• Match Facts:

    Fairfield Oval, Fairfield

     

    Time:

    1:45pm start

     

    The Big Picture:

    I was recently reading about the plan to create a London to Melbourne Airship service between the First and Second World Wars that would’ve involved airships (not blimps), fuelled by highly flammable gasses, making the journey in the then astonishing time of about 2 weeks.

     

    The plans for the service became quite advanced, with flight paths set, areas for aerodromes identified and suitable staff appointed. Enthusiasm abounded for the project and it was all going well, until the first flight, which crashed.

     

    In a similar vein, The Quokkas season has come back down to earth after a giddy start to the season in a fairly painful way.

     

    The last match saw The Quokkas bowled out for 121 with only Ed and Dutchy scoring in double figures. The procession of wickets was so fast that Ed had to be raced back from barbecue duties (thanks Sizzle!) to re-enter the fray after retiring on 30.

     

    <<Insert joke about Eds running here>>

     

    The Pinnacle are usually great fun to play against, so we are looking forward to meeting them on the field of battle regardless of the outcome.

     

    Also, it’s a 1:45 start. Don’t forget that.

     

    Form Guide:

    Quokkas: WLWWL

     

    Team News:

    Perhaps it’s because its Summer, or perhaps it’s the short turn-around between games (14 days is hardly enough time to recover!), but for the first time this season the Quokkas are struggling to get XI together. Usually this is something that only occurs on Sunday mornings, so perhaps we are just getting really efficient.

     

    Regardless, the XI at the time of writing is:

    1. J Rod (c)
    2. Local
    3. Alex
    4. Pup
    5. Leighlan
    6. Dutchy (w/k)?
    7. Ed
    8. Special
    9. Sizzle
    10. Pete Sforcina
    11. Big Dog

     

    In the Spotlight:

    Leighlan makes his debut this week, entering the books as Quokka #96. The bearded man has looked good in the nets and even better with a can about his person, so fits the bill.

     

    Pete Sforcina returns from high altitude training to bring a little more stability to the bowling attack, conceding only 4 runs an over this season while maintaining a bowling average of 16.

     

    Pitch and Conditions:

    The brown paper bag was obviously successfully delivered to YPCA HQ as the Quokkas find themselves back at one of the nicer grounds in the league. However, given our last showing at Fairfield, we have a few demons that need banishing.

     

    We are expecting it to be partly cloudy and 25 on Sunday, so a perfect day for Pub cricket all up.

     

    1:45 start.

     

    Stats and Trivia:

    • Alex is on 380 career YPCA runs and has a career average of 38, so should hit the 400 mark this Sunday if given the chance, making him the 7th member of that club
    • Similarly, Local is on 373 career YPCA runs, so could also be in the 400 club soon
    • Now that you ask, there are 10 living Quokkas who are currently in the 300-run club; Pup (355), Rev (323), Curto (324), Gladys (340), J Rod (376), Rowdy (355), Alex (380), Local (373), Tuesday (312) and Jay (343)

     

    This will be our first official 1:45 start

     

  • From Captain Jay….

    Ed Batted well and his first ball ended up on the pavilion roof, as is standard. Dutchy batted very well and bowled a great over.
    Great catches from Rev and Special gave QCC some inspiration in the field. Generally dreadful batting from the nine batsmen (other than Ed and Dutchy) left QCC to defend 120ish runs. Was never going to happen.
    Artists impression of Revs catch

    Artists impression of Revs catch

    Weather was perfect, ground was perfect,  VP cooked the snags like a pro. Great day for cricket. QCC really shat the bed though, and ruined its so far perfect pub league record for season 18/19
  • Match Facts:

    Fairfield Oval, Fairfield

     

    Time:

    1pm start

     

    The Big Picture:

    Happy New Year.

     

    The Quokkas come into 2019 in unknown territory, having won all of the Pub League matches that they played in at the end of 2018.

     

    This game is being played against a team being made up of (largely) Rainbow Hotel players, but is being completed with players from the Terminus and the Curtin. All 3 pubs are among our favourites to spend Sunday afternoons with, so it should be good fun.

     

    The Quokkas will be looking to kick off 2019 in the way they finished 2018, while having fun along the way.

     

    Form Guide:

    The rules of Pub League cricket are egalitarian, but heavily in favour of the batters, with no LBWs, first ball free hits etc. With that in mind, its particularly impressive that The Quokkas now seem to be a bowling side, having bowled out their opponents in each game this season.

     

    Further, The Quokkas are only conceding 6.42 runs per over and taking a wicket every 17.6 runs; or one wicket taken for less than 3 overs bowled.

     

    Quokkas: WLWW

    Mixed all-sorts: n.a

     

    In the Spotlight:

    The Quokkas TFB (Token Fast Bowler), Jay, comes into this game as Captain; mostly because he was so keen to get an extra game in January that those in Quokkas HQ approved it so long as he organised the whole thing himself.

     

    Which he has done with typically positive energy.

     

    The TFB is in fine form this season, averaging 28 with the bat and 21 with the ball.

    Jay

    One of these guys is Captain

     

    After a few years of playing commitments interrupted by wine, and not necessarily in the good way, Tuesday is a welcome inclusion to the team.

     

    The big-hitting left hander has looked very comfortable in the nets, and in the Members on Day 3. Good warm ups.

     

     

    Team News:

    Once again, we come into the game with more than enough players ‘available’, though what this translates to will probably be another Sunday morning of doing the ring-around to make sure we have XI.

     

    The team, at the time of writing, is:

    1. Ed
    2. Tuesday
    3. Ami
    4. VP
    5. Dutchy
    6. Liam
    7. Pup
    8. Jay (c)
    9. Sizzle
    10. Radar (wk)
    11. Rev
    12. Special
    13. Big Dog (protecting his bowling hand)

     

    Pitch and Conditions:

    The Quokkas return to the refurbished surface for Fairfield, a happy hunting ground for them from days of yore. Also, a less happy hunting ground for those that played in the game when the Curtin held 7 of the craziest catches ever, essentially performing gymnastics yet still holding them.

     

    We are experiencing peak Melbourne at the moment, with the weather going from 42 degrees, to 21 (with rain), to 23 on game day. A good chance that the ground will be fast and dry.

     

    Stats and Trivia:

    • Radar is up to 478 YPCA runs and is averaging 31 this season, so is a good chance to become the 5th member of the 500-run club this week if given the opportunity
    • The TFB, with 19 YPCA wickets, is 1 off joining the 20+ wickets club as its 8th member and draw level with J Rod
    • This match will be Tuesdays 20th for the Quokkas and with 26 dismissals (catches + runs outs / stumpings) has the chance to go ahead of Dutchy (26) and catch up to the leader in Curto (29)
    • Ed (983 career YPCA runs) is 17 off becoming the second member of the 1,000 run club. With a career average of 37, and a strike rate of 1.7 this season, he should get there in the second over
    SONY DSC

    The socks that enabled nearly 1,000 runs

     

  • From Captain Ed…

    The outfield was lush and the tailwind heaving at the start of our game against the Old Bar. Snipper and Special were driving us nuts with their incessant chatter so I sent them in to open to get some peace and quiet. The boy from Broady was back for his first hit since March and made a lazy 38 of 20 odd balls. A few handy contributions from Dog and Sizzle and then some guy claiming to be the Rev hit 24 off 22 with shots everywhere. Rohan hit a lusty 26 including a 6 over cover and Monty 24 at a run a ball and we made a solid 162.

     

    The Old Bar started briskly, but then some tight bowling from Jay (1/8), Monty (0/6) and the man claiming to be the Rev (1/4 off 2 – middle stump knocked out of the ground and not even a chance to get the Quokka man tune going). Old Bar went to drinks at 1/70…70 being 5m shorter than the 6 hit off Ami to the other side of Ramsden St. 9 balls after drinks it was all over as the Dog and Snipper ripped the hearts and souls out of the Old Bar middle order with 2/6 & 2/8 respectively. Special chipped in with 1/1 and a skier to point showed us that it really was the Rev….

     

    Quokkas 3 for 3 in the league with a 162 to 133 Victory

    Mighty men of fortune

    Mighty men of fortune

  • Match Facts:

    Ramsden Street Oval, Clifton Hill

     

    Time:

    1pm start

     

    The Big Picture:

    The last game of 2018 brings with it a sense of optimism for The Quokkas, having made an unparalleled start to the season, as well as playing with a previously missing sense of vim and vigor.

     

    The Old Bar are a fantastic club and mighty strong with the good side of the force. We are still living off the sweet bread earned through selling an SUVs bootload of tinnies to them 2 years ago.

     

    On top of being powerful smashers of cans, they are also a great group and I can’t think of a better team to wrap the cricketing year up against.

     

    Form Guide:

    How things have changed. With 3 games completed this season, The Quokkas have already won 2 games. Thankfully the tour match followed the traditional path or I’d be getting truly worried about changes afoot. I mean, what next; dogs and cats living together?

     

    It should also be noted that The Quokkas have bowled their opposition out in both wins, with new recruits often starring.

     

    Quokkas: WLW

     

    In the Spotlight:

    I recently learned that a new Avengers movie is coming out next year, which would be exciting if there wasn’t a superhero returning to the cricket field this Sunday. That’s right dear reader, J Rod is back.

     

    While he may not wear his jocks on the outside, or at all, or run particularly fast, or at all – the master of napping whilst still standing returns.

    Yup, this guy

    Yup, this guy

     

    Recent parenting responsibilities have seen the great man slip to 6th for all time Quokka appearances (and he now has Pup biting at his heels), his pick-and-mix bowling style and big hitting is always in demand.

     

    Along with J Rod is another returning player who will be well received is Snipper. While an Engineering degree can be considered a baby that requires parenting, it probably requires less nappy changes than a human child. I dunno, you’ll have to ask Snipper.

     

    Anyway, he’s back.

     

    Team News:

    As for our other games this season, we start the week with a squad that resembles David Boon in the latter part of his career; bulging. Also, scoring runs.

     

    Artists impression of the Quokkas available squad

    Artists impression of the Quokkas available squad

     

    This, aspirational attendance, happened in the last game too, though we only had 9 on the field until almost drinks, so who knows.

     

    The team, at the time of writing, is:

    1. Big Dog
    2. Snipper
    3. J Rod
    4. Rev
    5. Ed (c)
    6. Monty
    7. SPECIAL
    8. Tom McSizzle
    9. VP
    10. Ami
    11. Radar
    12. Pup
    13. Jay
    14. Dutchy

     

    Pitch and Conditions:

    We finish off 2018 at arguably our favourite ground; Ramsden Street Oval. With a soft outfield and a public barbecue on site (!), Ramsden is easier to play on than a cabbage patch and a simple place to host a match; which we are doing this week.

     

    The forecast at the time of writing is for 22 degrees with a possibility of thunderstorms, so if we do get a game up it should be nice and, like a good chowder; clammy.

    Artists impression of the weather.

    Artists impression of the weather.

     

    Stats and Trivia:

    Now I become death, destroyer of worlds:

    • Wicket-keeping is a tricky role in the pub league, with little consistency in the bowling. Since taking it on, Radar has been phenomenal. This season alone he has 4 stumpings, and now has the all-time record for stumpings / run outs with 9 (Curto is still impressively second with 6).
    • Radars 30* in the last match also took him to over 450 career YPCA runs – well done!
    • Ami has started his Quokka career with a bang, taking 2 wickets at 3.21 runs per over. There is absolutely no way it can go wrong from here.
    • Having bowled our opposition out twice this season, the stats are looking good for us being able to score more runs than we concede this week as well. Ed (1.26), Pup (1.0), Dutchy (1.37), Snipper (1.64), Radar (1.17), Jay (1.01), Ami (1.06), Tom McSizzle (1.25) and SPECIAL (1.0) all have some of the best runs scored to runs conceded ratios at the club
    • The Rev is 2 runs away from joining the 300 run club for the Quokkas. Despite averaging 13.55 with the bat, there is no guarantee he’ll get there this week. Or this season. Or ever.

     

  • From Captain Radar….

    Welcome back to a new Quokkas season. A great game to get us off and running for the new year, against one of our favourite oppositions The Curtin. (Their nickname is pretty gross, so I’ll leave it out)

    The Curtin had lost one of their longest standing members over the off season, so this game was played in remembrance of Owen.

    With a handful of new players, some of which look exactly the same as their old players, we got underway with a terrific showing with the bat. Dutcy and Alex got us off to a great start with 44 and 32 respectively, followed by Special with a 32 on debut, then some traditional lower order hitting from Ed (33) leading us to very competitive 210 (ish).
    With the ball the team was equally impressive. Although we did struggle to contain the runs a little, and did fall asleep for our traditional 3rd quarter fade out, we managed to take wickets regularly, and really never let them back into the game. Notable performances with the ball were Pup and Dutchy with 2 wickets a piece. With Dutchy also only going for 8 runs. We also held onto catches (3) but perhaps more importantly took wickets via bowled and stumped dismissals, which given our abilities with the ball in the air, is perhaps a good tactic for the future. All except for 3 of us (including me) took a wicket. Great job.
    Thanks to everyone for a good day, particularly the Curtin who are always a great bunch of people to spend a day at the cricket with, and to Jay who provided the keg. Also thanks to everyone else who chipped in with the catering. Made my day very easy.
    Looking forward to the rest of the season.
  • Match Facts:

    Cox Oval, Fairfield

     

    Time:

    1pm start

     

    The Big Picture:

    The Quokkas return from Bruny Island this week with a palpable sense of joy that can only come from a great game, played in the right spirit, in breathtaking surrounds.

     

    The size of the outfield on Bruny probably aided some of the breath being taken away, Im still recovering from walking from Point to Long On.

     

    The Rose is our opponent this week, a team that has taken on almost mystical status within Quokka HQ due to some of the epic battles in the past.

     

    This game will be a great opportunity to get back into Pub Cricket from the lofty standards set by the Penguins, and enjoy the freedom that comes from free hits and no LBWs.

     

    Form Guide:

    The Quokkas started the season with an impressive win against The Curtin, scoring over 200 off their 25, defending it, and enabling a large number of our (bursting) squad to have a game.

     

    This was backed up with an 8 wicket loss against the Bruny Island Penguins, though a lack of experience playing “proper” cricket (as well as a lack of numbers) didn’t help our cause.

     

    Quokkas: WL

     

    In the Spotlight:

    Reigning B&F winner Alex comes into this game as Captain, with a solid 30 and a wicket already this season. In charge of the field and the votes, it will be interesting to see how he goes at backing up in taking the broken bat home 2 years in a row.

     

    Pete Sforcina is back in the side to provide some guile with the ball and it is entirely possible he may actually have a bat as well. Go Pete!

     

    Team News:

    Once again we are blessed for numbers, though with some shift-work allowance for this match. It is a Sunday after all. The XI, at the time of writing, is:

    1. Pete Sforcina
    2. VP
    3. Monty
    4. Mad Max (Ami)
    5. Local
    6. Radar
    7. Jay
    8. SPECIAL
    9. Alex (c)
    10. Pup
    11. Big Dog (part timer)
    12. Dutchy

     

    Pitch and Conditions:

    Cox Oval is certainly a favourite for rabbits and Dentists, such are the pot holes in the surface. Its also a nice ground for those that enjoy looking for balls in the bush, given the short boundaries and scrubby surrounds. Bring your long socks.

     

    It is expected to be overcast and 18 on Sunday, after a week of fairly solid rain, so the outfield could be slower than normal with a bit of swing on offer for Pete and the medium pacers. Coincidentally, that is also the name of my new barbershop quartet.

     

    Stats and Trivia:

    • With no fanfare, Dutchy became the first Quokka to pass 1,000 YPCA runs in the last game; blasting his way to 1,010 in total. This has included 96 fours and 45 sixes, a total of 65% of his runs coming from boundaries. Dutchy also finishes Not Out in 34% of his innings.
    • IF he makes the game, this will be the Big Dogs 80th outing for The Quokkas, while it will be the 35th YPCA match for Radar
    • Alex and Local are retirement scores away from bringing up 400 career runs each for The Quokkas, needing 29 and 27 runs respectively. The fans would tip Alex to get their sooner, given he is averaging 41.2 for his career with 47% of his innings being not out.

     

  • Match Facts:

    Alonnah,

    Bruny Island,

    Tasmania

     

    Time:

    11:30am

     

    The Big Picture:

    Ahhhhh…the tour match…the annual chance to spread the gospel of inclusive and fun cricket, needed so badly now in these grim days of sandpaper and ‘good blokes’.

     

    Indeed the current climate very much reminds me of a story told by Martin Flanagan, Australian writer, about a conversation he had with the Chaplain of the Western Bulldogs;

    Flanagan: “There’s no limit of goodness in the world”

    Chaplain: “I agree, it’s just not organised, and the other side is”.

     

    With this in mind, The Quokkas are preparing to take on a team from Flanagans home state; Tasmania. The team itself being the Bruny Island Penguins, a club that has one of the most idyllic places to call home that I have been lucky enough to grace on a cricket tour, or any tour to be accurate.

     

    For those unfamiliar with Bruny Island, Google it. For those with no patience for engines that search, observe the view from my balcony minutes ago:

    bruny

     

    But back to the game. This match provides us with an opportunity to make new friends and rekindle old ones, as well as enjoy the bounty that this beautiful island that lies off another beautiful island, that lies off our own island, has to offer.

     

    As an aside, I have been somewhat astounded at the number of times that:

    1. Ive been asked if Im from “The Mainland” (I am); or
    2. Called “Cobber”

     

    For context around the match, the genesis of this game springs from Local, who hails from the island amongst other places including; Ballarat, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Perth and the Carringbush. Christmas must involve a killer commute for him.

     

    Many thanks to him though, Captain for this game, for helping bring us to this wondrous spot and arguably the southern-most point that a Quokka match will ever be held.

     

    Many thanks to the Penguins for making it happen too!

     

    Form Guide:

    With only one game in the locker for the season, The Quokkas are looking pretty good.

     

    In that outing we managed 215 runs from 25 overs, which we were able to defend, bowling the other side out for 190-odd.

     

    That being said, the 14 players available for our last match against The Curtin are not as available here, so form may be extremely un-useful (a-useful? Dis-useful?).

     

    Also working against us are the inclusion of ‘real’ cricket rules including; LBW, wides, no balls and the like.

     

    Its just not cricket, or maybe it is.

     

    In the Spotlight:

    “More Steve”, the Tasmanian Tour specialist comes back into the Quokkas squad for his first game since Jays hedonistic intra-club match at the end of last season, or last recorded match since our tour of Launceston many moons ago.

     

    I’m not suggesting that he is the most naturally talented cricketer in his family (there are plenty of others to do that), but he is able to bowl medium pace off the mark with alarming accuracy, as well as play proper cricket shots.

     

    More Steve. Forever.

     

    Team News:

    Its been a tough gig getting a touring team together for this match, as it seems to be with every tour match, and we go into this one with only 9 available ahead of the game (unless Liam turns up on Saturday morning).

     

    Thankfully the Penguins have volunteered to provide us with a couple of players and Maxy and Sime are on standby, so we should be OK.

     

    The team, at the time of writing, is:

    1. Ed
    2. Big Dog
    3. Dutchy
    4. Rev
    5. Local (c)
    6. Will (Captain of the Royal Oak in Launceston)
    7. More Steve
    8. Wills mate
    9. Pup

     

    Pitch and Conditions:

    After an earlier inspection of the ground, I can confirm it is the MCG realm in regards to size, if not catering. The boundaries are simply exhausting to comprehend, let alone traverse. Further, the pitch has both ‘stickiness’ and bounce.

     

    Thankfully, the Quokkas have the ultimate weapon for such conditions; The Big Dog.

     

    If only we had the fielders to support him.

     

    Saturday is expected to be a sunny day, top of 20, with a very cool breeze sweeping across the ground from the arctic.

     

    Stats and Trivia:

    • With his wicket from the last match, Pup moved to 5th in the all time wickets, taking them at a healthy 5 per over and an average of 14.91
    • Local has looked the good in the nets thus far, and has a good record while captaining, he has also scored 373 YPCA runs at 17.76 with 38 fours and 12 sixes – an impressive 60% of his runs coming from boundaries
    • This is the Quokkas second tour match to Tasmania. The first, like the tale of the giant Rat of Sumatra, is another story
  • Match Facts:

    Alphington Park, View St, Alphington

    here 'tis

    here ’tis

    Time: 1pm

    The Big Picture:

    “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tsu

    “You ran me out by several steps” – many of my team-mates

    With Winter dreams behind us, The Quokkas have hatched from their cocoons like a flight of butterflies, ready to bring colour and beauty into the world. Like Butterflies though, this is likely to be short lived, leading to a quick decomposition and composting period for the rest of the summer, bringing a small amount of energy to the garden of Pub Cricket.

    This, the first game of the season, sees us take on one of our favourite teams in the John “Beefy” Curtin Hotel. As has been mentioned before, we were the first team the Beefies ever beat, ever, in the pub league and we have played many entertaining games since. Some of them have involved cricket.

    The Beefies will be without one of their founding members, Owen, who sadly passed a few weeks ago. The game will be a great way of remembering someone whose efforts allowed others to enjoy and benefit from Pub Cricket.

    Vale.

    Form Guide:

    Being the first game of the season, there isn’t a lot of form to speak of in the cricketing sense. That being said, the few net sessions that the Quokkas have run have been extremely well attended, so we are looking good at getting large numbers of people to turn up.

    If only that counted towards runs and wickets.

    Delving beneath the surface, many of the faces at training have been new ones, who haven’t had the rude truth of being a Quokka destroy their hopes and dreams. Yet.

    snidely

    In the Spotlight:

    Monty is back for his second season with The Quokkas and we are all looking forward to the man with the wild tattoos bowling with metronomic line and length again. And again. While Monty only went for 6 runs an over, he also picked up 5 wickets, which is unique in that its normally one or the other (or neither) for the Quokkas.

    Team News:

    To borrow from one of Steve Martins great movies, The 3 Amigos, we have a PLETHORA of players this week. This has made selection tricky, so we’ve had to preference those that have attended “training” (& bought the new kit bag). That being said, that may (read: will) all change by Sunday morning, but at the time of writing, the XI looks like this:

    1. Radar (c)
    2. Special
    3. Liam
    4. Alex
    5. Big Dog
    6. Fizz
    7. Ed
    8. Dutchy (w/k)
    9. Jay
    10. Ami
    11. VP
    12. Monty
    13. Pup
    14. Pete Sforcina

    Pitch and Conditions:

    This game is being played at the luxurious surrounds of Alphington Park, one of our favorites, with its grandstand and lush outfield. The last time we played here we got close to pipping Royston, but The Skip didn’t score enough runs. It wasn’t a bad result though, as The Royston put on an open bar afterwards.

    Artists impression of the results of an open bar

    Artists impression of the results of an open bar

    Its expected to be an overcast 19 degrees on Sunday, so not too tough going.

    Stats and Trivia:

    How I’ve missed this.

    • With as many as 4 debutants, this looks more like it is an Australian Mens Test team, rather than an established side like The Quokkas
    • A few milestones ticking over this week, with Ed playing his 70th Quokka match, Pup his 40th, and Alex & Jay their 30th (how cute!)
    • Captain Radar is sitting on 415 career runs, 5th overall and is only 103 away from The Big Dog – can he overtake the club legend this season?
    • Dutchy is sitting on 966 career runs, 1st overall, and is a good chance to reach 1,000 in this match if given 17ish balls to hit
    • We will have a double father-son combo in this match, with Radars Snr and Jnr in the match, as well as Pup and The Big Dog
  • It’s hardly surprising that the English like the Germans so much. Their love for football, sausages and beer very much mirrors our own and they have even embraced our game of cricket now too. With that in mind, what other reason would you need to join the quorum of Quokkas on this years’ tour of Hamburg? A quick straw poll to find out what tempted the others drew an almost universal “you’re not married with kids, are you Ches?” response. True, but despite lacking that additional motivation, I was no less keen to sample the world famous Reeperbahn, fish market and some of the finest Weizenbier known to man.

    PHOTO-2018-09-13-20-43-32Skip was so keen to get there that he selected the `Oh my god that’s early’ red eye flight from Heathrow, which meant a room at the Travelodge and a desperate search for culinary delights in Hounslow the night before. Whilst the Yak and Dac somehow found a Michelin star curry house, my search unearthed jam doughnuts washed down by a solitary Cobra.

    “Can anyone recommend a dish at the Travelodge restaurant?”
    “Yes, pringles”.

    At least the view from the hotel window was impressive.

    The pre-tour excitement and Yak snoring enabled me to get exactly one hours’ shuteye – the perfection preparation for a weekend where we normally envy the amount of sleep Navy SEALs get on their training courses. Things could be worse, you could be waiting for your passport to return from Her Majesty’s Government or worse still, forget where it resides completely.

    For those allowed to leave the country, the check-in was uneventful, but my request for balaclavas seemed not to resonate with the clubs’ hierarchy. Instead we took ownership of the latest piece of tour merchandise and the new `mug a granny’ Quokkas hoodies had us mistaken for oversized fans of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When matched with shorts, we presented ourselves as a group of boy scout leaders. To be honest, on the Reeperbahn no one bat an eyelid.

    PHOTO-2018-09-14-14-16-42With no time for the usual Irish breakfast send off, we prepared for the first game with Alpha beers and pina coladas at the fabulous StrandPauli bar. Sitting nicely on the edge of the River Elbe, the deckchairs, sand and lashings of late summer sun ensured the day flew by. Afterwards we took residency at a restaurant far exceeding our standard of attire and consumed our own bodyweight in veal schnitzel, warm potato salad and basil-flavoured gins. Has anyone got that taste of Basil out of their mouth yet?

    The tour party hit the streets of Hamburg and was soon bolstered by The Professor, Lockie and Evil Dave, who had somehow found his passport. Apparently, it was in the passport draw, next to Mrs Evil’s passport, in a passport holder with the word `Passport’ emblazoned on the front. He muttered something about Brexit, but after a bottle of Jagermeister had entered the bloodstream he seemed happy enough.

    Well lubricated, the group was keen to put their purposefully selected sequences of human movement on display. We made our way to the excellent Molotow Musikclub in search of the next Beatles and to the soundtrack of Franz Ferdinand, Tocotronic and Kraftklub  we spent several hours convincing the locals that tomorrow would be best spent watching the Quokkas dismantled in a field somewhere on the outskirts of the city. Despite best efforts and Kevin Keegan stickers offered as enticements I feared that would not be enough to convince anyone.

    It’s surprising how quickly tomorrow comes when you are having fun. Thankfully Michael D was on hand to provide us with some local grub (yes, according to my friend Wiki, burgers do originate from Hamburg) and that set us up nicely for the long day ahead.

    PHOTO-2018-09-15-14-48-08We were warmly welcomed by our hosts at the wonderful Sports Club THCC Rot-Gelb, but on a first glance it appeared that `one of the few grass wickets in Germany’ had metamorphosised itself into a coconut matting. Perhaps the long Indian summer was to blame. It appeared to have also affected the lush outfield, which didn’t quite replicate the lush bowling green advertised on their website www.cricket-hamburg.de/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/THCC-Ground_1500x520.jpg [the Chesney school of marketing in action right there]. Less than smooth outfields are the norm on tour, so we just got on with it. I moaned, obviously.

    As is customary, we sent the locals into bat (we always want to make them feel like they got a game) and initially we found the openers to be stubborn. However, Evil Dave continued his fine form with the ball by taking a brace of wickets. He really shouldn’t have bothered, as that just brought a talented Australian called Cam and the equally adept Murali to the middle.

    When we took drinks 15 overs and over 130 runs later, it looked like we were going to have our work cut out keeping things below 300. The combination of the square leg boundary located inside the fielding circle (which meant sixes were downgraded to fours – thank god for that aye Dac?) and some high-quality batting was proving problematic.

    PHOTO-2018-09-16-17-24-05Thankfully, Cam took pity on us and retired during the drinks break. Then when our new and extremely hyperactive Quokka, Jigger, brought a little more pace to the attack and we started to make inroads. Jigger eventually got Murali out and with the talent safely back in the hutch, Skip saw that the coast was safe and made a long-awaited bowling appearance. He, along with The Egg efficiently cleaned up the tail, with The Egg claiming the prize wicket of expat captain Andy. Despite this we still were set over 200 from our 35 overs. Have we got even close to that on a first day of a tour?

    Tea was a strange mix of cold toasted sandwiches and two absolutely wonderful cakes. I miss the days of a box of pork to be honest.

    It’s not often that a batsman acknowledges that he was probably out lbw and that didn’t happen here when our designated batsman for the tour, Milind, was triggered by Evil. Müllmann fell not long after, leaving him somewhat exposed in our annual runs challenge. Like our rivals, the real talent was at three, with The Professor finally deciding not to hide his bushel at nine, ten or jack, and showing us what he can do when he has upgraded from a piece of balsa to the clubs’ plywood Slazenger.

    PHOTO-2018-09-15-14-48-07We knew he played straight, but with the confidence hair highlights brings to a middle-aged man, he started to display a bit of flair in attack. Having seen off the openers he then picked off the bad ball and of course was resolute in defence when required. We had spent tea trying to construct the ultimate batsman out of the few genuine cricket shots from Quokkas players – it appeared the shoe-in-Guru-cover-drive was now under threat. Myself, Tom the Yak, Skip and Slick provided some support, but not nearly enough and just a little shy of his maiden Quokkas half century the Professor was out trying to move things along. In the end, even with 12 batsman we still didn’t come close, but most importantly we survived to fight another day.

    A delightful dinner provided by our guests, accompanied by a few sherbets and the shortest game of 21s in Quokkas history was the perfect kick start to the evening. I don’t recall too much about it, other than consuming lashings of beer and German death metal, an unusual arcade claw game that replaced soft toys with sex toys and having to suffer the appalling Codeko remix of MGMT’s Kids {Ed: I’ll pass on adding that link] at the titty twister bar night club. For those with insomnia, the fish market completed the evening, with a blues band entertaining the revellers and fishmongers alike.

    It felt like my head had hardly hit the pillow when the call went out to be in the lobby for the taxis back to the Sports Club THCC Rot-Gelb for the second game of the weekend. Lidl and Michael D saved the day, providing us with enough sugar to bring on type 2 diabetes. My 18 trips to the toilet during the day suggested that either I have the smallest bladder in the world or that that ship has already sailed. I digress.

    PHOTO-2018-09-15-18-16-51With the batting order reversed, The Egg and Evil strode out to the middle, with Fruiti following them into the middle shortly afterwards. He and Evil Dave proceeded to put on a fifty partnership, finding the short square boundary especially appealing. After a short cameo from Jigger that saw him take on their quickie, Dac was in and looking to avoid a pair. He was going well until Müllmann sent him back to the hutch. Dac claimed he middle it, but Milind’s video of the shot in question was inconclusive.

    The fast bowler called Bai was too good for Lockie and myself, but Skip stood firm and with Tom the Yak in support played an excellent captain’s innings, scoring a very swift half century and eventually carrying his bat. 180 looked a little short, but with a completely new bowling attack at Skip’s disposal, Murali tucking into far too many beers and no sign of the German Ladies National Team captain, we were confident.

    PHOTO-2018-09-16-15-50-13Milind and Müllmann opened the bowling, one ever so slightly more accurate than the other, but the pair combined well, restricting our opponents to 25 for 1 from the first nine overs. Murali, now into his fifth larger top, demonstrated exactly why you shouldn’t drink and drive kids, showing absolutely none of the exquisite timing from the day before. You can’t take liberties like that when The Egg is bowling and he duly claimed his wicket during another excellent spell. That was proceeded by The Professor substantiating his all-rounder status, with a terrific six over spell of line and length bowling claiming three wickets.

    PHOTO-2018-09-17-10-17-40With us cruising to victory there was enough leeway to bring me on. Right on que the prementioned Tina turned up and began dispatching me into the tennis courts. Fortunately, she began to run out of partners and in an attempt to win the game single handed, The Yak had her caught on the long on boundary. With a nipper to bowl at, I looked far more comfortable and eventually got one to land somewhere near the wickets and the game was ours.

    A trip to Germany would not be complete without some pork knuckle and we rounded off the tour with dinner at the Schoppenhauer restaurant. The non-vegetarian’s within the party were more than impressed with the menu and we proceed to eat our way through half a hundred weight of meat. With tour fines handed out, Professor acknowledged as best on tour and a keg of beer drunk, it was time to hit the bright lights of Hamburg one last time.

    A short uneventful flight back aside, that was pretty much that for the 2018 Quokkas Tour of Hamburg. All I can say is that once again it was brilliantly organised (thanks to anyone that helped with that), great fun to participate in and I can heartedly recommend it to any husband and or/father. Oh yes, I nearly forgot, I moved 2-1 ahead of Müllmann in our usual runs challenge. At his age you have to wonder if he will be back next year. I know I will.

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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.