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  • Quokkas 98-4 (Skip 34 n/o Charan 28 n/o) beat ACME 97 all out (Seagull 3-11, Charan 2-5)

    It’s been well over month since we played this game. As a result, I’ve pretty much forgotten what happened, so the report will be somewhat sparse of cricketing details. No change there I guess. The important stuff first. Tea was served and consisted of French bread, cheese board, home-made quiche, cream scones with strawberries, a baby-tomatoe-salad and grapes. It’s been a long wait, but it was well worth waiting for. Nice cup of tea too. Actually, it was a good weekend for food, as the outlaws in Worthing treated Mrs Seagull and I to a cowboy-themed cookout on Saturday. The chilli was hot, as was the weather, which had me thinking about Glasgow inventor Dr William Cullon, father of seven, who conceived the refrigerator on a hot day in 1785 as he realised he needed somewhere to stick his children’s terrible artwork. [Ed: do we need to pay royalties to Jack Dee for using his jokes?]

    When it comes to inventions, ACME surely lead the way with their rocket powered rollerskates, giant rubber bands and jet propelled pogo sticks, but despite the name, the team from Westcott are no looney tunes. In fact, in previous encounters they have performed closer to the Greek origins of the word `acme’ (highest point). After two defeats, albeit one self-inflicted by Seagull’s over generous captaincy, we meant business this time, with Skip opening the bowling with Radio John.

    There was tremendous excitement. Radio was on a hattrick after taking the final two wickets in the previous game, but sadly it wasn’t to be. You are probably thinking that some of the rhythm may have been lost over the course of a week or the opening batsman was of a better standard than the Hollybush tail. In reality, the opening delivery was so short and wide, the batsman simply couldn’t reach it, never mind get out to it. “Thanks Radio. Good spell mate.”  Evil Dave had more luck with the short wide delivery, with the opening batsman offering a simple catch to Seagull to get us on our way. He can get wickets with decent balls too, clean bowling another ACME batsman during a fine spell.

    It was great to welcome T20 stalwart, Charan, dubbed Sharon [Ed: these nicknames just get more inventive every year], to the Sunday side for the first time. We were running short of options at keeper. Skip decided to bowl him instead, which was wise, as he was pretty unplayable. He replaced Radio and his extra speed, accuracy and all round talent contributed to dislodging the other opener. The pitch helped a little. One delivery just short of a length almost took the batman’s head off. The next pitched half way down and barely made it to ankle height. When they did lay bat on ball, a shot guided down to third man that went straight into Arunav’s gloves strangely didn’t stir the umpire into action. It mattered little, as Shazza sent stumps spawling three balls later. He grabbed a second wicket soon after, but with help from the pitch, he also threatened to dislodge a batsman’s head, so Skip took him off.

    Although slightly less life threatening, Yak was just as difficult to get away and he grabbed a brace of wickets himself, helped by another of Skips great slip catches. The fine catching wasn’t er catching. The Mosquito dropped an absolute dolly. Fortunately, a huge offside boundary provided the opportunity to lose him in the outfield, but sadly we could still hear his gibberish.

    Despite this, we were seriously on top. Perfect time to bring on lessor bowlers like Fruit Smoothie and he seemed to struggle, going for a whole run from three overs, and only adding one wicket. Plenty of room for improvement there. Egg is probably not the person to receive that much needed coaching from though. He went for a few, mostly due to a lack of flight, which was a complete waste of low lying cloud. Seagull doesn’t usually have a problem giving the ball some air, but he appears to have been practicing, keeping the ball below head height and as a result got numbers nine and ten out, before bamboozling a stubborn number four when coming down the wicket looking for a repeat six. Impressive stuff from Seagull, who earlier had blamed a flock of nesting gulls on his neighbours roof waking him up every morning at 3.30am for looking somewhat jaded.

    With our opponents 97 all out, we could enjoy our first cricket tea of the season and discuss London’s rising water table, finding Egg a bedfellow for a Nine Inch Nail concert in France and importantly, this year’s Ashes venue. Having suggested we spend £1.2m on a new ground, Evil put forward the £5000 a match (no refund if it rains) London’s Armoury House. Unless Evil has won the lottery, I am thinking someone maybe ought to audit his company accounts as his taste for the high life seems to hold no bounds. Enough frivolity, we have 98 runs to knock off.

    Herc and Arunav opened the batting and accounted for the first 8 runs before both were bowled. That brought Skip and Driver to the middle. Both dug in nicely and they knocked off another 30 runs before The Driver was out. The lack of the usual plane landings at the neighbouring runway might have been due to the low lying cloud, but more likely they were concerned at the flight of some deliveries. Egg eat your heart out. Actually, The Egg clearly fancied the bowling, as he was in next and he looked extremely solid, but was out when looking to be more expansive. That brought Charan to the crease and the bowling was very much to his liking, as he plundered runs to all parts. Not much else to report here really, as Skip played himself into form and between them they saw us home.

    Next up is the Ashes. Should be a formality for the English this year. Probably not even worth the Aussies turning up. 

    Get well soon Zulu.

    Seagull.

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  • Acme CC 147 for 9 (Faggie 4-19, Radio John 1-14, Egg 1-15) beat Quokkas CC 142 all out (Irish Driver 36, Seagull 33)

    When interviewing several candidates for a job in 2015 I asked all of them where they saw themselves in five years. Not a single one predicted correctly. With no end in sight to this pandemic, finding nuggets like this on my timeline have been important to my raise spirits. OK, so some extremely boozy Zoom conference calls have been enjoyable, but other than that the only real highlight of the last five months of lockdown has been when a Wardy Joubert III image was randomly posted by an unnamed member (pardon the pun) of my street’s WhatsApp group. There was absolutely no acknowledgement of this totally inappropriate post from the mostly mothers, previously chatting about VE Day celebratory bunting and a lack of car parking, but then again maybe some things are best left unsaid.

    That was certainly the case when Matt dropped an absolute dolly at Harpenden last week with the batsman at the early stages of his century and the less said about The Irish Driver’s impersonation of Dom Sibley this week the better. I am being harsh here. We didn’t quite get our timing right on our reply, but a run chase was only made possible by his outstanding effort to anchor the innings, ensuring we were always in the hunt. Mind you, after 30 overs at the crease he looked like he had been carrying that anchor.

    One thing that is well worth mentioning, is the quality of sausage rolls available at Westcott Cricket Club. When complemented by covers, trifle and Bercow whiskey, this fixture is certainly not one to miss out on, so I must congratulate The Yak on convincing them to have us back again, despite our very Quokka-esque performance last season.

    Preparation is important for such fixtures, but a Sunday roast served twenty minutes before the game was to commence, at a ground 25 minutes away, perhaps wasn’t the best approach. Anyone drive up in a DeLorean? The Acme chaps weren’t too bothered by our casual approach, and seemed more concerned about apologising for the lack of trifle due to COVID. That pinched a bit, but I’m sure we’ll make up for it next year.

    With Skip swallowing Dorset knobs, I won the toss and put them in.

    When half your bowling attack struggle to achieve the desired one bounce delivery, it’s good to be informed that your debutant Quokkas is a `fast opening bowler’. What’s more, despite suffering with a katzenjammer, Guy was pretty much unplayable, beating the bat time after time, although it was Faggie that claimed all four opening wickets. It really is just as well that shit gets wickets, otherwise we wouldn’t get many.

    Actually, both bowled fantastically well against the same players that smashed us for well over 250 from just 30 overs last season. Their combined 14 overs went for only 35 runs, giving us a tremendous platform to fall from. But The Yak and Prof maintained the pressure, with the former grabbing a wicket and helping Faggie to secure the first of two decent run outs. Then the two `Kings of Spain’, also known as Radio John and The Egg, not only battled it out for the most flighted ball, but turned the screws completely. Scott did his best to offset that with his one over of Bertie Bassets, but otherwise it was a flawless display of bowling.

    I say bowling, but in the case of Adrian Ze German, our second debutant, we are very much in Malinga territory, but considering he hadn’t seen a game of cricket before, never mind play it, you had to be impressed with his fielding. Cushioning a well driven ball with your chest plate may be unorthodox, but he saved numerous boundaries over the course of the afternoon. That application didn’t extend to everyone in the field, with Faggie dropping a dolly from Adrian’s `bowling’. Just as Humble Herc was preparing to remind him about it all throughout tea, he watched one whistle past his ear at first slip. To be fair, Faggie did run out two batsmen, one with a fantastic direct hit, which left us well positioned at the break.

    During tea Faggie unveiled a shiny brand-new bat, which gleamed even brighter than his new pads. Ensuring he didn’t get to use it was the new plan F, which consisted of him umpiring and completely ignoring his requests for relief. That was working brilliantly until it became completely impossible to pretend that I couldn’t hear him from the boundary.

    Along with The Driver, Humble did an excellent job of seeing off the opening bowlers. Unfortunately, as both were to return later to win the game for our opponents, it was actually more of a bodged job that you wife tells people about at dinner parties to embarrass you. I digress. Basically, if we can add the scoring of runs to the equation, we now have a decent opening pair that we can rely on.

    With Humble out, Scott injected some much-needed urgency into the innings. I followed suit and did my best to ruin relations with the neighbours by hitting straight into the aerodrome. Neither of us remained at the crease long enough though and with Prof, Adrian and Guy joining us in the hutch, it fell to Faggie to see us home. However, on this occasion it wasn’t to be, although The Egg and Radio John took it to the very last ball.

    So, that’s three defeats from three for the Quokkas. You didn’t have to be a psychic to predict that, but I am not sure anyone really cares. It’s just great to be playing at all and that’s definitely worth talking about. Oh, and if you need cheering up, I’m sure The Yak will send you a Wardy Joubert III meme.

    Keep Safe Quokkas.

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