Letcome CC 215-3 (Fruit 1-11) beat Quokkas CC (73 all out)
Apart from the death, suffering and misery, the worst thing about the COVID-19 pandemic has obviously been the lack of social events from which I can create interesting copy for these match reports/come diary entries. Unlike comedian Stuart Lee, I have not spent my time in lockdown watching `Scooby Doo and the Pirate Zombie Jungle Island’ 180 times, but without any possibility of foreign travel, gigs or sporting activities, like him, `I’ve got nothing’ to offer you here. The 41st best stand up was discussed during tea (you can tell the cricket was bad if I’m discussing the tea already) and in particular his propensity to take on challenging subjects like 9/11 and determination to avoid easy laughs. The opposite of Radio John really. I realise religion and politics are subjects to be avoided, but I particularly agree with Lee’s opinion that privatising the BBC would be as pernicious as the Islamic state destroying Iraq’s historic sites. I mention this only because it provides a nice segway to the next section of text.
Watching Stuart Lee live at the Kings Theatre Southsea was perhaps the last thing I did worth a mention, unless you feel spending nine hours in the car travelling to and from Camber Sands to sunny Oxford for a game of cricket deserves its place here. I did get to see a grown man crying next to his burnt out BMW M3 in the outside lane of the M4, which threatened my attendance at Sunday’s game. As a result I sat immediately behind a lorry emblazoned with the livery `ISIS – master removers of Oxford’ for about an hour. I spent about half that time pondering if that should be `from Oxford’ rather than `of Oxford’, with the remainder wondering whether they had seen any decrease in trade since the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant had gained prominence. Fun times.
With the River Thames called Isis at Oxford, the word is used everywhere in this neck of the woods, from neutron sources that help look at the way cosmic rays affect our modern electronic world, to korfball clubs that bring the games of basketball and handball together. There is of course even a cricket club, but with the Quokkas dropped from their schedule due to Skip’s Australian attitude to walking, maybe the less said about them the better. Filling that Oxfordshire-sized hole in our own schedule is now Lescombe Cricket Club, who, with lottery funding have a fabulous new club house to complement their delightful ground…and boy did we get to see every square inch of it as we retrieved numerous balls smashed to the boundary.
While Lescombe batsman were dispatching a plethora of beamers into the horses field, our compensation was to receive a tremendous falconry display at close quarters. Somewhat fittingly perhaps that in ancient Egyptian mythology, the goddess Isis is said to have taken the form of a kite in various situations in order to resurrect the dead. Although we bore witness to a number of red kites circling the square in hope of tasty mouse, worm or seagull struggling for cover from the hot midday sun, our chances of victory were never brought back to life.
I should say that the Quokkas were less than impressed with my choice of bowling first in those baking hot conditions, but (spoiler alert) getting skittled for just 73 runs did justify that decision. Faggie blamed that on tiredness, and he sure looked like a man entering middle age after his eight over spell, but shot selection and statuesque foot movement also contributed to our downfall. Either that or it was the lack of a roast option at the King Alfred’s Head. My god, which doesn’t exist by the way, what is the world coming to when you can’t get a few tatties and some topside for lunch?
In addition to my `terrible’ decision to bowl, I supplemented that by failing to persuade the Yak of a need for a second slip only to see his next ball edged through there, not spotting that Arunav, placed at second slip, had wondered off to point, just as another ball was edged there and then later removing second slip, only to see the very next ball edged there. Three runs with the bat, a solitary over bowled at the death, costing 19, and the A34 closed due to another bar-b-q’d BMW on my way home, just added to my miserable day.
We actually bowled really well, apart from the bad deliveries. Strangely enough, there was a lack of half trackers, with beamers now in vogue and amounting to about 27% of all deliveries. Fruit Smoothie bowled an absolutely terrific spell of eight overs for next to no runs. He also got one of the stubborn openers out LBW, but despite trying everything, he just could not get the other. The one delivery he didn’t try, was the slow full toss, which is exactly how the Professor got him out shortly after replacing Fruiti. Never has the statement `shit gets wickets’ been more adept.
Apart from Fruiti, only Faggie avoided the beamer length and he also bowled very well once again. In the field, Todd was immaculate behind the stumps, except for dropping a regulation catch, which kept him quiet for the rest of the innings. Driver, knee held together by lolly pop sticks and sticky back plastic these days, also dropped a tricky chance at slip, but he gave us the highlight of the match with a run out from a direct hit from the boundary rope. He may have been aiming for the other set of stumps, but it was still a remarkable piece of fielding. Here’s a video of it: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPm14iYEOxE The Yak was also impressive in the field, despite a skinful the night before, and as a team we certainly gave our all, but nevertheless still conceded 215 from the 40 overs.
Over a Monster Munch and sugar coated worms-based tea, we discovered, to Drivers glee, that England had won the opening Euro 2020 game, debated the time/value relationship of cryptocurrency mining and explained to Faggie the origins of Garlic Bread’s nickname (Phoenix nights’ Brian Potter: “garlic bread, it’s the future, I’ve tasted it”), after he remarked that the lack of young Quokkas was possibly due to the terrible nick names we gave them. In Jerry `the Grey’, he may have a point.
Our batting reply was Quokkas-esque, with wickets tumbling faster than the Coca Cola share price. Despite batting at nine, I didn’t complete ten overs of umpiring before having to come in to pad up. In summary, Todd got out to slowest ball in history, Faggie followed his century for his now favoured team with a duck, the Yak guided a ball straight to second slip, Arnunav was yorked, Radio was caught trying to get the ball off the square, Evil and Fruiti edged behind and The Professor and I were both bowled through a wide open gate. With only ten men, Evil volunteered to bat again, and he and The Driver, who batted really well and was the man not out, added 30 for the last wicket to give us the merest hint of respectability.
Despite the resounding defeat, the arduous journey and unsuccessful captaincy, I enjoyed every single minute of it…well almost. I look forward to seeing the Quokkas and the A34 once again on Sunday.