Quokkas CC 167 for 6 (Girish 64 n/o, Prateek 26, Todd 19) beat Wantage CC 65 all out (Faggie 3-105, Egg 3-18, Yak 2-15)
It’s gripped, it’s sorted. It’s the Quokkas annual fixture at the wonderful Wantage Cricket Club.
Cricket matches are brilliant, aren’t they? They last five days, or one if you want, or even just an hour or two, it don’t matter. The whole point of ’em is you don’t have to do ‘ouse work, if you got a ‘ouse that is. And you can play in foreign countries, any of ’em you like, like France or that other one. And you get to go on a plane, planes are brilliant aren’t they? Imagine what holidays must be like without ’em, to get to France would take like years and years and you would’ve had to swim the Channel with your suitcases and your pyjamas would’ve got all wet. But you can get on a plane, which is brilliant, and some of ’em now go faster than the speed of sound, which is really brilliant. ‘Cause that means, before you went, you could shout ‘hello’ and when you got there, if you really really listened, you could probably hear yourself, like far-off and distant, like ‘hello’, like an echo, ‘hello’.
It wasn’t exactly scorchio on Sunday, and there were no signs of Chrissy Waddle, but it certainly was a fast show, with the Quokkas bowling out the home side for 65 in just 25 overs and reaching an enhanced total in well under 30 overs. (Ed: That’s amazing mate).
Despite this success, for some, specifically me, cricket, has become the ‘ardest game in the world. I used to be a cricketer, thirty years, man and boy, yeah, but I’m more of a specialist stand in captain in the Mike Brearley mould these days as I can’t bat, can’t bowl and the fielding leaves a lot to be desired. Fortunately, like Mike, I’ve got some half decent cricketers in the same side that can make me look good. Ali, The Yak and Faggie for starters, who combined for six wickets from 17 overs for just thirty runs. Which was nice. The support bowling wasn’t too bad either, with Prateek going for just five runs from his three overs, Radio 10 and The Egg 18, with the latter pair cleaning up the tail extremely efficiently. Great.
It wasn’t totally straight forward. On a pitch offering no bounce at all, those bowlers preferring the `hand grenade’ trajectory found that anything less than a full length produced a multi bouncing delivery. Egg cleaned bowled several players, only for deliveries to be called no balls. It mattered little. As was the case last season, I did my best impression of Tommy trying to lose at pool to Begbie, but every time I tried to miss, I pot a ball. It’s not often you can say the Quokkas were just too good, this would be the first and probably last, but when Faggie and The Egg both take two wickets in an over, this is as good as it gets. Actually, for all the great bowling, the highlight of the innings for me was seeing Radio John protecting his famous big toe from a fierce Ali run out attempt by stopping the ball with his shins. Great.
If you like cheese and you like peas, you’ll love Wantage teas…or the array of Mr Kipling’s cakes brought by Radio and the Yak as teas are obviously not permitted during the current cough, cough, cough, pandemic, arse. This week I will mostly be eating fondant fancies whilst Swiss Todd explains to me that “cricket is very much like making love to a beautiful lady. You can spend an eternity awaiting for your chance, and then out of nowhere you’re in and you need to both hold an end up and impress with your bat, but if you get overexcited, it can be all over so quickly and then everyone is disappointed…” If I’m honest I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, but I’m afraid of course, he was very, very drunk.
With either side able to win or it could be a draw, I sent in the debutant Girish along with The Irish Driver. Girish was welcomed to the crease with a beamer that almost decapitated him. Suit you sir? Once a helmet was retrieved from the car, he played himself in nicely, before going through the gears and playing some wonderful shots. Radiant sir, radiant. At the other end, the Irish Driver fell afoul to not only the varied bounce, but also the uneven umpiring, as the `double bounce’ no ball rule was instantly forgotten by Radio. The shot may have been on the ugly side of horrible, but there isn’t much you can do with a Trevor Chappell daisy cutter. I never comment on umpires, and I am not going to break a habit of a lifetime for that prat (Ed: is that a Ron manager quote Seagull? Jumpers for wickets…beans on toast, aye? It’s all about the two b’s, bowling and catching…). When Herc’s stumps were turned into kindling by a more orthodox delivery, our enhanced target of 165 (I added the 100 runs to your bowling figures Faggies by the way) looked a long way off.
Todd, still moaning about a dropped catch from his bowling five games previous and me giving him out leg before wicket 18 months ago, was next in and used that angst to get the scoreboard quickly moving. So much so that Herc tried to prove that he is more useful than a chocolate fireguard in the field by blocking a certain Girish four whilst umpiring at square leg. When Todd departed, fellow debutant Prateek, who had impressed with the ball, provided excellent support to Girish, and the pair dispatched anything short to the boundary. Just as it looked like they would see us home, one held up and Prateek was out caught and bowled. Buggar. Faggie, keen to get to KFC, came in and scratched around initially before eventually smashing anything loose to the boundary. Run. Run. When he was out, I looked good for one of the three deliveries faced, before leaving it to Yak and Garish to get the winning runs. Nice.
Afterwards we took four cardboard tubes and then proceeded to place them on the floor. Making four columns, equidistantly thus. We wanted to test if these cardboard tubes would support the average body-weight of a human man. No.
Actually what we did do, as we shared a beer with our opponents, was help the Yak introduce Sofia to the wonderful game of cricket and from what I saw it won’t be long before the second generation of Quokkas are replacing…does anyone fancy a pint? [Ed: very nicely done Seagull)
See you at Hartfield, where extra cakes may be required.