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Of bass and men
Paul Brimble the sea bass man
Paul Brimble aka sea bass man
Last updated: 28 August 2004 1009 BST
lineGloucestershire County Cricket Club has a new mascot: a sea bass. Keeper of the fish Paul Brimble explained the reasoning behind this eccentric choice.
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Paul Brimble is the sea bass man.

That doesn't mean he has gills and spooky lidless eyes, but rather that he is the keeper of the Gloucestershire County Cricket Club's latest mascot, a fish which (allegedly) returned from the dead to devour their previous animal idol, a frozen chicken.

"I went fishing with the boys, and that day we caught a lot of sea bass," said Paul. "One particular fish had a lot more fight in it than the others."

Heroically wrestling the beast ashore, he promptly clobbered it and stashed it in his freezer alongside the 'mystical chicken', the team's former lucky mascot which had been out of favour since Gloucestershire lost to Surrey in the 2001 Benson and Hedges cup.

"When I looked the next morning, the mystical chicken was gone," claimed Paul. "I called an immediate meeting of the chicken men, and it was decided that the fish would be our new mascot."

Going swimmingly

Thus far, the aquatic icon seems to be doing an admirable job.

"We took it to the semi-finals (of the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy), thrashed our opponents and have moved on to Lord's yet again," said Paul.

He intends to get it out and wave it around at this weekend's final.

"It'll be coming out at Gloucestershire's first four or wicket," he said. "But you've got to be careful of the dorsal fin - it's very sharp."

The sea bass - proper name Centropristis striata - can grow to around 24 inches in length and lives for up to 20 years, by which time it would probably taste somewhat stringy.

The mystical container
All hail the mystical container

Fowl play

The fish has a lot to live up to.

Such was the reputation of the mystical chicken that it was accorded the honour of being held aloft by Gloucestershire captain Mark Alleyne while he ran the length of the Grace Pavillion at the County Ground singing the bird's anthem, "He's got the whole chicken in his hands."

There are a number of popular theories relating to the origin of the chicken, whose inception as a mascot is shrouded in urban myth.

Chickening out

Paul Brimble claims that the fortuitous fowl was taken live to Lords in 1977.

quoteYou've got to be careful of the dorsal fin - it's very sharp.
Paul Brimble

"It escaped and caused quite a lot of chaos during the game.

"Being young I was quite sharp and managed to catch it and break its neck and put paid to that chicken," he said.

"We won that cup, so from there we plucked it and froze it and took it to all the big one day games.

"Gloucestershire went on to rewrite the history books of one day cricket, and a lot of it was down to the mystical chicken."

Back to bassics

The 'Sea Bass Coach' is booked for this weekend's C & G Trophy final, and will be transporting the fish (in its 'mystical container'), Paul and around forty other devotees to the aid of their sporting heroes at Lord's.

Let's hope Gloucestershire don't get 'battered', or their finned friend's next appearance may be alongside a portion of chips and some tartare sauce.

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