Mr Humphries’ Isolation Diaries - Week 3
“The atmosphere in this arena is electric. 45 minutes of back and forth action boils down to this Clive. Can he take out that elusive last pin and win, what will surely go down as, one the greatest matches in the history of this sport?”
Finland is known for many things: Sami Hyypia, Mika Hakkinen and dishwasher tablets. But it was also named the happiest country in the world for the third year in a row last month and this is in no small part down to the sensational game of Mölkky. What follows, is a match report from the (fictional) clash between myself and my flatmate (henceforth referred to as Snoopy) in the inaugural Sutton Mölkky Unified Tournament. It was, I’m sure you’ll agree, an all-time classic…
(If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, watch this short clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQ77I2zQlqg)
It was 5:36pm on Thursday evening. The sun was kissing the lawn and the soothing breeze caressed the trees that looked down upon twelve wooden pins. Twelve feet away stood two gladiators about to embark on an epic struggle to be crowned Champion of Thursday. In the red corner, Mr Humphries prowled, ready to unleash wooden fury. In the blue corner, Snoopy stoically stared at the dozen skittles, then to the crowd (a squirrel in the tree) before returning his gaze to the skittles. Game on!
As Tolstoy once said, ”tails never fails”, thus Mr Humphries won the toss and stepped up to the oche. WALLOP! All twelve pins were instantly spreadeagled. It was a classic move from this typically aggressive pin punisher. He throws hard and he throws fast. It’s been said on some occasions the skittles have fallen over out of pure fear.
By contrast, Snoopy has ice coursing through his veins. He plays in a methodical and meticulous manner. Unfazed by his foe’s brash opening, he twirled the log in his fingers and calculated his opening move. Snoopy cast the log towards the cluster...and missed entirely! The squirrel dropped his nut, though out of shock or mocking laughter, we will never know.
Humphries, quick to pounce on this mistake, leapt to collect the cylinder and in the blink of an eye was back on the tee. KAPOW! More Mölkky mayhem from the Mölkky master left another seven pins down. Victory was already in sight, even after his cunning foe regained a foothold with a fortuitous six. They exchanged blows until an unwelcome visitor entered the arena.
Bounding from the shrubbery, Mr Squirrel appeared, once again clutching a nut. Was this a devious ploy by Snoopy to unnerve his rival? Mr Humphries has a well-documented nut allergy and for the second time in the game, nuts had entered the fray. And wait a minute...isn’t Snoopy a character from the comic strip Peanuts? The case of Snoopy employing underhand tactics was becoming more compelling by the moment.
All the while, Mr Squirrel was edging closer. But Mr Humphries made a game-changing and life-saving decision quicker than you can say ‘anaphylaxis’. A student of ‘the sweet science of boxing’, Mr Humphries advanced towards the critter and landed a series of telling hooks to Mr Squirrel’s midsection, knocking the wind from his sails and the miscellaneous nut from his hand. But where had it gone? Humphries looked to the sky and saw the nut somersaulting towards him. With the Mölkky stick in his hand, he now called upon his sublime cricket skills to thwack the nut over deep backward square and out of the arena. SIX! It was a mesmerising display of both boxing and cricket. Some commentators suggested that if he ever decided to hang up his Mölkky moccasins, a fruitful career in either field beckoned.
With Mr Squirrel incapicated, Humphries returned to the crease. He needed eleven for glory. Said pin was tucked, seemingly impenetrably behind a cluster of other skittles. A seven-four combo was possible, but Mr Humphries does not wear a Mölkky shirt with How do you want to be remembered? emblazoned upon his back for nothing. He looked to the heavens, but no power could have foreseen the magic that was about to occur. It was time for the old ‘alley-oop’. Humphries sent a towering throw up into the ether. End over end, the cylinder tumbled towards the wicket and, unbelievably, was zeroing in on the hidden eleven. Surely it couldn’t be?
Humphries had overcome the odds and attempts on his life to win the game! He dropped to his knees and kissed the hallowed turf. It was pure drama, pure ecstasy.
He took a moment to regain his composure before he realised he would have to shake the hand of his Mölkky nemesis, a man who went to extraordinary lengths to unseat the champion. How would Humphries address his beaten adversary? He turned to sly old Snoopy. The crowd (now not even a squirrel) were on the edge of their seats. He held out his hand...
“Fancy a beer then Snoop?” Pure class.
DISCLAIMER: No squirrels were harmed in the making of this blog post.