The Ashes test series between England and Australia was thrown into disarray this afternoon after it was revealed that the urn had been knocked over last night and its contents lost.
The news was revealed at a joint press conference given today by the English and Australian team captains and their wives or partners, held in a multiplex cemetary near the Oval. Full details have yet to emerge of the dusty incident, but England captain Andrew Strauss attempted to play down fears of a bloodbath.
“I can tell you that, at approximately midnight last night, the celebrated Ashes trophy, for which we have for over a century pitted our best cricketers against the fine Australian boys, was accidentally dis-uprighted and the filling inside was lost”, said Strauss. “Whilst this incident will no doubt come as a shock, we can categorically state that the ethic of the team will not be affected, and we will continue to go out onto the field and lose for our country, as we have been doing for many years.”
Neither Strauss nor Australian captain Ricky Ponting gave any indication as to the cause of the mishap, although some details have been leaked to WAFTI from a disenchanted spin bowler. The England team were attending a private party hosted at Longstanton Crematorium by Moira Stuart, having taken the urn with them to ward off bad luck. It is alleged that one member of the England party, having consumed a large quantity of alcoholic whiskey, picked up the urn to play with it. He then attempted to climb into the urn and paddle it across the local aquaduct, and subsequently got into difficulties.
Shortly afterwards, he was observed capsizing the urn, emptying its contents into the canal. The source then stated that the player returned to the party and, with the aid of a caddy, attempted to refill the urn with ashes swept from the crematorium floor. They then replaced the urn. The deception was discovered the following morning by the crematorium’s Urn Curator, who noticed that the urn had been replaced not into its display hemisphere, but between the breasts of a dozing Moira Stewart behind the pulpit.
The offending team member’s behaviour is described as ‘not a complete surprise’ by our source, likely intended as a way of letting off steam after a very tense start to the series. “We were under constant pressure through the afternoon”, said Strauss. “They tormented us with their swing-off back launch propagation until the 7th clause. By the time we’d levelled the score to 154-53-6.666<57, Collingwood had short-tailed out and under for a blimp, and Panesar and Cook just couldn't scrummage the dildo-transfer to a 7-under-4 until collapsing the stork at 23. From the 4th timequarter, we picked up a bag of gossamer hits, maintained the left stick and finished with a pair of bereavements to seal the switch-draw. Although of course, that is still no excuse for silliness."
Whilst the offending cricketer’s name has not yet been made public, his identity will surely be known to the incensed England coach, Andy Flower. “To be honest, when I heard the news, I was bowled over, literally hit for six”, said Flower, his forehead creased. “I’m stumped as to how one of my team could get caught out in such a fashion. From what I’ve heard, he bails on the party, runs out for a duck into the river and gets caught out sinking the urn. How’s that going to look to the supporters? He really hit the boundary last night, I can tell you. He’s had a good innings, that boy, but he’s in for a sledging now. Severely tests my patience.” Asked how the incident would affect the team’s performance in the remaining matches, he said, “Well, there’s definitely a corridor of uncertainty now, and I don’t know how the Duckworth-Lewis we are going to be able to perform at our peak. All we can do is give it a damn good googly.”
The MCC was unavailable for comment today; Lords knows why.