• Quokkas 152-2 (Skip 57n/o, Faggie 46, Arunev 29) beat Salix 129-9 (Driver 2-18, Evil Dave 2-33) 

    Yes I am aware of the Sharknado dynasty and yes I know half the country voted for Brexshit, but when a Virgin media outage interrupted the outstanding movie `The Father’, forcing me to sample live TV for the first time in years, I didn’t expect `Eaten by an Escalator’ to be the standard of prime time TV entertainment needed to keep remote control of the masses these days. Culture may reflect society, but what the hell has happened to this country? Don’t answer that.

    I’ve completely lost touch with terrestrial TV. Multiple on demand subscriptions are enabling me to work my way through all 579 Oscar Best film nominees, which I aim to complete before the lockdown comes to an end. On the whole it has been an enjoyable experience, but I have to say, unlike Blackadder, if given the opportunity of some rest bite from the Western front, when asked `Do you like Charlie Chaplin?’ my answer would have to be `No Sir.’ I think watching Baldrick balancing a slug on his upper lip or doing bugger all might rather be more fun. Having said that, I guess Chaplin should be applauded for The Great Dictator, which helped to create advanced condemnation of Hitler, Nazis and racism. Rather than waste time on cannibalous mechanical staircases, perhaps society could learn from his acclaimed movie.

    Anyway, I turned to Simon Murray’s book `Legionnaire’, which always puts things into perspective and also stops me complaining about the wet weather during the cricket season. The desire for big macs we may be the predominant reason for losing 4000 square miles of amazon rainforest last year, but I think a fair few hectares may have been used to construct arks in readiness for the 40 days and nights of rain we’ve been having. Will it ever stop? Thankfully, in Salix CC we have an opponent that will play wind, rain or rain, thus despite the heavens opening as we arrived at Barnes Elms, our game was on.

    Before the match Evil presented Skip with a `golden’ cap to celebrate his one hundredth game for the Quokkas. When Skip made his debut, Prince Harry was wearing Nazi costumes, google maps was being launched, and Freddie Flintoff won sports personality of the year. I wonder how that occurred? Although we are talking about a guy that believes wearing novelty items of clothing performs the same function as wit, Skip certainly is the man for the big occasion. A famous century at Galle, managing to improve Anglo-Serbian relations and passing a thousand runs during the Kanjiza Cup, and now [spoiler alert] a half century and two thousand runs during his centennial match. Is there nothing this man can’t do? [Ed: Well, take a simple slip catch or bend down to stop the ball in the field seem problematic.]

    Just as we were about to start though, it chucked it down again. I made a note in my diary. Simply says: “Bugger”, but there was no chance of Skip handing the cap back, so we headed for cover and a spot of lunch. We dined on several bags of Skittles generously provided by the Salix captain due to an Amazon quantity selection error. No chance of tasting a rainbow though, with the clouds remaining for the rest of the day, but albeit on a very damp pitch, Skip did get the chance to open the batting with Arunav. 

    Like the wicket, progress was slow, with Seagull suggesting a slow hand clap, but if a proper batsman like Arunav can’t get the ball off the square, you can hardly moan at Skip for failing to lay bat on ball for 5 overs. An alternative approach to encouraging faster scoring may have been to follow the lead of Hampshire captain Lionel Tennyson, who used official telegrams to give the batsmen instructions. “I have a cunning plan. Stop. Get a bloody move on Skip. Stop. Yours, Seagull. Stop.” 

    Fortunately the heavens opened again, which allowed Skip time to rehydrate and the rest of us the opportunity stand around watching the pitch get soaked while a nice set of covers kept the boundary rope dry. The groundsman/come weatherman suggested we call it a day, but Seagull, eager to burn off the Saturday chips, and the Driver, on a sugar high from too many skittles, eventually enticed the rain to stop by belatedly pushing said covers out onto the square. Clucking bell.

    Once back out in the middle, our openers started to find their timing and the run rate escalated, especially when Skip traded the cut shot for the sweep. We did lose Arunav, but Faggie joined the fold and he soon had Skip running threes like an asthmatic ant with heavy shopping. Boom Boom boom boom, boom boom boom boom. On a pitch stickier than when sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun, and with the slowest outfield imaginable, the two combined for an impressive 85 runs from the next 11 overs. Marvellous. 

    Actually, Faggie looked in great touch immediately, which is bloody annoying to those of us that need 10 overs before we start to stop scratching around. At the other end, Skip anchored the innings brilliantly and fittingly passed 2000 runs. Faggie was out caught on the penultimate ball, allowing Seagull, padded up for the whole 30 overs to play for his average and grab five fantasy points for a not out. 

    The only other thing of note from the innings was Fruiti allowing wides to go unpunished when umpiring, and becoming more generous the more Faggie complained. Seagull’s sage response of “it’s the same for both sides’ came back to haunt him when he bowled.

    Tea, for a Seagull at least, consisted of a potted turkey, a cow in jelly, three tinned sheep, and twelve hundred chocolates, which was supplemented by a fantastic chocolate cake baked by The Egg’s supermarket supplier. The time was spent tiring the moon with our talking about everything and nothing: the war, marriage, the proposed changed to the LBW rule…no actually we discussed Sajid `Pablo’ Ali‘s bitcoin trading, the potential Quokkas sponsorship by the Rottnest Island Tourist Board, and the policing of bouncy castles. Fascinating stuff, but with no note from matron for us fat wheezy boys, we were out into the field.

    Should someone ask me what is the biggest regret in your life, I think my first answer would be drinking half bottle of Bacardi on route  to the Isle of Man for an inter-university sports (drinking) festival, but that would be quickly followed by failing to provide the world with a video recording of Binman dismantling Faggie in the Ashes. In a similar vein, it’s with deep regret that there is no footage of the run out that set us on our way to victory. I will do my very best to describe the event. 

    A legside delivery from Arunav came off the batsman’s pads and headed down towards The Egg fielding on the 45. Conan, behind the stumps, turned and ran after it. The non-facing batsman decided to take the risky run, however the playing batsman had second thoughts. The Egg reached the ball first and threw at the stumps at wicket keepers end. Conan, who was by now between the Egg and those stumps turned and ducked. The throw hit Conan, hard, ricocheting off what looked like his backside (but turned out to be his elbow and incapacitating him) straight to Skip, fielding just in front of square. The two batsman were by now at the same end. Skip, spotting this, and momentarily interrupting his laughing fit, threw calmly to the bowlers end, where Arunav collected smartly and got the run out. Outstanding. This is kind of Sunday cricket content I crave and what the term `village’ was made for. If you added some black trainers, a keeper wearing a helmet standing back to a spinner and a couple walking across the pitch carrying Sainsburys bags full of shopping, you’d have a meme that would go viral. 

    I’ve got ahead of myself here. Pablo opened the bowling and although he failed to take a wicket, went for very few runs, as usual. Evil got the first wicket, caught nicely by Arunev and saving Skips blushes, who had dropped him to a tough chance the previous delivery. Earlier, a much simple chance was put down by Radio, who complained about the weather not being cold enough or something. A few failed attempts at the claw almost saw Evil withdrawn from the attack, which would have been a mistake, as he clean bowled the other opener. Time for some spin, or slow bowling in my case and fast bowing in Fruiti’s. As per normal, Fruiti was unplayable and grabbed a wicket. Seagull was also unplayable, but only because the batsman couldn’t reach. In between overs Seagull received a telegram from Skip. ‘I have the largest collection of Charlie Chaplin films in existence available to watch on Netflix. Stop. Get this fella out or it’s twice nightly screenings with you in attendance. Stop. Oh PS, we won’t ever. Stop.’ It seemed to work, with the Driver taking a deflected catch from Seagulls next over. 

    We were making nice progress, especially when getting the first of two runs outs, but the match was wrapped up by a great spell of bowling by Alan, claiming two wickets for next to no runs. On the soft pitch, The Egg was unplayable and he added a wicket of his own, which left the final pair with too much to do. The Quokkas fist victory if the season was secured.

    They say `fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, but with Skip `racing’ to a half century and the Irish Driver grabbing wickets, catches and runs outs left right and centre, despite an evening downing Tequila in a leaky gazebo or dining a la Todd on Sambuca chasers, clearly abstemiousness is best left for lessor mortals. All bodes well for this year’s tour.

    Seagull. A wibble. Stop.

    Posted by iain @ 8:25 pm

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