For the thousands of you that have been following The Quokkas C.C in its many incantations over the years, you will have been left as speechless and euphoric as I was on the afternoon of May 14 when they won their first outdoor match by a comprehensive six wickets.
Following up on the inter-club match (The Quokka ‘Ashes’ – which the Australians duly won) the week before, the lads took the mixed feelings of having won and lost to beat a real Cricket Club with a decent display of park Cricket.
The day started slowly, largely due to the opposition team being delayed by the now annual Chelsea Premiership Cup/Public Drunkenness display.
Once the game did get underway though, the signs were positive from the start for the Quokkas. The opening bowling combination of Paul ‘Thug P’ Viljoen and Dac ‘Dac’ Nguyen provided a mix of metronomic line and length with sheer aggression and pace.
Dac provided the first breakthrough, following up a particularly vicious bouncer with a yorker that had the batsman gladly returning to the pavilion. In absence of a pavilion, the batsman returned to the picnic blanket instead.
The incoming batsman was quick to make his presence felt at the crease, mostly because Sam ‘The Truth’ Dunstan (our trusted glove man and MC) couldn’t see past his girth.
The new batting partnership saw off the opening pair but struggled to capitalise on the first change combination of Nick ‘The Professor’ Metcalf and Robin ‘Skip’ Bradley, prodding about cautiously and showing some reluctance to change ends unless it was really necessary or pastries were on offer.
Some gibes from the good Rev D A ‘Tweak’ Nichols were not well received and resulted in one of The Professors ‘deceptively straight’ balls being smashed at The Tweaks head while he was fielding at silly mid-on. Only cat-like reflexes managed to save his Adonis like features, but obviously ruffled his normally iron will as he went for 32 runs off the next 3 overs.
Thankfully, Richard ‘Skaff’ Williams was on hand at the other end and managed to plunder their line-up with a couple of clever wickets and run-outs. Skip realised what a drain The Tweak was being and quickly replaced him with Smithers, who steadied the ship nicely.
The innings was closed with Geoff ‘The Mantis’ Kendrick and John ‘Caveman’ Costin warming their arms up ahead of matching the challenge of bettering 177 runs off 35 overs.
Not having made over 120 in a match before, or batting for more than 20 overs, this was quite a challenge for The Quokkas. Or so they thought.
The Mantis and The Caveman strode out like men with a purpose. The Caveman, more used to opening the bowling than the batting was getting set for a big innings of blocking out, while The Mantis was remembering the immortal words that the good Rev passed to him while on his way to another milestone (240 pounds worth of cocktails in 3 hours): “You only have three shots, so leave anything above the waist. Two more thanks waiter.”
All this intent was soon forgotten though, as The Caveman’s eyes uncharacteristically lit up at a loose piece of meat that he swung his club at. The result was a spooning catch to point and a return to the picnic rug to share the scorers duty with The Rev who was still recounting the story of his ‘nearly catch’.
Rob ‘Monty Burns’ was the next man in, although suffered a similar fate to The Caveman, heading back for a duck of the particularly golden variety. With a score line of 2/4 (thanks to a straight drive from The Mantis) The Quokkas were in trouble, no doubt.
All that changed with the arrival of the Skip at the crease, as he and The Mantis took the challenge back to the opposition. The Mantis discarded all advice that The Rev dispersed to him earlier (Mrs. Mantis will understand) as he started sweeping like a dustman, bringing up 15 runs in one over. This was a particular relief to The Rev, as he no longer had the most expensive over of the match.
The Mantis reached his half-century in fine style, with the crowd all standing to do ‘The Mantis’ pose and cheer. He obviously started tiring soon afterwards (again, Mrs. Mantis will understand) and the staunch Skip had a few words to help steady him.
Unfortunately these had no effect (is anyone else noticing a trend in the attention that The Mantis pays to advice?) as the next ball hit the stumps. Luckily for The Mantis, the bails stayed on (Superglue, $2.99 at your local hardware store – bowlers face, priceless) and he continued on his merry-sweeping way.
The crowd sat fixated on this partnership, which went on to post 163, largely as there was very little else to look at. Regardless, even passers-by stopped to marvel at The Mantis and his swashbuckling ways, although this is understandable; this being an age that is crying out for a hero.
And cometh the hour, cometh The Mantis, bringing up the maiden Quokka century in style and sending the crowd into scenes of wild Mantis-idolizing. Mark my words, a lot of babies were named ‘Geoff’ on the 15th of May.
The partnership was finally broken with The Mantis on 103, who was shortly joined by the Skip who had played a no-less important role in securing the victory. The Skaff and Dac were left to finish off proceedings, Dac surprising all by not trying to hit the required runs off 2 balls and playing defensive shots, leaving The Skaff to straight drive The Quokkas to victory.
An excellent effort by all concerned, particularly the wives and girlfriends who not only made excellent teas and cakes, but proved that The Quokkas do have sex appeal.
Finally, the votes for the Paul Turnock best player award:
5 – The Mantis
4 – The Skip
3 – Dac
2 – The Truth (awesome work behind the sticks in his first game)
1 – The Skaff
Apologies to Thug P and Smithers
And the Ian Edwards Bravery Award for the match goes to The Rev, for the cat-like stop. For details of the stop, just ask The Rev.