Zombies Stop Play Pt 8

Friday, 13th June 2014


19:30, Swalec Stadium, Cardiff

“Mate, what the hell is that?!” Asked Sammy, looking rather unnerved.

“I’m really am sorry mate, you’re gonna turn. You’re gonna become… one of them!” Answered Jackson, already filled with regret from what he was doing. Beads of sweat started to pour down Sammy’s head as he faced the person that was ready to end his life with a flick of a finger.

“I don’t understand, how can you even know that? I feel fine!”

“He was in the toilet when you told everyone about the blue-eye rule, Jackson. He doesn’t know. Maybe you were wrong?” Suggested Mossy, putting his hand on the gun barrel and attempting to lower it. Jackson was too strong for Mossy, and the gun didn’t budge. It was still aimed directly between the Aussie’s bright blue eyes. The rest of the team didn’t quite know what to say or what to do. They trusted Jackson, with their lives, and weren’t about to argue with him over something he seemed to know more about than they did.

“Sammy, close your eyes.” Said Jackson quietly. Sammy quickly reached for his bat and picked it up. He looked ready to attack Jackson.

“I’m not gonna let you do this!” Shouted Mossy next to him. “If he turns, then fine, paint the walls with his baggy green brains but until then, I can’t let you pull that trigger!”

“Don’t you see?” Shouted Jackson back at his best friend, turning his head to look at him. “I’m doing this for us. If he turns, he’ll kill us. I shoot him now and we have a chance!” In that moment, Sammy swung his bat hard at the gun. The shock made Jackson pull the trigger, and the bullet flew straight through Mossy’s shoulder. Jackson dropped the gun as Mossy fell to the floor, pushing down on the wound tightly with his hand.

“Shit Moss I’m so sorry!” Jackson pulled his T-shirt off and wrapped it round the wound, tying it hard to control the bleeding. The wound was deep but thankfully not fatal. Bridgey picked up the gun in anger.

“From now on, I’m the only one who uses this gun!” Jackson felt awful. Considering the current, apparent apocalypse and the fact that his best friend had just shot him in his batting shoulder, Mossy was in reasonably good spirits.

“I guess I really am like Inspector Riggs in Lethal Weapon now, eh Jacks?” Jackson smiled. Before he could respond however, Sammy’s ‘change’ had already begun. He doubled over in searing pain with one hand holding him up and the other hand tightly gripping his hair.

“Jacks, I think we’ve got a problem, boi!” Shouted Obvious-Lee, pointing at Sammy who was now kneeling silently, staring at the floor.

“Has he changed?” Asked Milo. Picking up a cricket ball from the bench behind him. Sammy slowly lifted his head, with glowing red eyes staring straight at Jackson.

“Nevermind!” Screamed Milo, launching the ball at Sammy’s head. Unfortunately, the ball flew straight past him into the wall behind.

“You never could hit the stumps!” Shouted an injured Mossy from the floor. Sammy leapt up from the floor, and pounced at Jackson. Jackson gripped his neck as tightly as he could so he wouldn’t be able to bite. Sammy was strong however, in his new, undead form and his head got closer and closer to Jackson’s neck. Milo realised that he now needed to step up for his brother. He picked up his bat and took the biggest swing at Sammy’s shoulders, sending him flying out of Jackson’s grip and into the changing room door.

“Shoot hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiim!” Yelled Jackson, backing away on all fours.” In that moment, Bridgey lifted his gun and shot a bullet straight between Sammy’s eyes, killing whatever he had become.

The group sat silently, staring at their former team mate. The scene flashing through their minds as if they were watching a replay. Jackson decided that the silence needed to be broken.

“That’s it, I’m getting out of here!”

Move Over Y Chromosome!

Me at the cricket 3 years ago, ON MY OWN!

Me at the cricket 3 years ago, ON MY OWN!

Three years ago I wrote a book – a book that was aimed at women, introducing them to cricket. My motivation? To get more girls into the sport. Not necessarily playing it, but watching, enjoying and actually understanding it.

Last night I attended the Glamorgan v Surrey T20 match at the Swalec Stadium, Cardiff. For the first time, in the nine years I have been a cricket fan, my cricket buddy Abby and I were not alone. At one point I actually had to queue for the ladies, in a place that is unique in the fact that the women’s toilets are historically more underused than the men’s. It was a great feeling seeing so many women my age watching cricket.

I remember when it was often just Abby and I sitting in the ground under the age of 50, CWAGS (crickets WAGS) aside, chatting to the elderly men who took us in as one of their own. It’s can be scary being the minority, especially in an environment such as the cricket, watching a sport that is often said to be extremely male dominated.

Watch the IPL and notice the ground filled with both sexes. In fact some teams are even owned by women in India. I appreciate we’re still so far from that but I definitely saw from last night’s experience that we’re certainly on our way.

I was lucky enough to be a guest on the BBC Radio show ‘Good Evening Wales’ with Gareth Lewis before the match to talk about my cricket eBook, my blog and how we are going to get more women to the cricket. I talked about grounds thinking more about what women enjoy on a night out, such as having themed nights, encouraging them to dress up before going out etc. but the more I think about it, the more I realised I should have mentioned the part that the men have to play. Not the on-field cricketers, but the boyfriends, the husbands, the fathers and the brothers. I didn’t start watching cricket because I woke up one day and decided I wanted to learn about the world’s most intricate sport. It was my father, calling me into his conservatory to watch the end of the 2005 Ashes Edgbaston test. From then on I was hooked. All it takes is one game and a bit of understanding, and that’s what motivated me to do for other girls of my generation what my father did for me.

Men – you have to step up. If you want your lady to appreciate the fact that you like to stand around in a field for hours on end on a Saturday afternoon whilst a red leather ball comes flying at your face every now and again, make some effort. Teach her a different rule every week, ease her in by taking her to a T20 once in a while, or encourage her to start her Friday night out with the girls at a short but exciting cricket match drinking Pimms. I had my cricket epiphany (crickiphany), so can she!

County Cricket Grounds – Be a little flexible with your prices now and again. Unless you’re a member, cricket tickets can be expensive and extremely off-putting for those on the fence about the game. I’m not saying women’s tickets should be cheaper, that’s sexist. I’m merely suggesting you give some free tickets to your members to share out with their friends – a ‘try before you buy’ approach. I know this has been done by grounds in the past but I don’t see it enough. A great example of clever marketing would be what Glamorgan CCC have done this year – a £50 one-off payment to attend all of the home T20 matches. The short form of the game is a great place for new fans to begin. It’s only 3 hours long, fast-paced, full of atmosphere and 99.9% of the time there is a result.

Eventually, you won’t need gimmicks to attend. The cricket itself will stand alone and attract both genders equally, I really believe it will happen some day. Compared to 3 years ago, I am seeing more and more women at the cricket and it’s so refreshing. I’m not sure whether it’s the weather, the current good form of my team or the lure that some of the more handsome cricketers have over the young girls but it’s great to see women breaking into a male-dominated sport.

I haven’t given up on my dream of working in the sport media world. I believe my subject knowledge and often crazy, girly view on cricket would make for a fascinating radio show. I have done some cricket commentary before on various radio and internet stations – it’s usually quite funny listening to me attempting to soften my Swansea accent so people can understand me – and I have absolutely loved it. Male commentators aren’t always easy-listening for women who are trying to learn the sport – I’ve been told this by many a woman. I honestly believe I’d be able to fix that problem and will work hard to be given that chance. Us women are complex characters but once you understand what makes us tick, we’re not that hard to please. When I think about my favourite TV shows or movies, it’s not necessarily the story that attracts me, it’s the characters and it’s the same with sport. Once you know the personality of the cricketer, you can’t help rooting for them. I’d love to see them doing more personal interviews. I’m not talking explicit love-life details, just what makes them tick. It makes them more human and relatable. I, like many women, am pretty nosy. There’s a reason there are so many gossip magazines out there – we like to know everybody’s business!

Cricketers – you need to be in the limelight more. You’d become more of an interest so people are not just supporting the sport, they’re supporting the player. Yes, it’s putting yourself out there a little bit more, but think of it as your contribution to marketing a brilliant game. Your fans would appreciate it and you never know, you may just find your ground a little fuller next year. (See Freddie Flintoff).

I might be a bit of a ‘cricket geek’ but in my mind I’m the best of both worlds. I also love shopping, doing my nails and going for cocktails with the girls. My aim is to show other girls like me how fun getting into cricket can actually be, and I won’t stop until every country appreciates it like the sub-continent. They get it right, but so can we.

I’ll get there one day.

Zombies Stop Play Pt 7

Friday, 13th June 2014

19:00, Swalec Stadium, Cardiff

“Who the hell is that?” Asked Milo?
“I think it’s the coach!” Answered Westie. “He left to do a quick interview and never came back.” The boys looked at each other, unsure about what to do. Coach Hagman had coached Essex for 7 years and was popular with his team. “We can’t leave him out there. O’Toole, let him in!”

Jackson snatched the gun from Bridgey’s hand and fired a shot through the wall next to the door just as O’Toole was about to open it, stopping him in his tracks. Westie grabbed the gun off Jackson and threw it to the floor in anger.

“What the hell are you doing?!!” Yelled Westie. Jackson pushed Westie against the wall.
“I’m saving our lives!”
“That’s our Coach out there!” Replied Westie, pushing Jackson back whilst trying not to fall off his crutches. Mossy and Milo quickly intervened and pulled the boys apart. Even in what looked like to be the onset of the end of the world, the rivals were still fighting.

“Quick! Open the bloody door!” Coach Hagman’s deep, loud Northern English voice was so loud it filled the changing room. O’Toole ignored the fighting and opened the door. Coach Hagman slipped through, slamming and locking it behind him. Before he could say anything, loud groans and angry cries followed by bangs on the door echoed around the room. Jackson ran over to the Coach, pinning him against the wall.

“What are you doing, lad?!” Coach Hagman tried to brush Jackson’s hands off but he was too strong. There was a reason this guy has a T20 strike rate of 240.00. Jackson looked into the Coach’s deep brown, saucer-like eyes.

“I’m checking to see if you’re gonna turn. Red eyes mean you’re one of them and blue eyes mean that you’ve gonna become one.” Jackson took his hands off the coach and walked back towards the balcony. “We need to all go back into our changing room and lock the balcony doors. Those guys outside know we’re in here but I’m pretty sure they think the home changing rooms are empty.”

“You want us all to barricade ourselves in?” Asked Westie.
“No, just some of us.” The boys looked nervously at each other.
“What do you mean, Jackson?” Asked Milo, putting his hand on his brother’s shoulder.
“There are people out there.” Said Jackson quietly. “People who need our help. They’ve come here for an evening with family and friends to support us. I can’t stand by while they get eaten by those things. We have weapons here – a shotgun, loads of bats… it’s time to do what’s right. But first, we reconvene next door.”

The boys followed Jackson to the home changing room and were greeted by a nervous Obvious-Lee.
“So what’s the story boys? We got company or wha?”
Jackson spent the next 20 minutes updating his team mates on what had happened on the balcony and in the Essex changing room. He then asked or volunteers to go with him to save who they could, but they were not as forthcoming as he thought they’d be.

“I like, literally can’t believe what you’re asking Jacks!” Shouted Lee, who hadn’t put his bat down for 3 hours. “While you were next door with Ant and Dec by ‘ere, we were watching people’s ‘eads getting ripped of their shoulders mun! Essex boys running round the crease like they were making a bloody Thriller video! We do NOT wanna go out there!” The boys, including the remaining three from the Essex camp all agreed with Lee. All except Mossy.

“I actually can’t believe you guys. You want to just hide up here until it all goes away?” Asked Mossy, striding round the room. “Haven’t you seen Zombie movies? We don’t win. Humans never win. We’re not going to get rescued if we stay here. If we’re lucky they’ll destroy the place, taking us with it. Don’t you at least want to try while we’ve still got a chance?”

Sam Kingston, Glamorgan’s oversees Australian quick strolled out of the toilet during Mossy’s speech. Jackson stared him down, realising he was the only one left in the room who’s eyes he hadn’t checked. As he sat down on the bench, his team mates caught sight of his face and slowly moved further down the benches.

“What have I missed?” Asked Sammy innocently. Jackson, this time slowly and politely, took Bridgey’s shotgun out of his hands and aimed it at his bowler who look confused and terrified down the barrel of the gun.

“I’m sorry Sammy, I’m so sorry…”

Zombies Stop Play Pt 6

Friday, 13th June 2014

18:30, Swalec Stadium, Cardiff

The three Glamorgan players struggled to shut the door. The force from the other side was stronger than them, and the door started opening more and more.
“There’s more than one!” Shouted Jackson. “Bridgey, fire a shot at them. They’re too strong!” Bridgey ran over as quickly as he could, but in his rush to get there, slipped in a pool of blood, seeping from the Essex bowling coach’s head. As he fell to the floor, the gun went off, firing a hole right through the wood of the door and narrowly missing Mossy’s head. Luckily, it turned out to be the money shot and the resistance stopped. Jackson, Mossy and Milo were finally able to shut and lock the door. The banging had stopped from the other side.

“You must have hit it!” Said Westie, grabbing his crutches to steady himself.
“No shit Sherlock!” Answered Jackson sarcastically.
“Well it’s official. We’re trapped in the changing rooms.” Said Milo sitting on the bench. “There’s no way out. Of course we could always open the changing room doors and run to the car park, but what good would it do? I sure don’t fancy my chances! Of course we could always fashion a rope out of spare cricket kit and escape over the pitch, but what good would it do? I don’t fancy those chances either!”

The boys took some time to sit down and have a reality check. As bleak as Milo’s outlook was, it was realistic. Jackson however was never one to give up. In a cricket match he’d fight, even if the team were 98-9 chasing 207 (like they were the week before) he’d fight until the very end. Losing without trying was just not in his nature. This was mainly the reason why he was so well-respected by his team.

“So, many of your guys alive over there?” Asked O’Toole. “As you can see, there’s only two of us!
“Not many of us.” Replied Jackson, clearly upset with the situation they’d found themselves in. “These bastards have killed too many of us.”
“We even had to kill our coach!” Interuppted Milo. “It’s so surreal!”
“What I really want to know though, is how did it start?” Asked Bridgey. ‘We were watching the start of the match from the balcony and it seemed to start with your guy Carter! He bowled an over and then all of a sudden, he turned. Did you guys bring this with you all the way from Essex?”
Westie laughed. “Yes, we thought, ‘I know, let’s go and infect the Welsh!’ Don’t be so bloody stupid!” Westie was getting defensive. I was watching from the balcony too you know. Yes, Carter was the first one to change on the field but it was happening in the crowd as well, without him biting any of them. It must be random.” Jackson didn’t look convinced.
“I don’t believe in random.” He said, getting to his feet and looking in the mirror. “Think of the guys on the Glammy team and the Essex team who turned first. What do they all have in common?”
“Some played in the IPL?” Asked Mossy?
“I played in the IPL mate and I’m fine. That’s where I tore my calf muscle.”
“So it’s not that. Did they tour anywhere else? Maybe come back from an infected country?”
“I know for a fact that Carter hasn’t been abroad this year.” Answered O’Toole. “He was meant to be getting married this summer so was planning the wedding with his wife – I was gonna be his best man.” Jackson continued to stare at himself in the mirror as the others sat around trying to come up with reasons for what was now being referred to as a ‘Zombie Apocalypse.’ …and then it came to him…

“Eyes.” Said Jackson quietly.

“What d’you say?” Asked Mossy. Jackson turned to his friend.
“My eyes are brown. Your eyes are brown. So are Milo’s and Bridgey’s. Westie, O’Toole, are your eyes brown?” The two Essex batsmen nodded. “Then that could be it. We need to all go back into the other changing room to check the other boys.If I remember correctly, one of our guys who turned had blue eyes.”
The boys were just about to head out onto the balcony when they heard a cry from the other side of the door, coming through the hole left by Bridgey’s accidental gun shot.

“Let me in! Quick! They’re coming! THEY’RE ALL COMING!”

Zombies Stop Play Pt 5

Friday, 13th June 2014

18:00,Swalec Stadium, Cardiff

Jackson jumped back into Mossy who was creeping close behind him.
“Easy!” Whispered Mossy to a clearly disturbed Jackson.
“Did you hear that? There’s something out there? I think it just, threw something…” Jackson was shaking. As big and brave as he was, and tried to be for his team, nerves were starting to get the better of him.
“Relax man!” Said Mossy, looking into Jackson’s eyes. “I’ve seen you swing a cricket bat, you swing it pretty damn hard!” Jackson smiled. The more he listened to Mossy’s strong South African accent, the more he was able to pretend that he was in a Lethal Weapon film. “Remember, if it growls, has red eyes and looks like it’s been microwaved then swat that zombie piece of s**t for six. Got it?” Mossy’s prep talk was just what Jackson needed. He gripped his bat even tighter and charged out onto the balcony. As he initially suspected, there was indeed an ‘infected’ player standing over a corpse. Essex’s tall, lanky twelfth man Toby Carver. Carver’s mouth was dripping with blood and he had what looked like a head in his left hand. He tilted his head to the side slowly and stared straight at Jackson.
“How many are there Jacks?” Shouted Mossy from behind the doorframe.
“Two.” Spoke Jackson in a quiet voice. “One walking dead, one dead dead.”
“Is the dead dead one going to come back to life like the others?”
“I very much doubt it. I think it’s the Essex physio. Although it’s hard to tell without his head actually attached to his body.” Throughout his entire scene description to Mossy, Jackson did not move his eyes from the two dark red spheres of the twelfth man. “I’m gonna have to kill Carver now. In that second, Carver dropped the half-eaten head of the Essex physio and leapt towards Jackson. He was about to swing his bat at Carver’s head when he heard a deafening bang in his ear. Bridgey was standing just behind him with a smoking shotgun aimed at the enemy.
Carver’s head lay in bits, scattered over the balcony. All three men turned to Bridgey who slowly lowered his gun.
“Look who decided to come to the party!” Said Jackson, fist-bumping his quiet but new-found action hero team mate.
“I’ve got your back boys. Now let’s get over there and check their room. I think their door is open…”

Bridgey’s shot had shattered the fence separating the balconies so the boys were able to creep quietly over to the Essex changing room. Jackson peered round the door to see 2 of the Essex players, shaking in the corner of the room, one gripping his cricket bat and the other holding his crutches, ready to attack the next thing to come through the door. There were three or four bodies scattered around the room, all with flattened heads. Jackson needed to get their attention but shouting wasn’t an option. Their changing room door which lead deeper into the pavilion was blood-spattered and ajar. Jackson took a step into the changing room and quickly put his finger to his lip, hoping they would realise he wasn’t one of them. Robin Van der Westhuizen, or Westie to his team mates, the injured South African Essex all-rounder threw his crutch at Jackson in panic, not realising he wasn’t there to attack. The crutch hit Jackson in the ribs resulting in an almightily yelp and the 6ft 4 bowler crashing against the wall and to the floor in agony. Mossy, Milo and Bridgey quickly ran in to see to their friend. Westie soon realised his mistake and hopped over to Jackson who was doubled over in pain.

“Sorry mate, I thought you were one of them!” There was no love loss between Westie and Jackson. They had been rivals for years. Bars would empty to see Jackson bowl his 90mph deliveries at Westie – they were very equally matched which made for the perfect rivalry. Of course their differences were not just on the field. There was history between them. They were cricket rivals, love rivals, Twitter rivals and media rivals – frequently slating one another in interviews.
“Come on mate, who are you kidding? You could see I wasn’t a bloody zombie!” Said Jackson, rather angrily.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist!” Replied Westie. “It was an accident!” Bridgey turned to Westie’s team mate O’Toole who was still in the corner, staring out of the changing room door.
“Hey buddy, good to see you made it off the field!”
“Too many energy drinks for him earlier…” Interrupted Westie. “He needed a toilet break as soon as they started playing!” O’Toole continued to ignore Bridgey. His eyes were fixated on something.
“Mate, are you OK?” Asked Mossy.
“Not really…” Answered O’Toole in a quiet, shaky voice. “There’s something looking at me.”

“`SHUT THE DOOR!!!” Yelled Jackson. Mossy sprinted to the door and threw his entire body weight at it, feeling some resistance from the other side as it slammed. Milo and Jackson ran over to help keep it closed but the resistance got stronger. Something wanted IN!

Liga De LilMissAshes – Fantasy Cricket

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I hope you’re all getting involved in some form of Fantasy Cricket this year? I’m personally doing the Natwest T20 Blast. Hoping my team, ‘The LilMissAshes Elite’ tear up the T20 scene and win me some points! I’m not going to name them on here – that would be telling! – but I will encourage you all to sign up.

I’ve set up my own League on the #NatWestT20Blast site. Insert Code: 6756-1061. It’s called Liga De LilMissAshes. I could do with more people to beat! 

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Zombies Stop Play Pt 1

Hi guys, LilMissAshes is BACK! I haven’t cricket-blogged for what feels like forever! I’m a busy lady you know, but that’s really no excuse to neglect my duty. I might have been offline but I promise you, I haven’t been logged out of the matrix entirely!

Some of you will be familiar with my eBook, “Point to Fine Leg – A Lady’s Guide to Cricket” but this time, I thought I’d try something a little different…

Over the next few months I’ll be switching FACT for FANTASY and delivering you a weekly instalment of my latest story (every Sunday), ZOMBIES STOP PLAY. Think Jack Bauer and 24 and then you’ll understand what I’m trying to achieve! I’ve always had a slight obsession with the idea of a zombie apocalypse so I’ve decided to mix it with the world’s best sport and this is what came out! So sit back, relax, but don’t get too comfortable… the cricket stadium is about to get messy… real messy!

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Friday 13th June 2014
16:00, Swalec Stadium, Cardiff

The 7000-strong Glamorgan crowd waited with anticipation for Essex’s tall, powerhouse of an opening bowler, Tyrone Carter to send down a bullet of a first ball to their young and upcoming opening batsman, Joe King. The roar of the fans crescendoed as the bowler charged in from his mark and unleashed his first delivery. King somehow managed to clip the 90mph yorker leg side for a quick single and the much-anticipated, usually extremely heated 50-over match between these two teams had begun.

Joe’s Glamorgan teammates watched on from the balcony. Some would usually be in the nets practising at this point with others reading and messing around out-back but today, all the squad, apart from their opening batsmen were out on the balcony to watch Essex’s new, man-mountain of an oversees bowler they’d heard so much about.

Carter was back at his mark and all set to bowl his second delivery when something changed. He stood at his mark much longer than he would normally, just staring down at Joe’s teammate, Paul White who was waiting for his first delivery. White backed away from the wicket and gestured to Carter as if to say what are you waiting for? Even the umpire turned round, telling him to hurry up. The crowd fell silent as they tried to understand what was going on.

Carter continued to stare White down and then started to growl. The Essex captain, Chris Woods walked over to Carter to find out the reason for the delay but stopped 2 metres from his opening bowler. He picked up on Carter’s growl and saw his eyes giving off an eerie blood-red glow.

“Ty, you alright mate?” Carter quickly his stare from White to his captain, tilting his head slightly to the right. His nose started to bleed and the growling grew louder.

“Geez mate, what’s wrong with you?” Before Woods could turn to his balcony and call for the medic, Carter leapt at Woods and proceeded to sink his teeth into him. Woods tried to fight back but Carter was too strong. Both umpires and 5 of the Essex team ran over to intervene but it was too late. Joe, who quickly realised that both he and White were the only ones nearby with what could now be considered as weapons, took it upon himself to charge at Carter with his bat. He screamed to the fielders to get out of the way as he swung his bat at Carter’s legs, as if he was trying to slog his kneecaps for six. Carter’s gastronomic frame fell to the ground as the crowd let out a massive gasp. Screams started coming from pockets of people in the crowd, not just from what they had witnessed on the field but from what they were suffering in the stands. Whatever was happening to Carter, was happening sporadically to various spectators.

Captain Woods, who had been laying dead for a minute in a pool of blood during Joe’s counterattack on Carter, opened his now blood-red eyes and got to his feet. Two of his fielders ran over to help their captain who they thought had been killed, when Woods attacked the two, biting one on the forearm and the other in the neck. Within minutes, the two men had adopted the same blood-red eyes and desire for carnage as their captain and opening bowler and proceeded to attack the rest of the field.

Joe quickly realised that his efforts were pointless. The situation was hurtling out of control. Attacks were multiplying and so were the ‘infected.’ He would fend off one but more would keep coming.

By this point, the crowd were screaming with people fighting for their lives. At that point, they ran towards the pavilion and what they hoped would be the safety of the changing rooms. The world was going crazy and there was nothing they could do about it…