Brook, 2018

Learning the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Oft’ is the case with our beautiful game that, with the right blood alcohol content, matches can seem to the keen observer take a character fully of their own and write a grander narrative revealing, hidden meanings that speak of secrets at the very depths of the universe. As was the case one scorchingly hot Sunday in early May at Brook.


Our lesson was not in purely cricketing terms (of which there are many to learn, not least how to dismiss Obdurate Ulstermen™️) but one in a branch of physics concerned with heat and temperature and their relation to other forms of energy (us) and work (cricket) - the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Bear with me.

Thermodynamics applies to a wide variety of topics in science and engineering, and it became obvious to your correspondent during the course of this match, that it of course also applies to cricket.

The first Law of Thermodynamics: the internal energy (our energy) of an isolated system (our team) is constant. In other words - work creates heat, and heat creates work. These are constant.

Our scientific venture into the first Law started with Patrick losing the toss and the Woodpeckers being asked to field. Work. By 1.45pm the temperature at pitch level was 27 degrees centigrade. Heat.

As everyone’s favourite Obdurate Ulsterman™️ (work, you get the picture) ambled to guard we all knew that heat and work would be our chief concerns for the next few hours.

Our opening bowlers, standing at an average of 6 foot 4 inches, started us off well keeping the score down with some very impressive early season bowling. Pug (8-1-30-1) was immediately on the spot and at a good pace, clearly enjoying the generous downslope and an even more generous decision from a home umpire, dismissing the dangerous looking H Ward for 20. Cousin de la Daviiide (8-2-24-0) meanwhile caroused gamely up a frightening hill in a flowing and splendid cotton shirt, finding a nice rhythm and also some prodigious inswing but for no return.

On being asked by POB to replace CdlD up the north face of the Eiger, Snax (making his long-aweaited return) politely asked to wait for the other end. Clearly El Capitane was having none of this mutiny and kept to his guns. Snax (5-0-13-0) did well to listen as he also found a lovely rhythm and some lovely in-duck as he settled into his personal game of chess with Hammy. Even a major footwear malfunction didn't hamper his control, as his right boot exploded mid-ball, he finished one over with any shoes on at all. "Does anyone have a pair of size 8s? CdlD asked. "We're all wearing them" some smartass responded. More were found and on we went.

At this stage the run rate had dried up almost as much as Motty's (8-5-6-0) mouth, having enjoyed the customary ham-egg-chips-ale combo which perhaps quite the thing to consume given the arid conditions. So he was delighted when tossed the ball, to find that he had it on a bit of string with some classic away swing and plenty off the juicy track. Needless to say he didn't have the last laugh and series of edges evaded the slips and the sticks.

At drinks Brook were only 65 for 1 and it was still 27 degrees pitch level, so most of us opted for Alepine, a keg of which had been cooling deliciously in CdlD's new Merc. 

Snax gamely gambolled on for one more but after one hour and three quarters in this hellish heat and work for only 76-1, it was time for the Byaron (7-0-33-1) to enter the fray. Cue one of our favourite pastimes - watching Runky and POB argue about field placings. Runky delivered as he always does, and after a couple of near misses and half chances in the field he tempted the younger Milliken-Smithe down the wicket long enough for Coatesy to extinguish his cheroot, collect the ball and whip off the bails. 114 for 2 in the 37th over.

Motty was replaced by Meakers the <insert here> Specialist (7-0-33-1) down the hill who continued the stem the flow of non-existent runs with a mix of in-duckers, half-trackers and misleading marketing communications from his employers at Strutt & Parker.

The Bouncing Bomb: a cricketing investigation

After threatening to derail the Iranian Nuclear Deal if he wasn't given another man behind square leg, Baron von Runkel was hauled off by POB after seven highly entertaining overs, and was replaced by Dr. Bruce Websdale (real name - 2-0-25-0 (21 balls in total)) who instantly took to his scientific experiments of his own regarding Law 21 Section 7 (No Ball) using the following well-proven hypothesis:

"A bouncing bomb is a bomb designed to bounce to a target across water in a calculated manner to avoid obstacles such as torpedo nets, and to allow both the bomb's speed on arrival at the target and the timing of its detonation to be pre-determined."

The first two of Doc's first over of gentle off spin passed without too much ignominy, but the third thudded straight into the ground at Doc's feet at such a velocity that the first bounce took it to within four feet of the bastman (over the torpedo nets) at which point it bounced again and shot straight into the pads still at high speed and sank without trace. The timing of the detonation (appeal) was perfectly pre-determined and the umpire was left no choice but to 'blow the dam' (give him out). Sadly for us Law 21 Section 7 (No Ball) had been enacted only in October, and deemed any ball which bounces more than once to be a no ball. Oppo skip standing at square leg umpire somehow knew this (must be a scientist of some sort, was suspiciously wearing a white coat, nb - investigate) and we had to give a reprieve. Not sure where the dambusters analogy has gone but anyway Doc wasn't fazed by this new bit of info and kept slamming his bombs into the dam. The scorers can't possibly have kept up but they counted 21 balls across thew two overs. Have a blow Doc.

Nothing much else of note happened in that innings and I think we can all agree that I'm going on a bit, so let's crack on with our humiliating lesson in the Second and Third Law of Thermodynamics (yaaay).

Brook 174 for 3 declared (at about 6 bloody o'clock).

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

States that the state of entropy (immense fatigue) of the entire universe (the Woodpeckers XI at Brook that day), as an isolated system, will always increase over time.

If you aren't currently familiar with the concept of entropy, I think you'll find it's parallels with the state of a Woodpecker team over the course of a hot Sunday really quite delicious:




lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.

So essentially we can't be blamed for what followed, that's entropy man.

Cousin de la Daviiiide opened with Potty against a fearsome attack of an enormous overseas Kiwi bowling massive induckers at high speed off the wrong from down the massive hill and a spritely 16 year old colt bowling tidy left arm over from up the Eiger. They played it as well as they could, with Cousin slashing the Kiwi wildly and Ade managing to play a stoutly defensive role whereby he always looked like he was about to be clean bowled, or killed, or probably both.

A word on Ade's performance - he scored a very manful 11 against one of the better opening attacked I've seen on this circuit which should be applauded, but more importantly he lasted 40 minutes out there against these sharks. He showed us that it could be done. If only we'd been paying any attention at all and not learning the Third Law of Thermodynamics from the back of Cousin's Merc.

the third law of thermodynamics

This Law is concerned with the limiting behaviour of systems (beer kegs) as the temperature approaches absolute zero (perfect drinking temperature).

On such a bloody hot day, Cousin brought a keg of delicious Alepine (mmm, Piney) for us to quench. Of courtse that's exactly what we did. So much so that the need of the outgoing batsman to get back to the keg was palpable. As such we didn't last very long and there's not much to discuss apart from TOB's lusty 35 and POB's trusty 19. I'll finish by quoting the Brook match report their choice for Man of the Match (my vote is Potter).

"A very different game compared to last year but a very similar grouping outside the Dog in the evening. Man of the match was less obvious. Many were considered and discarded with (from Brook) Hamilton's 74, Ali Shaw's quiet and accurate performance with the gloves in contention. For Woodpeckers Owen-Browne's 35 and Mott's exceptional figures of eight overs for seven runs were talked of. Eventually the award went to one who never ventured onto the pitch and would only leave the car under pressure. Alepine!!"

We repaired to the Dog & Pheasant for delicious ales and a sit down.

I can't wait for next year's experiments.

Yours aye,

Motty x