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Name: MARK STEPHENS
Weight: developing - coming along nicely thanks
Nickname: Shakes, lately Bagpuss, and derivatives thereof.
Batsman? Bowler? Keeper? None of the above? Something else : Opening bat and frustrated off-spin bowler. All our captains have been seamers lately!
Batting style? Once described as Roath's answer to Chris Tavare but I have branched out - see below.
General cricketing style? Pre-raphaelite: colourful, flowing, romantic, voluptuous (Fat???) and back-to-basics. Inventor of the 'shakey dab' between cover and 3rd slip.
Previous Teams played for? Llandaff North, Bedlinog, St Fagans 5th's, Lord Mayor's XI, ONS (v cazh)
How long have you been (a) casual? Since Tuesday May 7th 1996 (my debut match v Dow Corning at Rhoose) officially but all my life really.
Number of games played for the Casuals? Roughly 228 by the end of the 2004 season. Only my brother is sad enough to have played more games.
What you bring to the Casuals team? An appetite for tea and a thirst for runs. Also the chief route planner for the cazh diaspora at away matches.
Who is your Doppleganger? Kevin Maxwell
Hobbies? Cardiff rugby club fan since 1978, real ale, visiting every pub in cardiff, collecting wisden, stats (check the cazh stats), take-aways, skitles, reading and a bit of the politics mullarky.
Favourite food? I like pies - that's not a statement, more a way of life. I also like all the major food groups you find in Roath after 9pm.
Favourite music? Stranglers, New Order but I'm pretty eclectic. I've seen The Damned 3 times now.
Favourite film? Oh heck there's loads, and I'm not counting the 2002 cazh video. How about Annie Hall, LA Confidential, When Harry Met Sally, Soylent Green, A Matter of Life and Death, Philadelphia Story, Godfather I and II, Groundhog Day, Inherit the Wind, It Happened One Night, Shop Around the Corner, She Wore a Yelow Ribbon….……I'm a film nut, particularly the old b/w ones from the golden age.
Other hobbies? Watching my garden grow. I don't actually do anything to it, just watching it grow is pleasure enough.
What was your last DVD / CD purchase? CD: the latest Embrace album which I haven't listened to properly yet.
DVD: 'The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'. I recommend it. Jim Carrey's best film.
What 3 people would you most like to invite to a dinner party?: Jack Kerouac can recite tales of the Beat generation ('On the Road' is a great novel), David Niven can tell me all his film stories and Jack Hobbs can wax lyrical on the golden age of cricket.
Or Dan, Goughy and Muff can put the world and cazh cricket to rights if we go to the Spoons.
Ideal Woman? Is that with or without a pie?
Age you started playing the glorious game? Probably when I was 4 or 5 in my grampy's back yard. I honed my game against my brother in our own back yard and once got a triple-ton!
Best performance?

My best innings was my 75* against L&A off 18 overs in a Shield game. It was just one of those days when everything clicked.
I also bowled a wicket maiden against BA in the penultimate over of a Shield game in 2002. JF conceded 5 off the last over and we won by 1 run.

Best performance by a fellow Casual has to be either Foxy's 40 against Barry Wanderers in 1997 when we were under presure and he just kept belting Mike Ashton down the ground, or Steve's 50 against Lampeter on tour. They were just lots of fun. Forget the 'great' innings and the hat-tricks, this is real cazh cricket.

Favourite game played?

BA above ranks pretty high. I also enjoy boring the opposition to death in long partnerships (with TH at Rogerstone and with Goughy at Pontcanna against the Cavaliers) but they were personal favourites.

I suppose it has to be that first win against Sully in 2002 when none of us thought we had a chance. We bowled them out for 170-odd somehow. Then after a fine tea we just went mad with the bat. Muff and JF were inspired and very un-cazh. Of course two weeks later they absolutely murdered us.

Favourite venue played …ever? St Fagans, Pentyrch and Cowbridge are good wickets but the most memorable moments are my first glimpses of Clytha (with the stately home in the background) and Llanvapley. I do miss not playing at St Mellons.
Cricketer you most admire and why? Funnily enough it's Stevo. Now Steve isn't the best cricketer in the world (no, seriously) but he just keeps trying and he always turns up - a captain's dream. He's getting some good runs this year but he is getting scared of the ball in his old age
(Only kidding mate).
My brother cos no-one else has scored over 500 in the back yard in one innings.
Casual cricketer you most admire and why? Padre. How can you drink that much, fall asleep, and still score a fifty!
John Furnham. How can you eat that much, fall asleep and still score a fifty!
Funniest moment on the Casuals field?
  • The Gazza fall obviously.
  • Some of my colleagues think it was funny when I ran in to Rob at Stone!
  • Rob dropping to his kness and kissing the ground on turning up at Pye Corner after a marathon driving expedition with Geoff Male.
  • When the captain of Dinas Powis refused to declare after a rain break so he could get his hundred - and then we got him out caught on 96.
  • Steve Stokes grabbing his heart while running between the wickets at the Cathedral School - and then pulling his fags out of the breast pocket of his shirt.
  • When my bat broke at Baltonsborough and it nearly hit the guy at square leg.
  • Dave opening the bowling against the Ram Inn. Sorry mate.
  • Pitch invasion by some farm animals (cows?) at Rudry.
Favourite tour moment?
  • Gazza doing his famour tuba requests one Friday in Pumsaint.
  • A huge JF six over the trees at Pumsaint.
  • The house party night at Pumsaint. I will always remember what me and JF could see and they were grey!
  • The Friday night in Taunton with Dan, Pad and Gazza. Pad got annoyed when Dan was having a lot more success with the ladies (waits for this to be edited out by Dan). That was also the night I lost the hotel key
Favourite Tea had as a casual? (Home or Away)

I always look out for the following away fixtures: Clytha, Colwinstone and Llanvapley as they are usually very good. Excellent cake at Colwinstone, and Clytha treat us to food from the restaurant.

I like playing for the casuals because………. We have fun and that's what its all about
I hate playing for the casuals because………… Nah, the question makes no senses
Sorry
If I didn’t play so much cricket I’d be………. Running the country by now
Shakes says....... I miss not having an after match pint at the Halfway. The whole team used to turn up and on occasion we had a Dylans night. The bar staff were also excellent. The Spoons or Wenvoe Arms are not quite the same.
But I'm quite happy that Pad doesn't force me to drink in Kiwi's or the Philly any more. They were mad times.
Interesting fact………..

In Marks younger days he was the blo-football champion of all Wales and represented them in the Blo Football World cup in 1989. He made it through the group stages but lost to the Dutch competitor in the second round, who was using the side of mouth 'suck and blow' method (now commonly favoured by most leading players including reigning British Champion - Dave 'The Legend' Stubbs) but in those days it was revolutionary and caused much controversy. It almost meant that Shakes was re-instated and allowed into the next round, but much Dutch protests denied him this.

Shakes was forced to retire in 1996 due to on going problems with his technique - he couldn't keep food out of his mouth long enough to play a game!

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