• Quokkas CC 143 all out (Garlic Bread 21) beat Wantage & Grove CC 105 all out (Evil Dave 3-30, Ches 3-19, Garlic Bread 2-7)

    I made the ultimate sacrifice earlier in the year when turning down a ticket to watch Saints in the FA Cup Semi-final at Wembley, in favour of accompany Mrs Ches on a long-planned pilgrimage to South Wales. For someone who got his first season ticket in 1984 and only seen my team play twice at Wembley since, you’d imagine that it was a very tough call. In actual fact, my longstanding love of the game has diminished somewhat in recent years – the Southampton football business’ (I can’t bring myself to call it a Club any more) decision to charge fans to park their cars in the empty stadium car park when buying tickets or travelling on supporters’ buses to away games was the final straw, so it wasn’t quite as painful as you might think.

    DSC_0431And I was glad that I did join the out-laws on a trip down memory lane, otherwise I wouldn’t have discovered that my father in-law [no, I have got married Skip, it’s just easier for the story] had represented the Navy against Yorkshire, Boycott and all, whilst stationed in Gibraltar. Or that his family home in Caerleon sat immediately above a yet to be discovered Roman fortress and accompanying baths. The house itself is still standing, but the back garden is now an impressive museum housing frigidarium, tepidarium, caldarium and natation once used by the Second Augustan Legio in AD 75.

    OK, so Caerleon doesn’t have the ornate mosaics of the lavish Fishbourne Roman Palace in my neighbouring town of Chichester, but we are talking about one of only three permanent homes for the Roman army in Britain and a damn sight more impressive than the old brick works my house apparently sits above. What an amazing discovery, the father in-law had his suspicions of course (was it the cassis and gladius poking out of the flower beds that gave the game away Ron?), but then again, these Roman artefacts seem to unveil themselves in all manner of strange places. You will probably all be aware of the Roman bath house discovered under the Carlisle Cricket club when rebuilding the cricket pavilion.

    IMG-20180617-WA0000Wantage, more famous for being the birthplace of Alfred the Great, was itself a small Roman settlement, with impressive tower granaries probably used to store grain before being taken as taxes to feed the Roman army. Whether there is an undiscovered amphitheatre hidden under their cricket square, I am unsure, but with the club always offering Quokkas a tea fit for Emperor Hadrian himself, it was certainly worth a trip just in case.

    On arrival at the ground there were no obvious signs of aureus lying in the outfield, but it appeared that Skip had unearthed some gems, with The Juggler making his first appearance on a Sunday and the reappearance of Garlic Bread and Jerry the Grey, both having been buried under schoolwork for the previous two years. These fresh-faced gladiators were joined by the usual fossils such as myself, Evil Dave and Slick, creating a formidable side, if perhaps light on numbers.

    With half of the team lost somewhere near Oxford, perhaps attempting to find the North Leigh Roman Villa, we took the obvious decision to bat. The Yak and Faggie were sent in, resuming their undefeated partnership, that saw us to victory in the corresponding fixture last season. They set off at a tremendous rate again, looking both assured in defence and ferocious in attack. Sadly, Faggie was out 93 short of another fabulous century, but with some lusty blows from The Yak it was certainly a decent start.

    From then on, the runs continued to flow, with Slick, The Juggler and Evil Dave hammering balls to the boundary, only interrupted by those damn straight wicket taking balls. A fine spinner at one end then turned the screw, bamboozling all but Garlic Bread, who displayed a wonderful straight bat,  testudo-type defence and some quality cricket shots. The Skip looked to have recovered from his UDI (unidentified drinking injury) that kept him out of the first game, but showed every one of his 43 hard years, when running three consecutive twos. When he was eventually bowled around his legs, our total looked a little short, but with Jerry the Grey and Dave, the Wantage Chairman, he had seen us to a defendable 143 all out.

    DSC_0493Over the most wonderful of teas (gin jelly and chocolate orange marble cake being just two of the highlights) we pondered whether we really wanted England to win the World cup thereby creating the possibility of Henderson, Lingard and Deli Ali being handed knighthoods, whether the sex dolls business requires a sex establishment licence if they provide a `try before you buy’ offer, and why there is such intense scrutiny of meat content in sausages but a rather lassie fait attitude towards the mini cocktail versions? Gripping stuff, but with a Brazil World Cup game later that evening, we have a batting line up to conquer.

    Evil Dave, now located a pilum’s throw from Verulamium, opened the bowling. After his usual slow first delivery, he found equal amounts of rhythm and venom to help garner three crucial wickets, helped by some tidy catching in the field. At the other end, Garlic Bread, who I would guess spends much of his spare time finding tesserae, pot sherds and tiles near to the Roman trackways passing through Harpenden, bowled a tremendous spell. Despite already steaming in, he was encouraged, after very ball, to bowl “faster” and “faster” by Skip. He duly obliged, much to Slick’s chagrin behind the stumps, who took several for the team, including one in the face. Not to be outdone, The Juggler decided to trap a ball headed to the boundary with his mouth and Evil Dave swallow dived onto the concrete-like square attempting an impossible catch.

    Those positioned in the slips were in equal danger of injury due to the pace of the bowling and the varied bounce. One fast, full length delivery from Garlic Bread caught an edge that flew through the cordon at lightning speed (well that’s my excuse). My failure to grab it brought unsympathetic encouragement from The Yak, which brought a wry smile from Skip. However, further breakthroughs were not long coming, with Jerry the Grey finding a troubling length immediately and grabbing himself a well-deserved wicket.

    We were on top, but with the fine spinner revealing himself to be equally competent with the bat, the game was far from over. He calmly carved several balls to the boundary and intelligently picked gaps in the field. Just as it looked like the tide had turned he was triggered by his own umpire from another beauty from Garlic Bread.

    stumpsWith our opponents now facing a proverbial `pollice verso’, Skip turned to very slow bowling to ease the pressure. After an inauspicious start, I borrowed a ball from The Egg’s back catalogue, which managed to eek out the stubborn opener, thanks to a fine catch from Evil Dave. I then claimed, with huge exuberance, the prize wicket of the 13-year old that had clean bowled me earlier. My overenthusiastic appeal for leg before wicket (in the end unrequired because he was bowled) may have been mistaken for celebration, but I feel no shame whatsoever [he’s out, it’s in the book and there’s no `under 13’s’ Asterix on the Quokka top trump cards that I’m aware of].

    The Yak, held back because he is just too damn good at cleaning up the tail, was eventually brought on to bowl. At the other end, a bruised Juggler, showed me what spin bowling is really meant to look like. Predictably they took the remaining wickets in emphatic manner, both unplayable, as always.

    With another gladiatorial contest over, the quorum of Quokkas decided to celebrate the win with a few cerevisiae in the glorious late afternoon sun and discussed ways in which we could somehow put a team out to challenge the Leigh empire next week. That is what a `club’ is all about.
    Chiao bella.

  • Wantage&Gove CC 133 (Skip 4/12, Ches 3/35) lose to Quokkas CC 134 for 0 (Faggy 78no, Yak 28no) by 10 wickets

    starwars2

    Despite the tremendous victory for the Quokkas in the opening game of the season, my mind wasn’t really on cricket last week. Instead it was focused on creating a fancy dress costume for my nephews Star Wars-themed 7th birthday party. In all honesty, I’m not one for fancy dress. All that effort for a two second acknowledgement that you indeed are dressed something like a famous person or character is not for me. However, a few years ago I did seriously consider entering the birdman challenge dressed as Wedge Antilles and jumping off the end of the Worthing pier in a Papiermâché X-wing fighter. I came to my senses of course, but not before Mrs Ches [who as I recall seemed very keen to see me to risk my neck for her amusement] had acquired an orange boiler suit and motorcycle helmet from ebay, which would form the basis for that costume. Thus, I was already half way there with an outfit, just the chest box, strapping, flight vest and helmet decals to focus my attention on.

    Pull out wedge, you're not doing any good back there

    Pull out wedge, you’re not doing any good back there

    As you can see I looked a right plumb, but having been run ragged by a bunch of seven-year old Jar Jar Binks, the movie was still very much on my mind as I travelled up north (as us members of the Peoples Republic of Southsea refer to Oxford) for the second match of the season. My car doesn’t quite make the leap to hyperspace these days, so on the long journey to Wantage I started to ponder whether there were any similarities between the Star Wars characters and the current Quokkas – I know I moan like C3PO and take your pick which sith Evil Dave best mirrors.

    I also wondered if the match themselves ever bore any resemblance to the original storyline. I’m not convinced, but some of the exchanges during matches do resonate. You be the judge.

     

    Anyway, I’ve got ahead of myself here. The night before the game Skip was still desperately trying to put a team together. Having scored 40 not out last week and looking like a Jedi with the bat, Jordan was his first target.

    Skip: You must learn the ways of the Quokkas and come with me to Wantage.

    Jordan: Wantage? I’m not going to Wantage. I’ve got to go home. It’s late, I’m in for it as it is.

    Skip: I need your help, Jordan. We need your help. I’m getting too old for this sort of thing.

    Jordan: I can’t get involved! I’ve got work to do! It’s not that I like Londinium. I hate it! But there’s nothing I can do about it right now. It’s such a long way from here.

    Skip: That’s Binman talking. Learn about the Quokkas, Jordan.

    Jordan: Look, I can go as far as Oxford. You can get a lift there to Wantage or wherever you’re going.

    Skip: You must do what you feel is right, of course.

    After some reflection and on learning that he had missed the family bar-b-q, Jordan gave Skip some good news.

    Jordan: OK, I want to come with you to Wantage. There’s nothing here for me now. I want to learn the ways of the Quokkas.

    Buoyed by this success, Skip then tried to add to his numbers, but could only get voicemail. Unfortunately, he also seemed to have got the wrong number.

    Skip: Help me Adrian Chesney. You’re my only hope.

    Tom: What is that?

    Belinda: Skip says he’s after Adrian Chesney, a resident of these parts. And it’s a private message for him. Quite frankly, sir I don’t know what he’s talking about.

    Tom: Well, I don’t know anyone named Adrian, but Ches lives out beyond Southsea dunes. He’s kind of a strange old hermit.

    Tom thought it wise to mention the call to Ches, in case the message was for him.

    Tom: Ches, I found this message. It for an Adrian Chesney. Is he a relative of yours? Do you know who he’s talking about?

    Ches: Adrian Chesney… Adrian? Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time… a long time.

    Tom: I think Skip knew him. He said he was dead.

    Ches: Oh, he’s not dead, not… not yet.

    Tom: You know him!

    Ches: Well of course, of course I know him. He’s me. I haven’t gone by the name Adrian since oh, before you were born.

    Tom: Then the message does belong to you.

    Ches: Don’t seem to remember ever owning a message. Very interesting…

    On hearing that Skip was chasing players, Tom decided to call him and let him know that he might not be available in the coming weeks.

    Tom: Skip, I think those new Quokkas you have found are going to work out fine. In fact, I, uh, was also thinking about our agreement about me playing another season. And if these new players do work out, I want to transmit my application to the US this year.

    Skip: You mean the next tour before the Quokka Ashes?

    Tom: Sure, there’re more than enough players.

    Skip: The Quokka Ashes is when I need you the most. Only one more season. Your Dad will make enough on the harvest, so will be able to hire some more hands. And then you can go back to the US next year.

    Skip: You must understand I need you here, Tom.

    Tom: But it’s a whole ‘nother year.

    Skip: Look, it’s only one more season.

    Belinda: Where you off to Tom?

    Tom: It looks like I’m going nowhere. I have to finish cleaning those whites.

    With time running out, Skip’s recruitment drive for the game required some tough bargaining, so he took Evil Dave with him to the Mos Eisley cantina to try and get a bowler.

    Skip: Australia. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.

    Dave: Do you really think we’re going to find a bowler here that’ll bowl out Wantage?

    Skip: Well, most of the best bowlers can be found here. Only watch your step. This place can be a little rough.

    Faggie: I’m `Millennium’ Fagberg. Dave here tells me you’re looking for a bowler to take to Wantage.

    Skip: Yes, indeed. If you’re a fast bowler.

    Faggie: Fast bowler? You’ve never heard of Millenium Fagberg?

    Skip: Should I have?

    Faggie: I’m a left armer that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs! I’ve outpaced T20 batsman, not the local bulk-cruisers, like Kanna mind you. I’m talking about the Special K’s now. I’m fast enough for you, old man. What’s our team like?

    Skip: Only passengers. Myself, Evil Dave, two bats, and no questions asked.

    Faggie: What is it? Some kind of local team?

    Skip: Let’s just say we’d like to avoid an innings defeat.

    Faggie: Well, that’s the trick, isn’t it? And it’s going to cost you something extra. I want to open the batting and bowling.

    Skip: Batting and bowling? We could almost hire our own team for that!

    Faggie: But who’s going to captain it, kid! You?

    Dave: You bet I could. I’m not such a bad all-rounder myself! We don’t have to sit here and listen…

    Skip: We can give you five overs, plus a decision on opening the batting when we reach Wantage.

    Faggie: Okay. You guys got yourself a player.

    Faggie: Batting and bowling. Those guys must really be desperate. This could really save my neck after two T20 golden ducks in a row.

    Kanna: Going somewhere, Faggie?

    Faggie: Yes, Kanna. As a matter of fact, I was just going to see Locky. Tell him I’ll get his runs.

    Kanna: It’s too late. You should have scored some runs when you had the chance. Every bowler in Londinium will be looking for you now. I’m lucky I found you first.

    Faggie: Yeah, but this time I’ll get the runs.

    Kanna: Locky’s through with you. He has no time for all-rounders who give up their wicket the first ball from an octopus bowler.

    Faggie: Even I get out sometimes. Do you think I had a choice?

    Kanna: You can tell that to Locky. He may only take your place.

    Faggie: Over my dead body.

    Kanna: That’s the idea. I’ve been looking forward to bowling you out you for a long time.

    Faggie: Yes, I’ll bet you have…

    On the day of the match Skip, Evil Dave and Faggie were travelling to the ground together, but Dave was having a few problems with his old R2D2GPS system.

    Dave: “Where are you going? Well, I’m not going that way. It’s much too rocky. This way is much easier. What makes you think the ground is over there? Don’t get technical with me. No more adventures. I’m not going that way. That malfunctioning little twerp. This is all his fault! He tricked me into going this way, but he’ll do no better. I should have known better than to trust the logic of a half-sized thermocapsulary dehousing assister…”

    In fact, they were not only running late, but they were lost.

    Dave: What the…? Aw, we’ve come off the motorway into a contraflow. Some kind of diversion. It’s not on any of the charts.

    Skip: What’s going on?

    Dave: Our position is correct, except… no, Wantage!

    Skip: What do you mean? Where is it?

    Dave: That’s what I’m trying to tell you, kid. It ain’t there.

    Dave decided to call the Wantage captain Pirate Steve, to see if he could get some directions. However, the thought of three Quokka bowlers being removed from the attack meant he was slightly hesitant.

    Dave: Don’t play games with me Pirate Steve. I want to know where your ground is. I’ve lost the directions. Now you are my only link to find the ground.

    Skip: Steve will die before he tells you anything.

    Dave: Leave that to me.

    Faggie: Evil Dave, the directions are not aboard this car.        

    Skip: Pirate Steve must have hidden the directions. Call Ches. See to it personally Evil Dave. There’ll be no one to stop us this time.

    Dave: Until the Quokkas are fully operational we are vulnerable. Wantage are too well equipped. They’re more dangerous than you realise. And what of Pirate Steve? If he has obtained a complete technical readout of our batting line up, it is possible, however unlikely, that they might find a weakness and exploit it.

    Skip: Any attack made by Wantage against the Quokkas would be a useless gesture, no matter what technical data they’ve obtained. This team is now the ultimate power in the universe. I suggest we use it!

    Dave: Don’t be too proud of this team you’ve constructed. The ability to get opening batsman out is insignificant next to the power of the Wantage’s bowling attack.

    Skip: Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways, Evil Dave. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up a five-wicket haul, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the Wantage ground…

    Dave: I find your lack of faith disturbing.

    Unlike the guys from Harpenden, I found the ground easily and just as I arrived Tom pulled up next to me in his old Peugeot with Conan and Jordan.

     Ches: You came in that thing? You’re braver than I thought.

    Tom mentioned that my attendance must mean that I received Skips message. I hadn’t, but when I checked my phone I found it:

    Skip: Ches, years ago you played well in the Quokkas Ashes. Now I beg you to help us in his struggle against Wantage. I have placed information vital to the survival of the Quokkas batsman into the kit bag. You must see this bag safely delivered to Wantage. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Adrian Chesney, you’re my only hope.

    Whilst waiting for the others to arrive, I did my best to keep the true identity of the Quokkas hidden from our latest recruit Jordan. After somehow winning a game last week, we didn’t want to ruin that façade.

    Jordan: How long have you had those whites?

    Tom: About four or five seasons.

    Ches: They’re for sale if you want them.

    Jordan: Let me see the Quokkas scorebook.

    Ches: You don’t need to see the Quokkas scorebook.

    Jordan: I don’t need to see the Quokkas scorebook.

    Ches: These are not the Quokkas ties you’re voting for.

    Jordan: These are not the Quokkas ties I’m voting for.

    Ches: He can go mark his run up.

    Jordan: You can go mark your run up.

    As you recall it was a very hot day on Sunday, so Conan and Tom decided to wet their whistles in the Wantage clubhouse whilst we waited.

    Wantage bartender: We don’t serve their kind here!

    Tom: What?

    Wantage bartender: Your Australians. They’ll have to wait outside. We don’t want them here.

    Tom: Listen Conan, why don’t you wait outside. We don’t want any trouble.

    Wantage man at the bar: He doesn’t like you. I don’t like you either. We’re wanted men. I have the death sentence in five counties.

    Conan: I’ll be careful.

    Wantage bartender: You’ll be dead.

    Tom: This little Bow Tie Killer isn’t worth the effort. Come let me buy you something…

    With the match start time rapidly approaching, only myself, Matt, Tom, Jordan and Conan had arrived at the ground. Somewhat shorthanded, we wondered if we should get changed and go out and do the toss.

    Jordan: Is there anything we can do?

    Tom: Well, not unless you can alter time, speed up the harvest, or bowl at both ends

    Jordan: I don’t think so, sir. I’m only a batsman and not very knowledgeable about such things. Not in this country, anyway. As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure which country I’m in.

    Conan: Well, if there’s a bright centre to the World, you’re in the country that it’s farthest from.

    Jordan: I see, sir.

    Their skipper popped his round the dressing room door. We suggested Tom do the toss, but we had to decide if we would bat or field first if he won it.

    Tom: Can you open the batting? We’ve got to get out there before the Wantage return.

    Matt: I don’t think I can make it. It’s too hot. You go on, Master Tom. There’s no sense in you risking yourself on my account. I’m done for.

    Tom: No, you’re not. What kind of talk is that?

    Ches: Robin. Robin Bradley. Boy, am I glad to see you!

    The Harpenden party had arrived, just I the nick of time.

    Skip: Where’s the toilet:toilet

    Matt: Head for that small moon.

    Skip: That’s no moon…It’s an air vent.

    Ches: I have a very bad feeling about this.

    Skip: Pirate Steve, before we beat you today I would like you to be my guest in the middle at a tossing ceremony that will make this game operational.

    Pirate Steve: The more you tighten your grip, Skip, the more chances will slip through your fingers.

    Skip: Not after we demonstrate the power of this team. In a way, you have determined the choice of the batsman that’ll be destroyed first. Since you are reluctant to provide us with a batting line up, I have chosen to test this teams destructive power… on your opening partnership.

    Pirate Steve: No! We have no regular opening batsman. You can’t possibly…

    Skip: You would prefer another target? A middle order batsman perhaps? Then name the openers.

    Dave: I grow tired of asking this. So, it’ll be the last time. What is your batting line up?

    Pirate Steve: Fazal and Porter to open, with Bramley in at 3…

    Dave: There. You see Skip, Steve can be reasonable.

    Dave:  Continue with the game. You may open the bowling when ready.

    Pirate Steve: What?

    Dave: You’re far too trusting. Your openers are too good to make an effective demonstration. But don’t worry. We will deal with your tail end soon enough.

    Before starting we get some quick fielding practice in and Matt turns his arm over a few times watched by fellow `spinner’ Ches.

    Faggie: Hokey religions and ancient spin bowlers are no match for a good fast bowler in your side, kid.

    Matt: You don’t believe in Legspinners, do you?

    Faggie: Kid, I’ve bowled from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful legspinner controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. It’s all a lot of Googlies and nonsense.

    Faggie: I call it luck.

    Ches: In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck, apart from when you take a wicket.

    Faggie: Look, practicing in the nets is one thing. Going up against real batsman in the middle? That’s something else.

    Matt: You know, I did feel something. I could almost get some spin.

    Ches: That’s good. You have taken your first step into the larger world of legspin.

    Just before we went out to bowl Skip provided the perfect team talk.

    Skip: The run up will not be easy. You are required to manoeuvre the ball straight down the corridor of uncertainty and skim the surface on a decent length. The target area is just outside off stump. A precise delivery will start a chain reaction which should destroy their entire batting line up. Only a precise delivery will set up the chain reaction. The batsman has a ray-shield-like defence, so you’ll have to use a googlie.

    Tom: That’s an impossible delivery, even for a Quokka.

    Ches: It’s not impossible. I used to bull’s-eye womp rats in my T-sixteen back home. They’re not much bigger than a stump.

    Skip decided to open the bowling with Evil Dave and Faggie, who both charged in under a blazing hot sun.

    Dave: I’ve been waiting for you, Pirate Steve. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the batsman; now I am the master bowler.

    Pirate Steve: Only a master of evil, Dave.

    Dave: Your powers are weak, old man.

    Pirate Steve: You can’t win, Evil Dave. If you bowl me out, we shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

    Pirate Steve to Conan: Aren’t you a little short to be a Quokkas?

    As is so often the case Faggie beat the bat often, but invariably was nowhere near the stumps.

    Skip: If he bowls as fast as he’s boasting, we ought to do well.

    Tom: What a piece of junk. Pitch it up.

    Faggie: I may not look like much, but I’ve got it where it counts, kid.

    Skip: Listen Faggie. I don’t know who you are, or where you came from, but from now on, you need to bowl straight. Okay?

    Faggie: Look, your worshipfulness, let’s get one thing straight. I take orders from one person. Me.

    Matt: Why don’t you outpace them? I thought you said you were fast.

    Faggie: Watch your mouth, kid, or you’re going to find yourself walking home.

    Ches: How long before we can take you off?

    Faggie: It’ll take a few overs before the batsmen start coordinating the ball to the boundary.

    Tom: Are you kidding? At the rate they’re scoring?

    Faggie: Bowling fast isn’t like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations the ball could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova and that’d end your trip to Wantage real quick, wouldn’t it?

    Tom: What’s the problem?

    Faggie: We’re losing our ring of steel. Go strap yourself in, I’m about to be taken off and Ches is first change!

    Both Quokkas toil away in the searing heat, Faggie eventually getting his reward with a couple of wickets, but as their number 4 made his way to 50, Dave started to tire.

    Dave: This is ridiculous. Even if I could get some bounce, I’d never get past the outside edge.

    Skip: Leave that to me.

    Faggie: Damn fool. I knew that you were going to say that.

    Skip: Who’s the more foolish… the fool or the fool who follows him?

    Ches: The number 4 bat has a lot of force with him.

    Skip: You’re right, he must not be allowed to get away.

    Ches: Escape is not his plan. I must face him alone.

    Skip: OK next over this end Ches?

    Ches: This is not going to work.

    Skip: Why didn’t you say so before?

    Ches: I did say so before. I have a very bad feeling about this.

    As the batsman start to get away and we labour in the field, mercilessly its drinks, whereupon Conan makes an important discovery.

    Conan: We found the score book, sir.

    Skip: Take a look. We should be able to see their entire season showing us their strengths and weaknesses.

    Conan: I’ve found the main batsman that’s holding their team together. I’ll try to make the precise location in the batting line up. Their number 4 has every shot in the book hitting the ball to seven locations. A slower ball with turn bowled just outside off stump will allow the batsman to leave.

    Skip decided to make a double change, bringing both me and himself on. After I was hit for a few fours and a six, the ball starts to turn a little and a double bounce yorker has the batter in all sorts of trouble.

    Faggie: What the hell are you doing?

    Ches: Somebody has to save our skins.

    An appeal for no reason whatsoever is followed by a ball tossed up that the number 4 bat fails to read. Although the ball disappears high into the sky, Jordan makes a terrific diving catch. A pivotal wicket perhaps.

    Faggie: If we can just avoid any more of Skip’s advice, we ought to be able to get them out here.

    As is so often the case, one wicket brings another and Skips full and straight deliveries rip through our opponents’ middle order. With seven wickets taken by Skip and myself the damage has been done and Matt and Jordan are brought on to clean up the tail.

    Jordan: I’ve analysed their attack sir and there is a danger. Should I remove the slip?

    Skip: Evacuate? In out moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances!

    wantage_teaAfter one or two looseners, Jordan then found his range enabling him to grab the last wicket with a straight full pitched delivery. Our opponents have managed to score 133.  Possibly the finest tea this side of Totooine (pavlova, mozzarella and cherry tomatoes on sticks, vodka jellies and the best chocolate cake ever tasted) gives us the time to discuss boat trips to Rottnest Island, Romanian `discotheques’ and inadequate father days. Fascinating stuff, but with the alcoholic punch all but gone we must get out to the middle to bat.

    Skip: “Tom, open the batting will you. I want those runs knocked off before dinner.”

    Tom: “Awww Skip, but I was going into Toshi Station to pick up some power converters…”

    Jordan: Tom’s just not a cricketer Skip. He has too much of a farmer in him. 

    Tom is joined in the middle by Faggie, both resplendent in the new man-size Quokka baggy caps. They both start well against some very accurate spin bowling and pacey cutters. Tom keeps out several Yorkers, whilst Faggie plays a measured game, by his standards, offering only the odd half chance. Eventually as the bowlers tire, Faggie starts to open up his shoulders, carving the ball to all parts of the ground.

    Faggie: “Not a bad bit of batting, huh? You know, sometimes I even amaze myself.”

    Tom: “Nice kid, but don’t get cocky”

    Having seen off the opening bowlers with a series of fine cuts and drives, the Wantage skipper turned to his slower bowlers. A young lady at the far end was immediately underestimated by Faggie, who, having failed to get to the pitch of the ball, looped an aimless shot high into the midwicket area. Fortunately, it fell just out of reach of any fielder. 

    Faggie: “Everything is under control. Situation normal.

    Tom: “What happened”

    Faggie: “Uh… had a slight bat malfunction. But, uh, everything’s perfectly all right now. I’m fine. We’re all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?”

    Tom: “Conan’s padding up”

    Faggie: “Uh, uh, negative. We had a talent leak here now. Give us a few minutes to lock it down. Large leak… very dangerous.

    That minor scare apart, the home side failed to trouble either batsman and Faggie continued to pile on the runs, breaking the clubhouse TV arial with a six. Several well-timed fours through midwicket see the scoreboard race along, with Tom adding to the home team’s woes with a brilliantly timed four to the third man boundary. Two further bowling changes fail to break up the partnership, which now threatens to smash all Quokka records. With just 3 needed it fell to Faggie to hit the winning boundary.

    WantagepitchWe had reached out target in just 18.1 overs without losing a wicket. The successful batsman were of course met with the usual Quokkas congratulations as they left the field.

    Skip: Batting paradise. It’s the only explanation for the ease of our victory.

    Faggie: Easy… you call that easy?

    So, two games into the season and having won both handsomely the Quokkas can feel pretty content with their efforts. On the long drive home, I reflected on the day’s action, but struggled to find any correlation with the Star Wars film. Perhaps Quokkas matches have more in common with the Raiders of the lost ark, Airplane or Goodfellas. I’m not sure. Certainly, some food for thought there. Until the next episode…

    Ches

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  • IMG_0262_Fotor

    Au Revoir

    Mr Saucisson’s last game for The Quokkas ended in defeat despite a superb individual bowling performance.

    After batting first, none of the Quokkas made much headway with willow in hand. Only Fruity (29) and Faggy (24) troubling the Wantage bowlers in a solid mid order partnership that ended when Faggy implemented “Plan F” and ran-out Fruity when he was well set.

    None of the lower order contributed much – props must go to Kev however for a solid crease occupying 1 – as Tweaky from Wantage recorded innings figures of 3/8.

    Defending 116 was never going to be easy, but Mr Saucisson gave it his best shot knowing it was his last in the tight maroon. Bowling 7 overs for 6 runs and taking 3 wickets rightly earned him the B&F points for the game and a fitting send off. Faggy claiming the other scalp to leave Wantage 35/4 and us in with a sniff.

    Sadly the other Quokka bowlers couldn’t replicate this success and despite Skip rotating the bowlers in the search for wickets, the total was just too little and Wantage ran out easy victors.

    So farewell to Mr Saucisson who will be much missed for his accurate fast/medium bowling and charcuterie selection

   

Recent Comments

  • Strong.
  • Proper swing bowling that was. Pitch it up.
  • Fabulous article which made us smile in the Spanish sunshine...
  • You forgot to mention Harry getting to bowl an over aswell. ...
  • Please see point 5.