Quokkas CC 144-7 (Minder 32, Arunav 30 n/o) beat Hollybush CC 143 all out (Minder 3-13, Radio 3-1, Egg 2-23)
The 80s Footballers Aging Badly FA Cup has started, with the likes of Giuliano Castoldi, Sven-Gunnar Larsson and Dieter Hoeness vying for the title and raising the question as to whether they all had uphill paper rounds in Chernobyl? If you frequent twitter, I suggest you check it out. As I move swiftly into my late twenties (yeah I know, with my knowledge of 80’s footballers, you’d think I was older) I am starting to feel how those guys look. Old age doesn’t come on its own of course (Ed: yeah, for starters you start to moan about ailments to disinterested parties) and of all things, impacting ear wax (Ed: here we go, this better be good Seagull) has completely destroyed me this week, with indescribable pain amplified by failed microsuction treatment that reminded me of Douglas Quaid removing a tracking device from his skull through his nose (Ed: decent analogy to be fair). That was on top of a dislocated finger attained nonchalantly attempting a needless caught and bowled during a gentle net session, oh and a broken ankle incurred in the game at Hollybush (Ed: hang on Seagull, I’ve mislaid the world smallest violin).
OK, so maybe it’s not a broken ankle, but the pain having been hit directly on the base of the fibula by a yorker, meant I had little interest in a prognosis. Despite this debilitating injury, I gritted my teeth (Ed: like a tough little soldier with earache and a bruised finger and foot?) and saw us home to victory. Well, I stood at the other end as Arunav calmly scored the winning runs. I am not quite sure how I managed to drive home afterwards though, but with England in the final of Euro 2021, things like broken ankles just seem to fade into the background.
It almost came home. Almost. Sigh. Actually, when I think about it, I wasn’t all that `gutted’ about us failing to win the thing. It was just enjoyable having something to be excited about after being couped up for so long. Hearing `Three Lions’ being sung again at Wembley was fantastic and brought back the most glorious memories of the summer of 96. Gascoigne’s brilliance, my first gin and tonic, seeing Professor frolicking in the horse fields…great times, all framed by Baddiel and Skinner’s Fantasy Football League.
I wonder whatever happened to Statto? (Ed: A quick Wikipedia search and I discover that he’s a BT Sports commentator and interestingly that as a 15-year-old, Loughran ran out to the middle during a Test match to taunt Chris Tavaré who was boring the crowd to tears. This entertained the fans and amused officials so much that he was offered life membership to the Oval)
To be honest, I’ve moved on from the football and am now transfixed by the American Cornhole League, with Matt Guy going `bag for bag’ with Batson the Beast in the sem-eye-final of an event whose sponsor informs you that “You can’t spell Sausage without USA”. The Hundred, with its Hula Hoops and other corn-based snacks perhaps needs to up its game, although I have to applaud its attempt to merge cricket with laser quest through its use of Hacienda inspired graphics. (Ed: I’m surprised a man born in the 90s remembers Factory Records).
The Quokkas have certainly upped their game recently, and were looking to make it four wins in a row at Hollybush. On arrival, I was a bit concerned that I was at the wrong place, as I didn’t see any fellow Quokkas and more worryingly, a lack of a cricket pitch. The reason for that was that, was there wasn’t one. For those of you that frequented the Serbia tour, you will understand what I mean when I say the pitch was `a little underprepared’ – it was impossible to differentiate outfield, square and strip. I can only conclude that we have played on worse, but that was here, last year. On winning the toss, I decided to bowl.
We were a little short in the bowling department, so Arunav took the new ball and on discussing the field setting we agreed on two slips to give the appearance that he was a new ball strike bowler. It did cross my mind that after a delivery, maybe two, they would work it out that he was a spinner. Having said that he did seem to bowl quicker than Dave and he even borrowed Evil’s beamer. Evil Dave bowled pretty well, but in the field he was a one man dynamo, with two run outs and three catches. Fantasy League heaven.
Star of the show for me was Milind. The Minder is a serious cricketer and when you throw him the ball you know you are going to get a tidy spell of accurate spin together with Paddington bare stares should you even consider moving his field around. My fear of Evil Dave is nothing compared to that of my trepidation when asking the Minder if we perhaps could have fine leg a bit squarer. The Minder didn’t disappoint, and he claimed the critical wicket of the opposing skipper, who’d smashed us to all parts last year, twice. He claimed an immediate second and but for a dropped slip catch by The Driver, he’d of had a hattrick. Has a Quokkas ever dropped a hattrick chance before? Flat champagne moment.
Star of the show for me was the Irish Driver. After a couple of looseners he found a line, length and rhythm that he never lost and was quite simply unplayable. I set an offside field and he never strayed from the off stump. Outstanding stuff. (Ed: this fees strange, is there a joke coming Seagull? Seagull: No) In the end I felt guilty at taking him off to be honest, but when you have the talent of Leaky, The Egg and Radio John in the waiting, what can you do?
The star of the show for me was Radio John. He was the only player that came out of last year’s game with any credit, almost getting a hattrick, and he almost bettered it this time round. It started so badly, with him putting down a simple caught and bowled, but then bowled the same guy the next ball. He followed that up with the tenth and final wicket, which means he is on a hattrick in the next match. Does he open the bowling or do we hold him back for a possible rabbit?
With all these stars, debutant Stonie’s likely broken shin, dropped catch and golden duck (Ed: good days work by Quokkas standards) went largely unnoticed. Leaky dropping another dolly wasn’t, but this time around it wasn’t their star bat who went on to score a hundred. There were several other dropped catches and some catch avoidance too, but overall a decent display in the hay meadow.
At tea, we discussed the UKs top ten KFC restaurants, the ever decreasing size of Double Deckers, and the Porthgwidden Beach seagull murderer’s deliberate, callous, and with beastliness of forethought, murder of a lovely, innocent, plump, speckily seagull called speckled Jim. Bastard. Fascinating stuff, but with the cricket pitch disappearing into the long grass, we had a game to win.
I sent an in-form Herc out with a not-held-a-bat-for-a-year Leaky. Soon after, Todd joined Herc and between them got us on our way. Neither kicked on, with Todd out caught in the deep for the 800th time in his career…no hang on, I’ve been too quick to cut and paste that description, he was stumped. We quickly lost the Irish Driver, Stonie and Evil Dave, who was done by a half tracker that barely rose above the uncut grass. Trouble? Not at all. With the Minder and Arunav now at the crease it was only a matter of time before everyone came round to my way of thinking that we’d win from here (69 for 6). Both played beautifully, dispatching the bad ball and extremely resolute in defence. Indeed, I was shocked when The Minder was bowled, leaving us needing a further 40 runs to win. With some solid support from Seagull, Arunav ensured the result was never in doubt, seing us easily to victory and with overs to spare. A straight drive six sealing Hollybush’s fate.
All in all it was a great day unless you were Stonie, a Seagull or an England fan. See you at Wescott for some trifle, planes and hopefully a Radio hatrick.
Seagull, aged 46