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  • Quokkas CC 189-6 (Evil Dave 49, Conan 44) beat Merstham CC 186-7 (Yak 3-23)

    It’s been a while Quokkas and I’ve had time to consider things. Many things, such as whether I need to take out a second mortgage to cover my heating bill, if I have had all the required jabs to allow me to go surfing without contracting hepatitis, and should I move to Burundi to realise any value from my pension. Thank god the human hand grenade is at the wheel now, I was starting to get concerned. [Ed: Maybe Quokka match reports are not the best place for political discussions Seagull?] Er yeah, good point. OK, how about religion? That’s a subject that should cause you little consternation.

    I ventured onto Southsea high street today and as a practicing atheist I made it my duty to seek out the representative of the Gospel Tract and Bible Society to discuss whether Jesus was a batsman or a bowler. Surprisingly, he was unaware of the gospel describing Jesus’ passion for the game, so I
    enlightened him: “for Jesus would take the boys to the seashore and, carrying the playing ball and the club, he would go over the waves of the sea as though he was playing on a frozen surface, hitting the playing ball.” Unsurprisingly, the conversation turned to Satan’s wrath and his desire to destroy our body and soul. The preacher didn’t seem to understand when I explained that “it’s what bowlers do.” I look forward to our next discussion when perhaps I will borrow some of Larry David’s thoughts on prayer.[Ed: Not sure religion works either Seagull]

    Oh, right. How about the monarchy? That’s topical and completely uncontroversial. Personally, I share Robert Smith’s views, so haven’t felt the great sense of loss many Quokkas have with the Queen’s passing. I do though thank Elizabeth for her service during World War II, which helped to provide me with that freedom of thought. I struggled to understand the cancelling of the entire weekend football programme as a `mark of respect’, but it gave us all time to reflect….on how much time we waste on fantasy football. It also gave us the opportunity to focus on the final test match of the series, and created a seven hour window for me to consume Sergey Bondarchuck’s adaption of War and Peace. Silver linings. Another silver lining was unearthing Merstham Cricket Club when last week’s opponents Orsett & Thurrock pulled out at the eleventh hour. Something to do with a lack of players. It’s hard to compete with the opening of another drive-through McDonalds on the road into Southend. New fixture in place, our own lack of players became an immediate issue. These McDonalds are bloody everywhere. With many Quokkas now well past their prime, and let’s be honest more at home in a cosy foot warmer than spikes, we’ve been a little short on numbers this season.

    As bestows an internationally franchised drinking team, we were welcomed by the royal marines marching band and a rich tapestry of street food, home-made condiments and gin stalls. Timing the fixture next season with the Quality Street fair should be the number one priority of our marvellous
    fixture secretary. At 12.45pm we had four players, the draw of the chow mien stall inevitably waylaying one or two hungry Quokkas. Thankfully, by 12.55pm we had eight. Unfortunately, at 1pm we still had eight. We’d lost Skip to a McDonald’s opening in Harpenden [Ed: also known as COVID],
    which meant Harry the Great was out too. Get well soon lads.

    The Merstham skipper was kind enough to lend us a fielder, plus the square leg umpire doubled up as a square leg fielder. There were still a few gaps in the field and Seagull did little to plug them with some terrible field placements. Our fielding was pretty good though. Faggie did drop a simple catch at short extra cover, but made up for it three balls later with a great diving effort. Seagull dived around like a man half his age. Radio dived around like a man twice Seagull’s age. Radio did have trouble returning a ball hit for a boundary. A slight case of dartitis, caused him to throw the ball back over his head, over the fence and onto the 15h tee of the Reigate Hill golf club. As he retrieved the ball, Seagull introduced him Ryder Cup style: “On the tee, Radio John”, to a nice ripple of applause from a ladies four ball.

    Ali and Faggie bowled very well, restricting scoring opportunities, but without taking wickets. Not walking is like failing to pick up your dog turds. Just saying. Radio John and the Egg provided the inverse, taking three decent wickets between them in an eventful 13 over spell, but offering one or two scoring opportunities too. Unfortunately, the three wickets didn’t include the opening batsman, who looked impervious, even to the deliveries that touched the edge of the atmosphere .

    With one batter on his way to a hundred and the other relatively new to cricket, it was difficult for our “fast’ bowlers to find any kind of rhythm. The Yak seemed unphased though and he claimed his 101 st , 102 nd and 103 rd Quokkas wicket. Magnificent. Seagull bowled for the first time this season, we haven’t missed much. He did claim the wicket of a small child, before being smashed to all parts by their skipper, who saw them to a healthy 189 from their 35 overs.

    Egg seemed to have bought half a deli with him for his tea, over which we discussed whether anyone has ever driven past a field full of cows without exclaiming “cows’, and discovered that Seve Ballesteros had no need for hole-in-one insurance and the only time a swan sings is just before it dies. Fascinating stuff, but with the Quokkas not getting an younger, we had a game to win.

    Ali and Radio opened the batting. Radio took his time. Ali didn’t, hitting a nice straight six before being cleaned bowled playing something similar to one that nipped back. The Egg then triggered Faggie when going well. He took it pretty well, perhaps welcoming the opportunity to catch up on some sleep missed due to the previous evening’s “tour preparation”. A nice bit of off spin was Radio’s eventual undoing and with just four wickets left, we had some work to do.

    Conan kept wicket like he had been doing it all summer. He batted in similar fashion, showing us the trade mark smash and numerous more cultured shots. Evil Dave played a few smashes of his own, a cover drive or two and even the odd delicate shot, as he looked intent on making his maiden half century. It’s great to have goals, and reaching a half century is one that Dave still has, choosing a poor delivery, by which I mean straight, to shoulder arms to. Conan forged on, but was fortunate to have a friendly square leg umpire from Birmingham when well short of his ground running a typical Quokkas “quick” single. When he eventually fell, also just shy of his fifty, the Quokkas tail looked decidedly short. The Egg and Seagull are well accustomed to these backs against the wall type situations. And when the fast bowlers were brought on to close the game out, expectations were not high. But a couple of beautiful drives for four from the Egg, and a
    six through extra cover from Seagull saw us comfortably home.

    God save the Royle Family.

    Seagull.

  • Harpenden Dolphins CC 185-9 (Smruti 3-18, Harry 2-25, Mike 2-34) beat Quokkas CC 184-7 (Seagull 52, Faggie 48, Tugboat 40)

    It was a weekend of birthdays. Paul McCartney made it to 80 and The Yak is slowly catching him up. Both seemed to enjoy the celebrations. Neither seem to age. The similarities possibly end there unless Tom is also carrying pictures of Chairman Mao that I wasn’t aware of.

    Paul may have been seen to break up the fab four when he wouldn’t delay the release of his solo album and then gave an answer to a journalist’s question that “The Beatles no longer existed”, but the truth is John Lennon quit the band some time previous and then they all kept quiet about it until they got their (tax) affairs in order. I’m no expert, but Yoko may have had something to do with John’s decision and maybe George’s desire to have his song writing skills recognised would have seen him jump ship if John hadn’t got to the punch first. 

    What I do know, is in the proceeding decade, they produced music that will probably see no equal and despite my desire to continually discover something new, it’s great to return to The Beatles every once in a while. I got to enjoy a lot of their songs, brilliantly reproduced for a BBC Radio 2 show, `Friday night is music night: The Beatles Orchestrated’, during my drive home from the game on Sunday. It’s funny how much more enjoyable being stuck in a traffic jam can be when Hey Jude gets going. Certainly stops me blowing my mind out in the car. The standstill on the M25 also gave me time to consider who wins a fight between a lion and an alligator, python and honey badger, dolphin or Quokka? The first two are obvious, and the third? Well, that may depend if Snorky is among the pod of dolphins (Ed: Is that from The Simpsons – Night of the Dolphin?) or they have a first team batsman hiding at number 10. (Ed: That’s one hell of a segway Ches)

    To celebrate Tom’s birthday we hit the Harpenden drinking dens, and it was a hard day’s night consuming the entire top shelf before retiring to chez Bradley to watch the College World Series until 3:30am. Not the ideal preparation for a cricket match, but certainly a good warm-up for the tour. Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. My hangover was eased by a wonderful continental breakfast in the glorious Harpenden sunshine, followed by a fabulous barbecue. They do look after you well at the Bradleys…I wonder if he will still be feeding me when I’m 64? 

    Skip had the pre-match nutrition well in hand, but logistics less so, as we set off and arrived at the new ground in St. Albans about half an hour late. I’m pleased to say the new pitch came with a mower. I think the groundsman may work for Dulux, as he had prepared the wicket with the thickest white lines I’ve ever seen. Now was a good time to ask whether having your entire boot on the line was still out. 

    Here comes the sun. Thankfully, on a hot day, Skip won the toss and put us in. Take note Seagull. Unfortunately he asked me to open. Skip’s advice to `be more selfish when batting’ quickly came back to haunt him. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot and another dot. Solid start Seagull, but “get on with it.” 

    There were actually 27 dot balls, a four and two singles in the first five overs, as Tugboat and Seagull made a very `cautious’ start, all be it against some extremely accurate seam and swing bowling. Skip was slightly concerned and at drinks he reminded me that there was `plenty of batting to come’. We did eventually get going and put on 64 for the first wicket – Tugboat being caught in the deep. Faggie, not known for his patience, stepped things up with an immediate four and he carried most of the weight on his shoulders. It was a good partnership, with some excellent calling. Faggie said “Yes”, I said “No”. He said, “Stop” and I said, “Go, go, go”. Together we put on another 68 runs in short time, with Seagull getting his half century, before being caught in the `not so deep’ from a tired looking shot. 

    Faggie, just shy of his own fifty, joined him in the hutch a few overs later, but by then we had some runs on the board. The Yak and Arunav continued to keep things ticking over nicely despite a slow outfield, finding the bowling to their liking and one or two gaps in the field. Both fell to simple catches though, which provided the opportunity for the next generation of Quokkas (Harry and Haydon) to demonstrate their batting skills. When Haydon was bowled not too long into his debut, this allowed Skip and son to see out the innings in much the same way as we started, with a couple of dot balls. “Get on with it.” 

    The Bradleys provided us with a wonderful tea, including a chocolate birthday cake for Tom. This was supplemented by butterfly cakes, pork pies and sausage rolls. Basically food heaven. Over lunch we discussed long tossing, dollar shimmies and Thailand table tennis. Don’t ask. There was also talk of a third Bradley family member taking to the field, but Seagull’s offer to sit out the second innings wasn’t taken, which Skip lived to regret. A sizeable period of lunch was dedicated to a Michael Jackson number being reworked by Faggie and the Yak for Arunav. To be honest, as song writers, they are the Ringo and George of the Beatles, with Evil and myself taking the John and Paul roles, taking sad songs and making them better. And to prove a point I considered writing the entire match report using Beatles lyrics (Ed: I can see that you have sneaked one or two in already), but then realised I have a company to run, so have settled for this simple deviation from this classic: 

    Yesterday, all the short balls seemed so far away, now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in ducking away. 

    OK, so maybe I’m more Pete Best… 

    I digress. We’d set our opponents a healthy 185 to win, let’s see how they got them. Where do you want me to field Skip? “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.“ Righto.

    As I mentioned, a new generation of Quokkas are coming through, with Harry and Haydon adding some much needed youth, energy, and cricketing ability to the mix. The pair opened the bowling and showed us how to do it, with great lines and lengths. You know, the things we’ve been failing to find for the last decade. They took wickets too. Talk about a revolution. We slowly worked our way through the batting order. That was helped by a fabulous running catch by Tugboat (and great fielder placement by Skip), who steamed in from the boundary to claim a key wicket and another brilliant grab taken by a more stationary Skip. It’s getting better all the time. Fruiti put the home side under considerable pressure, claiming three wickets in a spell that included one or two balls offering some actual flight. At this point we looked favourites, although you may say I’m a dreamer. But I wasn’t the only one.

    Arunav’s slightly overexuberant celebrations did irk one Dolphin, who I had also annoyed earlier when enquiring whether his head high full toss might be no-ball.
    “No ball? Seriously? At my pace?”
    “Well, at that pace it ought to be easier to land it on the pitch.”

    “It’s a Sunday friendly.”

    “It certainly seems it.”

    At this point words are flowing out, like endless rain into a paper cup.

    “Let it be Seagull.” 

    “Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friends.”

    I did mention it was hot out there? 

    Wickets for Evil Dave, The Yak and two from Haydon’s dad, Mike, put us in the driving seat, beep-beep, beep-beep, yeah, but with a first team regular batsman coming in at number 10, we knew the game was far from won. 

    As he came to the crease Faggie came on. Left arm over the wicket bowlers have been going in and out of style, but they’re guaranteed to raise a smile. In his first over there were shades of the Quokkas Ashes circa 2019, as three shortish deliveries were dispatched into the strawberry fields forever. Nothing you can say, but I guess you can learn how to play the game Faggie. It’s easy! Have a spell.

    What we needed here was the Egg man, but he was off climbing the Eiffel tower, watching Nine Inch Nails or suchlike. Despite this onslaught, a few tight overs from Skip and Harry kept us in it and the game was up for grabs when a lofted straight drive failed to go the distance. Sadly, Seagull attacked it with the same vigour as his earlier batting, and found a reason for taking the easy way out. The catch avoidance trophy will look good on the mantlepiece. Through gritted teeth, Skip politely enquired whether perhaps that was catchable? I chose to avoid all eye contact and blamed the pre-match preparations. With that, the chance of victory was gone and not even Fruiti could prevent the inevitable, especially with two legside full tosses. 

    Make no mistake though, this was a very good performance by the Quokkas against an excellent Dolphins side with two or three very talented cricketers indeed. That fact it went down to the last wicket and penultimate over is testament to the two captains curating a terrific encounter. For those I’m not still avoiding eye contact with, see you at Hartfield.

    Seagull – in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

  • Quokkas CC 301-7 (Herc 87, Arunav 61, Todd 53, Tugboat 42)  beat Coldharbour CC 161-all out (Faggie 3-15, Evil 2-38, Prof 2-not sure)

    Martin Luther King, Jr. said that `we are not makers of history. We are made by history’, but I prefer to think that a small body of determined spirits, fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. Which is what happened on Sunday in the beautiful Surrey hills. Well, maybe not quite, but it is certainly halcyon times, with notable exploits seemingly creating Quokkas history almost every week. 

    Last week’s Radio John hat trick was something a bit special, but the game at Coldharbour will go down in Quokkas history (and not because Herc managed to catch a ball behind the stumps) as we congested half a season’s worth of batting into 35 overs, scoring 300 runs for the very first time. Those that played became instant legends, to be forever remembered in Quokkas folklore. For those out shopping with wives, girlfriends or boyfriends, sadly, you have become the forgotten men of history.

    So how did we reach that milestone? Well, those looking to put some shade on proceedings might point to the shortest boundary in cricket, quite a bit of Bertie Basset bowling and about 20 drop catches. However, if you’re a glass-half-full kind of guy like me….stop laughing…then the response would be, a plethora of ferocious hitting and high quality stroke play.

    Those that don’t learn from history are doomed to fail, so this week I decided to bat, a decision helped by my opposing captain winning the toss. The innings was built on the attacking intent of the Tugboat and Todd, with anything short or full, or neither short nor full, smashed deep into the ferns. It must be said that Todd almost went first ball (dropped catches may become a referring theme), but didn’t look back and played some superb shots. Leg glance was not one of them, but when you have every other in the book (and a few that aren’t), it doesn’t matter. Anything in his arc went hard to the boundary. 

    If you didn’t know already (you obviously haven’t been reading my match reports, also known as Quokkas history), Tugboat can really bat. The noise made as leather is crucified by his willow is something it behold and literally echoed across the Surrey hills. We got to enjoy that sound several times, including from an exquisite cover drive that will live in my memory until I remember where I put the key to the drinks cabinet.

    Faggie came to our opponents rescue, giving Tugboat out leg before wicket, while Driver did the same for Todd. Did history repeat itself, first as tragedy, second as farce? No. Both were plumb. By then though, 120 runs were on the board.

    The relentless ten-runs-an-over pace continued, with Herc dispatching pretty much everything, no matter where it was pitched, to the boundary. He pulled several balls for six, with one sailing over the protective netting and missing his own car by inches. His excellent 87 runs will earn him a probable five points towards the `Bestest and Fairest’ award, but with confirmation that additional games were unlikely, we can look forward to seeing him rise and then rapidly plummet down the Revometer score board at the next annual dinner. It would be remiss of me not to point out that there was the odd piece of luck along the way. I think Coldharbour must have been studying the Quokkas `”How to avoid taking catches” manual, which obviously helped our cause. A miscue saw three players shout “yours” in tandem, which might form the basis of a new chapter.

    At the other end, Arunav initially played a very measured innings, but then opened up, with one straight drive still climbing as it hit the top of giant pine tree some 30 yards beyond the boundary. A partnership of 147 in 13 overs was magnificent, no matter how short the boundary or bowling.

    When both fell, Faggie narrowly avoided a pair, before finding the only fielder that could catch. Professor, who is a different player altogether now he has a bat made of wood, played some lovely shots and he, Radio and Evil saw us past the 300 mark. This was followed by my favourite sledge of the season so far, when Radio revealed to a young opponent that he’d travelled down from Birmingham for the game only to receive the reply: “What? You travelled two and a half hours to be bowled by a thirteen year old?” which he was. 

    Talking of legendary status, the Coldharbour teas are starting to build quite a reputation, with our friend Mr Beer’s homemade sausage rolls complimenting the strawberries, cream scones, lemon drizzle cake and chocolate brownies. If he had provided a sample prior to his leg before wicket appeal, I might have even given it. As stand in skipper it’s obviously my job to consume enough cake to ensure more are baked next year. I dutifully obliged, although having to field second does limit consumption. This is another reason I like to bowl first. Note to self: Must get whites with bigger pockets.

    Driver, `fresh from a trip up to Leicester to watch egg chasing, opened the bowling and provided almost nothing for the batsman to hit. Evil was equally frugal (the claw not getting an outing helped) and between them they took three well-earned wickets. Faggie also bowled a terrific spell, dropping only a single delivery short in his six overs (I told you this was one for the history books), taking three excellent wickets of his own and causing all sorts of problems for Coldharbour’s two best batsman. 

    Ideas shape the course of history and my 8-1 field with the ball angling across the right hander almost paying dividends. For once, some field placements did pay off and Irish Driver said “the batting, bowling and fielding was OK, but the captaincy was bloody brilliant,” and who am I to argue?. OK, so he actually said “You will no doubt write in your match report that the batting, bowling an fielding was OK, but the captaincy was bloody brilliant,” but history will always be kind to me, for I have written it.

    Victories and failures, traditions and heritage, make history ever changing. A bit like Yaks bowling length, which allowed our opponents some rest bite. Yet history remains the same, with the Tom claiming yet another wicket to add to his collection, albeit slightly hidden among the batch of long hops. With that, we were into the tail, which Professor and Radio John cleaned up in no time at all, helping to seal an emphatic victory. History is of course written by the victors, which is why I am typing this match report and not my counterpart.

    The only way to become part of Quokkas folklore is to make yourself available, and soon. If you like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past, see you in Harpenden next week. I’ve heard they may even cut the grass this time. 

    Captain Seagull

  • I know you come here for a Quokkas cricket report, but some things are more important than cricket, and retelling this story is one of those things. A passenger on a recent Delta Airlines flight stunned fellow travellers and cabin crew alike when she was observed breastfeeding her pet cat. The woman had her hairless Canadian Sphynx swaddled up in a blanket so that it looked like a baby. When confronted by a flight attendant, her shirt was up and she was trying to get the cat to latch, which was screaming for its life. The woman refused to stop and wouldn’t put the cat back in the carrier. Delta airlines confirmed that it fully supports a woman’s right to breastfeed onboard its flights. You’re welcome.

    I have had feline issues of my own, but finally cracked the problem of them using my garden as a litter tray when I discovered `Silent Roar’. Basically lion-dung-smelling balls of joy that have turned the cocky little bastards into tight rope walkers round my backyard fence. I tell you this because it was perhaps the only win I had all winter. While Fergal Sharkey was informing me of how many billions of litres of raw sewage were being dumped into my local water ways, Saints were stinking up the Premiership with some of the most abject displays since the last set of abject displays, my holiday to Sri Lanka turned to shit when the country went into financial meltdown, and as for the winter tests, Jesus, can I have a `severance’ medical procedure to separate my England cricket watching memories from the rest please? Boy, I’m glad I have my disappointment. It’s better than nothing. 

    Liverpool or Madrid to win the Champions League final? You are asking me to rate my favourite flavour of dog turd there, but as the famous philosopher Paul Merson recently said, the richest people in the world are those that live in the moment, so I celebrated the Scousers failure and now I feel like a pig shat in my head. Mrs Seagull: What’s that smell? 

    Bourbon and despair my dear. I’d like a bloody Mary. But it’s nine o’clock in the morning. 

    Yep, hence not requesting whiskey. Thank god the cricket season is under way.

    First up, the Whalers and this match will be long remembered for the first ever Quokkas hattrick. Yeah, I know. What a turn up for the books. You may recall that Radio John almost achieved the feat twice last season, but this time he actually got the trio and in style too, clean-bowling his third victim. Unbelievable Jeff. The first two wickets weren’t bad either, Radio beating the batsman all ends up, allowing Todd plenty of time to claim a brace of stumpings. And he wasn’t finished there either, claiming another two wickets in two balls and just missing out on a second hattrick! A sixth victim did follow, leaving him with figures of three overs, six wickets for six runs…let me give you a moment to let that sink in…Malcolm Marshall eat your heart out. Seagull took him off. Obviously.

    Other than the magnificent Radio, our bowling looked rusty. Smruti went for more runs than all of last season. Faggie went for six an over and those that followed him wished they had. Jatin and Tugboat’s mix of unplayable and unreachable deliveries kept the scoreboard ticking over. Seagull didn’t help proceedings, placing fielders within the boundary, thereby failing to combat batsman hitting juicy leg side full tosses thirty yards beyond the rope. Viran, on loan from the Whalers, arrived about half way through the innings and the extra fielder made absolutely no difference to the run rate, but we at least had one more pair of hands to retrieve balls from the neighbouring pitches. 

    We needed a wicket badly. Seagull turned to Driver and he immediately delivered with a truly horrible first ball that saw the opener, already fifty runs to the good, miscue straight to midwicket. Finally, we had our breakthrough and one brought two, with the Yak joining the party, drawing another false shot and Seagull taking an easy catch. Driver then got a second wicket, with Todd taking a good catch behind the stumps, paving the way for the Radio show. The final wicket was claimed by Viran and by then our opponents were 232 to the good. We’ve lost from better positions.

    With cricket teas becoming optional, it was nice to tuck into an array of sandwiches, cakes and English tapas, although the accompanying UK garage soundtrack left a lot to be desired. MC Toes seemed in his element as did the 500 screaming kids enjoying another bouncy castle. Over tea we discussed the need for an option that’s more than sleeping, but not as much as being dead and discovered that only humans can cry tears and in football, space and time are the same. Fascinating stuff, but 21 seconds is about as much of So Solid Crew I can handle, so let’s knock those runs off. Well, some of them. 

    It wasn’t that we batted badly, we didn’t, we just didn’t bat terribly well. Although, with a little bit of luck we could have made it…(Ed: Oh no. I can see where this is going). To be fair, the bowling was decent and as a result, Todd and Driver were forced to bat sensibly knowing you just gotta get through this. And they did a great job until Driver was out. Faggie sadly didn’t trouble scorers and when Todd fell to peer pressure (bloody Kiwi wicketkeepers insisting they have heard an edge when the ball has missed by about a foot), we were in a little trouble. Tugboat smashed several fours and for a while looked dy-na-mi-tee, but just as drinks approached he let one through the gate, which he would like to have re-rewind…(Ed: in the spirit of things, `fill me in’ Seagull). 

    On Sunday we chilled, especially when Jatin continued the attack, hitting one or two huge boundaries, but he also fell on his sword as things started to look interesting. Viran hit a four that was as sweet as chocolate, before injuring himself and having to re-retire hurt. (Ed: Yeah that doesn’t work and I’ve got no idea how you are going to shoehorn flowers in the pouring rain). 

    Toes also looked very comfortable, but runs were proving hard to come by. The Yak and Smruti tried to move things along, but were both out playing the wrong shot, which left Seagull and Radio with just a little too much to do. Radio did however smash several lose deliveries for four and played one or two nice strokes too, forcing their skipper to bring back the opening bowler. With 85 needed from the last over you just never know. Sigh. 

    So, an opening game defeat for the Quokkas by the triumphant Whalers, but to be honest no one cared about the result as the day belonged entirely to Radio John. Well done sir, if I had them I would have presented you with flowers, as you made my day (Ed: nicely done).

    See you all in Coldharbour. I am hearing there might be a return of the attack (pump up the world).

    MC Seagull

  • Match Facts:

    Fairlea East Oval,

    Yarra Bend

    Time:

    1pm

    The Big Picture:

    Not only is this game the last one for this season for The Quokkas and the whole league, but it may well be the lasts game for Pub League stalwarts The Curtin due to their gaff being sold. 

    There’s plenty of talk at this Melbourne icon may yet be saved from property developers in shiny shoes, but it seems that the planet is on a bit of a downward trajectory being led by narcissists with short-term vision and a bucket-load of hubris.

    Still, it may be better for our mental health to reminisce on all the good times rather than focus on the bad.

    We’ve had plenty of great times on and off the field with the team from The Curtin, and look forward to adding another to it this Sunday.

    That’s curtains! c. 2014/15

    Form Guide:

    The Quokkas actually made it past the first round of the BDNO in their last appearance, so we will say they are in (almost) unrecognisable form.

    In the Spotlight:

    F1 has made a spectatcular start to his Quokkas career, not least by turning up to training and posting one of the more unique contributions to the infamous group chat, but by actually bowling straight and quick (3 wickets at 16, going at less than 6 an over), hitting proper shots (averaging 35, thanks very much) and covering half the field despite some sort of Transformer living on his knee.

    Local is back as Captain of this match, having never captained a winning side before. 

    Team News:

    The spicy cough has boomeranged to The Quokkas squad but our Pacific Ocean-like depth has allowed us to still get XI on the park (at the time of writing).  Our squad is:

    1. Big Dave
    2. J Rod
    3. The President of King Island
    4. F1
    5. Dutchy
    6. Jay
    7. Sizzle
    8. Alex
    9. The Animal
    10. Local (c)
    11. Rev

    Pitch and Conditions:

    It’s been a humid week in Murderous Melbourne, and it looks like we will have a high of 27 on Sunday so possibly ideal conditions for The Animal to show some of that 70s wild swing.

    Given its had a little rain of late, we are hoping that Fairlea East is a little more gentle on those sliding on the field than a baseball bat with nails through it.

    Stats and Trivia:

    (Disclaimer – work / moving / parenting / studying has been bloody busy of late and I may be falling behind on stats)

    • This will be Jays 40th YPCA match and his 58th overall for the Quokkas
    • Dutchy is 2 wickets from joining ELITE company (Ed, Big Dog) in the 50 wicket club, he’s been bouncing the ball as well as he’s been bowling this season, so it could be on this Sunday
    • SIZZLE (!) is back for his first game of the season, potentially in solidarity, after a couple of years impacted by tyranny of distance and a dodgy knee.  The Quokkas records around taking catches while punching darts has been negligible in his absence.  Welcome back.
  • Match Facts:

    Sunday, March 6th

    Kicking off at Fairfield Oval at 9:30 A.M!

    Days gone by

    The Big Picture:

    You need a big picture for a big day and the biggest day in the YPCA calendar is the Big Day Not Out (BDNO).

    Out of it’s Covid hibernation and relocated from the leagues spiritual home of Edinburgh Gardens to the dry and isolated grounds of Fairfield and Fairlea, the festival of short-form pub cricket is back.

    The new surrounds won’t invite the community engagement that the day used to enjoy in times gone by, but it will certainly enable the participating pub teams to ingratiate with one another easily, while also reducing the chance of balls being lost in front yards or going through car windows or children.

    As per the last few BDNOs, the day has been moved from the pointy end of the season itself to something closer to the pointy end, more of the iceberg and less of the tip if you will.  This has taken some of the “finals” type pressure off the day and allowed it to be more enjoyable.

    The Empress Quokkas go into this seasons iteration of the day in as good as form as they have been for years, and despite drawing the early start against our old friends in the Curtin Hotel, hopes are still up for a good showing in our 10th appearance at the event.

    In the spotlight:

    After missing a few games due to having better things to do, Jay comes back into the side to co-captain the day with the in-form Radar.

    The TFB is hitting the ball at an impressive strike rate of 1.7 while also going for just over 6 runs per over.  Elite BDNO areas.

    This is Jays 5th BDNO, so here’s hoping for a big one.

    Team News:

    The squad for Sunday, at the time of writing, is:

    1. Ed
    2. The President of King Island
    3. F1
    4. Jay (co captain)
    5. Radar (co captain)
    6. Alex
    7. Local
    8. Dutchy
    9. J Rod
    10. Big Dave
    11. Tim B Chapman
    12. Blake

    Pitch and Conditions

    Given that it looks like we are at the end of the world, its only appropriate that the first BDNO in 2 years is interrupted by tropical rain during Autumn in Melbourne.

    Should we get on, its very likely to be very, very soppy.

    Stats and Trivia

    • About 90% of all people live in the Northern Hemisphere
    • The risk of heart attack for men is 20% higher on Mondays
    • The hashtag symbol is technically called an ‘octothorpe’
    • Abraham Lincoln is a member of the Wrestling Hall of Fame (defeated once in 300 matches)
    • This will be Eds 10th BDNO, not a bad effort
  • Our Super Sunday double header kicked off at 10am at Hayes park in Thornbury with a Pride T10 Holy Trinity XI vs Empress Quokkas. 

    It was an exciting build up with music pumping, rainbows everywhere and a fun family atmosphere. 

    Dave & Ami co-captains graciously lost the toss, letting the home side elect to field. Cat, back in the maroon, opened the batting along with F1 & started us off well. It was an action packed innings, plenty of spice, not so many runs. Ed high scored with 17 and F1 with 14. With

    A couple of late boundaries, we battled through some serious pace and spin to set the “Trinners” 61 to win. 

    The early start behind us, and recovery hot dogs giving us an early morning boost of energy, we took to the field. J Rod took the first key wicket, a 9 year old caught behind off his glove. He wasn’t happy and tried for a review but without a DRS he was sent packing. Also sent packing were the fielders and long on and long off as they had to take some packed lunches while searching for the balls that sailed over their heads. Pete brought the Quokkas back into the game with a quick double-wicket over. 

    We were in it right until the 9th over when with just 12 balls remaining, Trinners needed a hefty 1 to win. Jase took the ball and flung a few offies the way of the 70 year old batter, but it was the unexpected bouncer that left him rattled and gave Quokkas the moral victory in a very social, pleasant and (mostly) friendly match. 

    A proud pack
  • Game 1 – Empress Quokkas v Pride All Stars

    Game 2 – Empress v Quokkas

    Match Details (both on Sunday the 20th of Jan):

    Game 1 – Hayes Park, Flinders St, Thornbury – 10am

    Game 2 – Fairlea East, Yarra Bend – 1pm

    The Big Picture:

    After a fairly busy start to 2022, we go into the eighth weekend of the year to play our 4th and 5th games of it.

    We are very proud to be invited to play in the first game, a T10 against a social side from Holy Trinity Cricket club, as part of the Pride Weekend.  This game is all about celebrating and encouraging inclusiveness in Cricket, one of our core goals.  Thanks muchly everyone for inviting us.

    The second game should also be a social affair, an ‘inter-pub’ affair made up of the cricketers versus the drinkers.  100 years ago this probably would have got first class status, but we will settle for a chance to better integrate with The Empress and introduce some new friends to Pub Cricket.

    Form Guide:

    The Quokkas have certainly been in good social form of late, putting up a good showing on King Island off the field.  Here’s hoping it carries on this weekend.

    In the Spotlight:

    Cat hadn’t played for us for a while, but came back into the King Island team without a beat.  While she was unlucky to get a good one (that was caught!), she looked great at the crease and fielded like a pro.  Whats more, she then wanted to get a net session in!  We look forward to her turning out again this weekend.

    Team News:

    With the new rotation policy in place at QCC, we have two squads available for the weekend, being:

    Pride (Proud?) Squad:

    1. F1
    2. F1s mate
    3. Ed
    4. Big Dog
    5. Cat
    6. Ami (co captain)
    7. Big Dave (co captain)
    8. J Rod
    9. Fridge

    Inter-pub squad:

    1. F1
    2. Ed
    3. Radar
    4. The Animal
    5. Local
    6. Rev
    7. J Rod
    8. Fridge
    9. Pete Sherwood
    10. Tim B Chapman
    11. Alex

    Stats and Trivia:

    • The Animal is having quite the Summer, averaging 27 with the bat (30% of his runs from boundaries, thank you), and 33 with the ball (going for a miserly 7.4 runs per over).  He has also taken 2 catches, including a blinder at Square Leg on King Island;
    • Fridge seems to keep his best bowling for The Revs captaincy, taking 2 for 32 off 5 overs in the last two outings.  Now, if only the rest were as clever as the Big Kiwi
    • This will be Ami’s first game as Captain for the Quokkas, he was reticent to take on the job as his field placements in Sri Lanka were less about traditional positions and more about how close you’re supposed to stand to the Mango tree. This should be ace.
  • This time for our King Island tour:

  • After two years of lockdown, The Quokkas took the opportunity to play a tour match on King Island with great excitement.  The prospect of cheese, gin, steak and Australia’s largest lighthouse on offer was certainly more appealing than looking at the same four walls for another weekend.

    The Big Dog, on return to the side after a bad case of umpiring, got on the plane at Melbourne Airport and declared that he was going to chase down Boonies record of 54 cans. Quite the ambition for a 45 minute flight that didn’t serve booze.

    There is definitely another report to be written about how beautiful King Island is and how suspiciously friendly everyone there is, but this isn’t the place, so you’ll have to visit it for yourself to find out.

    The game itself was held at the local High School on a footy oval that had wings so large that a 747 might get jealous.  Thankfully the King Island Cricket Organisation Committee, Rikki, was on hand to help and soon witches hats were placed ten metres in from the boundary to give it more of a MCG size.

    It should be noted that Rikki was far from alone at the game.  A decent crowd (by our standards, and probably BBL standards) had turned up to watch and take some photos, one of the photographers taking Umbridge at my decision to bat from the far end as he would have to move. In my defence, the other end of the pitch was as undulating as the local golf course (#1 in Australia, thank you very much) and would have resulted in serious dental assistance.

    Aside from the crowd, a small army turned up to represent King Island, which has not had cricket played on it since Bob Hawke was Prime Minister.  You would think that a cricket side that has been playing relatively regularly since Kevin Rudd was in power might be able to beat a rag-tag group thrown together, but then you may not have met The Quokkas.

    Different sort of ute muster

    Being the hospitable type that I am, I offered King Island the chance to bat first, but they insisted on a toss which they won (ed: omens ahead), and decided to have a bowl.

    I’d come up with our batting order the night before over a team dinner of Wallaby Bolognese that was not too bad if I do say so myself.  Unfortunately I forgot the line up with my head still swimming in marsupial sauce, so J Rod and Fridge were sent in to pile on some runs.

    Unfortunately batting was bloody hard at the chosen end of the pitch too, and runs really weren’t flowing as freely as hoped. Fridge did manage to smash a 6 over cover with a shot that made me a little woozy, but a score of 1/21 after 6 overs that included a maiden and a wicket maiden wasn’t giving me a lot of confidence.

    Woof

    In one of the great mind games of all-time, the opposition players came up to me regularly to ask for the score then pause and look concerned, before heading back to their huddle to tell the others, only for someone else to come out and repeat the process.  Maybe a total of 45 after 25 overs would be enough?

    On mind games, we do need to celebrate J Rod stopping the game while batting to get someone to move their car due to the glare off the windscreen.  Alpha stuff.

    Back in the middle, the President of King Island (Jordan) had joined J Rod and started to build something of a partnership, finding the rope and keeping the fielders busy. To script, her dismissal saw us go to 2 for 45, then 3 for 46, and then 4 for 69 (nice) as Tim B Chapman and the returning Big Dog struggled in the difficult conditions.  Its very possible that Tim was simply exhausted from so much laughing.

    Tim, seen here in a rare moment between laughter

    Dutchy came in and finally offered us some hope, despite running out The Dog, peppering the leg-side boundary to bring up 29 runs off 13 balls.  The pitch had the last laugh though, as one went under his bat to hit the poles and leave him 1 run short of a retirement score.

    James and The Animal came in and got busy straight away, swishing at everything to keep the score ticking as well as possible in the conditions.  Feeling frustrated with the lack of runs, they both generously retired to give Cat her return hit and unleash our own finisher; Ed.

    Cat must have been out of lives as she got the best ball of the day, managed to edge it, and have an absolute screamer taken at slip.

    Very still Cat

    Ed and myself managed to see out the last over, not losing a wicket but also not scoring a lot of runs. I can’t remember the last time we posted a total as low as 113 and I wasn’t confident at our ability to defend it.

    After a delicious lunch that was provided by the local Lions club (many thanks), we got back out there to a mixed start; Ed bowling the first one off the pitch and then James taking a screamer second ball – only to have it overturned (still a free hit).

    While the early bowlers were economical, we were still going at nearly 5 an over after 4 overs with no sign of a wicket, until a cool breeze known as The Fridge stepped in and started nipping it everywhere, taking poles and causing all sorts of chaos.

    Fridge, seen here creating chaos

    The Animal chipped in, initially taking a screamer of a catch at square leg, before knocking over the middle stump of one of the King Island big hitters.

    James formed a bad cop – bad cop partnership with The Fridge, bowling tight lines and refusing to give away runs.

    Sadly, there was just too little to defend and the introduction of some big hitters had King Island reach the target in the 15th over.  We kept going with the game regardless to make sure all of their small army got a bat and it was great to see the smiles that our bowling brought to people deprived of cricket for so long.

    There was also the small matter of an incredible catch taken out on the boundary by a certain Captain running at full tilt, pouching it in front like Tom McDonald on the lead, but the telling of that that too is for another time.  Or more likely several times.

    Thanks again to Rikki and everyone at King Island for making this happen, it was a great trip and we all had heaps of fun.

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