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Pinky the Panther’s Diary 2012 – Part 2

After a disappointing loss to the old rivals Surrey on Thursday, everyone was raring to go for our second match of the T20 campaign against the Sussex Sharks! It was Father’s Day which meant a family fun day at Lord’s, with lots of dads being treated to a day at the cricket! There was a party atmosphere from the moment the gates opened at Lord’s, with a fairground being set up on the Nursery Ground, with everyone joining in! And my old friend  Sid the Shark from Sussex had come along too, which made the day extra-special!

There were all sorts of attractions for everyone to enjoy. There was face-painting, a coconut-shy, an archery target challenge, some stocks, and a bowling speed-o-meter. It was great to see so many people enjoying themselves, and with the sun out too, it made for a fantastic start to the day. I had a go at all of the various stalls, but didn’t do too well at any of them! My whiskers and fur meant I couldn’t get my face painted, I didn’t hit any of the targets in the archery, I didn’t knock over any of the coconuts in
the coconut shy, and my bowling was so slow I didn’t even register a score in the bowling speed-o-meter! However, the worst bit was when I was put in the stocks. As you know, panthers, like all cats, don’t like water, so imagine just how much I hated being pelted by loads of wet sponges! The worst one was when Middlesex and Ireland bowler Tim Murtagh came over to have a go, and absolutely pelted me over and over again! I had no idea that Tim could throw it so hard, as I’ve seen him bowl, and it’s even slower than me! After repeatedly smashing me very hard on the nose, Tim let me throw a few at him too, and there were quite a few lining up to have a go too! Thanks to Tim for being a great sport, and for helping to raise lots of money for our charity partners Shooting Star CHASE.

Once the game started, as usual I went for my walks around the ground to meet and greet Middlesex fans. However, because I’d been in the stocks, I was absolutely soaked, which meant I was getting noticeably less high-fives and hugs than usual. Oops! I finished my first innings lap of the ground next to the dug-outs, where I saw Sussex finish their first innings on 143, meaning the Panthers would need 144 to win.

After the rain on Thursday evening my interval race was called off, meaning my race against Sid the Shark would be my first of the season. After keeping an unbeaten record during races last year, I was really nervous as the pressure was on me to do well again this year, especially against a notoriously strong racer in Sid. Sid actually finished first in the Finals Day mascot race, before being disqualified after video evidence showed that he missed out all of the obstacles, cut all of the corners and got a lift on the groundsman’s tractor halfway round. Either way, I knew that he was a formidable opponent, so my knees were shaking on the start line was we prepared to set off (although that may have been hypothermia after getting my fur wet earlier on). It was neck and fin as we jumped over the three hurdles, and it was even closer as we turned past one cone and round another. With my paws still wet, I didn’t have as much of my panther agility as usual, but I was still able to come on strongly as we headed back for the finish, and I managed to just get back over the finish line first. I’d won!

I celebrated my win with a pint of milk, before heading back out to the pitch to see the Panthers reply. Sadly, despite a valiant effort from skipper Neil Dexter, the Panthers fell just short, with Liddle’s 5-17 being the stand-out performance for the Sharks as they won by 11 runs.

It was a disappointing end to a fantastic day at Lord’s, and hopefully the result doesn’t take away too much from the fun that everyone had. Fingers crossed all of the dads who were treated to a day out had a great time, and let’s hope Middlesex can get their T20 campaign back on track with wins against Hampshire tonight, and in our final game at Lord’s on Thursday against Essex. Come on the Panthers!

Until next time,

Pinky



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