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Tom Edge

Age: All these new boys look so young. 14 maybe?

Specialism: Swinging.  And he likes to move the ball around as well.

Profile: One of the new posse of young Mallards. Tom impressed so much in the nets that Riding Mill immediately tried to poach him. Now they’ve seen him play on the field they’ve stopped asking.

Favourite colour: Yellow. (Big Coldplay fan)

Nickname: Edgy


Ankush Kumar

Age: Probably lower than his batting average

Specialism: Quick runs. Not quick running. In fact he’d prefer not to run at all hence his attempts to hit every ball to the boundary.

Profile: Given the choice he’d open the batting and bowling and probably keep wicket as well. Likes to be involved and is a constant source of advice to whoever the captain is (regardless of whether advice is required)

Favourite colour: Purple (He’s a massive Prince fan, which explains the hairstyle)

Nickname: Kush

Umpire Dunhill lays the law down

Mallards v Benwell and Walbottle June 6 @ Riding Mill

After a comprehensive defeat against a very strong Benwell and Walbottle side just a few weeks ago Mallards hopes of redemption were hardly raised when we arrived at the ground to find a youthful looking opposition already being put through their paces in the outfield.

Thankfully it appeared a few of the league players from last time had better things to do this time around although we were reliably informed by our man in the know Micky C that they had a couple of very handy County youngsters instead!

Having lost the toss and been invited to field, evergreen Cleaver opening the bowling with a maiden followed by a tight over from Standring going for 2. A great start that got better as TC bagged 2 wickets in his second over, G Robbie (Robbie snr) who had reached his retirement score with ease a few weeks ago, clipped the ball into the grateful hands of Standring at square leg and Marrow edged behind to wicketkeeper Ankush even though TC didn’t hear the nick – fortunately everyone else did, including those in the pavilion!

Standing kept it tight at the other end and took a catch off his own bowling in his third over leaving B&W on 12 for 3 off 6. Regular readers will know not to get too carried away just yet and so it proved as young S Robbie (Robbie jnr)) was now at the crease and started to get his eye in, taking a particular liking to Standring’s last over to turn brilliant figures of 1 for 4 off 3 in to a still very respectable 1 for 22 of 4 while TC finished with 2 for 14.

Bell and Edge took up the bowling mantle and both went for around 6 an over with Tedge cleaning bowling Nanu (older readers can insert their own Mork and Mindy gags here!).  B&W on 77 for 4 off 14 with young S Robbie now safely back in the pavilion retired on 34 but not before he hit an Exocet like off drive that Butcher managed to stop with his knee to audible gasps from as far as the pavilion as the sickening thud echoed round the ground. Cleaver’s suggestions that he should have used his hands were met with a “ that’s what I was f****g trying to do” through gritted teeth!

Rumours that young Master Robbie’s older sister Margot was going to make an appearance were sadly unfounded which isn’t surprising as I just made it up and it’s probably for the best anyway as being an Ozzie she would no doubt have knocked us round the park and given one or two of the older Mallards a heart attack in the process (for those readers who don’t know who Margot Robbie is or what the fuss is about, just watch The Wolf of Wall Street although maybe not with your wife/partner or even worse in young Alistair’s case, parents!)

Latif bowled the 15 th  and took a wicket with his first ball in somewhat  fortunate fashion as Dickinson who had batted well up to then for his 21 smashed a ball straight at his batting partner at the non strikers end who only manged to succeed in knocking it gently up in the air off his arm for a slightly bemused Liaquat to claim a simple catch. Fortunately the umpire knew the rules (which is more than can be said for most Mallards) and as the ball hadn’t hit the non strikers helmet, correctly gave the unfortunate Dickinson out.

Collins bowled quickly from the other end also taking a wicket with his first ball, this time  a more conventional caught behind and continued to beat the bat on numerous occasions (and the keeper on one of them as well!). Latif took 2 more wickets in his 3 rd  over to finish with a fantastic 3 for 8 off 3 to leave B&W on 93 for 9 off 19 overs and hopeful of keeping the target below 100. Unfortunately the late flurry of wickets had let Master Robbie back to the crease and he continued where he left off hitting a couple of 6’s straight down the ground, albeit one of them was nearly miraculously caught by Wilson (Junior, in case you were wondering!) who ran about 15 yards and then launched himself superman style through the air to get his finger tips to the ball but sadly couldn’t quite cling on to it, very nearly catch of the century! Robbie finished on an impressive 48 (no surprise to here he plays for the county although more surprising to hear later on that he is mainly a bowler) to take B&W to 109 for 9 off 20. A few more than we had hoped but still very gettable and a great bowling and fielding effort.

Skipper Hamid and Ankush opened Mallards reply with Ankush off to his usual rapid start but unfortunately falling for 6 at the end of the first over, beaten by a fast ball that maybe kept a bit low. Wilson junior was up next hitting his first ball for 2 and tried to keep the run rate up, swinging lustily and running hard, surely a winning combination. Hamid started to accumulate steadily and after WIlson had fallen for 5 at the end of a chaotic over of aerial bombardment from Draper the score was 34 for 2 off 7, in comparison to B&W’s 18 for 3 at the same stage. Again regular readers will know not to get too carried away and again they would be proved to be right as the scoring rate slowed dramatically in the face of some rapid bowling from  Robbie (jnr) and some fine leg spinning from Nanu. Robbie accounted for Collins who had been denied both bowling at and batting against Draper much to his disappointment and Nanu kept it tight from the other end regularly beating the bat with prodigious turn. 16 runs ahead of B&W score after 7 had become 16 runs behind after 12 as Butcher and Hamid struggled to score fluently. The run rate then climbed as Draper brought himself back on and again struggled to find his line (and occasionally the batting strip) allowing an invaluable 12 runs off the 13 th. Another good over in the 15 th  saw Hamid retire on 31 after hitting a great 6 but he was soon followed back in the pavilion by Butcher, Wilson (snr) and Bell all bowled by balls keeping low (or so they all said!).

Standring had now joined Latif at the crease and kept the scoreboard ticking over, hitting a fine 4  in the 18 th  over to leave Mallards on 89 for 6, still a tall order but 1 ahead of B&W at the same stage. The order got taller as Robbie then bowled a maiden to finish his 4 overs with 2 for 8 to go with his 48 not out – a very talented young cricketer.

So 21 needed to win off the last, surely too much even (or should that say especially?) for the mighty Mallards. Standing, unhindered by the baggage of previous Mallards campaigns clearly didn’t think so, smashing Bateman for 6, and then after a scampered single, a 2 and a bye he then knocked the 5 th  ball out of the ground as well! Down to the last ball which had looked unlikely after 12 overs and even after 19. For those of you who have lost count, 5 needed to win, 4 to tie, he couldn’t could he? Again regular readings will know……..etc, etc. To young Bateman’s credit he held his nerve and bowled a full ball which Laurence who had advanced down the crease could only fend off, meaning your valiant Mallards lost by 4 runs. A fantastic effort by all and especially Standing against a good side and an exciting end to a great game of cricket. A special mention must go to our old friend Mr Extras who was joint top scorer with Hamid on 31.

Both sides stayed to use the excellent Riding Mill facilities and conduct the usual post-match post-mortems while partaking of  the usual post-match beers. Unfortunately we couldn’t make the third game against B&W in a few weeks a decider but Mallards  pride is still very much intact and with the pre season  youth development policy looking like it’s paying off there is much to look forward to for the rest of the season.

Nanu Nanu fellow Mallards






Mallards v Benwell & Walbottle May 17 @ Riding Mill

After reading the last match report and struggling to find out what actually happened on the field of play, rather than in the Palace of Westminster, I determined to stick to matters cricketing. Having read the completed report below in all its tedium, I understand why match reporters seek to add interest from elsewhere. If you wish to read on, you have been warned!

Despite the foul weather forecast the previous day, predicting rain from 5 o’clock, the sky, though overcast, failed to deliver the expected rain, and play was possible.

B&W, looking keen, young and fit and practiced beforehand, which is always a worry – several had the look of not being in the same league (!) as the Mallards.

Surprise for Beakers on his second match after a year’s absence – the first match wasn’t a dream – there really are a number of new young members in the Mallard’s ranks this year.

The toss was duly made, and B&W batted first with Standring opening the bowling from the pavilion end and opener Robbie facing. More comfort for Beakers behind the stumps to find that these keen young bowlers bowl straight. The B&W openers were being cautious but showed some confidence in the first over with two scoring shots, five runs on the board. Edge took the second over, again accurate bowling with distinct movement in the air but Birrell managed to clip a vicious inswinger off his toes for 6. 14 for 0 off two overs despite good bowling. Had these two batsmen arrived for a league match by mistake? Another good over from Standing yielded a further four runs, and at the end of Edge’s second over B&W were on 27, a good start from the batsmen though the pitch was showing signs of variable bounce, some balls lifting off a length, others shooting through.

At the end of the seventh over, B&W were 55 for 0, and over the next two overs both openers retired on 25, Edge captured the wicket of Smith, well caught by Potts, with the score on 58 and Mowbray was run out by Latif first ball for 0.   The opening bowlers finished with Standring four overs 0 for 21 and Edge 1 for 28, against good batting, with the ill-luck of balls in the air going between fielders, and some unnecessary runs conceded. Collins took over from Standring and despite bowling with pace and accuracy conceded eleven runs in his first over, and the tenth was bowled by Potts, who conceded eight. At 75 for 2 after ten overs, B&W looked well set for a very big score. Collins conceded a single in his second over and Potts bowled Ridley for 4 and conceded 3 in his, to bring Draper to the wicket. 80 for 3 at the end of the twelfth! Carr, who had been watchful at first, scoring six runs from 18 balls, went to 25 and retirement with another six which brought White to the wicket. Collins ended his spell of four overs with 36 for 0, and Potts 18 for 1. After 16 overs B&W were 111 for 4 with White run out for 4. Latif replaced Collins and had excellent figures of two overs 6 for 2, Draper dismissed with a fine catch by Wilson (A) for 4, and Hayes bowled for 1. Wilson (A), replacing Potts, had problems with his line and conceded 13 runs in his two overs, and the innings finished on 131 for six.

Mallards were set a target of 132 which was a lower total than expected at the halfway point. Three of the batsmen had retired not out, extras top scored and some fielding errors didn’t help the Mallard cause.

The Mallards openers, Kent and McCaffery marched out to start our reply under continuing overcast conditions.  Hayes opened at pace from Lone Tree End, and Kent, having scored a 4 from the second ball, then took a single, bringing McCaffery on strike. A single off the second last ball saw McCaffery on strike for the second over. He immediately went on the attack to the speedy Hassan, only to be bowled by his second ball (7 for 1). In came Butcher and he and Kent settled down to get used to the conditions – bad light, and an orange ball keeping low. Tight bowling by Hayes, Hassan and Ridley meant that after 7 overs Mallards had reached 22, well below B&W’s 55, at which point Draper came on, warnings were issued to low flying aircraft and the batsmen prepared for the long wait while the ball descended from altitude.

The scoring rate improved, and with Bateman bowling from the other end, there was a flurry of runs, until Butcher missed a ball from Draper and was bowled round his legs for 17 in the eleventh over, having shared a partnership of 47 with Kent. Wilson (R) joined Kent at the wicket, who retired in the next over on 25 (60 for 2). This brought Collins to the wicket. Wilson (R) scored at a run a ball until he was bowled by Bateman for three, (62 for 3 in 12 overs). Potts joined the fray. Collins faced ten balls in his brief stay at the wicket and scored with nine, including three fours and two sixes, 20 coming off Draper’s third over. He finished with his second six in Draper’s fourth (42 for 1) to retire on 29 not out, and Mallards were 93 in the 15th over. At nine runs an over the target of 131 began to look possible, although difficult. The incoming batsman, Latif, started well with a single and a four, but Potts was unable to score freely, and the returning Bateman bowled him for 2 in the seventeenth over. Wilson (A) came in and Hassan returned, bowling quickly in the poor light, and with Bateman bowling a maiden, any chance of victory disappeared, and Mallards were restricted to 109, Latif not out 9 and Wilson not out 3, falling short of the target by 22 runs.

A disappointing result for Mallards in difficult conditions, against a team that posted a good score, and generally made scoring difficult, but there were some positives. The young recruits are fitting in well, and Latif is regularly proving difficult for the batsmen. Lots of opportunities to take advantage of the facilities in the clubhouse and look forward to better things in the next game.



mallards action 1 walbottle 2018

Mallards v Davipart May 26 @ Greenside

(To be sung to the tune of the Blaydon Races)

I went to play a cricket game

Twas on the 26th of May

Yet another game away

We fielded first as usual

The team were all a praying

A victory bring to us this eve

The Mallards are a playin


Oh Mallards, you should have seen us bowling

Balls go left, balls go right

Most of them are straying,

One goes straight to much applause

A wicket might be taken

But it’s dropped near the boundary rope

You’re seeing Mallards in the making


So Cox bowled first, a caught behind

Ankush did the taking

Not to be outdone it’s Lawrence next

A caught and bowled of his own making

Cox followed with his second soon

The stumps they did a rattle

He was joined by Edge who did the same

The Mallards had come to battle


Oh Mallards, you should have seen us bowling….


By now they were 8 overs through

and had 4 wickets gone

only 44 runs were on that board

the match was there to be won

Latif’s spin battled the gusty eve

Some wides he were a making

Before he struck with a lofted orb

And another wicket we were taking


Oh Mallards, you should have seen us bowling…


Next came Hamid into bowl

with some pace a bringing

he swiftly brought another scalp

with the ball a little swinging

Things looked good at 86

and only 6 overs remaining

the Mallards were getting into this

could there be history in the making


Oh Mallards, you should have seen us bowling…


And now the end of their innings nears

The scorebook gets kind of ropey

We know Ankush took another out

his gloves the timbers smoking

he then runs out another one

the Mallards we are alive

But we turn round to look at the score

Its bloody well one hundred and twenty-five.


Oh Mallards, you should have seen us bowling…


Well Ankush and Hamid stepped bravely out

Mallards response to give

Ankush smacked a lovely one

He hit it nice and big

A run was there every day

It duly was a taken

But a big armed throw directly hit

His bails they were a broken


Oh Mallards, you should have seen us batting

Some get 4s most get ones

A duck is for the taking

Streaky edges and nurdling

Are the currency we trade in

Heaving ho to the boundary rope

That’s Mallards in the making


This now brings T Holland to the crease

Some dots the pair are making

At 5 overs with just 14 on the board

The score is yet to start racing

Then the gas he starts to press

The boundaries are a flowing

Before he is caught for 18 runs

But a foundation he’s been sowing


Oh Mallards, you should have seen us batting


Next is Ramsey up to face

But a duck he is a owning

Before Cox goes in and steadies the ship

With Hamid some runs they are growing

Their partnership continues to build

Lad we’re going to take this deep

Before Hamid is caught for 25

And the rest of us start to weep


Oh Mallards, you should have seen us batting


Lucas is next to the crease

his duck trophy to defend

He faces three balls before being caught

It was rather a predictable end

This ushers in Standring next

To see if he can make amends

He gets five before he’s caught

Another in an unfortunate trend


Oh Mallards, you should have seen us batting


Now with just two overs left

Only 89 runs had been scored

McCaffrey to the party came

To smite his special fours

One and done was his legacy

While next out strode S Holland

A dot, then two before also caught

Another one had fallen


Oh Mallards, you should have seen us batting


Now there was just one more ball to face

The score was on 95

A frozen Latif strode out to bat

He just watched the ball sail by

Cox finished up on 24

With our only 6 of the innings

Some lovely stroke play from his bat

Could not make the Mallards winning


Oh Mallards, you should have seen us batting


We gave it all a valiant go

But at Greenside it wasn’t to be

There was some sliding in the field

And much mud left on knee

But comradery and having fun

Are mostly what tis all about

That’s what we love the Mallards for

And loud about it we do shout


Oh Mallards, you’ve got to see us playing

There’s lots of shite out there in white

And for this we all keep paying

But its comradery and fun to be

A Mallards team member

Rocking up to Riding Mill

For evenings we all remember


davi craig 2

Mallards v Durham Staff May 10 @ Maiden Castle

House of Commons

Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), Volume 798 (27), pp.  383-983

Wednesday 11 May 2022

Parliamentary copyright: House of Commons 2022.

This publication may be reproduced, used to make invitations to a ‘bring-a-bottle’ work event (honest) and tested for visibility by putting it in a car and driving it to Barnard Castle, under the terms of the Open Parliament licence, which is published at

The House met at a half-past nine o’clock, GMT


Members of the House were asked to note that the following items have been placed in the House Library and pertain to the debate that follows:

 Mallards CC Scorebook, June 2020 to present.

The Foreign Affairs Select Committee Report (2020). The Professor Ian ‘the Flashing Blade’ Stone Incident in Ottawa, Canada.  London, UK: HMSO.

The Health and Social Care Select Committee Report (2021). The dangers of excessive onanism: Tom Browne, a case-study in self-abuse.  London, UK: HMSO.

HM Home Office: Inquiry into the events of Durham University Staff CC v Mallards CC (‘Mallards’) at Maiden Castle, Durham City, County Durham, Tuesday 10 May 2022.

Mr Speaker [in the Chair]: Order, order.  I call this House to order.  The member for Witham, the Rt Hon Priti Patel, will now make an emergency statement.

 Rt Hon Priti Patel MP (Witham, Cons), Home Secretary:  Mr Speaker, my right honourable and honourable friends.  I come before the House today to make an emergency statement on the events that took place at Maiden Castle, Durham City, County Durham on the evening of Tuesday 10 May, 2022.  My statement will also update the House on HM Government’s continued efforts to counter the greatest threat to the security of this nation since the title of Richard Blakey’s autobiography: the notorious (dis)organised crime syndicate and neo-Marxist collective of subversive post-structuralist borderline alcoholic gluttons known as ‘Mallards’.

The Home Office, the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) have continued an investigation that began when Mallards first came to public attention in the early 1970s.  It is with regret that I must inform the House that MI5 have had little success in identifying Mallards’ tactical and operational mastermind, a mysterious figure known only as ‘The Despot’.  Signals-intelligence from GCHQ suggests that this ‘Despot’ character is a geopolitical genius who regularly corresponds with Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un and Mullah Baradar Akhund.  And Joe Root.

However, I am sure that members will congratulate MI6 on their efforts to locate and apprehend Mallards’ spiritual leader, the infamous Professor Ian ‘the Flashing Blade’ Stone.  The latest sightings of the itinerant Professor place him somewhere in the bushes outside Parliament House, Ottawa.  Indeed, several witnesses report seeing Stone’s throbbingly tumescent blade being thrust towards the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; the unfortunate Mrs Trudeau also being urged to ‘stop all that wishy-washy wokiness and grasp a firm hold of my middle-stump, dear’.

It should be noted that Mallards’ much-vaunted ‘youth’ recruitment policy is, for once, not a misnomer.  Their last known new recruit and subsequent head of tobacco smuggling, Mr Jordan, was reportedly in the vanguard of the charge of the 21st Lancers at Omdurman (1898).  New recruits Mr Binmore, Mr Ramsey, Mr Standring and Mr Edge are, insofar as we are aware, entirely innocent.  We must act with the utmost urgency before they are mired in the nefarious activities of this dangerously subversive collective.

Hon and Rt Hon members will also be advised that progress has been made in identifying and apprehending several other Mallards, details about which I am happy to take questions from the House.  I commend my statement to the House.

 The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP (Witham, Cons), Home Secretary, was asked –

 Hon Guy Opperman MP (Hexham, Cons): I thank my right honourable friend for her statement.  Can the Home Secretary update the House on matters relating to Mr Kent? He is reportedly running a huge bootleg booze operation from an as yet unidentified empire somewhere in Broomhaugh, Riding Mill.

Rt Hon Priti Patel MP (Witham, Cons), Home Secretary: Mr Speaker, Mr Kent opened the batting alongside Mr Binmore and was dismissed for 0, being caught at point after poking at a wide delivery by Cleaver (a some-time Mallard and former CIA operative, about whom more follows later).  Mr Kent stalked off to organize a huge shipment of dodgy Prosecco from Mallards’ associates in the Sicilian mafia.

Hon Mrs Mary Foy MP (Durham City, Lab):  I can confirm that, Mr Speaker.  Maiden Castle is in my constituency.  I was drinking a beer and having a curry at a work event (honest) with the Rt Hon Keir Starmer, Leader of the Opposition, and observed most of the proceedings.  Dr Green, a habitual fantasist with an unhealthy obsession with hard-drug use by late-Victorian poets (and suspected head of Mallards narcotics business) was next in and next out, having dinked two singles to third-man off Cowie.  His next attempt was as misguided as his taste in poetry and his [note from Latif Solicitors: alleged] crack-cocaine habit: he was bowled (Cowie) for 2, taking Mallards to 3 for 2 from 1.4 overs.

Mr Speaker [in the Chair]: Order, order.  Home Secretary, what of the other opening batsmen, Mr Binmore?

Rt Hon Priti Patel MP (Witham, Cons), Home Secretary: Resolute defence by Mr Binmore evolved into a steady stream of singles and twos, Mr Speaker.  New batsmen Mr Ramsey joined him at the crease and added some impressive determination and defence before falling (caught, Nathan) to Duffy for 3.

Rt Hon Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg MP (North East Somerset, Cons):  Suspected Bollywood ‘fixer’, the talismanic Mr Ankush entered the fray and quickly struck three majestic fours, Mr Speaker.  The run-rate increased accordingly until he was bowled by the nominally motorized Rory MG, a viciously turning delivery pitching somewhere near North Yorkshire (most of which is owned by me) and hitting off-stump on a trajectory towards Cumbria (also mostly owned by me).  He returned to run Mallards’ protection and extortion racket in the film and television sector after scoring a quickfire 17.

[The Rt Hon member for North East Somerset left the House at 22 minutes to ten o’clock to attend to an urgent query about the cleaning of his duck pond]

Rt Hon Priti Patel MP (Witham, Cons), Home Secretary: Indeed so, Mr Speaker.  With suitable support from the talented Mr Binmore, Mr Ankush had moved the score along from 19 for 3 to 44 for 4 from 14.2 overs.  Mr Hamid, the purported ‘muscle’ behind Mr Ankush’s stranglehold on Bollywood, came in and promptly went out for an uncharacteristic 0 (caught Wrede, bowled Rory MG).

Mr Speaker:  I must interrupt the Rt Hon member for Witham.  The Clerk of the House has just handed me a note from the US Ambassador, a copy of which will be placed in the House Library and should be a source of great concern, not least to the honourable member for Durham, in whose constituency some-time Mallard and former CIA agent Dr Cleaver resides.  I quote:

[REDACTED pursuant to the Official Secrets Act 1989] Tony is such a stand-up dude.  And a CIA ‘covert ops’ agent.  I served with him in the ‘Nam, then as his bro’ on a joint CIA-SAS mission in South America… We were deep undercover, in role as gangsters… our mission… regime change… Venezuelan oil revenues… a ‘sit-down’ with the leader of a Medellin crime syndicateTony drew his piece (a Smith & Wesson Model 29 0.44 calibre Magnum revolver) and threatened to “pop a cap in yo’ ass, you jive talkin’ motherf—er”… Is he still chillin’ with his home-boys in Dur-ham-shire, little ol’ England?’

Rt Hon Priti Patel MP (Witham, Cons), Home Secretary: The US Ambassador is correct, Mr Speaker.  Dr Cleaver was a fine CIA agent and an even better cricketer but, unfortunately for the economic and moral health of the nation, a Mallard.  He was by now terrorising his former teammates (and continued criminal associates) with his accurate right-arm fast-medium deliveries.  Thankfully for Mallards, skipper Mr Buckley was next in and brought some much-needed calm to events.  And some runs.

Hon Johnny Mercer MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Plymouth Moor View) (Cons):  I thank the Home Secretary for her comments, Mr Speaker.  How did Mr Buckley’s innings progress? We have need of a new missile system to send to our allies in Ukraine.  Reports that Mr Buckley, as well as being the head of Mallards’ propaganda and cultural warfare department, can hit a cricket ball faster than an NLAW anti-tank rocket.

Rt Hon Priti Patel MP (Witham, Cons), Home Secretary: Mr Speaker, I can advise my Hon friend that Mr Buckley pummelled several fours and this, allied with steady scoring of singles and twos took him to an unbeaten 23.  Further stylish contributions from Mr Binmore led him to an unbeaten 30.  Mallards not-so-secret weapon and ever-dependable Mr Extras contributed 10 to a closing score of 85 for 5 from 20 overs.

Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP (Wyre and Preston North) Secretary of State Defence: I thank my Rt Hon friend for her summary of Mallard’s batting efforts.  Mr Speaker, GCHQ indicates that a flurry of communications on what are known as ‘burner phones’ took place during the interval.  Mr Kent is reported to have placed several calls to Italy, including one in which signals intelligence reports that he demanded that his contacts in the Sicilian mafia needed to ‘get the damn dodgy fizz here now or I’ll come out there and mess up your gnocchi’.  He and his fellow racketeers somehow found time to stroll to the middle to resume the match, with Mr Ball and Mr Hamid opening the bowling.

Hon Mrs Mary Foy MP (Durham City, Lab):  Yes, that’s correct Mr Speaker.  In between failing to provide an effective opposition to a remarkably error-prone Government, I observed tidy efforts by both bowlers, Mr Ball and Mr Hamid delivering a series of ‘dot-balls’, punctuated by a few singles and an occasional two.  Indeed, each secured a maiden over towards the end of their respective spells.

Rt Hon Priti Patel MP (Witham, Cons), Home Secretary: Openers Whitfield and Nathan proved to be difficult if unspectacular opponents.  Latif had been introduced in the ninth over and soon accounted for Nathan (caught, Buckley) for 27.  Durham University Staff were 37-1 after 11.1 overs.

Hon Guy Opperman MP (Hexham, Cons): Mr Speaker, I’m surprised that Mr Latif found the time to deliver his wily right-arm spin.  He is thought to mastermind Mallards’ cannabis-farm and legal (honestly) vaping operation, which covers at least 60% of Northumberland.  He and the other new bowler, Mr Edge, battled bravely against talented batting by Choudhury, with Durham University Staff reaching 64 from 14.3 before Mr Edge bowled the switch-hitting batsman for a rapid 25.

Rt Hon Priti Patel MP (Witham, Cons), Home Secretary: The apparent collapse of Mr Kent’s dodgy Prosecco deal had by now, Mr Speaker, caused considerable alarm.  In between patrolling at cover and stopping several of Choudhury’s laser-like drives, Mr Kent took out his frustration on the apparent failure of some young oiks to understand how the nearby nets worked.  One of their errant shots resulted in a ball straying onto the outfield: Mr Kent promptly hurled the offending object somewhere in the direction of Coxhoe, muttering ‘Damned Italians.  I’m gonna’ make then an offer they can’t refuse.’

Rt Hon Mr Oliver Dowden MP (Hertsmere, Cons): Mr Buckley had by now introduced Mr Standring and Mr Ankush, the former enticing new batsmen Cartledge to edge a catch to ‘keeper Mr Buckley.  A smart delivery from Mr Standring, Mr Speaker: I only hope that he avoids falling into the criminal underworld that has consumed many of his fellow Mallards.  Durham University Staff were now 75 for 3 from 15.3 overs.

Rt Hon Sir Keir Starmer MP (Holborn and St Pancras, Lab), Leader of the Opposition): On a point of order Mr Speaker.  The author, much like the readers of this ‘report’, is now tiring of this wearisome conceit.  I move to bring this debate to a close, Mr Speaker.  And I urgently need to have a curry and drink some beer at a ‘work’ event (honestly).  Whitfield and new batsman Card took Durham University Staff to 88 for 3 in the eighteenth over.  Mr Standring and Mr Ankush battled with much skill and tenacity but, much like the voting public’s influence over the members of this House, could ultimately exercise little control over the final outcome.

[The House was adjourned at four minutes past ten o’clock, whereupon Members left for a six-hour ‘lunch break’, copious taxpayer-subsidised food and drink at one of 23 bars at the House of Commons and an approach to completing their ‘expense’ claims that is, unquestionably, compliant with both the spirit and letter of ‘the rules’].



davi craig 2

Mallards v KSOB April 27 @ Prior’s Park

A cold overcast evening in Tynemouth saw the mighty Mallards take on KSOB at Priors Park. 16 overs were to be played in this affair as the KSOB opted to take to the crease first.

Black and Roe opened the batting for the KSOB who got off to a slow start with some sublime bowling from Cleaver. Cleaver claimed the first wicket of the game that saw Black walking back to the dressing room. A great reply after being hit for a 6. The outfield at Prior’s Park was considerably slow and bumpy therefore Roe did exceptionally well to hit 3 boundaries, scoring a respectable 18 runs before being caught at long off by Dhillon off an Edge ball, the bowler claiming his first wicket for the Mallards.

A comedy of errors from both sides led to an attempted run out by Dhillon who could only manage hitting the completely unaware Edge who was in the process of scrambling to his feet. The remaining KSOB batsman could not get going at all, with the highest scorer achieving only 6 runs. Some incredible bowling from Latif and Holland saw a couple of the old boys quacking back to the club house. Star bowlers Latif (2-5 off 3 overs) and S Holland (2-4 off 2 overs) bowled out the middle few batters before Brown hit the last nail in the coffin with some precise balling to finish the 16th over with the KSOB’s scoring a mere 53-7. An impressive performance with the ball and in the field by Mallards. Fourth umpire Collingwood was unused on this occasion. Will we see him raise the finger to a shout of lbw next time?

Openers T Holland and Butcher entered the fray.  Black got his man early on when Butcher was stumped on 5 but Holland found the middle of the bat on a number of occasions sending KSOB fielders deep into the undergrowth.

Ramsey, making his Mallards debut, clearly missed the memo sent out by his fellow debutants the week before and found his first run almost immediately before being bowled by Black the very next ball.

Dhillon came in and found some quick runs  as Mallards neared the target set by KSOB before Holland retired on an excellent 30.

This brought Standring out to the crease, eager to get more runs on his Mallards tally.  Dhillon was having nothing of the sort and finished the run chase the very same over. This came as a surprise to Standring who was asking the umpire for a middle stump guard as everyone else walked off the field. First red ink of the season, a well-deserved not out performance and a Mallards victory by eight wickets.

new boys

Mallards v Davipart April 28 @ Greenside

Second week of the season and already we’re into the double-headers. MCC arrived at Greenside in good spirits after a strong showing at Prior’s Park the night before with Mallards new youthful recruiting drive seemingly playing dividends. The young newcomers are showing early signs of understanding the team ethos, having already worked out the quickest way to the bar (see above). This game, against long-time opponents Davipart in chilly, overcast conditions, was to show that they’ve also bought in to the Mallardian way with the bat.

Mallards were to bat first on a hastily prepared practice pitch, made available at short notice following some confusion surrounding the fixtures. The pitch reporters noted that the surface was on the soft side and with one very short boundary to be protected somehow; however as true cricket tragics, we’ll play on any old surface and nary a complaint was to be heard. The only concern was around the width of said strip, coming in at well under the regulation 10 feet and causing a few of the bowlers to sweat a touch.

Cox and Skipper Malik had the honour of being first to sample the conditions, under the pinpoint accuracy of Thompson’s opening over. Cox dutifully smothered the first couple of balls before sweeping (who sweeps their third ball of their season? Honestly!) a difficult chance to deepish midwicket, who was unable to hold on and the Mallards innings was underway. There weren’t many runs in the early overs; accurate bowling and neither batsman finding a rhythm meant the run-rate hovered between 2 and 3 an over and it wasn’t until the 6th over that either batsman was able to find the boundary.

Despite trying to play positively, things didn’t improve much and the halfway point of the 18 over innings came and went with the score on just 23. Then Marley came on to bowl.

His first over was wisely seen off as a maiden, as he was able to not only find some swing with the pink ball but also control it with precision. Cox was the first of Marley’s victims, looking to take on the long boundary but ultimately missing a straight one and departing for 18 and the score on 29. It quickly became 29/4 as Malik departed in the following over trying to pull one of Muggeridge’s deliveries into oblivion but followed through too enthusiastically, dismantling his own stumps. Debutant Pradeep was trapped in front by Marley for the first of several ducks in the innings, and was immediately followed by Binmore who was caught behind the very next ball.

Mallards All-Time Top Run-Scorer(TM) Wood and Standring tried to settle things down but that only lasted till Marley’s next, and thankfully last, over. Standring was out caught for 4 and Marley finished with figures of 4-1-3-4; had Davipart not dropped two chances off his bowling he could conceivably have had 6 wickets for one run!

With just three overs left and only 34 on the board, McCaffrey can be forgiven for having a swing but could not connect and was bowled by Muggeridge for the third duck of the innings. Butcher came in and tried the same approach, managing to add a few with Wood, before Wood, possibly still bamboozled by the ball before from Saith, which pitched fully 6 inches off the cut strip and spun back to be on track for hitting halfway up middle, spooned one up to square leg – out for 11. There was a suggestion that Cox as umpire may have been still considering the previous ball and missed a no-ball. Sorry Trev.

New batsman and new Mallard, Ramsey connected with his first ball and set off for what I’ll call a tight single, but Butcher was having none of it. To be honest a slightly comedic run-out was quite well suited to this innings by that point. The innings closed with MCC on 53/7, probably not enough but with the pitch throwing up a few surprises we had a slight chance if we could take an early wicket or two.

This was a good chance for our new found bowling talent to shine, and Edge took the new(ish) ball and was on the money from the start with some tasty movement. Browne at the other end also started strong, with a maiden first up. However that short boundary, which we had trouble targeting, seemed to be just that bit closer for Davipart and they were able to find it often enough to be a problem.

Edge found the breakthrough as Malik held on to a chance at long off in the fifth over with the score on 27. Browne struck in the following over, bowling Rye for 18. A sniff of an opening?

Browne struck again in the 8th, trapping Ladhar in front for 8, 37/3, before Standring broke through Dhillon’s defences and it was 50/4. Ultimately we just didn’t have the runs, and Davipart had plenty of overs left to knock off the remaining runs and we fell to a 6 wicket loss.

Thanks to Davipart for what’s always an enjoyable match, and we’ll see you again in a few weeks for the return fixture.