• Quokkas 204-8 (Faggie 50, TD 47 n/o, Kiwi Scott 35) beat Wantage 84 all out (Kiwi Scott 4-11)

    Having been given the Seagull nickname by Locky, I have suddenly noticed how popular these members of the Laridae family are with the UK media. If you frequented the BBC website last week, you will have seen news of a seagull grabbing a chihuahua, then told that different coloured food prevents them from stealing. It was also reported that a university study revealed that staring at the birds can help protect people’s chips, before finally we learned that a man in Prestatyn had become so intimidated by vicious seagulls, that he is now scared to leave the house.

    With seagulls almost completely dominating the headlines, you may well have missed some of the other interesting news. Let me get you up to speed. Firstly, I have discovered how to prevent global warming, whilst maintaining necessary stocks of tomahawks steaks [Ed: Tom the Yak will be pleased]. This is achieved simply by introducing seaweed to the diet. More specifically, adding Australian red seaweed to the food stock of cows.

    As you know, bovine are heavy producers of methane and this adjustment in feed content will help to cut emissions by around 10% pretty much overnight. OK, so it wasn’t my idea and logistically it can be challenging to feed grazing cattle, but if you want to live long enough to witness Skip turn down an extra slice of cake, this is the type of brilliant solution you will need to implement at a farm near you.

    In other news, my beloved bees have been under attack from another deadly disease, this time from America, that is wiping out entire bee populations in Wales. As you may be aware, this is just another in long line of terrible stories about mass bee deaths, with a reported 500 million dying in Brazil over the last three months, adding to a 20% population loss in Russia, a million deaths in South Africa and many other mass deaths over the last 18 months. Never mind Brexit, the loss of bees threatens the food security of the entire world and I therefore am recommending that beekeeping be introduced to school curriculums immediately, replacing religious studies. The result of this policy will have a huge impact, in that it will not only ensure pollination of three quarters of the crops we depend on, but by ridding the world of religion and turning people instead to science, bring harmony to the world.

    And finally, bees are not the only animals we need to take better care of for the wellbeing of mankind. It is essential that whales and elephants get far better protection from hunters as they could well present the cure for cancer in humans. The latest findings by the Arizona State University suggest that these cetaceans have evolved ways of dealing with cancer and hidden in their genetic code is probably the solution that we are looking for.

    Having solved global warming and world famine, created world peace and cured cancer, it has certainly been a successful week for Mr Seagull, but now with the Quokkas facing an annual fixture against Wantage on Sunday, could I win a game of cricket too?

    Getting a full side out would be a good start and thanks to Radio John’s Taxi Service™ we not only had a full quorum of Quokkas, but they all appeared at the same ground too. On arrival, we were offered bloody marys, gratefully accepted by Kiwi Scott, who kept the bar staff busy throughout the afternoon. There was no Skip this week of course, as he was in Thailand playing ping pong in Bangkok, and with The Egg yet to arrive back from a family trip to God’s Own County, I was once again given the honour of captaining the side.

    With significant morning rain, it was a little disappointing to discover the three giant covers had been keeping the area just beyond the long-on boundary dry. It mattered little, and with the pitch looking like a pitch, I chose to bat.

    Best to get the chaff out the way first, so I sent the two Aussies in to open. To be fair to Faggie, he is probably the fourth best batsman in his own country, although that’s not saying much of course. Despite being Australian openers, they both did a fine job. Conan looked assured in both attack and defence. Like an Englishman really. When Faggie eventually received a delivery suitable to demonstrate his favoured cut shot, the floodgates opened, and he accumulated runs like Steve Smith before his dodgeball audition failure. Conan was out caught in the covers just as he was looking good, and having made yet another top draw half century, Faggie went the same way. A great start though.

    Following them to the crease was Kiwi Scott and Tom’s mate Sean, who did well to keep out a series of yorkers, before driving nicely through the covers for runs. Sadly, some wandering outside the crease and ruthless umpiring at square leg curtailed Sean’s innings, but hopefully he will get to see a bit more of him next season.

    Having been triggered by me at the Whalers, Scott looked a little apprehensive when requesting a guard from the same umpire. However, despite storm clouds hovering all day, there was to be no repeat strike of lightning. That’s not to say that tall buildings were not in danger from `violent bolts of energy’, with the young Kiwi sending a host of deliveries ricocheting off neighbouring roofs. I counted at least two huge sixes and several other boundaries. Things were going very well.

    When Scott was eventually out, Alan immediately took up the reigns and the scoreboard continued to tick over nicely as he found gaps in the field. At the other end, Radio John, offering an excuse of not having held a bat for 25 years, looked like a man that had forgotten his glasses and hadn’t held a bat for 25 years. Despite this, he seemed to be enjoying himself.

    As with England, the real engine room of the Quokkas batting is further down the order. Just before that, was Fruiti. Only kidding Fruiti. Boy you must love me. I demote you down the order, take you off after three maidens and then spend the afternoon calling you TD. Names are not my strong suit. A few years ago, my two cousins from America visited and on meeting them at a bar where I was drinking with friends I completely forgot their names. This made introducing them to my mates extremely challenging: “Paul, this is my cousins…er…from America…and er, this is my friend Paul…drinks anyone?”

    Speaking of TD, he was in next and immediately looked in inspired form, dispatching the Wantage bowling to all parts during a wonderful innings. Equally comfortable on the front foot, back foot, on and offside…blimey, no wonder the Quokkas T20 side does so well. With The Yak offering excellent support and then The Egg keeping things moving nicely, by the close of play, TD had got within three of his half century and the Quokkas had passed the 200 mark. Top stuff.

    Having enticed Alan to play on the promise of the World’s Greatest Cricket Tea™, there were some question marks over my pallet when presented with make-your-own-cheese-rolls, cold pizza and Jaffa cakes. [Ed: Where were the promised vodka jellies and chocolate orange marble cake Ches?] Over said tea we learned that when a fast bowler almost knocks an Australian batsman’s head off, that is the point at which you must forget that he cheated us out of the last Ashes (probably) and it is time to show him the love usually reserved for legends of the game that have retired. In between the crying about the boos at Lords, Radio John confirmed that he used to take a radio to the football and Kiwi Scott confirmed that New Zealand beat the Aussies at egg chasing. The good news just keeps on coming.

    With Netflix announcing that there would be a live action remake of the Masters of the Universe, unsurprisingly the Professor was otherwise engaged. The ever-reliable Tom the Yak therefore opened the bowling, almost instantly finding a decent line and length. With plenty of runs on the board I went with four slips, a leg slip, two gullys and short cover to snare any loose shots, but it was some decent fielding that got the opening wicket as a combination of Tom and myself ran out the non-striking batsman.

    With the Wantage skipper declaring at tea that they’d never get 200, running their best batsman out without facing in the first over perhaps wasn’t the start the contest needed. I felt like Micky from the film Snatch when he knocked his opponent out with a single punch despite trying to throw the fight  [see that facial expression at 1:03]

    At the other end, Fruiti was completely unplayable and he quickly grabbed the second wicket of the match, which meant there were more wickets than runs on the board. Things haven’t gone this right since I bet on Sir Ricky Lambert to be the Championship’s top goal scorer in the season that we won promotion back to the Premiership.

    With just seven overs bowled, wickets tumbling and our opponents yet to really trouble the scorer, I thought it wise to take Fruiti off, replaced him with The Egg. As is so often the case, The Egg proved to be equally difficult to get away and when he claimed a LBW, followed by Tom the Yak taking an impressive caught and bowled, we had our opponents at 40-4.

    OK, so a hotel bellboy delivering champagne didn’t find me entertaining a scantily-clad Miss World on a bed covered with casino winnings before asking me where did it all go so wrong? But at this point I found it quite easy to imagine the scenario.

    With the Yak completing a great spell, I turned to Kiwi Scott thinking he might at least offer our opponents something to hit. Instead he immediately beat the bat countless times and took two more wickets, thanks in part to a brilliant catch at slip by Faggie. Any possibility of trying to manufacture a close contest had gone, especially when Conan raced out to midwicket and, with a brilliant direct hit, claimed the seventh wicket. At this point I felt a little like Montgomery Brewster discovering that Wometco Petroleum had bought Iceberg International to secure tax benefits. Absolutely everything was going right. If only I could find a stamp worth a million bucks that I could mail! Compounding the issue, Scott quickly claimed a further two wickets. If reviews were a possibility, it would have been three. This great spell of bowling had reduced our opponents to 83-9.

    With just one wicket remaining, I brought Radio John on to bowl, but he offered no rest bite whatsoever and got the last man out, caught at gully, in his very first over. Blast. For the sake of the contest I had rather hoped at least one of our bowlers would be a little less accurate. I guess I should have brought the Seagull on for that.

    See you on tour.

    Posted by iain @ 10:21 am

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