MASS BRAWL - THE SOUTHERN CAPTAINS
(this time the Southern skippers from issue 6.4, in 2007)
Having observed the 'sport' of the 'kicking off in a pub car park' among the Northern County captains in our last issue, our 'melee correspondent' here reports on the Southern section of this much-lauded (and much hated) competition ...
MARK PETTINI - ESSEX
The retirement of Ronnie Irani has removed the prospect that most cricket-fight fans were hoping for, Irani versus Key. Not that there is any antagonism between them, it would just be a good fight to watch. Anyway, being the youngest in the bout, Pettini will be difficult to pin down, and will probably use a few 'yoof' moves such as rabbit punches to keep him in the contest for a while. However, his youth and exuberance will tell its toll as his inexperience in the hurly-burly of a packed car park brawl will lead to him being laid out by a stray punch from either Butcher or Adams.
MARK BUTCHER - SURREY
The bookie's favourite despite his rather ropey injury-prone end to his England career. With the necessary class to keep himself out of trouble, and a decent left hook, Butch will stay much of the course. However it will only take one opponent to do his homework and attack his dodgy wrist for Butch to be squealing like a little piggy in pain in the corner.
CHRIS ADAMS - SUSSEX
Close to taking part in the Northern section of this contest (Yorkshire his spiritual home?) Adams will find it difficult to keep his head above proverbial water. Without his Pakistani minder, Mushy. Adams will need to hide behind a few others to progress. His 'popularity' on the county circuit will mean most skippers will have an eye out for him, and he will be cleaned out in mid-contest by a cheap blow from Butcher.
ED SMITH - MIDDLESEX
The most cerebral scrapper in the contest, Smith will be looking to 'think' his way around this brawl. However with no colleagues in this scrap from his background he will find few allies. Trying to fight clean will be a clear disadvantage in the melee of a pub car park and cheap shots from the likes of street boys like Key and Pettini will see him in the foetal position by mid contest.
ROB KEY - KENT
His physique, far from being a hindrance, will stand him in great stead. Key will clearly have prepared whole-heartedly for the environs of a fight in a pub car park, thanks to several burgers and pints with his second, Matt Walker. Rob will probably stand proudly in the middle keeping all comers at bay with ease, as they bounce off him in the melee. By the time all his opponents have run out of steam, he will be well placed to step up and clean out the remaining bodies, and emerge as the last man standing.
JUSTIN LANGER - SOMERSET
International Test cricketer he might be, but in the scrum of a pub car park this will count for nothing. The pipsqueak will be an easy target for even Shane Warne, who will take great delight in nailing Langer, now that he is determined to prove he is a fully fledged German. An early exit forecast for a snivelling wretch in the corner after just two minutes.
DAVID HEMP - GLAMORGAN
The home of the great Joe Calzaghe would be quite ashamed of the contribution of their skipper. Choosing a non-Welshman to lead you will always bring problems, and knowing the diminutive Bermudan is in the scrap will frighten nobody. Each opponent will be thankful Crofty is not in amongst it, and Hempy will be laid out by the very first punch that lands on him, so probably within about eight seconds.
JON LEWIS - GLOUCESTERSHIRE
His rather 'foppish' hairstyle will not do him any favours amidst the throng of a mass brawl. Such looks will always make you an easy target, and it won't take long for one of the bulkier built citizens of the fight to take him out, probably with just one punch as well, the lightweight.
SHANE WARNE - HAMPSHIRE
He may be carrying enough 'body mass' these days to look after himself in a 'one-on-one' fight, but Warne will clearly be a target for many of the English skippers in the car park. Although he will be able to hold his own for a while, Shane will occasionally be distracted by his mobile going off and strange messages coming from it. A combination of anyone who has ever played for England (Adams, Key, Smith, Butcher) will clear him out and he will be trampled underfoot no problem.