Harpenden Dolphins 89 all out (Garlic Bread 2-17, Ray 2-7, Jerry 2-12) lost to Quokkas 92 for 3 (Jordan 40 n.o. )
In quantum mechanics, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is any of a variety of mathematical inequalities asserting a fundamental limit to the precision with which certain pairs of physical properties of a particle, known as complementary variables, such as position x and momentum p, can be known. What is certain about a Quokka match that is proceeded by an evening with Skip, is that I will have similar levels of tiredness to that of a parent coping with teething or a cattle class traveller making his way to New Zealand. And this, the first game of the 2017 season, was no different. The Saturday started with a few beers in the glorious sunshine listening to the Aussies being taken to the absolute cleaners, before rolling smoothly into Sunday morning drinking Glayva and watching Lee Griffith become famous for something other than his ludicrous hairline. Luckily though, a gaggle of young children keen to learn the fine art of leg spin ensured that my lie in was brief. After three showers to remove the smell of smoke, from Skips fire-pit, from my pores, we are ready to rock and roll.
Normally, when it comes to the fundamental limits of the Quokkas bowling a cork particle covered in leather, there doesn’t tend to be much precision, but there is a hell of a lot of complementary variables. But this wasn’t you average opening day of the season type affair, with us chasing the ball to the boundary all day before showing we are unsure which end of the bat to hold. It was different, a complete role reverse in fact, and felt something akin to one of those films where there is a lightning storm overnight and you wake up in the body of another person. Actually, never mind Freaky Friday, this was more along the lines of Skip finding a Zoltar machine, pulling the power lead out and wishing for an opening game victory. The result of that wish was the Quokkas following the Nerdlucks lead by purloining talent from somewhere (perhaps the Aussie ODI side, if their display on Saturday was anything to go by), which enabled us to bowl the opposition out for 89 before knocking them off with ease within 18 overs.
It was as an assured display and comprehensive a victory as you will ever likely to witness in the history of the Quokkas…of that I am certain. Think England destroying the Aussies in the ICC Trophy in June 2017 (I had better mention that here in case you missed the reference to it in the previous paragraph. And if you missed the match itself, here’s some Aggers commentary: “Smash…oh I say, that one has gone into outer space…it’s actually into the third tier…the Aussies are getting some tremendous tap here from the English batsman). Quite simply the Quokkas were like, well, the Quokkas T:20 team, only longer in the tooth, better looking (in my case) and slightly more interested in the type of cake being served at tea (Mr Kipling’s Country Slices made a rare outing if you were interested).
On a pitch offering a little pace and varying bounce, Garlic Bread prospered early on, beating the bat continuously, but without success until Bow Tie Killer provided the complementary variable to the pair. When you think of Quokka reactions in the field, the formation of rust springs to mind, but fuelled by a bar-b-q hosted by our very own Al `Skip’ Czervik, Conan showed the reaction time of an explosion to snaffle one of the finest catches you will see (or miss if you blinked) all summer. Not to be outdone Skip grabbed an absolute beauty at first slip, thankful at completely ignoring Roger-Roger’s observation, from his dreadful position at long on, that the slip cordon was too deep.
At the other end, Tom the Yak delighted Skip with an almost metronomic display of precision bowling that kept the opponents star batsman away from the strike and the run rate below two an over. We’ve been here before though, well maybe not the less than two an over part, the opening spell is decent, but with a change of bowling the accuracy, velocity and certainty then emulates the Seneca Effect. Jerry, one of several debutants and the latest Quokka to be born this side of the millennium had other ideas, overcoming his initial struggle with the 1-in-3 climb to the crease to keep up the momentum. Having accepted some words of wisdom from Skip, hopefully on the merits of avoiding leaving black socks in washing machine rather than tips on fashion or how to bowl, he claimed a pair of wickets, thanks in part, to a remarkable grab, at the second attempt, by Hairdresser.
At the other end, Ray (another debutant) came thundering down the hill to put the fear of god into the Harpenden batsman. As you all know, the quality of a Quokka is not measured in talent alone, which is just as well as we don’t have anyone that knows how to use a micrometer, but here we are graced with one of the most self-effacing cricketers you are ever likely to meet. “I used to bowl the odd over” proved to be somewhat of an understatement. A lack of whites often lulls you into a false sense of security, but as anyone familiar with the Lagrange–d’Alembert principle will know, when you have acceleration and a small mass bowled with huge force, you get a delivery that whistles past a batsman’s ear. As you can guess, his efforts didn’t go unrewarded, taking a brace before Skip offered his opponents some much needed respite.
It wasn’t all about velocity I might add. There is no finer compliment for a slow bowler than being described as “a spinner” by your opponent, even one so obviously unqualified to make that distinction. But filling in for The Egg, Matt offered some excellent flight and a certain degree of uncertainty to trouble both batsman and grab a wicket of his own. The last time we saw Hairdresser he was performing post-modern expressionist dance routines with a black leather belt tied round his neck (Ed: thanks Ches, it’s taken me until now to get that terrible picture out of my head), but having spent the morning bowling beamers at his three young daughters, he instantly reaped the benefit by clean bowling their number 9 with his first delivery. Roger-Roger, resplendent in half mast trousers and secret service sunglasses, presumably to prevent blindness from his colourful footware, cleaned up the tail, leaving the home team with just 89 to defend.
We spent tea arguing the merits of emu burgers, mulling over leylandii arboriculture and discussing the need for soundproofing in caravan toilet walls. Fascinating stuff, but as some of us are losing hair by the hour these days, we need to press on. Jordan our debutant Aussie (they’re the ones that lost to England on Saturday) and Hairdresser are thrust into the middle to see us home. And it was looking very much that way until the fine opening stand was broken by Hairdressers’ inability to ground his bat, or run fast, or call, or make a half decent decision about when to run or not. It did little to stop the flow of runs as Jordan hit the ball repetitively to the boundary with some genuine cricket shots (probably got some tips from the England batsman on Saturday). We did wander whether the playing down of his ability during the pre-game meat fest was a ruse. “Not played cricket since school”, doesn’t quite have the same meaning if, as we discovered, you are employed as a school teacher (probably of cricket).
For a New York Second, I did manage to make it look like Jordan wasn’t a ringer, but, so excited at getting the ball off the square, I decided to dance down the wicket like a man that knew what he was doing, only to discover he was mistaken. It mattered not, as Conan emulated his English ODI batting heroes (did I mention the crushing defeat of the Aussies the previous day?) by smashing inferior bowling to the boundary, shortly before emulating the South African’s running between the wickets. It therefore fell to Roger-Roger, who promised not to leave anything in the dressing room, to see us home. And he did just that, demonstrating a fantastic eye and some unorthodox footwork when carving the bowling through midwicket and hitting the winning runs via a lofted drive over long on.
A great start to the season and a terrific weekend in Harpenden, which is perhaps why I am struggling this morning to write an article for my client about `uncertainty analysis’, but I’m sure, no, I’m certain I will find some inspiration from somewhere.