From The Ovington Crickipedia, Volume 1:
Prangdrake is the common name for victims of the cricket genius Prangnagora, particularly the species Prangnagora dubiusoffspinarum. Because P. dubiusoffspinarum contains deliriant hallucinogenic tropane alkaloids such as captainine, fourthchangebowline, unplayablegrubberine, and highlyconfusingtobatsmenine, and its deliveries sometimes contain bifurcations causing them to resemble human cricketers', it has long been used in Pragic bowling rituals, and in conventional Pragan traditions such as Wiccet and Onanism.
|The earliest recorded footage of Maurice trying to prepare the Knavesmire outfield.|
On Saturday May 31st 2014, at the Brandon Bishopthorpe Ultradrome (formerly Millthorpe School Playing Fields), a particularly powerful and dangerous example of Prangnagora was identified. In a York Vale Cricket League Division 3 match, the home team – Ovington CC – had lost the toss and been asked to bat first by the visitors, Wheldrake CC.
Thanks to the sodden spring, the pitch looked to be composed primarily of Plasticine, and a score of 120 to 130 was thought to be acceptable. However, a remarkable innings of 64 not out by teenage rebel Harry Buckley, featuring no fewer than 6 sixes (and therefore surely to come up on the radar of the League's anti-doping council), allowed Ovington to post a mighty total of 189-7.
After a succulent tea, featuring not insignificant quantities of ham and magic mushroom pizza, Ovington took the field to try and defend the total, led by their inspirational and mysterious captain, Prangdrake!
Prangdrake had spent much of the winter away from his team, holed up in an old convent in the foothills of Korab, the highest mountain in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Rumours circulated that he was developing a new and unplayable addition to his already quite fearsome armoury of spin-bowling weapons. Unconfirmed reports named it...The Double Bouncer.
Though much had been heard of this terrifying beast, none had yet seen it unleashed on the field of play. Prangdrake was biding his time.
As the opposition began to rack up the runs, and his young Ovington charges struggled to break the second-wicket partnership that was building threateningly, Prangdrake began his on-field meditations. It was clear that the Double Bouncer could not be bowled without extensive mental conditioning.
Optimal physical conditioning is required too. Prangdrake spent some minutes limbering up, like a young Jan Molby, and then, with his opponents more than halfway to victory, he brought himself into the fray. The main partnership had been broken with a run-out, but Wheldrake's classy no. 3, Anthony Carter, was still at the crease, and accumulating runs serenely.
To no-one's surprise, Prangdrake began brilliantly, fooling the settled batsman into complacency with two overs of absolute turnips. But just as Carter relaxed, perhaps sensing victory, this master tactician pounced. With the fourth legitimate delivery of his third over, Prangdrake finally unleashed The Double Bouncer upon the world.
Its magnificence cannot be adequately described in the barbarian tongue of the Anglo-Saxons. It is a sight of ancient wonder, something Heroic, worthy of Homer in the original Greek. However, such powers are beyond me, and I must proceed in Leicestrian English. I can only hope I capture something of its essence.
Strolling lithely to the crease, like a leopard stalking a deer, Prangdrake glanced at his foe, then silently brought his arm over as he reached the crease. Released from the back of his hand at the top of its arc, the ball looped briefly upwards, then darted back to earth, pitching precisely halfway down the track. Skidding alarmingly on, it bounced a second time - living up to its name - then gripped the pitch and turned.
Many a lesser batsman would have been utterly overwhelmed by a sight of such majesty, but Carter appeared equal to the task. However, as he aimed a straight drive, the final element of this elemental ball sprang into action. With an inexplicable, almost magical level of control, Prangdrake had kept a trick up his sleeve, and a terminal rotation of the ball brought it dipping back in towards the stumps.
Deceived, vanquished, Carter could only get an inside edge, dragging the ball fatally onto his wicket. The battle had been lost. He trudged disconsolately back to the pavilion, dismissed for 57.
Claiming one more wicket for good measure, but wasting no more of his unfathomable new deliveries, Prangdrake returned to the field, to the leadership of his men. He need do no more.
The broken remainder of the Wheldrake batsmen were powerless, and were scuttled by Jon 'The Death Bowler' Souch. The scorebook tells us, mundanely, that Ovington won by 9 runs. What it cannot convey is a tale that will go down in the annals of Yorkist cricket legend, surely never to be bettered.
Or perhaps, at least not until the next time Prangdrake sets foot in the theatre of conflict.