Hollybush CC 265-6 (Radio John 3-25) beat Quokkas CC 120 all out (Extras 34, Skip 25 n/o)
Welcome one and all to the long overdue Quokkas 2020 cricket season. Once again it has fallen to me to try and put into words the absolute festival of cricket that you will encounter should you ever have the fortune of being selected for the now world famous Quokkas cricket club. Unfortunately, before you get to that short paragraph in my match report, you will need to wade your way through my usual ramblings, moans and cultural suggestions. To help move things swiftly along I will get straight to the culture and it will only take up seven minutes of your time to listen to Angie by Shame from the Album Songs of Praise. Quite frankly, if you are not smiling to yourself by the end of this track then there is something wrong with you. [Ed: Let me guess, now for the moan?]
As someone that aspires to obtain Christopher McCandless-like solitude (but with better dietary choices), the lockdown has presented me with the perfect opportunity to be antisocially responsible. Being forced to remain holed-up in the People’s Republic of Southsea for months on end watching Tiger King [Ed: you really are a culture vulture Seagull], during a heatwave, without any guilt, has been somewhat of a revelation. Unfortunately, having survived the toilet roll Armageddon and of course COVID-19 (to date), these `good times’ have been somewhat tarnished by ineffectual efforts to distance myself from a sport-less social media. The vacuum has, in effect, brought, what can only be described as, the worst of mankind into my world and if I am honest its getting a little bit claustrophobic.
I have to say that I can’t thank Sarah Cooper enough, who, without which, I think hypertension was inventible. As for those of you protecting statues of slave traders, intent on telling the world that all lives matter, blaming 5G or Bill Gates for your ills, defending your right to not wear a mask, or just being a Karen, please, please, please just fuck off to somewhere like, I don’t know, Mos Eisely?
As you can probably tell, I didn’t `winter’ well. Three trips to the bottle bank a day tells its own story, but “I’m not pissed you know darling”. Thank god then that the clowns running our country into the ground are inclined to change policy at the merest hint of a celebrity bemoaning the lack of their favourite pastime on the `can do’ list. For that Michael Vaughan, we salute you sir, although somewhat reservedly after your recent outburst on Test Match Special. Describing the Quokkas as “ugly” is somewhat harsh and must surely have been aimed at our Australian friends, but having said that, perhaps he came to that conclusion after seeing us bat and bowl. Taking Sunday as an example, aside from some inspired off-spin bowling from Radio John, a nice leg cutter from Evil Dave and a well-timed leg glance by yours truly, everything else hurt the eyes.
Having been well beaten by Hollybush Cricket Club the previous weekend, the Quokkas were under no illusions at the size of the task before them, but entered the field in glorious sunshine and with a spring in their step having feasted on sausage sandwiches and curry sauce at Skips. Things started well, with Faggie, The Yak and the Kiwi David Boon using the absolutely terrible pitch to their advantage. Looking like a young Darius, or is it Wagner, Faggie led the attach well and beat the bat a number of times before earning himself a nice wicket from his efforts. As is so often the case, that proved to be a mistake and with a more competent batsman at the crease, the run rate steadily rose, with anything short of length dispatched to all parts.
It should be noted that the many minutes spent in the nets during preseason have not been completely wasted. The beamer and double bounce yorker both seem to have been perfected. I am currently marvelling at the way the scorer has managed to squeeze in so many boundaries, wides and no balls into the scorebook, although it has to be said that Evil Dave did restore some order after their number three batsman had retired having reached his century. Evil beat the bat several times, which inspired the Harpenden massif on the boundary to sledge the batsman with `more misses than Henry the eighth’. The crowds’ Muhmmed Ali impressions were infinitely better than our impersonations of cricketers.
Despite that, the Quokkas took advantage of the Hollybush generosity, or should I say pity, with Radio John using all of his 78 years’ experience to place the ball just out of the reach of the new batsman, before beautifully turning the ball back through the gate to claim two wickets in two balls. Although the hattrick ball was also decent and drew a loose shot, it sadly wasn’t to be. However, on a day spent mostly retrieving balls from the boundary and beyond, Radio’s spell at least made us feel like we were in the game. A completely one sided game of course, with the home team eventually reaching 265 from their 35 overs, but a game nevertheless. Let’s not forget we’ve been here before, and lost, and we can do it again.
During tea, Herc desperately searched for a Domaine Servin Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses 2018, whilst we pondered whether extras top the Quokkas batting averages, if E numbers really have been taken out of fizzy pop and the year of Roger Roger’s England shirt (not at all Village mate – 2007-2009 by the way). Just the kind of intense conversation and deep thinking needed to prepare the Quokkas for the long innings ahead.
As so often is the case, in reply, things started badly, losing two wickets before troubling the scorer, tailed off in the middle with numerous batsman failing to hit a ball never mind double figures, and the less said about the end, which seemed to take bloody ages, the better. I guess the highlight of the innings was the four runs scored by the off stump, as Matt took leaving to a whole new level. Roger-Roger, Skip and Evil Dave did provide us with some respectability at the end, but when extras is your top scorer, you know you are in trouble.
To be fair, this was a very challenging pitch that required batsman to consider the need to protect both teeth and ankles from the same length delivery. Of course it was the same pitch for both sides, but you see, they had the advantage of having bowlers who could actually bowl and batsman that could bat. Not fair really. I blame Carole Baskin.
On a personal level I scored 8, bowled two overs for 24 and on the way home I broke down – What a day to give up sniffing glue. See you next week.