Peter Crouch’s take on how to be a footballer. There is never going to be a better moment to get that crucial inside information about Djibril Cissé’s fashion faux pas or Stephen Ireland’s car history. Ok, maybe not.
Morrissey’s Every Day is Like Sunday is now coming through my slowly melting headphones, which is actually what has reminded me that I have yet to scribe the final Quokka Sunday match report of the season. The contrast between the two Sundays could not be starker. Before last week’s match at Westcott Cricket Club, I got absolutely drenched just loading my cricket bag into the car. Typhon himself had seemingly summoned one of his monster storms effecting most of the UK, which meant spending several hours aquaplaning up the A34 (Ed: I can see where you are going here Seagull, but isn’t Typhon an Egyptian rather than Greek god? Seagull: Got me there).
Only the Quokkas could arrange their last fixture of the season the day after the cricket season officially ends. We would need a serious touch of Helios if this game was ever to be on. Thankfully a magnificent set of covers provided by Warwickshire Country Cricket Club no less, meant all was not lost…yet. Bollocks to spoiler alerts.
First things first, the Quokkas were like the twelve Olympian gods, only two short because demi-god Hercules couldn’t make it, possibly due to his stepmother Hera trying to kill him with snakes. The weather was savage and the dedication shown just getting to the game would honour Zelus. Once out in the field (Skip having made a very good decision to lose the toss) the likes of Lockie and Sean especially, threw themselves around like men possessed. And I’m not just talking about at the start of our opponents innings, when we were momentarily still in the game, but right into the 30th and final over, by which time we were on the wrong side of a 262 run mauling.
In a world where athletes run the marathon at night because the governing body has sold its soul to the devil, seeing two guys put their bodies on the line for nothing more than a longstanding bruise or three, reaffirms my belief that amateur sport is what it’s all about. Witnessing Sean, hamstrung by a lack of suitable footwear, slipping and sliding around the outfield in an attempt to save every last run, will be one of my lasting memories of the season. I tip my Quokka cap to you sir and look forward to seeing you come into your own next season. The same goes for Lockie, who covered every sodden blade of grass in an attempt to minimise bowling figures. In my eyes the pair of you were cricketing gods. Couldn’t catch for toffee mind (Ed: I’m guessing Momus is your god of choice Ches?), but then again the ball was like a bar of soap.
I suppose I ought to tell you how our opponents managed to smash 262 runs from just 180 balls (Ed: plus the odd wide or twelve). With our own god of the underworld, ‘Hades’ Dave, missing, we were short of opening bowlers, which meant it was left to the Aphrodite goddess of love, beauty and vainness, that’s Faggie to you and me, and Skip (Ed: Is there no god of cake eating?) to attempt to carry their excellent tour form over to the soaking wet ball version of the game. They didn’t. A solitary maiden being the highlight of 11 overs of no little effort. Actually, the Faggie maiden was possibly the highlight of the entire innings other than seeing Radio John dive head first into a small puddle of mud when fielding from his own bowling.
I am being overly harsh. Sean, with an action that would make Murali look classical, showed great persistence and beat the bat numerous times. Fresh from his ‘one-ball-tour’, our very own Hypnos god of sleep (Ed: or should that be Dionysus god of wine?) did what he does best and tempted his opponent into something extravagant, and with a nice catch on the boundary by Aphrodite, added another wicket to his growing collection.
But with the Seagull suffering from dartitis (Ed: I think the correct medical term for that is ‘crap bowling’), Matt getting little from the pitch when he found it and Radio failing to trouble anyone other than his launderer, runs flowed very freely. Skip didn’t exactly show the wisdom of Athena either, when deciding not to bring our best bowler in overcast conditions on until the third change. Yak, the Quokkas’ Hephaestus, didn’t take long to show the error in Skips ways, taking two excellent wickets in as many overs.
Despite this, we were pretty bad to be honest and when a ‘tea from the gods’ was served we became worried that a Quokka-like showing with the bat would ruin any chances of a return fixture. Missing out on a trifle that not even Morpheus could dream of would be a genuine Greek tragedy.
What we needed was Nike goddess of speed, strength and victory opening the batting at one end and Zeus god of lightning, thunder, order and justice at the other. Instead we had The Driver and Faggie who, despite being mere mortals, made fine substitutes, putting on a terrific first wicket stand of 59 from just ten overs. As you would expect, Faggie played the cut shot with his usual finesse and The Driver drove with more confidence than his passengers. Thank god. It might have been pushing it to say we were making a game of it, but maybe we would get another stab at those lovely home-made sausage rolls and tiramisu after all.
In all fairness, with rain briefly interrupting play earlier, the wicket was far trickier now, and a ball that completely stopped was Faggie’s eventual undoing. The Driver continued on, playing some strong attacking shots and showing good patience against the best of their bowling. The Yak, Radio and Lockie were ever so slightly less successful (Ed: I think the third shot Lockie attempted at the slow delivery that got his wicket might have been the right one) and with five down, we had still to reach a hundred or done enough to receive another invite.
To make things worse, Apollo the god of light was letting us down. Thankfully, a sympathetic and Athena-like opposing captain ‘rotated’ his bowlers, which allowed Skip and Seagull to plunder 83 from the last ten overs without loss (Ed: playing for their averages?). That took us to a respectable 176 for five by the close of play. Whether it was enough to get the gig next year we’ll have to wait and see, but we joined our opponents for an end of season ambrosia (tot of single malt), before climbing back in to our Trojan Horses and heading into the night.
My thanks to the Yak for arranging this terrific fixture and elongating our season, and to the Olympian Quokkas too for braving the elements. I now look forward to the annual Quokkas dinner. In the meantime, I’ve got a bottle of Lamuri Nero d’Avola 2015 (3.6 on Vivino by the way Egg) and a rather nice plate of red snapper ravioli waiting for me. Maybe I should take a photo of it and upload it to Instagram? Bollocks.