Putting your foot in it

Note to self - try to include at least one severed limb in every subsequent caption competition. As we all know (but I'd temporarily forgotten), there's nothing quite like a prop to get those creative juices flowing. Okay, so your entries still haven't been very funny, but at least there's been a whole world of originality flowing into my inbox this week. And in the absence of any comic genius, variety will do very nicely, thank you.

As ever, there were some absolute sitters on offer, but as any cricketer knows, even the easy chances still have to be taken. "Here you go Matt [Hayden], this seems to have fallen out of your mouth," said Azad Majid from Southampton, who was the first to latch onto that particular line of thought. And, given that this has been a series that has confounded all predictions, the identity of the mouth-in-footee varied wildly, with Matthew Hoggard, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Terry Alderman all cited at various stages of the week.

Nicholas Fry demonstrated a particular fascination for the bleedin' obvious. "Punter told me to bowl a foot outside off stump," was the first of about 854 entries from Mr Fry, who also asked out loud: "I wonder if I can get this thing to reverse-swing"; "Every fast bowler should have a short leg"; and "I thought England's fast bowlers had found a yard, but I now realise it's only a foot". Very droll, Nick, very droll. But utterly predictable.

Talking of multiple entrants, our Adrian was back with a vengeance. "By the way, my ones last week weren't abysmal," he said, brandishing a diploma in wry humour. "The ones published were pretty terrible - at least mine were funny." As if to emphasise his point, he offered this ribtickler: "That beamer was accidental, honest." You're right, Ade, I stand corrected.

One of this week's entrants really stood out from the herd. "The pitch is a bit of a minefield," said a certain Geraint Jones, which prompted a swift investigation from the judging panel. It turns out that this Geraint resides in Marks & Spencers rather than the England dressing-room, although one wonders how much more peaceful his life must have been when his namesake was but an anonymous grade cricketer in Queensland.

There was a lot of shouting in my inbox this week. "Hey Glenn? Robot Boy? You better hide this before they realise we rebuilt you," yelled Chris Howard. "Hey Marcus! Look what happens when you finally try and move your feet!" goaded Sarah C. "Hey Brett, can I borrow your brain please, I'm building an idiot," heckled Ian Harris, in an echo of the famous appeal to Phil Tufnell on the 1990-91 Ashes tour. And Ian wasn't finished there. "Here it is, cobber," came Lee's response. "Look after it, though, it's my second-favourite organ." Ba-doom, tish.

As ever, there was more than just a smattering of awful punnage. "Footloose and Fancy Lee," sniggered Ross Jones, as Anshuman Hazra sneaked past the censors with a groanworthy: "I am back to foot `feetness'". By way of a change, however, Daniel Ogilvie actually produced a pun of moderate chuckle value. "I knew it wouldn't be long before footie was front-page again," he dead-panned.

Special mention deserves to be made of Mohammad Sheikh's portentous: "My one great talent lies in making those who wrong me suffer horribly," if only to get ourselves in the mood for the grim fascination that is Poetry Corner. Waiting for us there, and standing head and shoulders above all competitors, was Roderick Chadwick, who earned himself a date with the match referee and a six-match ban for bringing the competition into disrepute. Beatles fans (and the rest of you for that matter), look away now:

It was 20 years ago today
Gooch and Gower taught the Aussies to play
Goochie's tache was the height of style
Though it sort of concealed his smile
But at Leeds we introduced to you
a bunch of more plucky geezers:
(now we're)
Sergeant Ponting's Severed Parts Club Band
We hope that we won't let th'urn go (repeat ad nauseam)


Apologies, but I had to share the pain. Now, assuming there's anyone out there who's actually made it this far, let's get this over and done with. Others to catch the eye were Marty Firth's lateral suggestion: "Rod Marsh no longer has a foot in each camp" and Jeremy (still in Melbourne)'s Monty Python tribute: "'Tis but a scratch! None shall pass!"

But, for a combination of topicality, originality and a play-on-words that didn't elicit too many groans, this week's winner is Steven Sowden. Clearly Steven decided that kicking a man when he's down is all the more fun when he's only got one foot and can't kick back:

Thanks once again to all who entered. Next week's offering will be served up during the Trent Bridge Test.