Quokkas CC 177 all out (Faggie 109*, Herc 21) beat Hartfield CC 141 all out (Yak 2-16, Seagull 1-0)
Passing through Sevenoaks on the way to the Quokkas game at Hartfield on Sunday, I enquired with Mrs Seagull as to `how many of the eponymous oaks remain?’. As it turns out, there are eight, despite the best efforts of the `great storm’ of 1987. The trees, or their ancestors, are said to have stood in Knole Park since 800AD, but seven oak trees were planted at the site of The Vine cricket ground in 1902 to celebrate the coronation of Edward VII [Ed: cricket mentioned in the first paragraph Seagull? That must be a first].
Six trees felled by the storm were replaced by Sevenoaks’ favourite daughters Gloria Hunniford and Caron Keating, only to be destroyed by vandals. As to why there are now eight is slightly unclear, but perhaps Sevenoaks `aluminates’, such as Anton Du Beke, have put an insurance policy in place ready for the next violent extratropical cyclone. Hartfield has some pretty fancy botanical history of its own, sitting on the northern edge of the Ashdown Forest. This is actually an elevated open heathland used as a medieval hunting forest by the Norman’s, but with evidence of human occupation dating back 50,000 years [Ed: that’s around about the time you last scored a run Seagull]. Hartfield also trumps Sevenoaks in terms of famous residents too, being the birthplace and former home of A.A. Milne, author of Winnie-the-Pooh.
As you may be able to tell, with the games coming thick and fast this year and the last remnants of
my social life put on hold by COVID-19, little has happened in my world since the Quokkas last encounter, so I have struggled for an interesting and topical opening to this match report [Ed: you could just describe some bloody cricket]. The only things worth reporting are that Todd turned 50, The Egg discovered that half the Quokkas have turned their arm to vinification and Mrs Seagull has decided to give up work to do jigsaws professionally.
OK, I’ll get to the cricket.
With the return of Skip and Evil Dave to the side, the Quokkas perhaps found the final pieces we needed to obtain a long awaited victory over Hartfield CC this year. The jigsaw might be complete, but a late arriving skipper and no match ball meant we were far from professional. [Ed: standard] Not sure who won the toss, but we were sent into bat and the home team’s patience was quickly rewarded with the Irish Driver’s wicket, caught behind off a devilish delivery. With the Hartfield square turned ninety degrees to prevent the late evening sun from blinding batsman, the newly laid
strip offered plenty for the bowler, especially with Sports Direct’s `finest’ ball at their disposal. This brought Faggie to the crease and I am mindful that as we celebrated taking a wicket in the second innings, thanks to one the best catches at gully by you will ever see by The Egg, I was informed by Faggie that “the match report writes itself”, which is great, because that means I don’t need to spend any time recounting his century of runs here…
…which perhaps is a shame, as the large space above would have seen me wax lyrical about his stoic defence in light of a difficult pitch, a Slazenger ball that bounced and swerved and some very testing fast seam bowing. I suspect I may also have mentioned some excellent shot selection and powerful hitting that, not only took him to a well-earned third tonne for the Quokkas, but also helped the team present a very respectable 177 all out. He clearly played for his averages by blocking the penultimate ball of the innings, but with nine Quokkas batsman making a combined 35 runs, he had
certainly earned the red ink.
Tea was a rather sorry state of affairs this week, consisting of crisps, pork pies and caramel
shortbread, although it was greatly enhanced by Cornwall’s finest cider kindly donated by the Egg. During the period, much time was spent discussing how poor Australia is at its national sport, the merits of selecting Southampton defenders in a football fantasy side, and the nightmare threat of Jammie Dodger production being stopped due to a strike.
Fuelled by this potential cataclysm, Evil steamed in from the squeaky swing end backed by some potential new recruits to the Binman choir. A fine spell of six overs for not many, including an excellent wicket. showed exactly what we had been missing. The Yak, starting badly, was then equally thrifty and claimed two wickets of his own, putting our opponents in all kinds of trouble.
Perhaps the reason for Australia’s cricketing woes is that we have the best of them, with first change Conan claiming a wicket from his opening delivery – a terrible legside half tracker I ought to add – thanks to a lovely catch from the Yak on the deep backwards square leg boundary. A series of fours in the same over looked to have ruined his figures, but a maiden, followed by a wicket maiden put them straight.
At 29 for four, we threatened to run riot, but thankfully Skip, perhaps weighed down by the pressures of under-7 football management, brought himself on and went for a few in his first over, before dragging it back to about ten an over by the end of the spell. Fruiti, not known for his generosity to batsman, also helped keep things competitive by opening with a series of ugly wides. I was just about to pencil it in as the worst spell of his illustrious Quokkas career, when he reverted to type and bowled a maiden and then took another wicket. Radio John kept the scorer busy too and added another wicket to his collection and then Herc, with his unusual `forward-defence follow through’, which threatened both the stumps and batsman’s head in equal measures, did the same.
I should point out that in between all this the fine bowling, there was clearly a competition taking place to claim a wicket with the worst delivery in cricketing history With Faggie not asked to bowl, for once the competition was wide open and Conan’s legside half tracker looked to have got it sewn up. Seagull’s nicked wide aided by a terrific reflex catch by the Irish Driver made a late entry, but The Egg took the trophy in then end with a wonderful waist-high full toss caught on the boundary With so many stand-out performances with the ball, it would be easy to forget [Ed: Evil potentially
dropping the Ashes? Seagull: yes, but no] that this match was won almost entirely due to the brilliant batting from Faggie. I look forward to reading about.
Enjoy the tour chaps.