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’ [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQWIrE9xGes] 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