Twelfth Man: Sumo II: Return of Merv

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The Independent Online
COMING to a postbox near Graeme Hick soon - something to mull over for the next four years. Following the success of the SUMO T-shirt featuring Merv Hughes, another, depicting him in leathers astride a motorbike and holding a machine gun, is in the pipeline. With it will be a slogan along the lines of '1997 - Terminator II. I'll be back.' The word is an early sample will be in the post to Hick in time to catch the last rays of summer.

MOST of the suggested Australian jokes for last week's competition were, unfortunately, unprintable. Of the cleaner entries Edinburgh's John Sampson wrote of Merv Hughes boasting about his new 'box'. 'The la-di-da Pom said it was big enough for four so it should just about fit. Mind you, Covent Garden's a strange name for a sports shop.'

But the winner of the bottle of Aberlour malt whisky is David Ellerey, of Brimpsfield, Gloucestershire, for: 'Why do Australian batsmen look so well balanced against English bowlers? Because they have a chip on each shoulder.'

TWO men more disappointed than most when John Emburey ran out of partners yesterday were Bob Willis and BBC Radio's Pat Murphy. Both had backed him with Ladbrokes for a fiver at 100-1 to finish as the innings' top-scorer.

FOLLOWING Shaun Udal's appearance as 12th man at Edgbaston will Hampshire soon be complaining that he cannot deliver a tray of drinks properly?

THERE are, as yet, no cricketing fanzines to match up to When Saturday Comes or Scotland's The Absolute Game and nothing like the plethora of club-based publications. But there is some promise with The Googly* and JM96* both looming as contenders. JM96 is more obviously based on WSC, with this month's cover featuring Mike Atherton saying: 'It could be worse, I could be captain of Gloucestershire.' The Googly is funnier and cheaper, with good cartoons.

* The Googly (70p) from 29B Meteor St, London, SW11 5NZ. * JM96 ( pounds 1) from 1 Wellington Crescent, Horsfield, Bristol BS7 8SZ. Both also available from the more enlightened county shops.

NEXT week the Football Diary returns, and, to ease the changeover, the final cricket quiz question is: If Graham Kelly, Graham Taylor and Gary Lineker are the cricketing equivalents of Ted Dexter, Keith Fletcher and David Gower who is football's version of Mike Atherton and Alec Stewart? - - -

SATURDAY SURFIE: Plucka Duck: one of Australia's more telegenic stars, Plucka Duck, is a furry bird in the mould of Rod Hull's Emu or Roland Rat. For the duration of this tour a junior version of Plucka has accompanied the Australian tourists around Britain, carried by the last player to have made a duck.

Even on a tour as filled with runs as this, Wayne Holdsworth, Mark Taylor, Paul Reiffel, Brendon Julien, Tim Zoehrer, Steve Waugh, Damien Martyn and Tim May have all looked after Plucka at some time with May being responsible for bringing him to Edgbaston. May, therefore, would not have been entirely distraught at David Boon's nought yesterday.

Plucka senior made a brief appearance on tour, coming over from Australia to Bristol for a short, and nervous, televised innings against Merv Hughes and company. With the final day of the Gloucestershire match washed out Plucka provided the only entertainment and, as everyone else did at that stage, hammered Craig McDermott with ease. Against Merv, however, he was more chicken than duck.

Also being carried around on tour is the team 'ghetto-blaster' - the penalty for 'throwing the toys out of the pram' and a 'Daktari' safari suit - awarded and worn for particularly foolish behaviour or comments. The Australian coach, Bob Simpson, was made to wear it on the final day at Headingley for 'accumulated offences'. It should look good in the Ashes-winning photos.

The music box, used mainly for playing CDs by Australian band, Cold Chisel, has been carried by Allan Border (for smashing the stumps against Middlesex at Lord's), Mark Taylor and David Boon (both for temperamentals on the golf course).

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