‘Na, na, na, na, na, na, Ali, Ali Cook, Ali Cook, Ali, Ali Cook!’ Probably shouldn’t still be sitting here drowning my sorrows over the retirement of my hero. It was exactly the same when The Beatles split. And The Spice Girls. Yes, I am of an infinite age and eclectic music tastes. Sack me! Actually please don’t; I need this teaching job. Besides who else can you get to provide such educational lessons learned this week in cricket, to the youth of today? Hey! Put that phone away. Alright, alright I’ll get on with it…

1) Planetology

Was there not a specialised format in remembering the names of our planets class? Something like; My Very Enthusiastic Mother Just Served Us Noodles.’ Don’t know why noodles arouse enthusiasm. In fact, they’re bloody easy to cook. Well this week, put that addled rhyme out of your mind and prepare for a new one. Oh and for all your smart arses, Pluto ain’t a planet anymore; it’s a ‘dwarf planet.’ Now, now don’t be so grumpy…

How about this one; Moeen, Vanquished Everyone. Maybe Just Started Undeniable Number 1 status.’

Catchy eh?

It’s all because the Vitality Blast 2018 is over. The journey, traversing the solar system is at an end. Landing safely, with trophy glistening in their hands, are Worcestershire Rapids. Easily chasing 157, the Rapids triumphed over Sussex Sharks, with 9 balls to spare. Wickie Ben Cox, steering the return to earth with a solid 46 off 27 balls. Skipper Moeen lent him control, after the Bearded Beauty’s rapid fire 41, opening the batting. In fact Mo had a journey to remember, pinching 3-30 in the final. Whilst against Lancashire Lightning in the semi, he again made 41, with bowling figures 2-16.

Paceman Pat Brown rocketed the shuttle through the asteroid showers of big hitting. Lightning barely flickered as he took 4-21. Finishing as the top bowling astronaut of the competition. The Rapids destruction of Sharks was doubly impressive, considering Sussex hammered Somerset by 35 runs in their semi. Luke Wright striking a jaw dropping 92. However Worcestershire deserve their first T20 trophy, just reward for promoting youngsters such as Brown, Cox, Clarke and Barnard over the campaign. They land to a hero’s welcome.

2) Dogfighting

Don’t worry class, we aren’t about to be investigated by Panorama. The dogfighting referred to is that of combats which took place above our hallowed land during World War II. As Spitfire’s and Messerschmitt’s danced to the devil’s drum, the gap between life and death was a hairs breath apart. One clip from enemy fire had the potential to send the pilot into a spiralling tumble, streaking towards the earth. Gone forever. Or, if he survived, a parachute jump to the nearest air base, before heroically launching off to track down his foe. Very similar to the dogfight occurring in the county championship.

Alright so that may be a little extreme but relegation from Division 1 is devastating. Look at Middlesex who’ll finish in mid table mediocrity. It appears Warwickshire will be joining the premier league next season, after conjuring life out of their battered, ancient planes. Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott have been brilliant. The former completing over 1000 runs. The latter, lending his weight of experience when going gets tough.

Most likely joining them shall be Kent. Led by overseas star Matt Henry, with remarkably 70 wickets. Taking them at just 14.76 apiece Henry has beefed up the Kent attack. Achieving the Victoria Cross for heroic service is a must!

As for the scramble to survive the explosion, Worcestershire lie 30 points adrift. They will return to Div 2. Joining them appears to be Lancashire. Instead of being gunned down by an enemy plane, the Red Rose have been appalling. Collapsing with the regularity of England, their batting is atrocious. Haseeb Hameed averages 9.71 for goodness sake! They have run out of fuel. Promising pilots Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone can’t even get their plane off the ground. The Red Rose shall plummet into a ball of fire.

3) Babysitting

Something I do every day with you class. Watching over a bunch of toddlers. Having to confiscate toys, allow permission to visit the loo and teach you how to talk correctly. At least you have somebody babysitting, unlike the ECB who this week trialled the new domestic 2020 competition. Saying whatever brain dead idea comes into their collective heads, ‘The 100’ is very nearly here. Albeit a competition, which judging from the two practice games between the North and South, seems rather similar to your regular T20.

Instead of lasting three hours, it fits into a two and a half hour window. Wow so different! Each innings cannot last longer than 65 minutes; something matches in the Vitality Blast frequently hit anyway. Timewise then the format is not drastically altered, but what about the other changes?

There’s a 20 ball power play, with only two fielders outside the circle. Thereafter fielding captains can have a two and half minute strategic time out, up to the 70th ball. And coaches can enter. New batsman only has 30 seconds to reach the middle and will ALWAYS face the next ball. The 100 balls are delivered in blocks of 10, either from same end or 5 from each.

In these trials the North won both by 9 runs and then 6 wickets. To me though the changes aren’t drastic enough. If the ECB are committed to delivering a new tournament then surely it should be more radical; to attract that new ‘audience.’ These matches are essentially T20’s but slightly shorter. Why would a new audience bother watching? It needs to be changed further. Or scrapped completely. Hence the babies in the ECB need someone to hold their hand at their next meeting.

Oh and here’s the call now… Nope. That’s my granny.

4) Boxing

Ding, ding. It appears Bristol Brawlers, Ben ‘The Innocent’ Stokes and Alex ‘The Watcher’ Hales will indeed be charged by the ECB. The Cricket Discipline Committee will sit on December 5th and 7th to decide whether Stokes and Hales ‘brought the game into disrepute.’ If you’ve had your head buried in the sand all year, this follows the altercation outside a Bristol nightclub last year, which saw Stokes arrested and found innocent of affray in August. However the ECB must be seen to control their players.

As such, in-between the tours to Sri Lanka and Windies, a three man panel shall decide if the dastardly duo did act disobediently. Apparently they need two days to decide. That appears to be a day and a half too many! Their behaviour is certainly not the kind of image the ECB want from their professional cricketers. Those CCTV images have been seen far and wide. Yes Stokes was excluded from The Ashes but that was because he was under investigation by the police at the time of selection. Now though, it can be dealt with internally.

We can expect a few matches banishment and possibly a fine. Round 2 will begin in December and this time, Stokes and Hales have very few people in their corner. What they did was wrong; drinking in the middle of a ODI series for starters! They should be punished.

5) Advertising

Finally this week class a mission for you. With Autumn closing her orange arms around us, the cricket season draws to a close. It has been a rip roaring summer. From the heatwaves of June, to the storms of September cricket conquers all. With a six week break until England travel to Sri Lanka, we need your help to keep the lessons engaging. Hence have a listen to our weekly pod and giggle along to Whitto’s silly observations. Cast your eye over our satirical articles. Engage on twitter with our humorous tweets. Make sure you vote in the county team of the season polls which will be going live over the coming weeks.

Most of all, spread the word of HFAL far and wide class. If you fancy having a cheeky write, then let us know! But don’t your worry, even during the darkest depths of winter; I’ll be torturing you with my lessons learned.

Howzat For A Laugh?!

There we go class, another day of lessons for you to stick in those thick skulls of yours. Homework is to learn the plant acronym, watch every episode of ‘The World At War’ narrated by Laurence Olivier and tell at least three of your mates about our site. As for me, I’ll keep slugging from this bottle of peach schnapps and cry about Cookie. Class dismissed!