1. What is the perfect pizza topping?
Tom: Something fairly simple, with as little ponce as possible! Ham or salami, olives, mushrooms and a simple base. La reine probably if grabbing a quick bite or a Rucola from Avanti in Wally if having a nice meal!
Matt: Tandoori chicken, ground beef, jalapenos, peppers and onions with a BBQ base.
Points: Tom = 0.5, Matt = 0.0 If you want BBQ flavour have a BBQ like a real bloke would.
2. “I thought I was going to drown” – describe your scariest swimming incident.
Tom: Swimming and I have a similar relationship to Winker’s intestines and curries – it’s enjoyable for the most part but there is always something heinous waiting to rear its head, I therefore have two tales.
My most worrying experience was with my now wife swimming in Katherine Gorge in Australia. I was delayed getting into the water due to quaffing a ‘goon-bag’ of red the night before and needing to re-paint the inside of a toilet, whilst Katie and the rest of the tour group swam out. While I was engaged blowing chunks my heroic wife went on to keep a 6ft, 14 stone, chap from drowning as he had a panic attack 250 m out from the shore, at this point I got in. Unfortunately in his flailing around he lamped her in the head causing her to have swallow a bit too much of the lake and have an asthma attack. I reached her just in time to get her afloat and swim her back to shore.
The closest I’ve come to drowning was kayaking on the Tees, the first time I’d been river kayaking. Having gone into some rapids I lost my way, and my paddle, and was flipped over – I travelled a hundred metres (20 seconds) through the white water upside down, with my head (helmet on) smashing into the rocks below the surface. I fortunately managed to hand roll myself up, feeling slightly woozy, only to almost immediately get dragged by the current over Low Force waterfall. At this point I came out of the boat and was caught in a stopper under the falls, I’ve never known panic like it – thankfully I was hauled out by a uni mate who had been wetting himself laughing at my awful decent through the rapids!
Matt: Not directly swimming but definitely genuine thoughts of drowning. Some friends and I decided to rent one of those pedalos with the slide in Portugal and go out to sea on a fairly blustery day. Wasn’t until we were about 500m out that the reality hit that no matter how hard we pedalled or dragged it whilst swimming we were only getting further from shore. Cue all five of us swirling our shirts around our heads trying to get someone’s attention with no luck. A good 15 minutes later the dude who rented them to us jet skis over, looked at us sternly and said “you better pedal harder” before driving off. We were moments away from using the one phone we had on us to call the UK emergency services as none of us knew the Portuguese numbers but thankfully the man eventually came back to tow us back to shore in his speed boat. He did inform us that he has to make these rescues daily but this didn’t help our moods and we all spent the next 20 minutes in silence contemplating our lives in the nearest cafe.
Points: Tom = 0,5, Matt = 0.5. “ …swimming in Katherine Gorge …” is this a euphemism?!
3. Have you ever saved an animal’s life? Discuss.
Tom: Yes, a kestrel caught in a barbed wire fence and bailer twine in Suffolk as a boy of 13! Whilst pissing about I noticed the bird was stuck and in real distress, I went to it, covered it with my jumper and proceeded to unwind and cut free the twine that was around its legs and wings. Unfortunately the kestrel didn’t speak idiot and therefore failed to grasp my pleas for calm. Instead it saw me as a threat and promptly got stuck in to my forearm and wrist with its beak and talons. I did manage to free it and thankfully it didn’t seem too much the worse for its experience, taking off with a piercing shriek. Unfortunately it left me in ribbons and I had to go to the local quack to get the wound looked at, bandaged and a tetanus shot – it was still worth it and I’d do it again!
Matt: Almost weekly. The cats bring in mice to harass and torment frequently in our house, someone has to be the hero.
Points: Tom = 0 , Matt = 0. Real blokes know that only two kinds of animal count: those you can f**k, and those you can eat. All the rest are irrelevant: no points.
4. Have you ever been banned from anywhere?
Tom: The ‘Tuxedo Royale’ (“The Boat”) nightclub in Newcastle was my first experience of a pub ban! As was far too often the case in my first two years at University I was on a night out with the Agricultural Society. Having done very well, in my own mind, on a three legged pub crawl down the big market I was well in my cups by the time I arrived at the floating cesspit that was “The Boat”. I promptly drank more in order to build the courage to embarrass myself with the opposite sex only to decide that my time was better spent lobbing empty glasses onto the, empty, lower deck. Needless to say it was a very short time before my collar was felt by a rather impressive bouncer, who was unwilling to accept to reasoning that the smashing noise sounded nice and carried me bodily off the boat – asking me to avoid coming back until I grew up a bit (fair enough in hindsight). Unfortunately the story doesn’t end there as I hot footed it around to the entry line, shedding my jumper in the process, and got straight back in (oh for cctv), only to be caught by the same bouncer an hour later and have a rather rougher exit!
Matt: Southern fried chicken shop in Henley – went for lunch whilst at college and the dude had some serious attitude refusing to give us sauce for our chips so we just grabbed it from behind the counter to use when he wasn’t looking. He wasn’t pleased, told us to get out and we refused to ever go back. Does that count?
Points: Tom = 0.5, Matt = 0
5. When umpiring, describe a time when you perhaps incorrectly gave the batsman not out.
Tom: In previous seasons I could perhaps be accused of some fairly horrific decisions as umpire (giving the first team captain run out whilst I was facing the other direction evading the ball would seem obvious), though these are typically given out rather than the alternative. However I do recall, on more than one occasion, refusing to give out the then 2nd team captain against Sulhamstead and Ufton Nervet’s 2nd team – due to beef / agro with their bellend of a captain and his awful son!
I also refused to give a boy out last season, who was playing against my U9 team, despite his stumps being splattered – because there was too much chat in the field as the ball was bowled (very low brow from my boys)!
Matt: I can barely remember the teams we played the week before, let alone any umpiring decisions I make. The best answer I can give here is I like to think I give batsmen the benefit of the doubt on their first delivery.
Points: Tom = 1 , Matt = 1. Excellent answers; give bowlers nothing but a shake of the head
6. Which actor would you choose to play you in a film about your life?
Tom: Richard Michael “Rik” Mayall would be my “friend’s” choice – apparently I pass a certain resemblance to the great man! I would say that Tony Robinson, of Baldrick fame, may be a better bet.
Matt: My initial thought was someone classic like Brad Pitt. But then thought I’d be a bit more realistic about the height and with that in mind I’ll go for Michael J. Fox. Absolute legend in Back to the Future.
Points: Tom = 0 , Matt = 1 One’s dead, the other’s alive: you can work out the scoring scheme.
7. What was the last item of food you purchased in a coffee shop?
Tom: A BLT (light on L and T) and a large coffee from the Village Café!
Matt: Don’t really do coffee shops but did get a cup of tea and a raspberry and white chocolate muffin from one recently when my bus was delayed on the way to work.
Points: Tom = 1, Matt = 0.5 (and only because of the tea)
8. What was the last text message received from a member of the opposite sex?
Tom: I had this lovely one from the good lady wife… “You jammy shit, you’ve just avoided a total poo apocalypse from daughter two! Literally everywhere. You can wash the clothes.” True love is awesome!
Matt: “Hi Matt, I know it’s really really early and you obviously had a very good night 🙂 I just wanted to let you know that we are going to see Granny this morning for tea – should be back lunch time. Sam may be coming too. Love you xxx”
Points: Tom = 0.5, Matt = 0.5
9. What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Tom: Grimace, as almost without fail Ella (aged four) has decided to wake me by ‘bed bombing’ me amidships! This is followed by saying good morning through gritted teeth and staggering downstairs to make a coffee.
Matt: Brush my teeth in the shower.
Points: Tom = 0, Matt = 0 “Brush my teeth in the shower”?! This is only acceptable if they are false teeth.
10. Provide the most “blokiest” photo from your phone
Tom: Dilly aged one month and Daddy is already proving less mature than her by capturing a middle finger salute to send to his sister and friends! Drink photos are something I managed when I had a social life prior to sowing my oats!
Points: Tom = 0 , Matt = 1 Now, that’s more like it … compare this photo of Matt to the one of Ishant from OTJ
Judge Wincott Summing up:
A head to head that was more Munchkin vs Hobbit than Alien vs Predator; neither will ever be mistaken for Ray Winstone. However, Matt’s photo wittily entitled “The ravages of war in a neoclassic landscape whilst wearing a table cloth” proved to be the difference and unlike Arsenal, he remains in the hunt for a trophy this season.
NB: A note for all bloke test combatants – brevity is a skill that should be practiced.
…AND THE WINNER IS: TOM = 4 POINTS VS. MATT = 4.5 POINTS