• 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. 

    Stay safe.

    Seagull, aged 46

  • Quokkas CC, 196-5 (Faggie 76 n/o, Herc 30, Arnav 30) beat Hartfield CC (Faggie 3-26, Seagull 1-0)

    Right about now, I’d normally be lying on my sofa, with an Avenunus Eisnock in hand, trying to convince myself that watching Royal Blood in the sunset slot at Glastonbury on the TV is better than actually being there. Sadly, because Hancock was not quite as busy saving lives as he suggested, Glastonbury isn’t on, but at least that has allowed me to give my full attention to Mathieu van der Poel destroying the Mur-de-Bretagne at Le Tour and time to listen to Bdrmm’s brilliant album `Bedroom’ [] a few more times. I’ve also taken the opportunity to consume one or two Euro 2020 games, which have been wonderful, except for Sam (shut the **** up) Matterface bombarding us with statistics, mostly shoehorned within a host of pre-rehearsed lines he desperately hopes will align beautifully with events on the pitch. They never do. Why he thinks regurgitating a player’s Wikipedia page is necessary, I don’t know. Just say what you see. We only need a little bit of information to reinforce what our own eyes tell us [Ed: When are you going to start practicing what you preach Seagull?]

    It’s not just football commentators bombarding us with facts and useless stats. They come at us from all manner of contradicting `professionals’, `experts’ and `doctors’. COVID-19 and social media seems to have been a Petri dish for those purporting to know more than the actual medical experts. So much so, that it can be hard to know what to believe at times. If you have read Ben Goldacre’s grauniad column or his book Bad Science, in which he exposes dodgy medical data, misleading cosmetics ads, the shortfalls of homeopathy and our strange fascination with ‘toxins’, then it certainly won’t be `research-based’ revelations in the media. Every healthcare claim you read in a newspaper – be it more red wine cures everything, minoxidil saves your hair or omega oil turns you into Aqua Man – is pretty much a complete load of horse shit. 

    Lies, damn lies and statistics. Remember, eighty percent of all stats are false. Or is it eighteen percent? I don’t know. What I do know is that long before COVID-19 was discovered by the Wu-Tang Clan on a wet laboratory floor, I have been sceptical of pretty much everything. The quality of roast potatoes served at restaurants is certainly one of those, but when the London massive turned up, just as we were making our way out onto the field, I was assured The Anchor’s Sunday lunch, including spuds, was top notch. Radio John’s invite must have been lost in the post, but that turned out to be a blessing as it meant he avoided close contact with a carload of COVID-19 carriers. 

    The last thing we need right now is a COVID-19 outbreak. The loss of Fruiti and Sammy meant we were already short, but thankfully the gaps in the field were filled by locals Mark and Ted, who had an unfeasibly strong arm for a lad of nine (that put most of us aging Quokkas to shame).

    Evil Dave, from St Albans, playing in his 92nd game for the quokkas and with over 440 overs, 88 wickets and 2100 runs conceded, opened the bowling and struggled to find a line and length, unless of course very wide, very short or both was what he had in mind? As always, there was no lack of effort for the IT/finance professional, but when the father-of-two attempt at a slower ball failed, doubling down with the claw may not have been the best choice and it was subsequently dispatched even further. Not sure why I didn’t take the Tory enthusiast off earlier, perhaps an appreciation of the toils of a fast bowler, perhaps just fear, but my reward for inaction was two tight overs to complete the Leicester City fan’s spell. [Ed: For once Seagull, you may have a point…now please stop]

    Faggy bowled well and took wickets. Three of them in fact, helping those that were brave enough to pick him for their fantasy side to reap the rewards. A rare “Bowled-Faggy” appeared in the book too. It’s been one of those seasons where lightning bolts hit lottery winners . Only batsman number 3 kept him a bay, but to their captains horror, he chose to retire (when on just 30) to `allow others a chance’. Handy. He looked like he’d bat all year without us ever getting him out.  

    First change saw Arunav bowl perhaps his best spell for the Quokkas, beating the bat often and completely tying down an end. At the other, The Irish Driver charged in like Forrest Gump before the knee brace broke free, also keeping it very tight. How they only picked up the one wicket between them I will never know. My failure to put fielders where the ball went perhaps had something to do with it. 

    Conan has enjoyed himself on this ground previously, taking a number of wickets and catches. He enjoyed it slightly less this time round, not quite finding his radar, by which I mean he bowled some leg side half trackers, but he still added another wicket to the collection. Radio John was dispatched to all parts in his first over too, but my persistence with him was rewarded with with more balls to collect from the boundary in the proceeding overs. Sometimes though, wickets cost a few runs and crucially Radio grabbed the key wicket of the match, thanks to a smart catch by Tugboat. 

    Tugboat’s off-spin looked decent, despite getting some tap in his first over. The good news here is we can now field an entire team constructed exclusively of spinners, should we ever tour Sri Lanka again. I wrapped up the innings with yet more slow bowling and was grateful for a terrific catch in the deep, by stand-in fielder Mark, to give me a wicket maiden. I like those stats.

    Great news. In between innings we were served actual tea. That’s the hot and wet stuff, out of a teapot. Normality is resuming. Next week we may even get a burnt sausage at Skips. Over said tea, we discussed Marxist theory, the ever decreasing possibility of going to Estonia on tour, and Norwegian psychologist Finn Skårderud’s theory that humans are born with a 0.05% blood alcohol level shortfall [Ed: Check out the film Another Round]. That’s one theory I can get behind. Fascinating stuff, but with the pitch rotated back to its original position, we needed to get a move on otherwise we’d have the sun right behind the bowlers arm should there have been any. Instead we grabbed unused umpires coats to keep warm whilst waiting to bat.

    As the umpire, I had the unfortunate task of trying to find a reason not to give Radio John out first ball of the innings to what looked a plum LBW. Why I choose to expand my `not out’ decision with the word “drifting”, I will never know. I am not sure who looked more guilty, me or Radio, who tried to ease my embarrassment by telling anyone willing to listen that he had hit it. Fortunately, he was out a few balls later to a replica delivery, only this time the pads didn’t get in the way. At the other end, Herc played perhaps his best innings in a Quokkas shirt, with some nice drives, pulls and a beautiful late cut from a ball that offered only the merest hint of width. I was impressed and told him as such, just before I gave him out LBW playing round a straight one.

    As usual, the Hartfield bowling was of a good standard, but the Quokkas batting more than matched it, especially from Tugboat, who really can bat. None of your Guru-esque drives, fancy late cuts Faggie serves up, or Conan smashes. Just lots of solid cricket shots. However, on this occasion they were too solid in fact, as he was brilliantly caught and bowled playing a very straight drive. Statistically speaking, this is where things usually go pear-shaped for the Quokkas. 

    He of little faith. The wheels didn’t come off. In fact, Arunav and Faggy looked as safe and houses and the scoreboard ticked over at a rapid rate over the course of the next half dozen overs. Just as we were all relaxing, Arunav was uncharacteristically out playing a shot to a ball that wasn’t quite there. The silver lining was that we got to see some Conan Smashes, but he didn’t spoil us too much, allowing himself to be bowled when looking well set. In came the Irish Driver, who took a while to get going, but once he did, never looked back. 

    In the end though, it was a terrific innings from Faggy that saw us over the line. He may have been slightly fortunate to have been dropped early doors, but he took full advantage and plundered runs to all parts, including hitting four sixes. We played sir. By keeping the one statistician that matters busy, you may have done enough to get another call up.

    Seriously, with Faggy returning to form, Arunav and Tugboat demonstrating their class, and Driver seeing everything big, we are starting to look like a proper side. If we can get The Minder out of retirement, we may even give Hollybush a run for their money. See you Sunday, unless you are English, in which case you will probably be watching England fail to win the Euros, losing on penalties…too much information?

    Interim aka Seagull

  • Quokkas 151-3 (Tugboat 50 n/o, Todd 28) beat Wantage & Grove 150-5 (Yak 2-26, Radio 1-1)

    A Leeds University study in partnership with Tourism Western Australia (Ed: happy to discuss sponsorship at any time guys) has found that looking at photos and videos of Quokkas has a significant and immediate positive impact on people. As a result, the university is now going to send videos to students to improve their mental wellbeing before taking exams. It’s great to know that footage of The Mosquito falling over whilst umpiring at square leg and Binman’s cheerleaders serenading him in Hungary are helping to ensure the future prosperity of our country. Which is just as well because ‘unleashing the potential of this country’ is currently a statement akin to watching someone drink Lucozade with their Big Mac on a high street bench. 

    That’s unfair. We’re leading the world in the creation of three word slogans for passing on vital information, such as `hands, face, space’, `build back better’ or `Get Brexit done’. Personally I prefer `stop the future’, `led by donkeys’  and `go **** yourself’. More seriously, we do have some of the world’s leading scientists that are helping to liberate and elevate us through cutting edge research, typified by a UK team of astronomers who, using Nasa’s James Webb space telescope, have determined that the stars began shining 250 to 350 million years after the Big Bang, roughly when Radio John was born. The period, known as the `cosmic dawn’, is when the very first generation of stars and galaxies started to light up our universe. This is described as the holy grail of astronomy and paths the way to see the very first galaxies too.

    This was a weekend for finding stars, with two emerging from the Quokkas cosmic dark ages (period between Guru playing for us and now). Harry-mini-skip-garlic-bread-II-Bradley and Stuart Tugboat Little both made their Sunday debuts and were very much the leading lights. In Tugboat, we have finally found a batsman that can bat, like a batsman, you know, like holding the wooden thing the right way up, hitting the red thing with the wooden thing and stopping the red thing hitting the three sticks…and in Harry, we have a bowler who’s potential has no bounds. The sky’s the limit.

    The future showing us his boycott impression

    Not that the sky was very clear or indeed high on Sunday and after several days of rain, we were thankful for a set of covers and Tweaky’s hard work to get the game on. Despite this, a sodden outfield meant we spent the afternoon attempting to keep the ball dry. The memo hadn’t reached the Mosquito, who regularly failed to relay the ball ten yards without it hitting the deck. 

    With Skip losing the toss (Ed: better than Seagull winning it), the Yak and The Professor opened the attack and the former took a smart catch from his own bowling to dislodge the opener and then a while later, a nice off-cutter got the other. At the other end, The Professor toiled, but without success – the slow full toss didn’t work this week for some reason. With wickets hard to come by, Skip turned to Evil Dave, presumably because he recognised a potential weakness to the beamer. Fair to say though, that after a tough start to the season, Satan returned with a vengeance, and a decent spell put pay to inquisitive children ready to ask why Dad had kept getting hit to boundary or hadn’t taken any wickets. A simple catch by Skip at mid-on helped him claim a wicket and when their best bat took pity on us and retired after getting a faultless fifty, the runs started to dry up. At the other end, Harry belied all of his 11 years to keep the pressure fully on, which remained until the likes of myself and Shut up Herc came on at the end. I forgot to mention that Radio’s elbow is on the mend and he grabbed a wicket during two nice overs of spin. 

    Over tea, Skip ruined his chances of the Quokkette Award by praising them on the amount of makeup being worn, we discovered it would be cheaper to buy our own ground than hire a tugboat to transport us to our next tour destination, while Radio provided us with the full array of Captain Pugwash double entendre. Fascinating stuff, but with shore leave limited, we had a game to win.

    After eight overs in the sun, Faggie looked like he’d been carrying the Sherpas bags, so he decided to recover by keeping wicket for Leigh. The Driver also missed the game, something about a knee replacement and overexposure to KFC. That left a sizeable hole in our batting line up (Ed: because Quokkas that get second ball ducks are so hard to find), so in came Todd and Tugboat, who after initially battening down the hatches, cruised his way to a half century, harboured claims for man of the match by never letting the run rate drift, which set us on course to victory, (Ed: please stop) before he graciously retired to shore. There you go Radio, especially for you. 

    Herc and I actually opened and we made a confident start against some decent swing bowling, but I think Herc’s choice of shot must have been sponsored by Toyota (Ed: very subtle US political joke. That’s going to be a tough sell on here Seagull), and he therefore didn’t last long. Seagull looked in good nick before attempting a sweep shot he clearly has no idea how to play. Todd came in and provided able support to Tugboat, dispatching the ball to all parts, as per usual. Eventually though, he was caught on the boundary (Ed: now there’s a surprise) and it fell to the two opening bowlers to see us home. And they did so with relative ease and great assurance (Ed: perhaps they had probably been watching videos of the Hairdresser dancing to help calm the nerves) – the Professor demonstrating some nice stroke play and yet more fine striking from Teapot. 

    Yak sees us home

    In the end, thanks largely to Tugboat, it was a comfortable win for the Quokkas, although it must be noted that we did actually have 12 players, with Skip’s son Connor putting some of us to shame in the field. Nevertheless, we appear to have added some much needed talent and youth to side. The future prosperity of the Quokkas looks good. 



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