• Quokkas CC 177-9 (Roshan 52) bt Leigh 174 (Fruity 3-29, Kanna 2-24)

    The recent untimely death of Leslie Grantham brought to my attention just how long ago it was since I last watched East Enders. Back in my younger days I was an avid watcher, which surprises even myself, considering my now complete disdain for anything other than the highest televisual culture. To my defence, until streaming, I had very few options due to the unavailability of cable and my boycott of anything remotely connected to the Murdoch empire. I still wonder why I tuned in every week, but perhaps argue that once engaged with a soap opera, no matter its limitations, it can become difficult to extract yourself from the ritual. It becomes a habit and having invested significant time into characters and storylines you become hooked and are reluctant to waste that effort.

    An addictive personality doesn’t help and might explain why I also love watching professional cycling on television. Since I saw Laurent Fignon’s 53 second lead being erased by Greg LeMond during the Versailles to Paris final stage time trial in 1989, I’ve hardly missed a day of Le Tour. The sun may be shining and the Solent beckoning, but I find it impossible to extract myself from the sofa when there is five hours of racing and perhaps an Alpe D’Heuz to be conquered. For those yet to turn their nose up at a beer garden in favour of watching EPO-assisted domestiques babysit grand tour riders over the Pyrenees, it’s probably because you have yet to discover that races are like soap operas, with characters, storylines and subtle nuances that once tasted, become all consuming.

    The forthcoming Tour de France was brought to the forefront of my mind, when, as I made my way to Leigh for Sunday’s Quokkas game, I found myself weaving in out of various pelotons negotiating Box Hill, of Olympic road race fame. Personally, the idea of wearing Lycra, never mind cycling up an 8% gradient for two miles for fun, strikes me as madness, but then again, I am not sure I am in a position to preach – I spend my Sundays standing in a field for five hours until it’s my turn to try and avoid being hit into the next county. Playing and especially watching cricket requires a certain mentality. Very much like cycling it’s not a sport that you can instantly embrace. The attraction is not always obvious to the untrained eye, but once sampled, reveals much greater depth, and thus longstanding devotion.

    leigh2018aAnd you have to be very devoted to the sport when you decide to face Leigh at exactly the same time as an England World Cup game kicks off. This scheduling faux pas perhaps accounted for the small Quorum and large percentage of impartial Quokkas available. Obviously, our Australian members have very little interest in the World cup, with their team just visiting Russia for the weather, so we were well represented from that quarter. This was handy, as it gave me the chance to share in their joy at witnessing their side being white washed by England, in their national sport. Did I mention we won 5-0 and it was a white wash, I did? Oh, OK. The Quokkas were supplemented by Leigh players too, with The Mouth taking over the reins, supported by our friend Uwie (drawing the short straw for a second year running) and Mo, Kunyan and Roshan. The influx of actual cricketers helped forge arguably the best Quokka spin attack ever seen. It needed to be. Memories of chasing 250+ runs to the boundary and picking balls out of the thorn bushes last year still scar me, literally.  

    When it comes to devotion and dedication to the game, I think the 11,090-mile round trip made by Arunev has set the appropriate bar expected of all Quokkas from now on. He is still undecided if he will make the repeat journey for Hartfield next week, but his stout defence, effortless attacking play and methodical line and length bowling looked to have been enhanced by Mexican tequila. Skip has put you down as a maybe.

    After two and half hours driving back from Wantage last week, The Yak was another to have Roy Castle purring, risking the M25 weekend traffic once again and being rewarded by opening the bowling. Kanna, showing little interest in watching the football sent us out to field and with Kane scoring fantasy points right, left and centre for everyone but me, I was glad he did.

    We started well, with Uwei offering great support to The Yak, and both proving difficult to get away. Despite some attacking batting and a very fast outfield, only 40 odd runs were taken from the first 10 overs. Both claimed a wicket too. If only my dedication to memorise any of the important incidents matched their efforts I would be able to describe them to you now in detail. Sadly, with the first seven wickets all coming as a result of catches, I am struggling. What I can say is that Kanna took a beauty at slip when discovering he couldn’t get out of the way of it. Conan, wearing the gloves for the day, also grabbed one, by his right ear, which everyone, including himself, expected to have to search for in the thorn bushes.  

    Keen not to allow their batsman to settle, Kanna rotated the attack, with Arunev and Fruiti making life especially difficult. They bowled a combined 13 overs, claimed four wickets and conceded just 43 runs. Spin bowling had become the order of the day with Kanna and Roshan following them and all but cleaning up the tail. This left us in a such a strong position that I was afforded the opportunity to toss up a few buffet balls.

    Talking of food, during a delightful sun-drenched lunch, we discussed Portsmouth’s continued attempt to become more populated than Sanata Cruz del Islote, just how forgiving cricketers’ wives need to be and whether Kevin Curren, the Zimbabwean cricketer and/or South African Tennis player was indeed the same person? All fascinating stuff, but with some of us having to make a 5545-mile trip home, Mo and Slick bounded out to the middle.

    A healthy start was undone by some suicidal running and perhaps the best catch that I’ve ever seen to claim Mo’s wicket. Think Sachin Tendulkar, but with more effort. Mo may have been less impressed, I’m not sure, as I decided not to ask for his opinion. When Conan was undone by one that stayed straighter than expected, we somehow found ourselves 40 for 3. The wobble didn’t last long once Arunev stopped using his pad to fend balls away. With Roshan looking very assured the pair saw off the opening bowlers before pushing the scoreboard along with some powerful hitting. A fifty partnership came in what seemed no time at all.

    When a wicket fell I provided some support, choosing to ignore Roshan’s advice to play my natural game when hitting the first two deliveries straight back over the bowler’s head for four. Things were going well, with Roshan playing shots to all parts of the ground, but then with Leigh’s very own Egg brought on to bowl, wickets began to tumble. First my own, then The Yak and finally Kanna, all suffering from what I will call the `eyes lighting up syndrome’. Kanna’s stumping might have to be called a run out…I think you get the idea.

    After reaching his half century, Roshan’s wicket eventually fell. At that stage we were eight down, pace had been brought back into the attack and there was still another 20 to get. We had a game on our hands folks and when Kunyan was out it fell to the last wicket pairing Uwie and Fruiti to see us home… 

    What, you want to know what happened next? The power of the soap opera, right there…

    Cometh the hour, cometh the dropped catch at midwicket to a skied cover drive. A missed chance Leigh were left to rue as Fruiti then played a lovely shot off his legs and another straight drive, both for four, to claim the winning runs.

    leigh2018cWhether you are a fan of cricket or one of the other sports that requires an attention span slightly larger than a goldfish, they are most enticing when the sides are evenly matched. Kudos to the two skippers in helping to achieve that and well done to both sides for producing some exciting cricket. With the drive home over the beautiful South Downs, the fixture against Leigh is certainly one of the most enjoyable of the summer. I only hope the game next season is not scheduled to coincide with a Mont Ventoux finish…although I’m sure Arunev will pop over to replace me. Everyone’s a winner!

  • Quokkas CC 143 all out (Garlic Bread 21) beat Wantage & Grove CC 105 all out (Evil Dave 3-30, Ches 3-19, Garlic Bread 2-7)

    I made the ultimate sacrifice earlier in the year when turning down a ticket to watch Saints in the FA Cup Semi-final at Wembley, in favour of accompany Mrs Ches on a long-planned pilgrimage to South Wales. For someone who got his first season ticket in 1984 and only seen my team play twice at Wembley since, you’d imagine that it was a very tough call. In actual fact, my longstanding love of the game has diminished somewhat in recent years – the Southampton football business’ (I can’t bring myself to call it a Club any more) decision to charge fans to park their cars in the empty stadium car park when buying tickets or travelling on supporters’ buses to away games was the final straw, so it wasn’t quite as painful as you might think.

    DSC_0431And I was glad that I did join the out-laws on a trip down memory lane, otherwise I wouldn’t have discovered that my father in-law [no, I have got married Skip, it’s just easier for the story] had represented the Navy against Yorkshire, Boycott and all, whilst stationed in Gibraltar. Or that his family home in Caerleon sat immediately above a yet to be discovered Roman fortress and accompanying baths. The house itself is still standing, but the back garden is now an impressive museum housing frigidarium, tepidarium, caldarium and natation once used by the Second Augustan Legio in AD 75.

    OK, so Caerleon doesn’t have the ornate mosaics of the lavish Fishbourne Roman Palace in my neighbouring town of Chichester, but we are talking about one of only three permanent homes for the Roman army in Britain and a damn sight more impressive than the old brick works my house apparently sits above. What an amazing discovery, the father in-law had his suspicions of course (was it the cassis and gladius poking out of the flower beds that gave the game away Ron?), but then again, these Roman artefacts seem to unveil themselves in all manner of strange places. You will probably all be aware of the Roman bath house discovered under the Carlisle Cricket club when rebuilding the cricket pavilion.

    IMG-20180617-WA0000Wantage, more famous for being the birthplace of Alfred the Great, was itself a small Roman settlement, with impressive tower granaries probably used to store grain before being taken as taxes to feed the Roman army. Whether there is an undiscovered amphitheatre hidden under their cricket square, I am unsure, but with the club always offering Quokkas a tea fit for Emperor Hadrian himself, it was certainly worth a trip just in case.

    On arrival at the ground there were no obvious signs of aureus lying in the outfield, but it appeared that Skip had unearthed some gems, with The Juggler making his first appearance on a Sunday and the reappearance of Garlic Bread and Jerry the Grey, both having been buried under schoolwork for the previous two years. These fresh-faced gladiators were joined by the usual fossils such as myself, Evil Dave and Slick, creating a formidable side, if perhaps light on numbers.

    With half of the team lost somewhere near Oxford, perhaps attempting to find the North Leigh Roman Villa, we took the obvious decision to bat. The Yak and Faggie were sent in, resuming their undefeated partnership, that saw us to victory in the corresponding fixture last season. They set off at a tremendous rate again, looking both assured in defence and ferocious in attack. Sadly, Faggie was out 93 short of another fabulous century, but with some lusty blows from The Yak it was certainly a decent start.

    From then on, the runs continued to flow, with Slick, The Juggler and Evil Dave hammering balls to the boundary, only interrupted by those damn straight wicket taking balls. A fine spinner at one end then turned the screw, bamboozling all but Garlic Bread, who displayed a wonderful straight bat,  testudo-type defence and some quality cricket shots. The Skip looked to have recovered from his UDI (unidentified drinking injury) that kept him out of the first game, but showed every one of his 43 hard years, when running three consecutive twos. When he was eventually bowled around his legs, our total looked a little short, but with Jerry the Grey and Dave, the Wantage Chairman, he had seen us to a defendable 143 all out.

    DSC_0493Over the most wonderful of teas (gin jelly and chocolate orange marble cake being just two of the highlights) we pondered whether we really wanted England to win the World cup thereby creating the possibility of Henderson, Lingard and Deli Ali being handed knighthoods, whether the sex dolls business requires a sex establishment licence if they provide a `try before you buy’ offer, and why there is such intense scrutiny of meat content in sausages but a rather lassie fait attitude towards the mini cocktail versions? Gripping stuff, but with a Brazil World Cup game later that evening, we have a batting line up to conquer.

    Evil Dave, now located a pilum’s throw from Verulamium, opened the bowling. After his usual slow first delivery, he found equal amounts of rhythm and venom to help garner three crucial wickets, helped by some tidy catching in the field. At the other end, Garlic Bread, who I would guess spends much of his spare time finding tesserae, pot sherds and tiles near to the Roman trackways passing through Harpenden, bowled a tremendous spell. Despite already steaming in, he was encouraged, after very ball, to bowl “faster” and “faster” by Skip. He duly obliged, much to Slick’s chagrin behind the stumps, who took several for the team, including one in the face. Not to be outdone, The Juggler decided to trap a ball headed to the boundary with his mouth and Evil Dave swallow dived onto the concrete-like square attempting an impossible catch.

    Those positioned in the slips were in equal danger of injury due to the pace of the bowling and the varied bounce. One fast, full length delivery from Garlic Bread caught an edge that flew through the cordon at lightning speed (well that’s my excuse). My failure to grab it brought unsympathetic encouragement from The Yak, which brought a wry smile from Skip. However, further breakthroughs were not long coming, with Jerry the Grey finding a troubling length immediately and grabbing himself a well-deserved wicket.

    We were on top, but with the fine spinner revealing himself to be equally competent with the bat, the game was far from over. He calmly carved several balls to the boundary and intelligently picked gaps in the field. Just as it looked like the tide had turned he was triggered by his own umpire from another beauty from Garlic Bread.

    stumpsWith our opponents now facing a proverbial `pollice verso’, Skip turned to very slow bowling to ease the pressure. After an inauspicious start, I borrowed a ball from The Egg’s back catalogue, which managed to eek out the stubborn opener, thanks to a fine catch from Evil Dave. I then claimed, with huge exuberance, the prize wicket of the 13-year old that had clean bowled me earlier. My overenthusiastic appeal for leg before wicket (in the end unrequired because he was bowled) may have been mistaken for celebration, but I feel no shame whatsoever [he’s out, it’s in the book and there’s no `under 13’s’ Asterix on the Quokka top trump cards that I’m aware of].

    The Yak, held back because he is just too damn good at cleaning up the tail, was eventually brought on to bowl. At the other end, a bruised Juggler, showed me what spin bowling is really meant to look like. Predictably they took the remaining wickets in emphatic manner, both unplayable, as always.

    With another gladiatorial contest over, the quorum of Quokkas decided to celebrate the win with a few cerevisiae in the glorious late afternoon sun and discussed ways in which we could somehow put a team out to challenge the Leigh empire next week. That is what a `club’ is all about.
    Chiao bella.

  • It was very warm.

    Skip had a pre-match BBQ and, apart from the fire, this provided much needed Quokka sustenance.

    We had a lot of support out, which was nice.

    We dropped a lot of catches and fielded quite badly, especially on the boundary.

    Skip taking Fruity off after a 3 over spell had yielded 3 wickets, may have been a bit premature.

    Their number 8 scored 99 off 50 balls.

    Batting we gave them some catching practice. They evidently are practiced enough already.

    We lost.

    Ches had man flu so we have a brief match report.

  • Whalers 165-7 (Faggie 2-11, Dac 2-22) lost to Quokkas 251-4 (Faggie 125no!, Ches 64)

    DSC_0454

    Whenever I spend Christmas day with my family and find myself losing yet another game of Trivial Pursuit, I am mindful of the famous Jimmy Ormond response to Mark Waugh’s sledge during the 2001 Ashes series, when he said: “at least I’m the best player in my family.” As every sibling will tell you, that is one hell of a burn, because no matter how much you love one another, you still want to be better than them, at pretty much everything, all the time…especially when it comes to who is the more intelligent.

    My sister has distinct advantage over me when playing Trivial Pursuit. Red wine consumption doesn’t increase my general knowledge, solicitors tend to be quite clever and unlike myself, she doesn’t just think she knows everything, she actually does – except for the subject of geography, which is such an embarrassing blind spot, that even she has to swallow her pride and admit her nine-year old daughter is more competent.

    However, general knowledge quizzes are generally just the `prawn cocktail starter’ of the battle of wits on Christmas day. The `port and cheese course’ is all about winning arguments, be they political, social economic or anything really. I plant myself firmly on the opposite side to my sister in any argument, no matter what my beliefs are, just to try to prove I have the upper hand in that department. Unfortunately, this is another battleground I seem to be coming off second best these days. Where once I got away with half-truths and unprovable theories, stats or facts, I am now taken to task, not only by my sister, her husband and my other half, but now Alexa too. The `Anyone But Ches’ brigade I could handle, with relative ease, but how do you argue with a flipping database?

    Predictably, Christmas 2017 went badly. First, I barely won a cheddar, then I found myself at the non-stilton end of the dinner table, but worse still, I nonchalantly suggested that bears didn’t hibernate. On the face of it just a completely insignificant remark, something you’d hardly bat an eyelid over, but in the hotbed of Christmas day, this presented the ideal opportunity for the ABC to take me to task.

    “Of course bears hibernate, dipshit. What do you think they do all winter? Duh.”

    Bears hibernate? Really? Shit. Have I just made myself look like a complete wilderness novice and effectively excluded myself from all future nature arguments? Should I double up and bring polar bears into the equation?

    Sister: “Alexa…”

    Too late.

    “…do bears hibernate?”

    Like the accused waiting to hear the verdict from the court clerk, I turn and face the cylinder-shaped voice of death. There is a pause…a last second before innocence, or in my case credibility, is ripped to shreds.

    Alexa: “It is a common misconception that bears hibernate during the winter. While bears tend to slow down during the winter, they are not true hibernators. Black bears, Grizzly bears and Brown bears do go into a deep sleep during the winter months, known as torpor.”

    Hang on. What was that Alexa? Did you just say that bears don’t hibernate? I am pretty sure that’s what I heard. It appears that I haven’t become the Daniel Baldwin of the family after all and indeed it is I, Ches, that shall carry the smug grin of a James Ormond for the remainder of the festive period.

    “Bears don’t hibernate, they just take a bloody nap you bunch of Chris Packham `wannabies’. Oh, and while we are at it, Quokkas don’t hibernate either, unless the snow exceeds 10cm on Rottnest Island and that hasn’t happened for something like 20,000 years. So, there you have it, Ches officially wins Christmas 2018 you muppets.”

    And breathe.

    As you may be able to tell, it was a long old winter this year, with very few highlights, apart from the Quokkas presentation evening (Jordon stripping up to the waist during the karaoke didn’t really happen did it?), finally seeing Chekhov’s The Seagull and officially crowning Australia as the world’s most useless cheats (who’d of thought that if you shipped criminals, caught because they weren’t very good at committing crimes, half way round the world, leave them to breed on an Island for 230 years, they’d turn out to be underhand sportsman without the ability to conceal it). So, when the call went out for the first Quokkas game of the new season, never mind the fact I have developed tennis elbow, hardly moved from my work/armchair for six months and had promised to look after the niece/nephew that weekend (I hear Alexa is free), I was a `yes, count me flipping in Skip’. Eight other Quokkas came out of their hibernation to face the Whalers too and with a break in the rain and the standard three jumper weather nowhere to be seen, it was game on.

    With Skip, suffering from a torn calf brought on by excessive stretching to retrieve dropped cake, it fell to The Quokka’s most successful and tactically astute captain, The Egg, to lead us to victory.

    The End.  [Ed: Aye? What do you mean `the end’?]

    You really want me to wax lyrical for the next ten minutes about an Aussie breaking the Quokkas scoring record, getting two caught and bowled wickets and claiming the first five points in the bestest and fairest competition?  [Ed: When you put it like that…]

    I’m only kidding. When you’ve just witnessed an innings that requires Norris McWhirter’s attention, the last thing I’d ever want to do is gloss over it completely and just talk all about me for 934 words. So, let me try and picture the scene. For those Quokkas unable to frequent the Kings House Sports Ground on Sunday, what we witnessed was a complete and utter demolition of the Whalers bowling attack on what was a slow, tricky, pudding of a pitch. Pulls, drives, cuts, more drives, lofted drives, and some lofted right out of the park drives, all interspersed by some solid defence and shot selection, patient stroke play and for once, some half decent running too. Faggie, you may have been replaced by some random hipster on the Wren Kitchen adverts, but I can’t imagine Conor Short scored 125 not out (a new Quokkas record) this week. [Ed: at the time of going to press we are waiting to hear back from his agent]

    DSC_0461I was fortunate enough to watch a large part of the innings from the bowlers’ end [Ed: and helping towards a partnership of 171 runs, a new Quokkas record) and it was tremendous entertainment. Not just the sixes to long on and long off, but the timing of the cover drives too. Credit where credit is due, he got his head down, didn’t offer a chance throughout and thoroughly deserves this 161-word sarcasm free section of the match report. That part is now over though, which means I can stop gritting my teeth. Most importantly, from a Quokka point of view, this fabulous innings helped set a huge total of 251 (another new Quokkas record), giving us every chance of avoiding defeat.

    Without Skip, cake was plentiful, but having to brew your own cuppa from a teabag drew minus points from me. Over said tea we discovered that Binman would be in touring to Berlin on his own, there was a gout epidemic and there was some ludicrous notion that Ronnie had gone tea-total. As fun as it is to imagine Roland now spending his accumulated free time pottering about in the garden, building Airfix models or painting with watercolours, we had a game to win.

    Opening our bowling attack was The Attack, fresh from his self-imposed five-year sabbatical (he mentioned something about a marriage and kids). With a half tracker nearly taking the opening batsman’s head off and requiring Slick to scramble to 5th slip to prevent four byes, it was as if he never had been away. Once he found his usual `just short of just short of a length’, the first wicket became inevitable, with the opener caught in the covers. At the other end, to Slick’s relief, Hank bowled at the actual stumps and prospered when cleaning bowling the number 3. The third wicket soon fell, this time to Dac and again caught, leaving our opponents 49-3 after 14 overs and with considerable work to do.

    DSC_0455Unlike my family gettogethers there is not a lot of sledging of the opposition in Sunday cricket. It’s all very friendly and to be honest that exactly how we want to keep it. Sledging our own players is a different matter, and with no opportunity to slight Faggie’s bowling yet, I was left with no choice but to point out that Binman looked every bit of his 50 years when chasing one to the boundary. My superiority looked misplaced when later he had to assist me getting the ball back to the keeper from the same boundary due to my failing arm. I think it’s fair to say that we are not getting any younger as a team, but there was no lack of effort and a fair amount of skill showed by our opening bowlers. That continued when Jatin and Fruity came on to bowl beautifully, with both taking a wicket, including that of a very stubborn opening bat. But, with neither able to dislodge Khalil, who made a solid 50, Faggie came on and claimed two excellent caught and bowled wickets in his three over spell, to add to his fine century.

    With overs running out for the Whalers, The Egg increased the pressure by bringing himself on to bowl and he could have had several wickets, including a leg before that could only have avoided the stumps if it had gone under them. Not satisfied with bamboozling our opponents with his tunnel ball, Egg brought Binman on at the other end and he immediately found a rhythm. A slow one, granted, but an immediate length and line that troubled the batsman. I for one was disappointed to discover that we had completed our 35 overs and wouldn’t get to see more of the Binman’s bowling.

    The Whalers innings ended at 165 for 7 with the Quokkas earned themselves a fine victory. At this point I usually try to link the concluding text back to my opening section, but I’m no Mark Waugh and no matter how good Faggie’s innings was, I’m certainly not going to mention him in the same breath as Steve Waugh. Thus, I’d better insert something else, so here is my half-finished review of The Seagull, starring some fella called Jared. Bat, bowl, field, act. Is there anything this lad can’t do?

    Why a Seagull?

    With the play of the same name set by a lake, would a gull not be more appropriate, or perhaps some other bird completely? I find myself pondering this question for far too long, when really I should have been carefully considering the symbolism of Konstantine delivering the shot bird to his lover’s feet during act II. Perhaps something was lost in translation and The Seagull should actually be The Gull or maybe the sea bird just ventured inland and suffered tragic consequences. My failure to move on from this potential glitch threatens to ruin my enjoyment.

    For those unfamiliar with The Seagull, the first of Chekhov’s four major plays, it follows a Shakespearean look at unreciprocated love and tragedy. Tragedy is not something that tends to follow rejection these days and trying to empathise with Konstantine’s woes is a stretch for someone with only the memory of being ignored by the best-looking girl at school to work with. Despite unreturned infatuations, I struggle to appreciate the level of pain that leads to him taking his own life. That’s not to say that, after a rather nervy opening, a promising young Constantine didn’t bring some very realistic emotional toil and lost hope to the role, but in a `swipe left to see the next fish in the sea’ type world I found it very hard to place myself in his shoes.

    Jared_seagullFortunately, audiences don’t frequent the Theatro Technis for another dose of reality and although this comedic tragedy failed to inspire me into greater emotional awareness, my lack of compassion doesn’t prevent me from embracing this late eighteenth century classic. That is especially true when the production ventured to offer some much-needed humour, delivered delightfully by Semyon. But sadly, such occasions are too infrequent for my liking, although a lack of timing throughout may have hidden them from me. There is certainly erstwhile and genuine passion displayed by some of the ensemble cast at times, Arkadenia doesn’t hold back during arguments, but one or two conversations by Yevgeny and Pjotr are delivered without conviction and even lost behind the crackle of toffee wrappers being opened. Critically the performance flowed, with assured performances from Trigorin, Andreyevna and Nina, allowing the audience to be immersed in the inevitable love triangles that can be found at every turn.

     

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  • From Captain Snipper….

    One minute we’re walking out on the field, bowl pretty good, get a bit unlucky in the field, go out to bat, don’t hit enough sixes and what feels like 10 seconds later we’ve lost the match.

    Ahhh the BDNO.

    We had some stand out moments – Monty copped it tough being peppered at deep mid wicket but kept his cool and remains a massive legend in my books.  Gaz was kept busy at deep-backward point and saved a bunch of boundaries without putting a foot wrong.  Pup affected an insane run-out off his own bowling flicking a direct hit at the non-strikers end from side-on, some credit for which must go to J-Rod who obligingly departed the field so that I could bring Pup on (thanks J-Rod).

    Rohan kept wicket tremendously and took every chance that came his way.  Jay bowled a tight line getting the most out of the flat track.  Big Dog bowled a really tidy penultimate over and claimed another scalp.  Alex tossed one up and got carted for four, then dared the batsmen to do it again and got the wicket next ball and another one the ball after that.

    Ed’s over was water-tight and also removed someone’s leg stump while Local closed out the death sharply.

    The fact that hardly any runs (maybe 2?) were scored behind square leg was testament to our good line – the stumbling block being the semi-regular drag-downs which disappeared over mid wicket.

    We were kept well in check with the bat and unfortunately just couldn’t find the boundary enough with the exception of Dutchy who made retirement in the usual quick time.  I flat batted one over square leg that missed a small child’s face by a few inches… horrific situation avoided.

    Luckily the only drama that followed was that we pretty easily lost the match.

    Sincere apologies to those who missed out on the chance to contribute with the bat namely Pup, Big Dog, Monty and Local.  Your understanding and sportsmanship was truly appreciated despite some obvious frustration.

    Also big thanks to Kathleen behind the bar and those who put in so much time and effort behind the scenes for the wild and unique event that is the BDNO.

  • Match Facts: Sunday, March 4, 2018

    Alfred Crescent Oval, Edinburgh Gardens
    Fitzroy North

    Time: 11am

    The Big Picture:

    The Big Day Not Out (BDNO) has been more agile than a Quokka fielder in recent seasons, moving from the end of the season to anytime where the Edinburgh Gardens is available during the Summer. This seasons effort has been moved to the quasi-traditional spot at the end of the season, providing the garlic sauce effect by adding a little more spice to the contest as YPCA teams battle it out for supremacy in the T10 format.

    With the ICC looking to get T10 cricket included in the Olympics, now would be a good time to get the IOC to look away at something else.

    distraction

    It is with a little sadness that The Quokkas go into this game, as it bids adieu to what has been a busy Summer, but a thoroughly enjoyable one in which the squad actually won some games and really supported one another throughout (almost).

    Thanks for everything, all of you.

    Form Guide:

    The Quokkas come into this game having narrowly lost to the ANSC by about 20 runs, or the difference of their best player. Given this format is much shorter, the opportunity for good players to score 40-odd is non-existent, which works in the Quokkas favor.

    Huzzah for lack of opportunities! Bring back serfdom!

    hooray

    In the Spotlight:

    Pup comes into this match after the best game of his career (that we know of), having scored 46 and bowled some crazy left-arm swing. His Runs Per Over rate this season is an incredible 3.6, which is probably a little too ridiculous.

    Snipper is Captain for the match, having been the best on ground last season. The man in the shades has “only” averaged 27 with the bat this season, but done so at a strike rate of 2.08 & with 74% of his runs coming from boundaries (44% sixes) – which is more than enough for the BDNO.

    Team News:

    Young snip-snip has a quorum of Quokkas to choose from this week, including:

    1. Ed
    2. Big Dog
    3. Dutchy
    4. Jay
    5. Alex
    6. Radar
    7. Monty
    8. Pup
    9. Snipper
    10. Local
    11. J Rod
    12. Gaz

    Pitch and Conditions:

    Autumn will truly be on show this Sunday, with a wet and windy day predicted and a high of 21 degrees. The start time of 11am may include some tough conditions and sore heads, but may help the bowlers with swing.

    Alfred Crescent Oval is notable for its small boundaries, which can appear to get mysteriously smaller once the batsmen get started.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 10.50.37 am

    Stats and Trivia:

    • This will be the Quokkas 8th attempt at winning the BDNO, this years squad arguably being the strongest since Rowdy and Gladys appeared;
    • Ed and Pup are the only players to appear in every Quokka BDNO, with Dutchy and the Big Dog having missed 1 each
  • From Captain Dutchy….

    Nerrena – build it and they will come.

    And we did (come), Again.

    There’s a serenity/chaos dichotomy in pub league cricket and its fair to say Nerrena has won the Quokkas’ hearts. It’s a field placed upon a majestic location with a view to die for. Any hipster barista in pub-league territory could only dream of the single origin milk/cream produced in these parts and wouldn’t know what to do when confronted with the majestic view from the Nerrena oval, on the crest of a hill overlooking a landscape somehow escaped by the Heidelberg school, who quite frankly couldn’t be farked traveling beyond the old metro zone 1 train ticket reaches.

    Not bad

    Not bad

    The Nerrena game has become folklore amongst the quokka tribe, not just for the challenge, scenery and view but the pre-game fish n chips night-before tradition (entering its second year). The quokka tribe has entered an aggressive recruitment plus breeding program. If anyone needs to understand ‘cute’ please witness Radar and Caitlin dote over the quokkas future No3 batsman and opening bowler!

    A last minute change with our leading strike bowler and trophy promulgate, Big Dog, needing to go home as his father had passed  back in Ireland – brought a sobering reality to proceedings.

    And then onto game day…

    The quokkas went with an aggressive (confused?) turn-up-before-the-opposition-tactic, Albeit only half of us. The inevitable last minute logistical confusion ensued as some had gigs the night before and others were still asking Siri where ‘Near Enya’ was…

    Some context…

    The Nerrena lads have previously spanked the quokkas with their mix of older guile and youth. This year the yoof faces changed but still were impressive (almost to the point I would say the best Nerrena we have faced!).

    But there was a ‘plan’. A ‘chaos plan’.

    The Quokkas bowled first.

    This was to be a theory derived in Dutchy’s deluded mind that cricket doesn’t apply to pub-league. Reactionary field placing was gone, traditional field placing were verboten and Bowlers would be backed rather than reactionary. And so a big thank you to the Nerrena batsmen for making that plan look ok.

    And to say the quokkas bowling stepped up was an understatement, I am not exaggerating to state it was one of the best ever Quokkas bowling performances to date. Ed, Alex, Pete, Jay and Radar swung, moved and bowled tight with Ed, Alex and Radar knocking the stumps down. And then, the secret weapon Rolly was introduced. First ball. Skied to Rev. Catch taken.

    Paramedics were called… mainly for the Quokkas…

    Things were looking good for the Quokkas as the Nerrena lads were mistakenly playing cricket whilst the Quokkas were playing the short game. A statement that may never be repeated re Quokkas bowling is that no single over contained more than one boundary. No, seriously!

    Snipper bowled with one arm and was unfairly bombarded with catches on his injured side. Ed was almost eviscerated by a ‘chance’ at square leg and in total the quokkas dropped approx 6 (sometimes brutal) catches but those numbers don’t tell a true tale.

    Put simply. The Quokkas excelled. Cath (with Piper), under trying circumstances, had made the trip and came on to bowl. The instructions were simple, “bowl as high as and loopy as Darragh does”. Within her first three deliveries she almost had two wickets and honestly could have finished the day with three,

    Whilst the Nerrena lads were swishing, there wasn’t much runs and despite the forced retirements of faces their total got up to 139.

    And now the Quokkas were faced with a conundrum before unseen.

    The usual 25 overs historically has seen us staring down 170-200+ totals. The choke was on!

    But Nerrena had a rather annoying battery of young bowlers who looked like they knew of this mysterious ‘line and length’ white whale some have spoken of, yet rarely harpooned, in pub league.

    After a short break whereupon the quokkas tried to mentally readjust to the possibility of a gettable target, Rev and Radar (R&R) headed out. Now the Rev is a new beast this season and has been spotted on occasion playing ‘shots’. And yet somehow went out despite looking good. Radar is one of my ‘moneyball’ players. flashy bat that likes it coming at him fast and sending it away faster, unfortunately sucked into a stumping but had the scoreboard ticking early…

    Enter Jay. After checking Rev wasn’t at the other end, he yet again played some great scoring shots and kept the runs coming. There’s thirties in his future soon…

    But soon the fireworks and soundtrack pumped across the landscape  as the ‘single origin Local show’ waltzed out and immediately introduced the backward sweep to great effect for a boundary.

    Jay departed after some quick runs to let Alex get involved. As if it wasn’t enough that he was capable of bowling some seriously awesome leg breaks, it would not be over stated to say Alex has been nothing short of amazing with the willow this season.

    I mean, he does cheat; footwork should be discouraged…

    Snipper still managed to bat effectively despite being one sided and Ed and myself ticked over the last few runs to take victory.

    Personal highlights:

    • Watching Peter show his lad (Radar) and grandson he still has it!
    • Watching the confusion on Quokkas faces with field placings that can change between overs!
    • Piper teaching new emojis on the sidelines
    • Our best bowlers being pretty much all of us!

    It was fairly quickly made sober to realise the Big Dog wasn’t here to witness a first, historic win for the “O’Donovan-Gannon’ Trophy.

    A huge thank you to the Nerrena crew for hosting a great day which we are already look forward to next year’s edition.

    Love seeing the new young faces come through the Nerrena team. Big thanks to locals Will and cohorts for filling in whilst the Quokka last few rolled up.

  • From Cap’n Monty:

    What a great Game between the Quokkas and the ANSC!

    The toss was had and won by us (thankfully) and we sent it the All Nations guys for a bat. Luckily for us the we had the ball swinging and seaming and everyone managed to bowl good line and length, a rare treat for the quokkas. I managed to make the first breakthrough with a wayward delivery down leg which caught the back of the bat and was held on to in the deep by pup. The batsmen crossed and I had the other opener caught behind very next ball, on a hatrick!! We bought the field in and had 3 slips, a first for pub cricket, and I was belted back over my head.

    Enter Dutchy: Some brilliant spin bowling and some excellent keeping by Radar had the batsmen stumped as he chased one down the wicket on the last ball of the over. His next delivery yielded the very same result, on another hat-trick!!  Unfortunately no luck on the third ball but the Quokkas were in good nick thats for sure.

    Some excellent batting by the ANSC got them in a solid position toward the end of the innings and left us with a decent but chase-able total to reach to win the game.

    Radar and local opened and got us off to a solid start before Radar was clean bowled by a great delivery. Enter Pup. Pup played some great strokes early in his innings including a very nice cut shot for 6. Local departed soon after. We then lost a string of wickets quickly and were looking wobbly. Pup retired and I took his position. The first bit of bat I’d gotten on anything in 3 games was hit straight in the air and I was gone as soon as I was in.

    It was up to Snipper and Alex to save the game and we were looking good until Snipper departed, sending pup back in to finish the innings. A strong fight between Alex and Pup wasn’t enough to save the day as the ANSC came out on top to take a much deserved win!!

    All in all a great game of cricket.

    ansc

  • Match Facts

    Ramsden Street Oval,

    Ramsden Street,

    Clifton Hill

    Start Time

    1pm

    The Big Picture

    And so the penultimate Quokka day of the Summer is upon us with this, the match against All Nations Social Cricket (ANSC).

    The genesis of this match came from the games that The Quokkas used to play against the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) which came to an ending as untimely as any of my batting innings, though more due to the volunteer who organised their team leaving due to work commitments, rather than one of my brain fades.

    The ANSC has picked up where the ASRC cricket program left off, providing a means for asylum seekers and refugees to access the game, and all the physical and mental health benefits that this brings – as well as engagement with the broader community. Indeed this game is more a celebration of what the game can bring, rather than a demonstration of the game itself, which is a good thing considering the strong Quokka involvement.

    Here’s looking forward to a fun match.

    Fun

    Fun

    Form Guide

    Unbelievably, The Quokkas are coming into this match having won their last two.

    In The Spotlight:

    Monty returns to the field of dreams (Ramsden St) this weekend for his first crack at the Captaincy. Having shown that he obviously played quite a bit of junior cricket through his reticence to swing wildly at every ball and the ability to bowl on the pitch, it will be interesting to see whether he goes with 4 or 5 in the slips cordon.

    The BIG DOG returns to the side this week with this seasons leading wicket takers award firmly in his sights. The soul of The Quokkas is sure to surprise the ANSC with his bowling technique, here’s hoping the deep midwicket fielders can surprise the rest of us by holding a few catches and handing the large hound the trophy.

    Artists impression of batsmen facing The Dog

    Artists impression of batsmen facing The Dog

    Team News:

    With another 8 months without cricket staring them in the face with an expression as lifeless as the MCG pitch, its been all hands up in response to the call for availability at the start of the week.

    The squad (at the time of writing) is:

    1. Local
    2. VP (vp)
    3. Gaz
    4. Roley
    5. Pup (vc)
    6. Jay
    7. J Rod
    8. Snipper
    9. Radar
    10. Big Dog
    11. Monty (c)
    12. Alex

    Pitch and Conditions:

    Ramsden Street Oval (aka. Revs-den) has been a happy hunting ground for The Quokkas for many a season, as well as their preferred training venue. With wide boundaries and short grass, the ground lets both the belters and the nudgers score runs, as well as open up many more opportunity for (dropped) catches.

    Our last match their ended up not being there, but another place that wasn’t there, so we will be very happy to be there where it is.

    Be-Present

    The forecast for Sunday is a potentially damp 20 degrees, so there may be some swing early and better batting conditions later. A good toss to win.

    Stats and Trivia:

    • Dutchy is only 30 runs off 200 for the season, and 35 off one thousand career runs, which is quite remarkable really and quite a credit to him;
    • Jay is sitting on 17 career wickets, a casual 3-wicket haul will bring him into the elite group of 20 wicket takers. Given he averages 0.4 wickets per over, he will need to channel his inner Chef (0.94 WPO);
    • Snipper is only 20 runs off 400 career runs for the Quokkas, given he averages 47.5, he should get there this weekend if given the chance. Only 5 other Quokkas have hit more than 400 runs
    • Alex is currently leading the team for balls faced this season, having faced 17.5 overs, narrowly ahead of Ed 15.8
    • Ed is leading the team in legal deliveries for the season with 84, narrowly ahead of the reborn tweaker Dutchy, who is on 78. Of course, The Rev has the most number of total deliveries with 839
  • Match Facts:

    VBCA Grounds,

    454 Glenferrie Rd,

    Kooyong

    Sunday, Feb 18

    Start Time: 11am

    The Big Picture:

    This match is the second-leg of this seasons bipedal series between the VBCA and The Quokkas, with the VBCA taking out the first match earlier this season (which was a warm up for them ahead of Nationals). The last match was relatively one-sided, The Quokkas happy just to get the majority of a team on the park.

    This match, though, is a little different. The Quokkas have a full XI available at the time of writing, meaning there should be possibly (maybe) 8 ready by Sunday morning. The games against the VBCA are always good fun and played with a great spirit, at least once the bar is opened at midday.

    Form Guide:

    The Quokkas are actually coming off their first Tour win EVER, having beaten Nerrena in Nerrena in a tightly contested match last weekend. This is a matter that should illicit wonder as much as it does concern, I‘m pretty sure a Quokkas away win is one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Taken in context though, an away win won’t have too much impact on this game as the nuances of the rocking & rolling ball take hold.

    Similar to touring games, The Quokkas are traditionally pretty poor at Blind Cricket matches, but perhaps all that is about to change too.

    In The Spotlight:

    J Rod returns for his annual Captaincy stint, fresh from the birth of his second child, full of vim and vigor. And sleep. ‘The Rod’ has been known to get so worked up at games that others can tell he is actually breathing, so it will be interesting to see how he approaches captaining a match when the soft, shaded outfields of Kooyong are available.

    The Quokkas are also hoping to welcome back Gaz, who has been missing in 2018 due to a combination of sickness and cardigan-related issues. We all look forward to seeing how the casual cover-driver handles the rolled ball.

    We also see the return of the only Quokka to get paid for appearing, albeit with what he calls “fizzy drink” and “twisted up chips”.

    Sledging went to unexpected places too

    “I want Twisties!”

    Team News:

    The XI (at the time of writing) is:

    1. Ed
    2. Dutchy
    3. Snipper
    4. Radar
    5. J Rod (c)
    6. Rev
    7. Roley
    8. Jay
    9. Pup
    10. Gaz
    11. Maxy

    Pitch and Conditions:

    The VBCA grounds are a real delight, with soft outfields, lots of shade and the comforts of the commentary box readily available. The slight slope to the ground also creates some challenges for the bowlers, similar to bowling into v with the wind in non-blind cricket.

    Who in The Quokkas will be their Peter Siddle?

    Artists impression of Peter Siddle

    Artists impression of Peter Siddle

    The BOM is expecting a top of 22 on Sunday, so it should be a very comfortable day out.

    Stats and Trivia:

    • This will be the 6th match between the VBCA and The Quokkas (someone should really organise a trophy), the only Quokka to have played in all of them being The Rev;
    • J Rod, Dutchy and Big Dog have all played in 4 VBCA games.

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Recent Comments

  • Strong.
  • Proper swing bowling that was. Pitch it up.
  • Fabulous article which made us smile in the Spanish sunshine...
  • You forgot to mention Harry getting to bowl an over aswell. ...
  • Please see point 5.